2017 NFL Draft Profile: Terrish Webb

Terrish Webb is one of the most experienced players that look to hear their name called in this year’s NFL Draft. The free safety from Pitt played in 45 games in his college career, including all 13 games the Panthers played in his freshman season.

Four years ago, many expected Webb to have success in college on the other side of the ball. Webb played both wide receiver and defensive back in high school, and was listed as a three-star wide receiver in the class of 2013 in 247 Sports’ recruiting database.

One of Webb’s coaches at Pitt suggested the switch to safety, and it’s paid off for Webb.

“It was kind of a switch up, being an offensive type of guy,” Webb said. “Once I got down to the basics I just ran with it.”

Terrish Webb

Photo: CardiacHill.com

While talking about Webb in high school, it’s impossible not to mention his team’s unprecedented success.

Webb was instrumental in helping Clairton High School win 63 straight games, and Webb’s season never ended with a loss. That’s right, Clairton High School won a state championship in all four of Webb’s seasons.

Webb also played in a state championship game with his basketball team in his senior year.

As an all-state athlete, it seems as though his high school career foreshadowed what was to come. All that winning didn’t end when Webb arrived on Pitt’s campus.

Webb and the Panthers handed national champion Clemson its only loss of the season. Pitt upset Clemson, 43-42, and Webb had nine tackles.

As Webb makes his next step, hoping to land on an NFL roster, he knows there’s still work to be done as he prepares for his Pro Day.

“Becoming a little stronger because I’m moving to the next level, so guys are bigger, faster, stronger,” Webb said. “Working on my technique and trying to take less steps as I’m breaking.”

Webb’s strongest suit is his ability to help a team in multiple ways. Webb was asked to do a lot at Pitt, and he answered the bell with vigor.

If an NFL scout walked through Webb’s door tomorrow, Webb is confident that he’d be able to sell himself.

“I would tell him that you’re getting a very smart football player,” Webb said. “I would be able to play special teams and I’m versatile as a defensive back. I can play pretty much anywhere as a defensive back.”

Webb may not be the Malik Hooker of the 2017 NFL Draft class, but he brings a winning charisma and the talent and smarts to contribute in many different facets.

Terrish Webb Scouting Report

Terrish Webb (Photo courtesy: twitter.com)

Webb’s size is adequate (5-foot-11-inches, 195 pounds) for the NFL level and shouldn’t hold him back whatsoever. NFL teams will love the fact that he was in on a lot of snaps for Pitt.

Webb diagnoses plays and route concepts very well. He also trusts his eyes. When he sees something he recognizes, he goes to make a play. Webb has good discipline and isn’t fooled by trick plays or play action passes.

The best trait for Webb is that he doesn’t give up any big plays on deep throws down the middle of his field or on running plays. He won’t let receivers behind him down the middle of the field. On running plays, he gets in good position and makes the play.

He isn’t the hardest hitter, but Webb is a sure tackler who can also break up passing plays by hitting the receivers as soon as they touch the football.

In order for Webb to be successful in the NFL, he will have to cover well one on one and provide good run support. He will likely need to be able to do well on special teams in order to get playing time at the NFL level.

 

You can listen to Tim Miller interview Terrish Webb in its entirety below.

 

Tim Miller contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report. 

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We Just Witnessed the Greatest Sports Year Ever

Sports are cool, and they’re even cooler when a season ends with fireworks. Thankfully, in the last cycle of season championships, we were able to witness the greatest sports year ever.

From the 2016 college basketball National Championship, to the latest Super Bowl, none of the championships have disappointed. Each of them saw incredible comebacks or last-second scores. As fans, we are blessed to be able to watch all of these games unfold.

That said, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and reminisce in the previous year’s amazing culminations.

*Of the four major sports in the United States, and the two major college sports, only one doesn’t make the list. Sorry, NHL fans, the 2016 Stanley Cup was good, but not great enough to be mentioned on the list.*

Super Bowl LI

It seemed as though the states to the most northeast in the U.S. were rooting for New England, and the rest of the population became Falcons fans for one day.

Maybe it’s because Atlanta was foreign to the big stage. It seemed so weird seeing a team like Atlanta playing in the Super Bowl since we had become accustomed to seeing either Seattle, Green Bay, or New York represent the NFC for more than half of the Super Bowls played since 2006.

Greatest Sports Year

In Super Bowl LI, Tom Brady did what Tom Brady does- win Super Bowls. (Photo: Getty Images)

Maybe Atlanta became America’s team for one day simply because of the hatred spewed towards New England. The Patriots have made seven Super Bowls since 2001, and won five. New England has also been to the AFC Conference Championship game 11 times since 2001. Picking New England to make it to the Super Bowl has become routine for many NFL pundits because that’s just what they do.

