It’s year 8 in the Brian Kelly era at Notre Dame. There is a quality of depth that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hasn’t had in a long time at every position on the offensive side of the ball as well as defensively. This incarnation of Notre Dame football is expected to be in the thick of the BCS and nothing less. The team continues to get bigger and stronger but for the team to realize its ultimate success lies at the QB position. That man leading the charge again is none other than Brandon Wimbush. He has great athleticism and a rocket arm but his accuracy and whether it has improved enough along with his decision making will more than likely determine where Notre Dame lands when its all said and done.
# 71 Alex Bars (rSr.) RG 6-6.1/8 315. Has appeared in 31 games with 27 starts (13 at RG, 12 at RT and 2 at LG). One of four players named as team captain for the 2018 season. Comes from a football family. Father Joe played at Notre Dame from 1981-1984. Brothers Brad and Blake played for Penn State and Michigan respectively. Has been a durable player. Played 832 snaps in 2017 and 1,648 the last two seasons. Has excellent size with good arm length. Versatile. Has experience at LG, RG and RT. Can bury a defender when he plays with good technique and gets good hand placement and drive. Quick when he runs a tight pull. Suffered a broken ankle against USC on October 17, 2015 and missed the remainder of the season. Isn’t a nimble athlete. Doesn’t have the foot speed or quickness to play on the outside at OT. Plays heavy on his feet and doesn’t redirect his weight quickly from on side to the other. Inconsistent technique. Gets upright out of his stance which negates his strength base. Doesn’t always display good hand placement. Doesn’t play with power or strength. Lacks a strong hand punch. Defenders tend to slide out of his clutches. Isn’t a man mover. Defenders don’t seem to move backwards. Gets tunnel vision when he’s blocking. Allows LB’s and blitzers thru because he doesn’t look off of his block. Stops his feet on contact. Does a lot of pushing and lunging to compensate. He’s a big, versatile player who’s played a great deal of quality football. He’s an interior OL only as a next level prospect though. He has major issues with foot speed, quickness and agility so it isn’t in his skill set to man the RT position at all. His lack of flexibility and inability to stay low out of his stance are deterrents as well as an interior lineman. He never has leverage on a DL and at times gets pushed and knocked down because his balance is so bad. He’s more of a fringe backup next level type of player who’s saving grace is his versatility. Will not test well in a Combine or Pro Day setting which will lessen his chances of being drafted. 6th-UDFA.
#93 Jay Hayes (rSr.) DL 6-3.5/8 289. Has appeared in 26 games with 13 starts. Has a very high motor. Very energetic on every snap. Chases plays downfield. Versatile. Size and physical profile lends itself to him being able to play in either a 3-4 at the 5 technique or in a 4-3 as a 3 technique and even at SDE. A really good athlete. Has good flexibility and quickness. Quick and active off of the snap. Really quick hands. Shows good speed in backside pursuit. Does a good job at containing the play on his side. Flashes some pass rush capabilities. Stout. Doesn’t give much ground ever when engaged with an OL. Stays low out of his stance after the snap. Has minimal career production (39 tackles, 4 tfl and 1 sack). Hasn’t played a grand total of 700 defensive snaps in his career. The defense played a total of 951 snaps in 2017 and he played less than half of those with 450. Hasn’t been a three down player in his career. Only 50 of his snaps in 2017 came on 3rd and 4th down. Isn’t consistent with his technique. Tends to play short armed. Allows the OL into his body taking away the advantage he may have had at the snap. Crashes the line a lot without extending his arms and locking out. He’s an obvious physical talent. Not many have the physical traits he possesses with his combination of being a big, strong, fast and quick DL. Despite these gifts his game doesn’t leave much of an impression. He isn’t the terror who pressures the pocket on passing downs that his physical capabilities says he should be. He isn’t the enforcer against the run that his strength says he should be. In a lot of ways his statistics tell his story. His best statical game, against Georgia saw him get his production in backside pursuit only for the most part. He was unblocked and made plays away from him that he had to chase down. It’s rare to see him stack and shed a block and make a play on the ball. He rarely makes a play behind the LOS as well. Single blocks to to occupy him. He needs to show a lot more than flashes and evolve into a more consistent and more complete player. This includes playing more on 3rd downs in passing situations in 2018 than he did in 2017. He’s more than physically capable but he has to show a dominant gene. He gets drafted based off of his athleticism which will translate well in a Combine and Pro Day setting but how high depends on his play. 5th-7th round.
