NFL Draft Prospects in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl

Ohio State and Clemson are two teams that are able to reload every year in recruiting. They then develop all of the talent they get and ship them out as NFL prospects. There will be NFL players all over the field in this game. Here are the best prospects in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl:

Ohio State Buckeyes

Pat Elflein, C

Fiesta Bowl

Pat Elflein (Photo courtesy: thelantern.com)

Projected Draft Range: Second round-third round

Elflein has adequate height at six feet three inches tall, but already has the weight he needs at 300 pounds. He has great mobility to go block defenders on the move. Elflein will likely be one of the first two centers taken in the draft, but his name may not be called to the second or third round due to the lack of centers being taken early in the NFL Draft.

Curtis Samuel, RB/WR

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

If teams are looking for a Percy Harvin-like player (the easiest comparison to make), Samuel is that guy. He has great speed and quickness and can impact the game in a lot of ways. He has rushed the ball well and also been a great receiver for the Buckeyes. NFL teams will have to game plan against Samuel, much like they did against Harvin. He may not have the same NFL impact, but Samuel will be a nice find for an NFL team.

Gareon Conley, CB

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

Conley has eight passes defended and three interceptions this season, making him fit in well with the rest of the Ohio State secondary, who make plays on the ball. He has good size at six feet one inch tall and can match-up with a variety of receivers. If this class didn’t have so many good corners, Conley could sneak into the first round.

Clemson Tigers

Mike Williams, WR

Projected Draft Range: First round

Size is Williams biggest competitive advantage. At six feet three inches and 220 pounds, there aren’t many corners that can match up with him. His speed and quickness are both good for his size. Williams can improve as a blocker and a route-runner for the next level.

Deshaun Watson, QB

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

Watson is a great play-maker at the college level. His athleticism will translate to the NFL level well. He isn’t the greatest decision maker and turns the ball over. His accuracy is inconsistent on throws of the intermediate variety and beyond. The good news is that Watson has all the tools needed for an NFL quarterback, but just needs to protect the ball better and put the ball right on receivers.

Carlos Watkins, DT

Fiesta Bowl

Carlos Watkins (Photo courtesy: greenvilleonline.com)

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Watkins is versatile enough to play in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. At six feet three inches tall and 305 pounds he has the necessary length and strength to go against NFL offensive linemen. Watkins is good at stopping the run, but is better at rushing the passer from the interior. He has 8.5 sacks on the season, which is a lot for a player that plays on the inside.

Cordrea Tankersley, CB

Projected Draft Range: First round-third round

Tankersley will probably be drafted in a similar range as Conley. He is about the same height and weight as Conley. Tankersley is more of the shut-down corner, rather than a guy who makes plays on the ball. Unfortunately he won’t have all of the greatest chance to improve his draft stock in this game with not many good outside receivers for Ohio State. He needs to focus on stopping the run to help his team win and impress scouts.

 

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2016 Fiesta Bowl Preview

The Ohio State Buckeyes played a tough schedule and got into the College Football Playoff without winning the Big Ten. Clemson won the ACC to get to the National Semi-final. Ohio State and Clemson will clash in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl.

Ohio State Buckeyes’ Offense

Fiesta Bowl

J.T. Barrett (Photo courtesy: usatoday.com)

The Buckeyes went 11-1 this season to get a bid to the playoff. Their loss was to a really good Penn State team on the road. They have beaten eight bowl eligible teams, which includes Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska.

J.T. Barrett has to be one of the most trusted quarterbacks in college football at this point in his career. He has 2,428 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions. His receivers have been inconsistent this season, so his numbers being down aren’t entirely his fault. He has added 847 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Barrett isn’t the fastest runner, but is effective.

Curtis Samuel has been the best receiver for the Buckeyes with 822 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He also has 704 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. No other receiver has been great for the Buckeyes, although Noah Brown has shown flashes. He will need to have a big game to help stretch Clemson’s defense.