Nevertheless, this Super Bowl just felt different. New England was the heavyweight that everyone had seen win before. Atlanta was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and the popular vote was in favor of the newbies.

No one saw Atlanta jumping out to a 21-3 lead at the half and a 28-3 lead as the third quarter waned. At this point, many fans just wanted to see a close game.

We should be careful what we wish for.

The Patriots scored a touchdown late in the third, and continued to mount a comeback in the fourth.

The final quarter was the equivalent to slowly watching a bottle of soda being shaken. The game continued to feel closer and closer, and before long, New England put so much pressure back into the game that the contest exploded to help make the greatest sports year we’ve seen.

In overtime, it was inevitable. Not only did the Patriots have momentum, but they also had history. It felt impossible for New England to lose the game. Coming back from a 25-point deficit and pushing the game into the Super Bowl’s first ever overtime? That’s just not a game New England loses.

Because of the incredible comeback by those darn Patriots, Super Bowl LI capped what was the greatest sports year of all time.

2017 College Football National Championship

In a narrative much the same as the Super Bowl, Alabama took on Clemson to be called college football’s undisputed champion. In this game’s case, there was no insurmountable lead that ended up being toppled. The game was tight the whole way, and was never separated by more than two possessions.

Clemson found itself down by two possessions twice, and each time it seemed like Bama was gonna keep Bama-ing. At one point, ESPN’s Football Power Index gave Alabama over a 90 percent chance to win the game.

But this is the greatest sports year we’ve ever seen, so hopefully you’re sensing a theme.

Clemson came back, led by crisp drives from Deshaun Watson. Watson may not have won the Heisman, but at least he got himself a ring. Watson completed a two-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left in the game to clinch a victory for the Tigers.

2016 World Series

Where do we start in this event? So many storylines developed by the time the series was all finished. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Finals after being down 3-1. Once the Cleveland Indians went up 3-1 on the Cubs, there was no way that would be blown, right?

Maybe Cleveland fans got what they deserved for making fun of the Warriors. #WellActually when a city has to root for the Browns, it deserves no other bad omens. The Indians didn’t catch that vibe.

Greatest Sports Year

Rajai Davis hit the most memorable home run in recent years. (Photo: FX Tribune)

Sure, our very own Matt Hagan knew the Cubs would win it all. However, since no one else did, the 3-1 series lead all but wrapped up the World Series.

The Cubs almost lost it. They had a 6-3 lead with less than two innings left to play. With the lead cut to two, Rajai Davis sent the world into hysteria with the craziest turn of events the World Series had ever seen.

Chicago had it all but won, yet in two seconds Cleveland was right back in it. A ball traveled faster than offseason Rob Gronkowski on the way to the club into the left field seats, while it seemed like it was in slow motion, even as slow as Tom Brady running the 40-yard dash in fashionable yet exotic khaki shorts.

Every baseball kid dreams of coming to bat in the tenth inning of the World Series game seven, and the Cubs had that chance. Chicago scored two, and took an 8-6 lead to end the top half of the inning.

Rajai Davis came back up in the tenth, and even delivered an RBI. The Indians didn’t have enough in them, as they fell short, 8-7. However, it still was one of the greatest World Series of all time.

2016 NBA Finals

The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead, and that remains a joke on social media to this day. When you think of Steph Curry, you think of triples galore, an outspoken wife and the fact that he was the MVP on a team that for the first time ever blew a 3-1 lead.

LeBron James put on the greatest performance of all time in a Finals series in the most historically-charged Finals series of all time. Kyrie Irving hit the most clutch shot of his life to clinch the win for Cleveland- in Golden State.

The 2016 NBA Finals will be a landmark for the NBA’s modern era. With super teams becoming more and more evident, this series will forever be known as the time the NBA’s Goliath was taken out.

2016 College Basketball National Championship

Marcus Paige was supposed to be the hero. He hit one of the greatest three-pointers you will ever see. Double-clutch layups are hard enough, but a double-clutch three is just stupid good.

With Paige’s shot, North Carolina tied Villanova, 74-74, with 4.7 seconds left. At that point, viewers of the game had to pick their jaws up from the floor. The shot was incredible.

But what Kris Jenkins did carried more water. A deep triple as time expired sent Villanova into absolute elation.

The Greatest Sports Year

Who knew that game would turn into the precursor to what was to come? With all the great games that happened in the past year, college basketball’s National Championship was my favorite. Everyone has their own favorite, and the games are probably split pretty evenly across the board.

This was a year that we will tell our children and grandchildren about. It was a year that probably will never be topped. We should all feel fortunate that we were alive to take it all in.