#53 Sam Mustipher (rSr.) C 6-2.1/2 306. Has appeared in 34 games with 25 starts. One of four players named as team captain for the 2018 season. Durable. Has started 25 straight games at C. Played 890 snaps in 2017 and a total of 1,704 in the last two seasons. Very good athlete. Always seems to be well balanced and coordinated in all of his movements. Has quick feet. Latches on at the second level at a really high rate. Doesn’t lunge at LB’s when he gets there. Has good zone blocking vision. Head is always on a swivel. Sees a stunt or a delayed blitzer and can come off of his block and pick them up. Quick in the transition from snap to pulling. Plays with good technique. Wins the leverage battle. Keeps his pad level down. Gets under the DL’s pads. Really strong upper body, lower body and hands. Good hand placement. Once he gets his hands on a defender he tends to control them. Doesn’t overpower or dominate his opponents. Can in fact get handled and overpowered at times (Georgia NT John Atkins for example). Gets pushed back into the pocket when a DL lines up directly in front of him in the 0 technique. Has to consistently stay low to out leverage and use better technique in these instances. He’s an really good athlete as well as a team leader. He already has solid and sound technique in both his run and pass blocking but he could stand for further refinement. Strength gains are a necessity as well to deal with those strong, hard charging NT’s and DT’s that can be overwhelming for an OL. He plays a quiet game which is always great for an OL and if he keeps it up with his upward trajectory he’ll be in the discussion as the top next level C prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. Late 1st-early 3rd round.
#85 Tyler Newsome (rSr.) P 6-2.1/2 214. Has appeared in 37 games. One of four players named as team captain for the 2018 season. Has experience as a KO specialist as well. Very strong leg! Really consistent with zero wasted motion into his punts. Gets good hang time generally. Can at time kick a line drive. Punts are very returnable. Isn’t a directional punter. He has a very strong leg but if he doesn’t hit it right he could leave his team open to a big punt return. Has a high level leg but will find it difficult getting drafted because he doesn’t consistently get great hang time and isn’t a directional specialist. 7th-UDFA.
#23 Drue Tranquill (rSr.) OLB 6-2 235. Has appeared in 39 games with 29 starts. One of four players named as team captain for the 2018 season. Was a team captain for the 2017 season as well. Played 818 defensive snaps in 2017 and 1,482 total for the last two seasons. Versatile. Has experience at both S and Rover. A solid ST performer. Converting to LB for the 2018 season. Good athlete. Has really good straight line speed. Shows good agility. A heat seeking missile heading downhill. Picks up steam in pursuit of the football. Closes fast. A solid blitzer. A sure tackler. Knows how to take good angles in coverage. Cuts off passing lanes in the flat, in short and intermediate routes. A stout run defender. Keeps OL away from his frame. Doesn’t get pushed backwards. Avoids heavy traffic and the trash at his feet very well when pursuing the ball carrier. Suffered a torn left ACL against Louisville on November 22, 2014 and missed the remainder of the season as well as spring practice in 2015. Suffered a torn right ACL against Georgia Tech on September 19, 2015 and missed the remainder of the season. Minimal experience at the position he will play in 2018. Has moved around from S to Rover. Hasn’t consistently played at or as close to the LOS as he’ll have to now. Played in a no mans land of sorts out in space. Has short arms. Hasn’t shown that he can stack and shed OL or disengage on a consistent basis. Showed in 2017 that he had regained his preinjury speed and athleticism. Looked like a different player in 2017 than he did in 2016. Looked downright explosive at times. He’s smart, tough and really physically strong so work in the trenches won’t be a major issue for him. His injuries appear to be completely behind him but it will be very important what next level doctors have to say at his medical check at the Combine in 2019. If his knees check out and he test as well as he should he could ascend to be a second day pick. A lot of upside here despite his inexperience at LB. 4th-6th round.