Running back Mike Weber has 1,072 rushing yards on 6.1 yards per carry. His nine touchdown runs ties Barrett for the team lead. Weber, Samuel and Barrett creating a dynamic rushing attack is a key to this game.

Ohio State Buckeyes’ Defense

Fiesta Bowl

Malik Hooker (Photo courtesy: Buckeye Dispatch)

Ohio State’s run defense is among the best in the country allowing 118 yards rushing per game. The pass defense is just as good, only allowing 158 yards per game through the air.

Tyquan Lewis has been the best pass rusher for the Buckeyes with 7.5 sacks. Malik Hooker has six interceptions as a ball-hawk safety, which helps the pass defense greatly. Raekwon McMillan will be tasked with stepping up his run defense against Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman.

Clemson Tigers’ Offense

Fiesta Bowl

Deshaun Watson (Photo courtesy: nypost.com)

The Tigers only lost one game, but won the ACC Championship. Their one loss was to a tough Pittsburgh Panthers team. Clemson, like Alabama, has beaten 10 bowl teams on the season.

At quarterback Clemson has a dynamic athlete in Deshaun Watson. He has thrown for 3,914 and 37 touchdowns, but a lot of his stats are padded because of screens. He has trouble with decision-making on his throws down the field, which is why he has thrown 15 interceptions. Watson has mobility with 529 yards rushing and six rushing touchdowns. He has to be careful to take care of the ball with an opportunistic Ohio State secondary.

Watson has a lot of different targets. Mike Williams is the most highly touted with 84 receptions, 1,171 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is a match-up problem at six feet three inches tall. Other good targets include tight end Jordan Leggett, Deon Cain, Artavis Scott, Ray Ray McCloud and Hunter Renfroe. All are capable of making plays, but Scott could have a great game due to his quickness.

Wayne Gallman gets the bulk of the carries for the Tigers. He has rushed 1,002 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. Gallman even missed some time with injury and still put up those numbers.

Clemson Tigers’ Defense

Fiesta Bowl

Ben Boulware (Photo courtesy: zimbio.com)

The rush defense is great, only allowing 126 yards per game. Clemson’s pass defense is also good and within the nation’s top 20 at 188 yards allowed per game.

Carlos Watkins has been great at getting after the quarterback with 8.5 sacks. Jadar Johnson has helped out with six interceptions. Ben Boulware is a great linebacker for Clemson and is a sure tackler. All will need to step up and help stop the rushing attack of Ohio State.

Prediction

Deshaun Watson hasn’t been a great decision maker this season, which will result in turnovers to the Buckeyes’ secondary. The Ohio State offense won’t be great, but they will make the most of the turnovers. This game will go back and forth and it may come down to who has the ball last.

 

Ohio State Buckeyes 34 Clemson Tigers 32

 

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NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2016 Peach Bowl

If a team makes it to the College Football Playoff, they more than likely have a lot of guys that are NFL prospects. In the 2016 Peach Bowl, Washington and Alabama have plenty of players who will be playing in the NFL next season. These are the best prospects from this game:

Washington Huskies

Sidney Jones, CB

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Jones is a shut down corner for a Huskies’ secondary that has been compared to the Legion of Boom for the Seattle Seahawks. He doesn’t have many balls thrown his way, but he makes plays on them when they do. Jones has average height at six feet tall, but needs to add muscle to his 181 pound frame so he isn’t pushed off of the line of scrimmage.

John Ross, WR

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Peach Bowl

John Ross (Photo courtesy: lmtribune.com)

A lot of people have called Ross one of the fastest players in college football. His speed has helped him to create a lot of separation for big plays. He isn’t the biggest at five feet eleven inches tall, but Odell Beckham Jr. is the same height and is effective. He will be able to play on the outside and in the slot.