If anyone can make a DVD of all these games in it’s entirety, I will throw my money at you. So someone please do that.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

National Signing Day 2017: ACC and Notre Dame

The ACC had a great year for football, which was capped off by a National Championship for the Clemson Tigers. Now it’s time to move over to see how the ACC Signing Day has gone. This will be throughout Signing Day. Here is how the teams rank:

1. Florida State Seminoles

Signees: 21, 5*: 3, 4*: 13, 3*: 5, Other: 0

The Seminoles have a solid class that should remain in the top ten, if not the top five, in the nation. Their class is headed by their two five-stars who are signed. Cam Akers is considered by some to be the best running back in the whole class and Joshua Kaindoh is also considered the number one defensive end in the class by some. Florida State targeted a lot of skill position players with plenty of running backs and wide receivers in the class, as well as secondary players. They are in the running for one more five-star recruit and many more four-star recruits.

Top Prospects Signed: DE Joshua Kaindoh (5*), RB Cam Akers (5*), DT Marvin Wilson (5*)

2. Clemson Tigers

Signees: 14, 5*: 0, 4*: 11, 3*: 3, Other: 0

Dabo Swinney has a championship and now, likely has a top ten recruiting class. Tee Higgins is the best committed player so far and will remind a lot of Tiger fans of Mike Williams at the wide receiver position. With Higgins, comes a very talented quarterback prospect in Hunter Johnson. The two will look to be the future of Clemson’s offense. Behind them, Clemson made sure to get depth for the trenches, on both the offensive and defensive line. While there are no five-star players considering them, the Tigers do have a lot of four-star prospects who could sign with them.

Top Prospects Signed: QB Hunter Johnson (4*), WR Tee Higgins (4*)

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Signees: 21, 5*: 0, 4*: 11, 3*: 10, Other: 0

Notre Dame needs better players after a lackluster 2016 season. They have done a solid job in recruiting so far and are looking to have a top 15 recruiting class. Brock Wright is a very talented tight end and Robert Hainsey is a great offensive guard. Those two recruits are the two best players the Fighting Irish have signed so far. Although the defense was a major problem last year, Notre Dame has a lot of offensive players signed in this class. There are a lot of standout prospects still considering the Irish, so they have a real chance to move up in the recruiting ranks.

Top Prospects Signed: TE Brock Wright (4*), LB Robert Hainsey (4*)

4. Miami Hurricanes

Signees: 24, 5*: 0, 4*: 13, 3*: 11, Other: 0

Miami has a good recruiting class, in large part due to the number of commitments they already have. Defensive end D.J. Johnson is one of the best in the class and quarterback N’kosi Perry will provide an athletic quarterback as the two best commitments. Behind these players Miami has a very diversified class, as Mark Richt tries to fill the roster with his types of players. Richt has a chance to make this class even better by getting uncommitted players to choose the Hurricanes today.

Top Prospects Signed: WR Jeff Thomas (4*), DE D.J. Johnson (4*)

5. North Carolina Tar Heels

Signees: 20, 5*: 0, 4*: 8, 3*: 11, Other: 0

Larry Fedora should have the recruits to feel good about his team again heading into the 2017 season. Billy Ross and Jonah Melton are two good offensive line prospects, while Jake Lawler is a good defensive line prospect. The Tar Heels have a well-rounded class, with plenty of players who still may choose to go to school their.

Top Prospects Signed: OT Billy Ross (4*), DE Jake Lawler (4*)

6. Virginia Tech Hokies

Signees: 26, 5*: 0, 4*: 5, 3*: 19, Other: 2

Justin Fuente has put together a pretty good crop of players for his first full recruiting class. With 27 commitments, they have a deep class. Nathan Proctor is their top recruit and plays outside linebacker. Devon Hunter is also a talented safety recruit. Even though they have a lot of players committed, they have more considering becoming a Hokie.

Top Prospects Signed: LB Nathan Proctor (4*), S Devon Hunter (4*)

7. Louisville Cardinals

Signees: 20, 5*: 0, 4*: 6, 3*: 13, Other: 1

The Cardinals had an impressive 2016 campaign and need some more talent to help them cap off a season with an ACC Championship. C.J. Avery is a safety who will help out with all of their departures in the secondary. Justin Marshall will be, yet another good target for Lamar Jackson to throw to.

Top Prospects Signed: S C.J. Avery (4*), WR Justin Marshall (4*)

8. Pittsburgh Panthers

Signees: 25, 5*: 0, 4*: 5, 3*: 16, Other: 4

Pittsburgh has a good class for Pat Narduzzi’s second full year of recruiting. The class is led by a great athlete in Paris Ford and a good running back in Todd Sibley. Running back A.J. Davis is confident he can have an instant impact for the Panthers due to being familiar with their blocking schemes. There is a lot of focus on offense in this class, which will be beneficial for Pitt, due to a lot of players moving on to the next level.

