Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
I spent most of the day watching receivers, tight ends and defensive backs. Though a certain quarterback and running back definitely caught my attention as well…
This is not a great crop but there is some talent here.
Jeremy Gallon–made a nice high-point catch on a rep; flashed good quickness off the line but didn’t explode out of his break on an out and the ball wound up being errant.
Matt Hazel–the first thing I noted is that he is smaller in person than he looks on tape, though he is very well-built especially in the lower body. Really not much wiggle or fast-twitch to his game; my overall conclusion note says “pedestrian”.
Eric Lora–I have three notes on the Eastern Illinois product and I’ll quote them verbatim from my chicken scratch:
- Jumping early on every snap
- Looks nervous and tentative
- Rounded off an out route and got an earful for it
He looked more out of place than any other player I saw today. Hopefully he turns out better tomorrow with the initial nerves overcome.
Allen Hurns–on one rep he slipped on his cut, and on the very next rep he rounded off the cut to avoid the same issue. The Miami product dropped an underthrown ball from Jeff Matthews but later made an excellent sliding catch in beating Andre Hal on a post route.
Ja’Mes Logan–yes, spellchecker, that is how he spells it. He flashed the jets a few times, blowing past Hakeem Smith and Ross Cockrell on separate fly routes. Logan also made a nice adjustment to a poorly thrown ball from Jimmy Garoppolo and snagged it below his knees with strong hands.
Patrick Laird–didn’t really see much from the Army man except for a tenacious downfield block.
There’s a little something here for different tastes.
Alex Bayer–he’s the least powerful of the trio but also the cleanest to release and clearly has the fastest feet. The BGSU Falcon was praised by the coach for controlling his butt on a 6-technique run blocking drill and also for his hand placement on blocks.
Blake Jackson–I have more notes on the Oklahoma State enigma than any other player today. He was repeatedly chastised by the coaches for looking down when he blocks, and it was clearly a conscious effort on his part to stop doing it that made him less effective. When he got it right, however, he was a devastatingly powerful blocker, almost looked like a tackle. He was also picked on for not stepping directly to his target on a move drill. He had at least two false starts in drills and also dropped a perfectly thrown ball by Matthews behind the defense in the end zone. Yet he made a great in-stride snag down the seam on a hot throw from Jordan Lynch, a play that Bayer couldn’t make on the very next rep. Somebody get this man a rudder.
Crockett Gillmore–he’s a legit 6’6” and his height really shows when the trio stood together. Big target with soft hands. He was praised by the coaches who “love your steps” when engaged as a blocker. He has a giant first step that worked well when flexed out but caused him trouble in traffic.
Pierre Desir–my very first impression of the Lindenwood corner is a favorable one. Physically he strongly resembles Lions project Chris Greenwood, long, long-limbed, and lanky but not thin. He can really pop on his jam, major jolt to his initial punch. He needed some coaching on being too stiff in his crouch, as he tended to rise up out of it. Desir earned praise for keeping outside leverage on a stretch run to force the play back to his help, but he was a half-count late to pick up the ball in the air on two separate pick-able balls from Garoppolo. There’s an awful lot to work with here.
Nevin Lawson–he was in perfect position to make a pick, quickly read the route and jumped it…and fell flat on his face as the TE made the catch over him. I noted he was very quick to flip his hips but he has a tendency to freeze on his first step out of it.
Ricardo Allen–I’ve seen a lot of Allen at Purdue and my impression has always been that he will be a solid slot corner at the next level. He completely validated that today, showing feistiness, quick recognition and choppy feet. Plays bigger than his size. The coaches highlighted his stance as “what yours should look like” to the others.
Andre Hal–he started slowly, being coached to “stop holding” twice in an early drill. He figured it out and showed innate stickiness in man coverage several times. Got beat for a TD once but it took a perfect throw by Matthews to beat him in trail technique.
Ross Cockrell–I have four words written. “Bucket stepper. Stiff hips.” That’s it.
Tre Boston–very impressed with the UNC safety. He was quick to read the play and understood how to read the receivers to pick up on things. He provided excellent over the top help and carried the route all the way down the field in step. Made a big hit on a run fill too. Nice first day.
Jemea Thomas–he played both safety and some in the slot today, made a very nice PD with good inside leverage on a slant route where he showed good timing and reach. What I liked also was that he was coached about his hand placement on his jam once and then got it right every time thereafter. Ran step for step with Gallon for 50 yards down the field.
Hakeem Smith–my notes are tough to decipher as I dribbled some Smoothie King on that part of the paper, but I do recall noting his stiffness out of his breaks. He jumped a slant and gave away the go, a cardinal sin with single-high safety. I did note good outside technique in erasing Lora from a route.
A.J. Marshall–he’s another false-stepper when he changes direction. Didn’t catch my eye other than that.
I wasn’t watching the RBs much but man was Zach Bauman of Northern Arizona electrifying! He has exceptional body control and balance to cut so quickly and burst out of it. A lot of times shiftier backs like that don’t get north/south well, but Bauman sure did today. Looked like a bulkier Darren Sproles. Very impressed. My trusted colleague Josh Liskiewitz was gushing over him all afternoon.
As I tweeted, Jeff Mathews of Cornell was head and shoulders above Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois and Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois on the QB front. Very impressive gun with significantly better accuracy than his compatriots.
I was not at all impressed with Garoppolo. He throws off of one foot naturally and when he focuses on not doing it everything slows down. Underthrew several deeper throws as his balls have a tendency to sink. No, I’m not making a testicular joke…
Louisville LB Preston Brown was very impressive. He destroyed Jackson on a jam, then floored another receiver on another rep. Very active all day.
ECU LB Derrell Johnson twice held outside leverage to facilitate big hits, one by Brown and another by Hakeem Smith. He does not lack muscle definition, either.
Auburn P Steven Clark dominated the BCS Title game, but he was not good here today.
A few guys were injured and did not play: Dezmen Southward, Travis Carrie, Justin Britt and Zack Fulton that I can recall.
Thanks for checking in, and be sure to follow me on Twitter for live updates from practices @JeffRisdon
Tags: Blake Jackson, Crockett Gillmore, East West Shrine Game, Ja'Mes Logan, Jeff Mathews, Jemea Thomas, Jeremy Gallon, Jimmy Garoppolo, Pierre Desir, Practice Notes, Preston Brown, Ricardo Allen, Shrine Game, Tre Boston