Budda Baker, S

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

Baker is a great free safety for the Huskies. His coverage is great and he is decent at coming up and playing the run too, with 8.5 tackles for loss. He has the versatility to play safety or slot corner at the next level. His ball skills aren’t great, but he does have good range for a safety.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Jonathan Allen, DL

Projected Draft Range: Top 10

Allen has so many diverse talents that he can play any position on the defensive line. He has played on a three man front at Alabama as a defensive end. With 8.5 sacks, he is a great pass rusher, that often times gets double teamed. Allen is really good at stopping the run too, making him one of the best prospects in the class.

Cam Robinson, OT

Projected Draft Range: First round

Peach Bowl

Cam Robinson (Photo courtesy: walterfootball.com)

This is a weak offensive tackle class and although Robinson isn’t the greatest prospect ever, he should be one of the first taken. He has good size at six feet six inches tall and 310 pounds and has decent athletic ability. At times he can look stiff on the field and needs to demonstrate better mobility against the pass rush.

Marlon Humphrey, CB

Projected Draft Range: First round

Humphrey should be one of the first corners taken in a very deep draft class at the position. He has good size at six feet one inch and is still growing into his body as a red-shirt sophomore. Humphrey has completely locked down his side of the field. In order to be elite he needs to help stopping the run more.

O.J. Howard, TE

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Alabama doesn’t utilize Howard as much as they should. Howard shouldn’t be faulted for his lack of production, as they just don’t throw him the ball often enough. At six feet six inches tall and 251 pounds, Howard already has a good body for the NFL. His athleticism is also good enough for the NFL. Hopefully the team that drafts him knows how to use him.

Tim Williams, DE/OLB

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Williams is a great pass rusher with 8.5 sacks this season, making him a great edge rusher prospect. He has gotten better at defending the run, but still needs to work on that. Williams has the necessary size and athleticism to get after the quarterback in the NFL, but has to get better at other facets of his game to stay on the field for all three downs.

 

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Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread

How in the world is week 17 already upon us? It is always a tough week to pick games. No one really knows how motivated many teams are. While I understand that, winning is a hell of a lot better than losing. Thus, I firmly believe there is no such thing as a “meaningless” game. After posting a .500 mark against the spread last week, I now sit at 118-125-7 on the year. Not great, but not terrible. All spreads are from rtsports.com, my picks are bolded, and outright upsets have an asterisk. Here is to finishing the regular season strong.

*Ravens at Bengals (-2.5) – The Ravens (my preseason Super Bowl pick) tumbled out of the playoff picture last week. The Bengals were eliminated long ago. Despite calls for sweeping changes, I expect Cincinnati to resist the temptation, and rightly so. However, I struggle to see them doing much on offense. It is not sexy, but Baltimore’s edge in the kicking game will be the difference. Bal 16 Cin 13

Bills (-3.5) at Jets- Both teams are a dysfunctional mess. For reasons that depend on who you ask, EJ Manuel will get the start for Buffalo in the first game of the post Rex Ryan era. Nothing would surprise me in this game, but Buffalo’s ground game should be enough. Buf 21 NYJ 17

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

*Panthers at Bucs (-4) – Last week, the young Bucs fought for their playoff lives against a losing team loaded with talent and it didn’t go so well. This week, the situation is very similar. There is no reason to think it will go any differently. Another year of seasoning and Tampa Bay could be really special. Last week showed they are not quite ready. Car 27 TB 24

*Bears at Vikings (-6) – Many times season finales simply come down to who is playing harder. This matchup could be a classic case of that. The Vikings have more talent, but the Bears have been playing much harder for the last month or so. Chi 19 Min 16

Browns at Steelers (-5.5) – The Browns will not go winless, and they deserve credit for that as well as playing hard all year long. With Pittsburgh locked into playoff position and playing it coy about resting starters, the line is not as big as one might expect. Unfortunately for Cleveland, the Steelers backups are better than the Browns starters. After this game, the Browns will officially be on the clock. Pit 30 Cle 21