Top Prospects Signed: ATH Paris Ford (4*), RB A.J. Davis (4*)

9. Duke Blue Devils

Signees: 23, 5*: 0, 4*: 3, 3*: 19, Other: 1

David Cutcliffe has done wonders with Duke and now has a chance at a top 40 recruiting class to help him in the future. Jake Marwede will be a tight end that may see the field early for the Blue Devils.  Safety Drew Jordan and outside linebacker Damani Neal will also have a chance to play next season as incoming freshmen. With a lot of good offensive players in the class, Duke should have good depth for Cutcliffe on at least one side of the ball.

Top Prospects Signed: TE Jake Marwede (4*), LB Drew Jordan (4*)

10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Signees: 24, 5*: 0, 4*: 4, 3*: 18, Other: 2

Georgia Tech is coming off a bowl win over Kentucky and will be looking to become ACC Title contenders again soon. They focused on mostly defense in this class, but their best player is offensive. Running back Bruce-Jordan Swilling will look to get a lot of touches in the triple option attack.

Top Prospects Signed: CB Jaytlin Askew (4*), RB Bruce Jordan-Swilling (4*)

11. North Carolina State Wolfpack

Signees: 22, 5*: 0, 4*: 1, 3*: 18, Other: 3

The Wolfpack had a good season last year, but is still looking to make their recruiting class better. Dual-Threat quarterback Matt McKay is their only four-star commitment so far, but he should be a good player at the college level. NC State has several other decent offensive prospects in the class as well.

Top Prospects Signed: QB Matt McKay (4*), LB Louis Acceus (3*)

12. Virginia Cavaliers

Signees: 27, 5*: 0, 4*: 3, 3*: 19, Other: 5

Bronco Mendenhall has put together a solid first recruiting class for the Cavaliers so far. Two four-star athletes lead the recruiting class in Shawn Smith and Germane Crowell. There are a lot of positions represented, but if the Cavaliers want to compete in the future, they need to get some more players on the offensive line.

Top Prospects Signed: ATH Germane Crowell (4*), ATH Shawn Smith (4*)

13. Syracuse Orange

Signees: 24, 5*: 0, 4*: 1, 3*: 19, Other: 4

Syracuse may rank at 13 in the ACC, for now, but they have an average class nationally. Quarterback Tommy Devito is their only four-star, but can be a program changer as a signal caller. He competed in the elite 11 quarterback camp last summer. The Orange have a lot of solid offensive players in the class, as things currently stand.

Top Prospects Signed: QB Tommy Devito (4*), WR Sharod Johnson (3*)

14. Boston College Eagles

Commitments: 20, 5*: 0, 4*: 0, 3*: 15, Other: 5

It looks like it will be another year near the bottom of the recruiting ranks for the Eagles. Three-star players C.J. Lewis (QB) and A.J. Dillon (RB) are the best players in the class, but will likely not see the field early on in their careers.

Top Prospects Signed: QB C.J. Lewis (3*), RB A.J. Dillon (3*)

15. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Commitments: 20, 5*: 0, 4*: 0, 3*: 17, Other: 3

Wake Forest had a good season on the field in 2016, but that didn’t translate to the recruiting trail. It will be hard to sustain success in the ACC with no four-star players in the class. Michael Allen Jr. has a chance to be a productive player for the Demon Deacons at defensive end.

Top Prospects Signed: DE Michael Allen Jr. (3*), WR Sage Surratt (3*)

 

Big Ten Signing Day- Here

Big 12 Signing Day- Here

Pac-12 Signing Day- Here

SEC Signing Day- Here

2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Preview

It all comes down to this game. A rematch of last year’s National Championship. The Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Clemson Tigers in the biggest game of the season in Tampa Bay, Florida.

There are so many talented players making this match-up great. Alabama has a lot of defensive NFL prospects, while Clemson has prospects on both sides of the ball.

This game will be a clash of the titans.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama’s team was more thoroughly reviewed before the Peach Bowl.

Jalen Hurts is going to have to complete passes in this game for Alabama to win. In the win over Washington Hurts threw for just 57 yards. Lane Kiffin didn’t have a great game plan and is now off to Florida Atlantic, but Hurts is also to blame. Having Steve Sarkisian calling plays won’t likely help that much, as he is very similar to Kiffin.

National Championship

Reuben Foster (Photo courtesy: Profootballfocus.com)

Alabama has great play-makers as targets for Hurts in Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart and O.J.Howard. That doesn’t matter if he can’t get the ball to them. Hurts is the key to the Alabama offense, because if he can’t complete passes, Clemson’s defense can focus on just stopping the run.

The Crimson Tide rode the hot hand in the Peach Bowl. Damien Harris, along with Hurts, had been the best at running the ball for Alabama. Against the Huskies, big Bo Scarborough rumbled for 180 yards on just 19 carries for two touchdowns. He doesn’t have great vision, but if the holes are there, is tough to bring down at 235 pounds. Between the two of them, either Harris or Scarborough need to produce in this game.

