Winner of the Main Event: Jalen Hurd
It will be QB Josh Dobb’s performance that will be remembered most as Vols fans celebrate a huge win-an overdue win-against rival Florida. Jalen Hurd also chipped in a very strong performance as he definitely took advantage of Dobb’s ability to stretch Florida’s defense and keep the pivotal 8th man out of the box.
Hurd just finished short of 100 yards on the ground on 26 carries. He definitely wore the bell cow for Tennessee. Like a lot of power backs Jalen seemed to get stronger as the game went on. Hurd corralled 2 catches from Dobb including a 23 yard play that scored Tennessee’s first touchdown.
While Jarrad Davis put some good film on tape Saturday in Knoxville it was a mixed performance at best for Davis. The book on Davis is that he is very smart, instinctive, athletic, and physical. Davis was very often around the ball, played through the whistle, and showed a lot of grit throughout the game.
It is disappointing, however, with how often Davis is around the ball that he finished the game with just 7 tackles and 0 sacks. There were times where he got caught running past the ball carrier, looked too cautious by setting the edge when it didn’t seem to be his responsibility instead of attacking the ball carrier, being dragged for an extra yard, or just not wrapping up all together. Most of the great ILBs or WLBs almost look like a vacuum on the field as the ball carrier just seems to get sucked right into their tackling arms-it doesn’t always feel that way with Davis.
With all that said Davis had a solid performance against the run.It is only considering his potential and his standard that he didn’t hit the mark. Where Davis did fall short was in the passing game. He wasn’t asked to cover or to blitz often against the Vols. His role was most often to stand over the C and keep an eye on crossing receivers and to spy on Dobbs. He was sent on the pass rush a handful of times and even got pressure on Dobbs occasionally. On one of the occasions that Davis was asked to cover he looked completely lost as TE Ethan Wolf beat him in the endzone for a momentum changing Vol touchdown.
Davis will likely be drafted well ahead of Hurd as his upside is off the charts. This week, however, Hurd did more to improve his draft stock than Davis. More importantly for Tennessee, they are now the favorites to win the SEC East.
While you are enjoying college football this weekend join NFL scouts by putting your grade on these marquee individual match-ups with draft implications. We will revisit the “Main Event” early next week to see who came out on top of their battle.
#1 Jalen Hurd, Tennessee, RB
#40 Jarrad Davis, Florida, LB
# 92 Lewis Neal, LSU, Edge Rusher
# 55 Carl Lawson, Auburn, Edge Rusher