*Cowboys at Eagles (-4.5) – This line is a stunner. Dallas is making no secret of its plans to limit reps of starters, particularly quarterback Dak Prescott. Even so a 13-2 team getting points against a 6-9 team is eye popping and too good to pass up. Dallas has a surplus of solid running backs and Mark Sanchez and Tony Romo are not nearly as bad as the mainstream media would like you to believe. Dal 24 Phi 20

*Texans at Titans (-3)- Just like we all thought a few weeks ago, this game will feature a Tom Savage vs Matt Cassel quarterback duel and Houston, not Tennessee is locked into the playoffs. No telling what could happen here. When in doubt, go with the best unit. That would be the Texans defense. Hou 20 Ten 13

Jaguars at Colts (-4.5) – Jacksonville did a nice job of playing spoiler last week, but that does not change the fact that both of these teams had high expectations that ended in disaster this year. Something tells me Andrew Luck is too much of a pros pro not to finish the season really strong. Ind 28 Jac 17

Patriots (-9.5) at Dolphins – The Patriots need this game to lock down home field advantage in the playoffs. If last year taught them anything, it should be the importance of having home field. Miami has always been a tough place to play for Brady’s Bunch. The Dolphins will look to get backup quarterback Matt Moore as sharp as possible for the playoffs while Ryan Tannehill races to get healthy. This will not be a blowout. NE 27 Mia 21

Cardinals (-6.5) at Rams- The Rams are plain awful and the Cardinals are merely average. David Johnson is the only reason to watch this game. The coaching search in LA will be fascinating. Ari 27 LA 13

Chiefs (-4.5) at Chargers- Sadly, what is likely the Chargers final game in San Diego will end with a division rival celebrating a straightforward win. It quite possibly could be a division title along with a first round bye. KC 27 SD 13

Saints at Falcons (-7) – These two teams always play wacky games. Atlanta locks up a first round bye with a win. Even with Matt Ryan playing at an MVP level, the team as a whole should not scare anyone. There is something to be said for finding ways to win. Atlanta should continue that trend here, but do not expect Drew Brees and company to roll over and play dead. Atl 31 NO 28

Giants at Redskins (-7.5) – Playoff scenarios make my head hurt. According to everything I have read, the only way Washington wins this game and misses the playoffs is if the night game ends in a tie. Much like the Steelers, no one seems to know how the playoff bound Giants will approach this one. As dangerous as the Redskins could be in the playoffs, it is hard to see the Giants letting them coast. Was 30 NYG 24

Raiders at Broncos (-1.5) – The reigning champs have really struggled down the stretch and will not be going back to the playoffs. However, keeping a fierce rival like Oakland from the division title and the chance to finish with a winning record is plenty of incentive. Denver will take one last good look at both of its young quarterbacks. The Raiders fairytale season took a sad turn last week with the injury to MVP candidate Derek Carr. The Broncos defense is not an ideal one for backup Matt McGloin to face as he tries to rally the troops for a playoff run. Den 24 Oak 19

Seahawks (-9.5) at 49ers- The state of the Seahawks is worrisome. Getting pushed around for the majority of the game by Arizona just should not happen to this team. Thankfully for them, a first round bye could still happen and the 49ers are not much of a threat. Sea 30 SF 13

Packers (-3) at *Lions– The importance of this game may shift a bit depending on earlier results. Regardless, the winner of this Sunday Night showdown will take the division title and the loser may be headed home to watch the playoffs. Both offenses are rolling behind two very hot quarterbacks. There will not be many defensive stops on either side. It is more of a gut feeling than anything else, but Detroit’s defense uses the home crowd to get one more stop in the closing moments. Det 38 GB 34

Photo courtesy of zambio.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

 

 

 

Road to the Halo World Championship 2017

On December 11th, 2016, Team EnvyUs dethroned the reigning kings of the Halo Championship Series (HCS), OpTic Gaming, in a thrilling double best-of-seven series. This was the first time the OpTic Gaming (formerly Counter Logic Gaming) Halo team lost a series on LAN since X-Games Aspen at the end of January 2016.