The defense has been dominant for Alabama all season long. They scored ten touchdowns this season and don’t show any signs of stopping. The front seven is great and led by Jonathan Allen. He had a sack, two tackles for loss and one fumble recovery against Washington. Reuben Foster is one of the best inside linebacker prospects in a while. With pass rushing help from Tim Williams, the front seven is stacked with great players.

Eddie Jackson, the safety, will be out for this game, but the secondary has done well without him in the past few games. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Marlon Humphrey will be the ones making plays for Alabama in the secondary. Both have plenty of experience and should feel a sense of pride after allowing Clemson to score 40 points in last years National Championship Game.

Clemson Tigers

Clemson was more thoroughly reviewed before the Fiesta Bowl.

The Tigers have one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Deshaun Watson. He is dynamic with his legs and pretty good with his arm. He will have to use both effectively to beat Alabama. Watson only rushed or 57 yards against Ohio State, but had two rushing touchdowns. With Ohio State playing so poorly, he didn’t need to run much more. He did, however, throw two interceptions. This has been a big theme all season long, as his decision making has been questionable at best. With 17 interceptions thrown on the year, his main priority has to be protecting the football against a good Alabama secondary.

National Championship

Mike Williams (Photo courtesy: si.com)

Mike Williams is the good news for Watson. He is the top NFL Draft prospect at the wide receiver position and creates match-up problems for opposing teams. With other productive players like Hunter Renfrow, Jordan Leggett and Artavis Scott on the team, opponents can’t really double team Williams much either. If Watson makes a bad decision, these guys have to turn into defenders and knock the ball down to keep possession of the football.

There are a lot of good running backs in college football, but Wayne Gallman might be the most underrated of all of them. He did decently in the Fiesta Bowl with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown. Going up against that Crimson Tide front seven will be tough, but if Gallman can keep chipping away early with four and five yard runs, he should be able to bust one loose late in the game.

Clemson’s defense haven’t scored as much as Alabama’s, but they are coming off one of the best performances of the season, holding Ohio State to no points.

The Tigers also had a great defensive line this season, which is led by Carlos Watkins. He has 10.5 sacks with two coming against Ohio State. Watkins is one of the best interior pass rushers in college football.

Ben Boulware leads the linebacking core. The senior had 81 total tackles in the 2015 season and has 110 this season. He only had three total tackles in last year’s National Championship, but will have to do more to help stop the Alabama rushing attack in this game.

In the secondary Jadar Johnson is a safety that covers the whole field and has five interceptions on the season. The corners, specifically Cordrea Tankersley, shut down opposing wide receivers.

Prediction

Both teams have distractions going into this game. A new offensive coordinator for Alabama. A mini-scandal for Clemson’s defense after Christian Wilkins violated Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel during the Fiesta Bowl. Keeping that stuff out of their minds and focusing on the game is imperative.

The quarterbacks will be the key in this game. Can Hurts complete passes? Can Watson make good decisions and protect the football? Both have tall orders, as they go up against great defenses.

Alabama’s rush defense is the best in the country and holds opposing teams to just 62 yards per game. That is 61 yards better than what Clemson’s good run defense holds opponents to. The last time a team held a team to below that number of rushing yards was 2008.

All of Nick Saban’s national title teams with the Crimson Tide have been featured the top rush defense, besides the 2009 season, when they placed second to National Runner-up Texas. In the years since 2009 that they didn’t win it all, Alabama didn’t finish as the top rush defense in the country (once finished second in 2014 in that span).

National Championship

Nick Saban (Photo courtesy: sltrib.com)

That classic Alabama rush defense will save the day and be the difference-maker. Gallman will be shut down by Alabama. Watson will probably have a good rushing performance, but it won’t be enough.

When the run game is shut down by Alabama’s run defense, Watson will throw and be intercepted in a key situation. The Crimson Tide will run the clock out and be champions once again in another close game against Clemson.

 

Alabama Crimson Tide 38 Clemson Tigers 33

 

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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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2016 Heisman Race: Lamar Jackson vs Deshaun Watson

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding player in college football each December. This year, the debate, although not highly-argued, is between two ACC quarterbacks, one of which deserves the award much more than the other. Let’s match up the two leaders for the Heisman race: Lamar Jackson vs. Deshaun Watson.

Lamar Jackson took the country into a frenzy this season, as he scored 25 touchdowns in his first four games. Since then, he’s come back down to earth, but only by a little.

Deshaun Watson was a frontrunner to win the award when the season began, and he’s played well enough to be invited to New York City for the award presentation. Watson has managed better passing numbers than Jackson, but to being a Heisman than just throwing the football.