#82 Nic Weishar (rSr.) TE 6-4.3/4 246. Has appeared in 37 games with 4 starts. Versatile. Has lined up inline, detached and in an H-Back type position. Very good hands. A natural hands pass catcher. Has minimal career production (15 catches, 118 yards and 2 TD’s). Isn’t a great athlete. Straight line foot speed appears to be in the 4.70-4.80 40 range. Doesn’t have good short area agility. Isn’t quick out of his stance and into his route. On the slower side when it comes to catching and transitioning upfield. Rounds off his routes. Has thin long legs and in particular in the calf area. Has no power base for blocking. Ineffective against DL, LB’s and DB’s. Lead teams TE’s in snaps in 2016 but aside from that he’s been a backup on a team loaded at the position. Barring injury he’ll be the teams second or third TE on the depth chart. There will be snaps for him in the 200+ range again but not enough to showcase him as a viable next level prospect. His lack of overall athleticism won’t get him many looks after the season at a Senior Bowl type setting or at the Combine. His only hope is to catch an eye at Notre Dame’s Pro Day with his hands and possibly with a good 40 time. He should find himself being a priority UDFA. 7th-UDFA.
#7 Nick Watkins (rSr.) CB 6-1 205. Has appeared in 35 games with 10 starts. Comes from an athletic football family. Father Bobby Watkins was a former NFL CB for the Detroit Lions (1982-1988). Older brother Bobby played DB at Air Force. Very good athlete. Fluid and agile. Smooth in all of his movements. Really light on his feet. Springs out of his backpedal and into his transition forward toward the ball. Versatile. Has experience at both the field and boundary CB positions. Shows solid man coverage skills. Good blitzer. Times up his blitzes well. Offenses tend to notice him coming downhill and will have to adjust on the fly. Missed the 2016 season after suffering a broken arm (left humerus) during spring practice that required surgery. Lacks functional football strength. Isn’t a physical player. Easily blocked on running plays. Doesn’t shed blocks in time to make a play on the ball carrier. Goes low to take out an OL approaching him as opposed to evading or taking them on. Isn’t a strong or forceful tackler. More of a drag down tackler. Doesn’t always show good discipline as a pass defender. Bites too hard at times on double moves intended to freeze him. Overreacts to the WR’s movements. Those zone coverage 10 yard cushions and immediate backpedal do the CB’s no favors but he has to show that he can come out of his backpedal, close that wide gap and make a short open field tackle. Shows some stiffness there when breaking down and changing direction. He has great size for the position but he doesn’t play big or strong. His one real strength appears to be his size and how it relates to him playing in man coverage. He can match WR’s speed and stay with them stride for stride. He doesn’t get challenged much in man so there is a next level fit for him. The rest of his game is lacking due especially to his lack of physicality. He will have a difficult time getting drafted if he doesn’t play with more strength and force. Looks the part but lacks the necessary components of a solid all around CB. 7th-UDFA.
#22 Asmar Bilal (rJr.) LB 6-2 225. Has appeared in 25 games with 0 starts. Versatile. Has experience at WLB as well as Rover. Good athlete. Has really good straight line speed. Has a good strength base. Gets good push on his blocker when he uses proper technique. Doesn’t have a lot of snaps in his career with only 388. Has minimal production with 47 tackles and 1 sack. Isn’t an instinctive player. Always a tick slow to react to what he’s seeing. Doesn’t have a feel for zone coverage. Lacks lateral agility. Has some hip stiffness. Doesn’t change direction quickly. Undersized for a LB. Seems to negate his own strength when contending with oncoming blockers. Doesn’t stack and shed well. Doesn’t use his hands or arm extension to keep blockers away from his frame. Rarely comes off of a block in time to make a play. Stays blocked at times by WR’s in the slot. Takes bad angles to the ball on the perimeter and outside the hash marks. He’s s good athlete who seems to be hindered by his lack of instincts. Has delayed movement because it seems as if he isn’t really sure of what he’s seeing. His lack of agility is also a drawback for the position he plays which requires him to play in coverage. Has to get bigger and stronger. Needs to add muscle mass. He has to improve his technique in the trenches as well because he has to be able to keep OL off of his frame in order to be effective. He’s actually miscast at the Rover position and his on true shot at the next level would be to make a move back to LB where he isn’t so exposed in space. He does have next level upside but he’s far away from realistically being that. He may face competition during fall practice that may relegate him to backup once again. No reason to declare because his position may very well still be undecided. Doesn’t declare.