The first North American qualifier for the Halo World Championship (HWC) is fast approaching, and many players are putting their nose to the grindstone in order to get their piece of the $1,000,000 prize pool.

Team EnvyUs won the Falls Season of the Halo Championship Series

Team EnvyUs hoist the HCS Fall Season Finals trophy. (PC: ESL)

North America

For North American teams, the grind to make it to HWC 2017 begins on January 20th, 2017 at UGC St. Louis. The top eight teams from the open bracket will move on to the Championship Bracket, where the pro teams, seeded by the HCS Fall Season, wait for their chance to advance. The top three teams from the Champ Bracket will automatically qualify for the HWC. On March 3rd, HWC Vegas by Millennial Esports begins, with the same format as UGC St. Louis, and will send another three teams to the HWC. OpTic Gaming and Team EnvyUs are bound to face each other yet again, and the Greenwall will be looking for revenge.

Following both of the open LANs, the online qualifiers throughout the months will lead to a last chance online qualifier on March 11th, sending the final North American team to the HWC.

Europe:

Two European teams will also have their shot at $1,000,000. HWC London by Gfinity is an open-bracket event that will send the top two teams to HWC on February 17th-19th. Following this, the Europeans will have their own last chance qualifier to send the third and final European team to the HWC on February 26th.

At last year’s HWC, Epsilon eSports was the first European team to break into the top eight in Halo history. FAB eSports looks to best this record, and are poised to do so after winning both the EU Summer and Fall Season Finals. How far they are capable of going is in question after a disappointing 7th / 8th place finish at HCS Las Vegas however.

The Grand Finals of the EU Fall Finals saw FAB dismantling Team Infused with a 4-0 win. (PC: ESL)

The Grand Finals of the EU Fall Finals saw FAB dismantling Team Infused with a 4-0 win. (PC: ESL)

Latin / South America and Australia / New Zealand:

Gfinity will be sending only one team from the South / Latin America area to the HWC. The team to hold this coveted spot will be determined at HWC Mexico City on February 24th-26th.

ESL Australia will also be hosting an online qualifier on February 26th to send the 12th and final team to the HWC.

The race to the $1,000,000 game starts in January. The OpTic vs. EnvyUs rivalry will continue, as both battle for the glory of being the best Halo team in the world. However, many other teams are also looking to take home the title of Halo World Champion.

I hope everyone enjoyed the read! To find more top-notch articles about sports and eSports, like and follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter! Check out the Team Beyond forums to participate in the discussion of Halo eSports. Get in touch with me personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following me on Twitter @Frostbite_XV2!

2016 Peach Bowl Preview

The first of the National Semi-Finals, the Peach Bowl pits an undefeated Alabama team against a one loss Washington team.

Washington Huskies’ Offense

Peach Bowl

Jake Browning (Photo courtesy: ncaa.com)

The Huskies won every game on their schedule, besides a match-up against USC, who was very hot at the time. They beat five bowl eligible teams, which included very good wins over Colorado, Washington State and Utah. Washington is coming into this game on a three game win streak.

Jake Browning should have gotten more national attention this year. He threw for 3,280 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He is very efficient with the ball and hits his receivers with great accuracy. His arm isn’t the strongest, so he won’t be able to challenge Alabama’s secondary downfield.

Wide receiver John Ross is one of the fastest players in college football and has gashed defenses for 1,122 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Alabama will need to have safety help on Ross’ side of the field. Dante Pettis has also had a successful season with 796 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.

Myles Gaskin is another player who has been overlooked by the national media. He has rushed for 1,339 yards and 10 touchdowns. When he needs a breather, Lavon Coleman heads in. He is averaging 7.8 yards per carry and seven touchdowns as a nice change of pace for the Huskies.

Washington Huskies’ Defense

Peach Bowl

Sidney Jones (Photo courtesy: withthefirstpick.com)

Washington has a great run defense, allowing 124 yards per game. The pass defense is equally good, giving up 193 yards per contest.