OVerall numbers

As mentioned above, Deshaun Watson has statistically been the better passer of the two major candidates. Watson has thrown for 3,914 yards and 37 touchdowns. Lamar Jackson, on the other hand, has thrown for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Lamar Jackson Vs. DeShawn Watson

Did Lamar Jackson foreshadow a Heisman win in his game against NC State? (Photo: USA Today Sports)

When diving deeper into the numbers, Jackson gets a slight advantage. He’s completed passes for an average gain of 15.4 yards, which is sixth in the nation. However, Deshaun Watson is barely at 8.0 yards per completion. Jackson also has a better longest pass on the year, as he’s thrown a 79-yard bomb to Jaylen Smith.

Although Jackson’s edge over Watson in the passing category is small, the difference in rushing totals is huge. Jackson has ran for 1,538 yards, which is almost 1,000 more yards than Watson’s total of 549 yards. Jackson also has 15 more rushing scores than Watson, with a grand total of 21. All in all, Jackson has 51 total touchdowns compared to Watson’s 43.

Jackson is also first in the NCAA among quarterbacks in rushing yards per game. He’s put up 128.2 yards per game, which is 10 yards better than the next best passer. The sophomore quarterback is also second in the NCAA in total offense, fourth in total touchdowns, and eighth in total rushing yards.

In comparison, Deshaun Watson’s best ranking in overall stats comes in passing completions, as he is fourth in the nation. He’s also fifth in passing touchdowns and passing yards.

If the Heisman goes to the most outstanding player in college football, Lamar Jackson has shown he is much more deserving than Watson in terms of season stats.

Individual Bests

In terms of total yards, Lamar Jackson’s best game came against Syracuse. Jackson passed for 411 yards, while rushing for 199 yards. Combined, that’s a healthy 610 total yards. Jackson also scored five touchdowns in the 62-28 win.

For Watson, he accounted for the most yards of his career in a game against Pittsburgh. The Tiger threw for 580 yards on 70 passing attempts. Watson threw three scores, but also threw three picks in the one-point loss.

When it comes to touchdowns, Jackson yet again has the edge. In his first game of the year, Jackson scored eight touchdowns, six of which came threw the air.

des

Deshaun Watson has had a spectacular year, but will it be enough to win the Heisman? (Photo: Brett Davis/Fox Sports)

Watson reached paydirt five times in two games this season. His first came against Jackson’s Cardinals. He also threw three picks in the game. The second time he scored five times in a game was against Virginia Tech, as he tossed three scores and scampered into the end zone twice.

ESPN’s QBR stat evaluates quarterbacks on every play of a game, and Jackson blows Watson out of the water in this one. Not only did Jackson have a better season-best of the two at 99.8 (100 is a perfect score), but he’s also been better throughout the year. Jackson had a rating of 90.0 or better five times this season, while Watson only had three of such games. Jackson’s season average of 77.2 is better than Watson’s 74.8.

Individual Worsts

As we dive into worst games each has played, it turns each player was basically as bad as the other.

Jackson was stifled by Houston late in the year, putting up 211 passing yards and 33 rushing yards on 25 attempts. Jackson scored just once, but did not throw an interception.

Deshaun Watson’s worst performance came against Auburn. In the game, Watson managed just 248 passing yards. Watson added 21 rushing yards on 11 attempts. He also threw for one touchdown and one interception.

The Head-to-Head Matchup

It is ridiculous that people use the fact that the two played each other in the same game and that that game should be a part of the Heisman argument. If one played cornerback and the other played wide receiver, then I could appreciate the argument. However, just because the two played each other, doesn’t mean they faced the same competition.

Just for kicks and giggles, let’s compare the numbers. Jackson completed 27 of his 44 passes for 295 yards. He threw one touchdown and one pick. Jackson was stellar on the ground, as he ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

Watson converted 20 of his 31 passing attempts for 306 yards. He passed for five scores, but was also picked off three times. On the ground, Watson rushed for 91 yards and didn’t score.

In total, Jackson was more efficient. He racked up 457 total yards, compared to Watson’s 397. Although Watson had more touchdowns, he also had three interceptions and a fumble. Jackson had the better game, but this argument should not be used.

The Verdict

The better season has been had by Lamar Jackson. He’s had way more rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and total yards. He’s had a few hiccups as the season has gone on, but that doesn’t take away from how great he’s been.

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding player in college football, Lamar Jackson has been the most outstanding player in the nation this season.