#4 Te’Von Coney (Sr.) MLB 6-1.1/8 240. Has appeared in 37 games with 16 starts. Very active. A natural born run defender. Gets to almost everything in the tackle box. Stout. Doesn’t get pushed back by OL very often. Can stack and shed quickly. Violently sheds blockers at times where they go flying as he pursues the ball carrier. Has the strength to make a tackle while still being engaged in a block. Can avoid an oncoming blocker just as well as take them on. Avoids trash at his feet as well as cut blocks really well. Good athlete. Has really good straight line speed. Can chase down ball carriers across the field. Has to be blocked accounted for at all times. A menace in backside pursuit. Closes fast on the ball. A sure tackler. Wraps up ball carriers for the most part. Doesn’t have a lot of experience in pass coverage. Rarely played on 3rd and 4th downs. Only played 64 of the 231 3rd and 4th down defensive plays. Generally will make a misstep as a pass defender. Bites hard on play action passes. Has a delayed reaction to run pass option plays. Isn’t instinctive in coverage. Has a deer in the headlights look at times. Will fall back into a zone and get stuck watching the QB with little movement. Some hip stiffness surfaces when he’s in space and has to change direction. It is an impressive feat to lead your team in tackles by a wide margin while play the seventh most snaps on defense. He gets tackles in bunches and can get some behind the LOS as well. The speed is there, as is the strength but he’s only a two down player at this point. It isn’t about 3rd downs alone, he’s been on the field on 1st and 2nd downs where passes have been thrown and he didn’t have the look of a guy who should be on the field. He appeared to be a liability. He’s behind the eight ball compared to most LB’s at this stage in his development. His value is greatly affected by what the next level has become which is a spread out passing league. The plan is for him to be more involved on obvious passing downs this season but the team has capable LB’s who can handle the nickel LB role. He is an athletic throwback type so the Combine and Pro Day should enhance his value even if he doesn’t improve in coverage. 4th-6th round.
#24 Nick Coleman (Sr.) FS 6-0.1/8 194. Has appeared in 37 games with 14 starts. Really good athlete. Very fluid in all of his movements with zero stiffness. Shows textbook technique in his backpedal and out of it. Plays assignment sound football. Seems to be where he should almost all of the time. Takes good angles to the ball. Has the ability to break down and make an open field tackle. Has some versatility. Has been working at NCB this spring. Has experience at CB as well. Isn’t a very big or physical player. Looks slender and plays to his size. Appears a bit tentative and passive. Missed some tackles because he didn’t commit to getting physical. Once a blocker gets their hands on him he stays blocked. Isn’t a strong or forceful tackler. He’s a naturally gifted athlete but his lack of size, strength and production are glaring. For a player who has played a good deal of football he hasn’t made any impactful plays. He hasn’t made one game changing play and has been more of a bystander than anything. He was a CB but wasn’t suited for the role and nor is he suited for S as a next level prospect. His best chance would come as a slot CB where athletically he could contend with the receivers who run shorter type routes. He more than likely doesn’t get a Combine invite but he should perform well during his Pro Day performance to get some notice. UDFA.
#20 Shaun Crawford (rJr.) CB 5-9.1/8 181. Has appeared in 14 games with 3 starts. Versatile. Has experience at both the field CB and in the slot. Good athlete. Has good speed and quickness. A natural athlete with good flexibility. Show little to no stiffness. A lot stronger than he appears. Can take on blocks without getting pushed back. Fearless as well. He’s never afraid to put his nose in there in run support and as a tackler at the LOS. Very good ball skills. Has excellent timing running stride for stride with the receiver and turning his head just as the pass is about to be received. Really evasive as a run defender. Slips would be blockers with ease when pursuing the ball carrier. Miss the season and took a medical redshirt after suffering a torn right ACL in August of 2015. Suffered a ruptured left Achilles on September 10, 2016 and missed the remainder of the season. Still relatively inexperienced. Has a total of 498 defensive snaps for his career. Very small in stature. Doesn’t have much growth potential. Size limits him to the slot. Upright in his backpedal at times. Comes out of it off balance both laterally and forward. Tends to slip a lot. Doesn’t always show good eye discipline. Will watch the QB and WR in zone coverage but lose track while in motion. Will bite on a double move in the process. Misses too many open field tackles. Lacks top flight agility. Isn’t light on his feet at all times in coverage. Will get beat at the line in man coverage with a simple move because he’s firmly planted. He’s a tough and resilient athlete. He’s bounced back and quickly from two very serious injuries in a way that most don’t recover from so fast. He will have to go thru a medical check at the Combine but with the way he moves it appears he’s suffered no long term affects from either injury. He is a small player though so size and injury history will always be a concern. What he needs though is continued healthy play and a good distance between the injuries and his draft date. There’s still a lot of work to be done as far as technique refinement as well. He has two years of eligibility left and it would be in his best interest to use them. He has really mature ball skills which not many possess so he does have upside to be a playmaker. Doesn’t declare.