The strength of the Husky defense is the secondary. They have multiple draft prospects including Sidney Jones and Budda Baker. For Washington to win they need to provide run support and force turnovers.

Alabama Crimson Tide Offense

Peach Bowl

Jalen Hurts (Photo courtesy: usatoday.com)

The Crimson Tide beat everyone on their schedule to get to the College Football Playoff. One of the most impressive things about this team is that they beat 10 bowl teams this season. They have a win over USC, the team that beat Washington. Alabama is the most battle-tested team in the country.

Jalen Hurts was able to win the starting quarterback job as a true freshman. He has had a superb year with 2,592 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Hurts does damage with his arm, but is sucks the life out of a defense with his legs. He has 841 yards rushing and 12 rushing touchdowns. He has to be contained by Washington.

ArDarius Stewart, Calvin Ridley and O.J. Howard are all good targets for Hurts. All of these players will need to have a big game against a great Washington secondary. Stewart leads the team in yardage (852), touchdowns (eight) and yards per catch (16.4). Ridley is a play-maker with 727 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Howard doesn’t have a lot of production and is under-utilized, but he had a great National Championship Game last season.

Running back Damien Harris is the leading rusher for Alabama. He has 986 rushing yards on a whopping 7.5 yards per carry. Harris and Hurts pick up a lot of the yardage, but Bo Scarborough pounds the ball into the end zone when the Crimson Tide gets close. He has seven rushing touchdowns on the season.

Alabama Crimson Tide Defense

Peach Bowl

Jonathan Allen (Photo courtesy: pigskinproject.com)

Alabama has the best run defense in the country and has given up 824 yards in 13 games. That alone makes them a great defense, but the pass defense is also elite with 186 yards allowed. If defenses win championships, Alabama has to be the overwhelming favorite.

Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams both have 8.5 sacks on the season and create havoc for opposing quarterbacks. Reuben Foster is one of the best linebackers in the country behind them and is a great run stopper with 94 total tackles and 12 tackles for loss. The secondary will be without Eddie Jackson, so the rest of the players will have to be fundamentally sound.

Prediction

Alabama’s defense is going to swarm to the football and play good defense. Harris and Hurts will run the football well. Washington will keep things close and will use a lot of trick plays, but will fall just short.

 

Alabama Crimson Tide 37 Washington Huskies 29

 

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NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl

There aren’t many draft prospects in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl, but some players may be able to improve their draft stock. Kentucky and Georgia Tech are programs that don’t produce a lot of NFL players, but do have some players in the league. This is the bowl game that features two of the best centers in the country. Centers don’t get drafted highly, but these guys can have successful NFL careers. Here are the prospects to watch out for:

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Freddie Burden, C

Projected Draft Range: Seventh round-undrafted free agent.

TaxSlayer Bowl

Freddie Burden (Photo courtesy: myajc.com)

Burden is a good run blocker for Georgia Tech’s triple option attack. He has the mobility to get down field to block defenders on option plays. Because the offense is mostly a rushing game, Burden doesn’t have the experience pass blocking that he needs for the NFL. At six foot three inches tall and 291 pounds he doesn’t have great size, but makes up for that with his mobility. Burden will have to fight to make an NFL team, which will be an uphill battle because of his size.

Kentucky Wildcats

Jon Toth, C

Projected Draft Range: Fourth round-sixth round

Toth is the main reason that Kentucky’s rushing attack took off this season. He is good at getting to the second level of the defense and blocking linebackers. His football IQ is great as he calls out blitzes and sets up the rest of the offensive line. Toth’s pass blocking is good, but could be improved. He has good mobility to get to blocks that a lot of centers wouldn’t be able to get to. Toth has great size for a center at six feet five inches tall and 310 pounds. Toth can be a guy who will compete for a starting job or provide good depth for a team.