2017 College Football Playoff Bracketology 12/4

In the CFP

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0)

This is the easiest decision the committee will have. The Crimson Tide is the only undefeated team from a power five conference and, per 538 sports, might be the greatest college football team of all time. Florida stood no chance in the SEC Championship Game and now Alabama can watch the CFP Selection Show without having to fret. They will be watching for what team comes in fourth for their semi-final match-up.

alabama

Image from campusinsiders.com

  1. Clemson Tigers (12-1)

Virginia Tech played Clemson tough, but the Tigers prevailed and all but guaranteed their spot in the CFP. The question is if they will jump ahead of Ohio State for the number two seed. Beating Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game gives the committee reason to move Clemson to number two. Wins over Louisville, Florida State and Auburn help the case to move up. Ultimately, moving up to the two seed doesn’t really matter as their opponent will likely be the same whether they finish at two or three.

clemson

Image from sbnation.com

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)

With wins over Wisconsin, Michigan, Oklahoma and Nebraska, the Buckeyes may have a better résumé than Alabama. The committee, however, will reward conference championships. There is some doubt for Ohio State because Penn State won the Big Ten Championship Game and beat the Buckeyes head to head. In the end, Ohio State’s case to be in the CFP speaks for itself.

  1. Washington Huskies (12-1)

As much as I would like to put Michigan here, the committee will not. Washington has a terrible out of conference schedule and has few big wins playing in the Pac-12 this year. They did win the Pac-12 Championship though and finished the season with one loss. That is good enough to get them into the CFP. Now, they are rewarded by having to play Alabama.

First Three Out

  1. Michigan Wolverines (10-2)

Michigan is one of the best four teams in the country, but the selection committee won’t put the Wolverines in the CFP. Their wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Colorado are all great wins, and makes their argument to be in the CFP very strong, but Washington will get the nod over the Wolverines. It was a great season, but they can still enjoy a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

  1. Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2)

Penn State did just win the toughest conference in college football, but against James Franklin’s wishes, they will be left out of the CFP. Their entire case to be in the CFP is beating Ohio State and Wisconsin and a Big Ten Championship. They will end up right behind Michigan in the rankings, because Michigan absolutely demolished them when they played head to head. The Nittany Lions will settle for playing in the Rose Bowl.

  1. Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)

Oklahoma should be commended for playing a tough out of conference schedule, but in the end they do not have the wins necessary to being in the CFP. The Big 12 schedule let them down, as their only two quality wins are over West Virginia and Oklahoma State. The Sooners had the grit and toughness to reel off a great nine game win streak and now have earned a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

2017 College Football Playoff Bracketology November 28

Four Playoff Teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0)

This is the obvious choice yet again for the CFP committee. They haven’t lost and won a big rivalry game against No. 13 Auburn on Saturday. Alabama is most likely in the CFP even if they lose in the SEC Championship Game.

This Week: vs. Florida Gators (Atlanta, GA)

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)

(Photo Courtesy: Buckeye Extra- The Columbus Dispatch)

(Photo Courtesy: Buckeye Extra- The Columbus Dispatch)

A lot will be made of the fact that the Buckeyes aren’t conference champions, but they have the best case for the committee to include them in the playoff, as of now, other than Alabama. Ohio State beat the No. 3 team in the country this weekend, the Michigan Wolverines, but also have wins against Wisconsin (No. 6), Oklahoma (No. 8) and Nebraska (No. 16). If Penn State wins the Big Ten Championship, there will be some doubt about Penn State vs. Ohio State, which may happen even if Wisconsin wins the Big Ten Championship, but for now the Buckeyes are the number two team in the rankings.

This Week: N/A

3. Clemson Tigers (11-1)

Clemson moves back up to third after the Michigan loss. If they win the ACC Championship game, they will make the playoff. Their wins over Louisville, Florida State and Auburn are all solid enough that they only need to worry about winning their last game.

This Week: vs. Virginia Tech (Orlando, FL)

4. Washington Huskies (11-1)

Their out of conference schedule is really holding Washington back. Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State are all cake-walks, which will cost them. Washington’s wins aren’t that great either. The only team that they have beaten who will be ranked in the committee’s top 25 will be Stanford. They will come in at four in these rankings, but may be jumped by a Big Ten Champ for the CFP.

This Week: vs. Colorado (Santa Clara, CA)

First Four Out

5. Michigan Wolverines (10-2)

With wins over Penn State and Wisconsin, it would be hard to put Michigan behind those teams in the rankings. The Wolverines are a long shot to make the CFP with the loss to Ohio State, but it is still possible. They need Clemson and Washington to lose and need the committee to value their win over the eventual Big Ten Champion.

This Week: N/A

6. Wisconsin Badgers (10-2)

(Photo courtesy: gambling911.com)

(Photo courtesy: gambling911.com)

The Badgers have only lost to Ohio State and Michigan, and now find themselves in the Big Ten Championship Game against another Eastern Division power. Wisconsin’s victories over LSU and Nebraska are both solid. Winning the Big Ten Championship Game may not get the Badgers into the playoff, but they need to take care of business in case it does get them into the CFP.

