Jared's Gems

Keep a stiff upper lip...and a stiffer arm. - Frederick Breedon

From the galleria of prospects, here are a few of this week's college football diamonds in the rough.

Week 1 of the college football season is in the books (save for the one Monday night game), and the fine people over at draftbreakdown.com have wasted no time cutting highlight tapes of some of this weekend’s games. With that site being as on-the-ball as they are, and my obsessive need to be the first person talking about future Seahawk draft prospects, I thought this might be a good time to debut what I think will become a weekly feature, showcasing brand new cutups of either yearly or weekly studs (or both). I’m using the name someone suggested early this year, but I honestly don’t remember who to give the credit to. Whoever you were, thank you.

As I suggested in my draftwatch piece last week, a few of my favorite players to watch for this year are Khalil Mack, Jordan Matthews, George Uko, and Justin Hardy. Uko opened the season for USC with 2 sacks versus Hawaii, and Hardy had a really impressive day for ECU, racking up 16 catches for 191 yards(!) and 2 punt returns for 17.50 average. No videos for either of them yet, but we do have tapes of Mack and Matthews.

Mack had a huge spotlight game, playing against last year’s undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes. We could nitpick his game here and there, but the end result, the reason I like the guy, is his ability to fill a stat sheet: 9 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and an INT which he returned for the TD. Check him out:

Jordan Matthews…what can I say? My man-crush for this guy only grew bigger after I tuned out of last Thursday’s Hawks/Raiders game early, and flipped over to watch Vanderbilt/Ole Miss. Not only was this one of the first games of week 1, it was also one of the BEST games of the week. Just a counter-punching slugfest of explosive play after clutch explosive play.

You’ll notice in the highlight mention of Matthews getting sick ON the field…some have attributed this (incorrectly) to him getting a head injury, but that is incorrect. Matthews began suffering dehydration and cramps somewhere after the first half. He went to the lockerroom for treatment; water, Gatorade, maybe IV…not sure. Then when he got back on the field, he made a catch over the middle with a DB/LB laying an absolutely form/legal hit right to his gut. And the gut didn’t like it. Visibly.

Matthews went off the field for a minimal number of plays, and then came back to make the “catch” half of one of the most perfect, in-stride throw/catches you’ll likely see all year. Dime. Dime. Dime. It would have been a pretty incredible finish there, but Ole Miss had other plans.

Matthews is absolutely gassed at the end of that game. Literally nothing left in the tank. But the performance under those conditions, and his post-game reaction that you don’t see on the tape (Matthews absolutely wrought with emotion, likely crying, on the shoulder of one of his coaches) is so, so telling of this guy’s character and heart. It honestly reminded me of a specific performance from this other guy named Jordan:

Other fresh gametapes that have caught my eye today...

UCF quarterback Blake Bortles- a name that I knew but whose tape I hadn’t watched. Finally seeing the tape, Bortles looks very prototypical QB size (6’4”/227); he doesn’t run well, but there are some zone read plays in here. Note how many drops the WR’s make in this tape (I see you #11!). After seeing that many drops I really thought his completion percentage would look terrible, but he actually went 18/24 (75%) for 314 yards, 3 TD, and 0 INT; a bananas pass rating of 226.15. Only a junior, so this is just one to stash:

Indiana tightend Ted Bolser- a brand new player to me, this one I almost didn’t watch cause it sounded like the name of the guy I bought my life insurance policy from. But Bolser is a 6’6”/252 lb TE with quality overall game. Not too small to be an embarrassment in-line blocking, and not too big to lose the quicks to get open; Bolser ended the game with 6/78 and 2 TD’s. With only 2 TE on the current roster, Seahawks and 12th man really need to keep our eyes on TE’s going forward:

In the future, I will likely push this feature to a weekly Wednesday slot, allowing more time for actual Seahawk game analysis Monday/Tuesday, as well as giving draftbreakdown.com more time to crank out the videos, but for this week—sans football, Monday seemed a very nice, slow day to fit it in.

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