 

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NFL Draft Prospects in the 2016 Citrus Bowl

For a non-New Year’s Six Bowl Game, this match-up in the 2016 Citrus Bowl is loaded with talent. Bobby Petrino has stocked Louisville with great players, while LSU seemingly always has NFL Draft prospects. There are too many players to go over, but here are the best ones to watch:

LSU Tigers

Jamal Adams, S

Projected Draft Range: First Round

Adams is a complete safety at the college level. He comes up to play the run well and even hits hard when he provides the support. Adams has shown the ability to cover elite college tight ends, which is something he will be asked to do at the next level. Against Ole Miss he had a few really good plays against Evan Engram, an NFL prospect at tight end. He has athleticism and a lot of range. A three year starter for the Tigers, Adams is a great safety prospect.

Tre’Davious White, CB

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Citrus Bowl

Tre’Davious White (Photo courtesy: theadvocate.com)

Leader is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Tre’Davious White. He is the only player to be awarded the number 18 twice for LSU. That number is voted on by former number 18s and shows how much of a leader he is to the Tigers. White is a shut-down corner who has the ability to stick with good NFL receivers. His ball skills are great. He has added value in the return game, where he has one touchdown for the past three years. He can cover the slot or outside receivers at the next level.

Ethan Pocic, OC/OG

Projected Draft Range: First round-third round

Pocic has the capability to play all of the interior line positions, which makes him more valuable to NFL teams. He has great size at six feet six inches tall and 309 pounds. Pocic is a great run blocker, but will need to improve his pass blocking for the NFL. He has a great football IQ and sets up protections well. Interior linemen don’t get drafted very highly, but Pocic will be one of the first ones off of the board.

Kendell Beckwith, LB

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

Beckwith has been a great tackler for the Tigers for three years now. He can play inside linebacker in just about any defensive scheme. His ability to blitz and get after the quarterback is good, but needs improvement. Beckwith isn’t the great cover linebacker, but he makes up for that with his ability to stop the run. Beckwith will be able to compete for a starting job in his first year.

Louisville Cardinals

Devonte Fields, DE/OLB

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

Citrus Bowl

Devonte Fields (Photo courtesy: cbssports.com)

Fields has good size at six feet four inches tall, but needs to add weight at 242  pounds. He has the necessary athleticism to be a great edge rusher. At the very least he can be a situational pass rusher. Fields has 25.5 career sacks. If he wants to stay on the field for more than just passing situations, he needs to improve his ability to stop the run. Fields does present some character issues, as he was kicked off of TCU’s team.

 

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2016 TaxSlayer Bowl

The triple option attack of Georgia Tech will take on SEC opponent Kentucky in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

The Yellow Jackets had a tremendous bounce back season going 8-4. Their losses were all to bowl eligible ACC teams. They had solid wins over Boston College, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and rival Georgia.

TaxSlayer Bowl

Justin Thomas (Photo courtesy: yellowjackedup.com)

Quarterback Justin Thomas has been manning the option attack for what seems like forever now. He does have 1,454 passing yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Thomas also rushed for 562 yards and five rushing touchdowns. He is the best operator of the triple option in college football.

Clinton Lynch is likely the target when Thomas throws the ball. He has 490 receiving yards at 30.6 yards per catch, making him great at big plays. Lynch also has six of Thomas’ eight touchdown passes.

Marcus Marshall and and Dedrick Mills are the ones who get the most carries out of the triple option attack. Marshall has 624 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Mills finished the regular season with 602 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

Georgia Tech has an average rush defense that allows 174 yards per game on the ground. The pass defense is also average, giving up 234 yards per game.

The strength of the defense is the interior of the defensive line, with both Francis Kallon and Patrick Gamble having good years.

Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats’ season looked like it was going to be bleak, but Mark Stoops did a tremendous coaching job to get the team to 7-5. They didn’t have any bad losses, as their only defeats came at the hands of bowl teams. They have good wins over South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and rival Louisville.