This Week: vs. Penn State (Indianapolis, IN)

7. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

Penn State’s win over Ohio State won them the Big Ten East and has them in playoff contention. Their next best win is Iowa, which doesn’t help them that much. They are in the same situation as Wisconsin and need to win and hope what they have done is good enough for the committee.

8. Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)

The Sooners may get jumped by Colorado, but they hold position and have the best win out of the two with their victory over West Virginia. They also scheduled tough out of conference games, and even though they lost, it will look good in the eyes of the committee. Oklahoma has a chance to become Big 12 Champions with a win this weekend. For the Sooners to make the CFP, they will need to have a lot of teams lose who are ahead of them and need the committee to value a conference championship

This Week: vs. Oklahoma (Home game)

Next Two Out

9. Colorado Buffaloes (10-2)

(Photo courtesy: denverpost.com)

(Photo courtesy: denverpost.com)

Colorado has had a surprising season and now finds itself in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Their best win was over Stanford, but they have some solid wins over Utah and Washington State also. The Buffaloes will face their biggest test in the Pac-12 Championship Game against No. 5 Washington. If they win they will likely need Oklahoma and Clemson to lose as well to have a chance at the CFP.

This Week: vs. Washington (Santa Clara, CA)

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2)

Oklahoma State lost to Central Michigan with the referees making mistakes, costing the Cowboys the game. That extra loss on the season is really holding the Cowboys’ CFP chances back. Wins over Pitt and West Virginia are good notches for the committee to look at. They need to beat Oklahoma and get the same type of help and generosity from the committee as the teams ahead of them in the rankings.

This Week: at Oklahoma (Away game)

 

 

College Football Teams as Thanksgiving Food

The top four in College Football are the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Michigan Wolverines, and the Clemson Tigers. Some of the most famous Thanksgiving foods are turkey, macaroni and cheese, dressing, and stuffing. So which team is which food? It’s team to dig in. FYI: There is a difference in dressing and stuffing.

Alabama Crimson Tide- Turkey

Courtesy of Odyssey Online

Courtesy of Odyssey Online

Alabama is obviously the turkey. The Crimson Tide is the main course of the College Football season.

As college football fans, hate it or love it, we are waiting to watch the Tide every season. Every season, turkey is the marquee food everyone is waiting to eat. You might love your dressing, stuffing, or macaroni and cheese, but to make your Thanksgiving good, you need turkey. Alabama has been the “main dish” at the College Football table for about 10 years.

Ohio State Buckeyes- Stuffing

Rick Barnes/ US Presswire

Rick Barnes/ US Presswire

Ohio State is the stuffing, not the dressing.

According to Fitday.com, the difference is that stuffing is stuffed into the turkey and takes in some of the juices from the turkey. For many years, Urban Meyer coached against Nick Saban in the SEC and they had a pretty good rivalry in the 2000’s. In those years, both coaches learned a little something from each other. So when you bite into either the turkey or the stuffing, you will taste some of the same flavors because both Thanksgiving items spent so much time together.

When you watch Ohio State and Alabama, there are some similarities. One of the main similarities is that both teams’ dominance in their respective conferences. Both teams are tops in the nation when it comes to wins and recruiting. They attract people to the table.

Michigan Wolverines- Dressing

Patrick Semansky/ AP

Patrick Semansky/ AP

Michigan is the dressing because they make their own unique taste.

Fitday’s description of dressing is when you place it in a greased pan and bake it. Dressing is by itself and makes its unique taste. Jim Harbaugh is definitely unique and makes his own style. But even though there is a difference on how it is prepared it is very similar to stuffing. Just like how Michigan and Ohio State have some similarities.

Both teams are in the Big Ten for starters. Both teams have coaches prepare their teams differently but the result on the field is almost identical.

Coach Harbaugh brings a certain intensity that makes his team fear losing and only strive for the greatest. Coach Meyer has a sense of calmness about him and that makes his team very confident when they hit the field. Both coaches make their teams feel like they are the best on any field or against any team. If you didn’t see or know how both teams prepared, you would think they were very similar.

Clemson Tigers- Macaroni and Cheese

Courtesy of AL.com

Courtesy of AL.com

The Clemson Tigers are macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and cheese is one of those Thanksgiving food items that needs to be made by the same person every year.

We have all had that aunt or uncle that elects to make the macaroni and cheese but everyone in the family knows your mother’s mac and cheese is better. That is what Clemson is for many people. One year they could be 14-1 and only lose to Alabama in the National Championship. The next year, they could struggle against Troy, North Carolina State, and lose to Pittsburgh.

Many people think Clemson is just too unpredictable and that turns them off. That is the same thing with macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving. You never know how good it is until you bite into. It could “14-1” good or “10-1” decent.

 

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“From Our House to Yours”

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