Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB, Alabama: I didn’t think Reuben Foster would be able to fill Reggie Ragland’s shoes last year. Boy, was I wrong. Dion Hamilton may be the next man up in Tuscaloosa but can he pick the defense right where Foster left it? Probably not, but Shaun sure had a heck of a game Saturday night against FSU. There was some concern that he might struggle to get up to speed after tearing his ACL late last season but he played faster than ever. He has a nose for the football and is a sure tackler.
Maurice Hurst, DL, Michigan: I could have picked a handful of defenders from Michigan after their suffocating performance against Florida. Hurst is a guy that really stood out to me as being a difference maker. Hurst was able to get into the backfield with ease and disrupted the timing and rhythm of McElwain’s offense. Michigan is a very well coached defensive football team and Hurst also seemed to show excellent gap awareness. Maurice often played over the center but I think his best position for the NFL might be as a 3 technique penetrating tackle.
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: After re-watching the game again this morning my initial thoughts were confirmed about Rosen’s performance last night. It certainly was not a flawless effort as there were throws left on the field and decisions that Rosen made that were disappointing particularly early in the game. Even in the eventful comeback some of the throws that went for big plays and scores were almost as lucky as they were accurate. Rosen was able to, however, show off all of his goods. He made a ton of NFL throws, showed off his smooth delivery, displayed excellent poise, and was the leader that everyone wondered if he could be. There was no way that Rosen wasn’t going to drive UCLA down the field and win the game on the final drive. Rest assured, Rosen fans, NFL teams took notice of that. Rosen has often been compared to NY Giant’s QB Eli Manning and for the first time I completely see it.
Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama: Considering Bo broke his leg only 7 short months ago in the National Championship Game it is likey that the expectations were too high. Scarbrough didn’t seem to hit the hole with the burst that we saw late last season and never got a chance to get into the open field. What is more troubling than only getting 40 yards on his 15 carries is that the Tide feature a very deep RB room. If Bo doesn’t get rolling soon he might find himself playing a more limited role as the season progresses.
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: It might not be fair for any one player to slide down as far as Allen will after only one game-but that is what is going to happen. Allen, playing at Wyoming, only has a few opportunities to face off against a quality defense like Iowa this season. Allen has a cannon of an arm but didn’t answer any concerns about his accuracy and consistency. Allen looked overwhelmed at Iowa and will have to rebound quick.
I See You
Simmie Cobbs Jr, WR, Indiana: Simmie sat out last season with a broken ankle. All Cobbbs Jr did on his first game back was torch the Buckeyes for 11 catches, 149 yards, and a touchdown Thursday night. At 6’4 and 220 pounds, #1 is a mismatch for opposing secondaries. Cobbs Jr was not on my radar before Thursday night but he is now.
Who is The Winner of The Main Event? Saturday Film Session Week 1
Minkah Fitzpatrick vs. Derwin James
Minkah played most of the game as the Tide’s slot CB as FSU lined up most of the night with 3 receivers. Fitzpatrick lined up as a true safety only for a handful of plays and lined up as an outside CB even less. Fitzpatrick was rarely thrown at but was victim to a perfect pass from Deondre Francois to the much taller Auden Tate on a fade that went for a touchdown. Fitzpatrick had good coverage on the play but it wasn’t good enough. Minkah’s number was called to blitz from the slot a couple of times and was effective moving Francois off his spot. Fitzpatrick played fast and flew to the football. He showed off his excellent closing speed. He just looks natural out there. Fitzpatrick’s biggest contribution to the game was blocking a FG attempt at the end of the half which you could argue completely turned momentum. Fitzpatrick also had the hit of the night when he threw Francois out of bounds with about 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Let me start by saying it is so good to see James back on the field. He is an absolute monster patrolling the field. Like Fitzpatrick, James can line up all across the secondary. He really looks like a LB and runs like a CB. He was featured throughout the defense including playing nickel LB and acting as a spy in case Alabama QB Jalen Hurts decided to take off and run. James was very effective against the run and very sudden as a pass rusher when used in that role. The most memorable play that Darwin had was coming off of the right tackle on a blitz and batting down a Hurts pass that somehow ended up back in the QB’s hands. Alabama always seemed to know where number 3 was on the field as they did their best to avoid him-even on special teams.
I have both players ranked in my top 10 overall and that certainly has not changed after Saturday night. Both players had similar stat lines on the night and played similar roles. I give Minkah the slight nod for his effort on special teams keeping the Seminoles off the scoreboard on their last drive of the first half. So while James, for me at least, is still the better overall prospect the night belongs to Minkah Fitzpatrick.