College Football season is full steam ahead. With that comes the endless evaluation of the prospects looking to make the leap to the NFL next season. Last week one of the players I highlighted was Notre Dame defender Jeremiah Owusu-Karamoah. The athletic linebacker didn’t disappoint as he registered 7 tackles and a sack. Another guy I mentioned was Syracuse Safety Andre Cisco. Cisco was his usual ballhawking self with a nice looking interception. This week our scouting series brings another handful of players that should be on your radar.
Cincinnati vs Austin Peay
The player to watch in this game is Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder. Ridder is an athletically gifted player standing at 6’4 weighing 215 pounds with mobility and arm strength. The Junior QB led his team to an 11 win season in 2019, topped off by an impressive 38-6 rout of Boston College. In his 13 starts last year, Ridder threw for over 2100 yards and ran for 650 yards with 23 total touchdowns.
On tape there is alot to like about Desmond Ridder. First thing that jumps out to me is his mobility. Ridder can run to extend a play or get himself out of trouble. Ridder has proven himself to be a dangerous option in the RPO game. On top of the mobility, he shows an above average arm and good ball placement on his throws. It’s always good for a QB to know when to put steam on his passes and when to put some air under it, and i think Ridder has good judgement in that area. More often than not Ridder is putting his throws where only his guy can get the ball.
Ridder does have some things he needs to work on. The 9 interceptions he threw in 2019 were a product of a nasty habit of locking on to a receiver and telegraphing his throw. The other issue is mechanical. Ridder has a bit of a wind up when he passes. That gives the defender an extra split second to break on the ball and disrupts the timing of the play. Overall I like Desmond Ridder as a prospect and I think he has real upside to his game. Below you can see the good and bad sides of Desmond Ridder
Oklahoma State vs. Tulsa
Next up I’m looking at OSU WR Tylan Wallace. In 2019 Wallace averaged 112 receiving yards per game and amassed 903 receiving yards in only 9 games. In his sophomore season Wallace had over 1400 receiving yards. Standing at 6’0 and tipping the scales in the 180-190 range Wallace isn’t the biggest or fastest receiver in this class. What he does have is high level toughness, skill and YAC ability.
Wallace was never asked to run a complex route tree at OSU, but he shows the potential to add that aspect to his game. One of the most impressive parts of Wallace’s game is his hands. In contested catch situations his ball tracking ability and strong hands allow him to play like a much bigger receiver. Once the ball is in his hands he has enough speed to do damage after the catch as well as an aggressiveness to run defenders over. The main concern with Tylan Wallace is how he comes back from a torn ACL injury. If he shows no lingering effects from the injury his stock will soar come draft time. The clip below tells you exactly what type of player Tylan Wallace is.
Boston College vs. Duke
A good matchup in the trenches is always fun. Duke features two talented pass rushers in Chris Rumph and Victor Dimukeje. Boston College also has some talent on their offensive line to counter that. The Left Guard Zion Johnson in particular is one to watch. The 6’3 310 transfer has an intriguing blend of strength and mobility. BC loves to get him on the move pulling in the run game, and he’s proven to be good at it.
In the passing game Zion shows the ability to drop his weight and anchor down to stop the rush. Although Zion Johnson looks to be a very solid player, he has a limited sample size of game action at the FBS level. The main thing to look for with Johnson is consistency and progress. can he maintain a high level of play throughout an entire season? We’ll see. In the clip you’ll see Zion against Clemson. He does a nice job pulling around and sealing off Isaiah Simmons, allowing AJ Dillon to gain positive yardage.
Wake Forest vs. North Carolina State
In this game my eyes are squarely on Wake Forest Defensive End Carlos “Boogie” Basham. Basham is one of the most complete edge rushers in this class. His 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 2019 are evidence of his skill versus the run as well as the pass. Basham may not be the athletic freak like some other edge rushers but his polish and relentless effort more than make up for any athletic deficiencies.
Basham is a quick read when it comes to diagnosing run plays and has violent hands that allow him to disengage from blockers quickly. As a pass rusher Basham has a spin, club/swim and a solid bull rush in his arsenal. I believe Carlos Basham can help any NFL defensive rotation right now. In the clip below you’ll see Basham showing excellent recognition in the run game as well as the strength to toss aside would be blockers. Lastly you’ll see how he meets the ball carrier with bad intentions.