Went back and watched the Texas-USC game. Very unclean, sloppy game, but exciting as hell. So many false starts, you could tell those OLs are both inexperienced and crowd noise was a factor. I was really excited for my first 'real' exposure of Connor Williams. Devastating knee injury. Hope to see him recover well. I wonder if he decides to declare or come back for another year.
The Texas defense was dominant throughout. I studied Malik Jefferson last week and came away unimpressed. Didn't looked like he had any mental processing and was slow to react on plays. He looked a lot better against USC, particularly in the 2nd half. He had a really nice play where he darted through the gap and snatched Stephen Carr for a TFL. Even after that performance, I'm not sold on him as a first round prospect. Roquan Smith = LB1. Anthony Wheeler also flashed a lot from MLB.
I came away impressed with DL Poona Ford. Really undersized at 5'11'', but he moves really well and has tremendous foot quickness in pursuit. His size sometimes poses as a positive. He plays really low and typically wins the leverage battle. Really strong and can crash the pocket. Likely a day 3 guy if he tests well, but I like him a lot. S DeShon Elliott came away with both INTs on Darnold, one a pick 6 off a batted pass. He made some good plays in coverage and flashed. Not sure if he'll declare, but definitely a name to store away for 2019.
Speaking of Sam Darnold, he was good. Both teams struggled with field position, and that obviously hampered him, along with the Longhorns tough defense. Darnold displayed exactly what he's touted to be. A little bit of a flamethrower, he missed some throws he should've made, but flashed his traits as well. Darnold was good in the pocket, for the most part, and showed his ability to move and create. Really good arm talent as he showed on the game-tying drive at the end of the 4th quarter. That jump pass was phenomenal. His release remains a concern, but I noticed him shorten it up towards the end of the game. Haven't seen this before. Maybe the equivalent to a hitter choking up on his bat?
Darnold still hoovers as my QB1. He's a gunslinger and a playmaker under center, and has the charisma of a franchise QB. Certainly has some things to clean up, but tell me a QB in this class who doesn't? Plus Darnold is only 20-21 years old.
Looking at the rest of the offense, Ronald Jones struggled and answered the big question I had with him: vision. Jones continuously struggled to find holes against a tough run defense and was playing the "outside shuffle" most of the game. He gained a lot of hype after the first few weeks, but he should come back down to earth a bit as Pac-12 play kicks off. I still like him a lot. He has deadly quicks and speed in the open field, but he's mostly a one-trick pony. I don't think he's a premier prospect in this deep RB class. Deontay Burnett was solid and made some big catches during the game. I don't know if I see him as a next level player, but that was my first exposure to him so I'm nowhere near to writing him off. Plus, my eye was more focused on Darnold.
On defense I was honing in on Porter Gustin and Cameron Smith. You have to admire Gustin playing with a broken foot, although he didn't return for the 2nd half. By far his best trait is his first step which he showcased throughout his time on the field. However, he showed no pass rush repertoire and was often stood up on the rush. He did, however, record consecutive sacks late in the 1st half. You have to love his passion and willingness to play through two injuries. He's a draftable player who can bring fight off your bench. Smith was alright. He doesn't look too athletic. Definitely a liability in coverage but a decent run defender. EDGE Uchenna Nwosu was the best player on that defense. A name I added to my Watch List.
Oh yea, and WR Collin Johnson was phenomenal for Texas. Straight freak. If he runs .1 second faster he's getting Megatron comps. Looks like the headline of 2019's WR class.