TaxSlayer Bowl

Stanley “Boom” Williams

Stephen Johnson took over the quarterback position for an injured Drew Barker. He wasn’t the most efficient, but the team started to play up to its potential when he took over. He threw for 1,862 yards and 12 touchdowns with six interceptions. Johnson added 278 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Jeff Badet and Garrett “Juice” Johnson have been the best receivers for Kentucky. Badet leads in yardage with 639 yards, while Johnson leads in touchdowns with five. Both have a knack for making big plays, but Badet is a little better at 22 yards per reception.

Running the ball is what Kentucky does best. Behind a good offensive line, the Wildcats have two running backs who have reached 1,000 yards. Stanley “Boom” Williams has 1,135 rushing yards and seven touchdowns as the home run-hitting back. Benny Snell is the power back who has rushed for 1,057 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The defense for Kentucky was called one of the worst in the history of college football by ESPN’s Lee Corso. The Wildcats rebounded nicely and has an above average pass defense at 215 yards allowed per game. The run defense is bad at 225 yards given up per game, but they are by no means the worst defense in history.

Linebacker Jordan Jones has really improved this year and has 70 solo tackles.

Prediction

Kentucky’s offensive line will win the game. They are going to control the line of scrimmage, the ball and the clock, which is rare versus a triple option team.

 

Kentucky Wildcats 35 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 31

 

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2016 Citrus Bowl Preview

Louisville and LSU play in the 2016 Citrus Bowl in match-up that pits a good quarterback versus a good defense.

LSU Tigers

The Tigers awarded Ed Orgeron the head coaching position after finishing the season 5-2, bringing the LSU total record to 7-4. Their four losses were all to bowl eligible. They have four wins over bowl eligible teams, including: Texas A&M, Arkansas, Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State.

Citrus Bowl

Tre’Davious White (Photo courtesy: the advertiser)

Danny Etling took over the quarterback job midway through the season. He played decently with 1,906 passing yards, nine interceptions and four interceptions. He was a vast improvement over Brandon Harris, but is still not an ideal quarterback for the Tigers.

Wide receiver Malachi Dupre has been the most productive target. He has 454 receiving yards and three touchdowns. D.J. Chark and Travin Dural also can create separation and be viable receivers to Etling.

Leonard Fournette has decided to sit out this game due to chronic ankle injuries that have plagued him all year. Derrius Guice has been a star himself filling in for Fournette, with 1,249 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. He runs as hard as any running back in the country.

The rush defense of the Tigers is great, giving up 122 yards per game. Their secondary is one of the best in the country and shows it by only 201 yards per game.

Arden Key has been the best pass rusher with 10 sacks on the season. Kendell Beckwith is a great tackler behind him with 91 total tackles. The secondary features a lot of draft prospects including Tre’Davious White and Jamal Adams.

Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals won nine of their first 10 games before losing their last two to finish at 9-3. Despite their good record Louisville only beat four bowl eligible teams: Florida State, NC State, Boston College and Wake Forest. They only lost games to bowl eligible teams.

Citrus Bowl

Lamar Jackson (Photo courtesy: Twitter)

The Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson, has elevated the level of his team’s play. He threw for 3,390, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Jackson is also the team leader in rushing with 1,538 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. He will go up against one of the best defenses he has ever faced in LSU. The key is protecting the football, as in his last game against Kentucky he turned the ball over four times.

Jackson has a lot of receivers to throw to. James Quick has 688 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Tight end Cole Hikutini leads the team with eight receiving touchdowns and has added 656 yards. Jaylen Smith is their big play guy with 22.2 yards per reception.

Running back Brandon Radcliff has rushed for 877 yards and six touchdowns on 6.6 yards per carry to supplement Jackson.

Louisville has an elite rush defense that allows just 110 yards per game. Their pass defense is solid giving up 206 yards per game.

Linebacker James Hearns has been a great blitzer with eight sacks on the season. Jaire Alexander has five interceptions on the season. Louisville has a load of other players who are play-makers on defense too.

Prediction

LSU will force Jackson to turn the ball over and will pound the rock with Guice to win this game.

 

LSU Tigers 28 Louisville Cardinals 24

 

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