#10 Chris Finke (rJr.) WR/PR 5-9.1/2 180. Has appeared in 23 games with 1 start. Former walk on who earn a scholarship on August 22, 2016. Good athlete. Has good straight line speed and exceptional short area quickness. Quick and fast release off of the LOS. A willing blocker. Uses good blocking technique. Extremely slippery and elusive. A sure handed and very smart PR man. Inexperienced on offense with 225 career snaps. Hasn’t had much production with 16 catches, 224 yards and 2 TD’s. Undersized frame which appears maxed out. Slot WR only. Needs more route running refinement. Has to run them sharper. Isn’t a dynamic punt returner with 33 returns for 236 yards and 0 TD’s. At times call for a fair catch too soon where he could have gained a good amount of yardage. Other times he calls for a fair catch far too late. He’s the unsung type who does the little things you don’t see on the stat sheet that help his team. As a PR he sacrifices better numbers by falling on the sword so to speak. He will grab a punt inside his own 15 yard line instead of allowing it to roll closer to the goal line and letting the punt team touch it down closer to the goal line. His elusiveness is impressive as a returner in that he can make so many people miss in such a short area. He hasn’t distinguished himself as a WR because the depth chart has always been crowded and still is if the TE position is added in to the equation. He may have his opportunities but they won’t be enough to showcase him as a clutch 3rd down pass catcher. He’s a valuable piece to the team but his next level capabilities don’t shine thru as of now. Lack of size and lack of overall production won’t get him many looks at this point. Has to perform very well at his Pro Day in order to get late draft considerations. May still have another year of eligibility but that is to be determined after the 2018 season. Doesn’t declare if he has eligibility left but if not he’s an UDFA.
#82 Miles Boykin (rJr.) WR 6-4 228. Has appeared in 24 games with 1 start. Decent athlete. Has good body control. Big bodied WR. Has a very big catch radius. Gets a lot out of his catch radius. Gains a measure of separation with his size and strength. Hard to jam at the LOS because of his size, arm length and strength. Sinks his hips well out of his breaks. Hard player to tackle. Willing blocker. Doesn’t have much career production with only 18 catches, 334 yards and 3 TD’s. Isn’t a top athlete. Doesn’t have top end speed. Appears to run in the 4.6 40 range. Will get caught from behind because he only has one gear. Isn’t a very quick. Doesn’t run sharp or crisp routes. Rounds them off. Doesn’t get much separation with his route running. Most of all of his receptions are contested. Needs to improve his blocking technique. Loses his advantage against smaller defenders at times with poor balance and hand placement. Has gained a great deal of confidence and become the teams number one receiver after his game winning Bowl Game TD against LSU. Has been the most consistent WR since winter conditioning and spring practice but he has a long way to go before he can be considered a legitimate next level prospect. His lack of speed, quickness and any kind of explosiveness is glaring to the point he appears to be moving in slow motion. He has to work on his short area quickness and have it improve a great deal because he realistically at this point could never get himself open against a quality CB. He could potentially be more of an H-Back type who finds areas against zone defenses in the short and intermediate range. Has no reason to declare athletically so he should stay and exhaust his eligibility and continue to get bigger, stronger, faster and a more refined product. Doesn’t declare.
#86 Alize Mack (rJr.) TE 6-4.3/4 247. Has appeared in 23 games with 11 starts. Versatile. Has lined up inline, detached, in the slot, out wide at WR and in the backfield as an H-Back. Very good athlete. Has a blend of size, speed and strength that not many possess. Gets out of his three point stance at the LOS in a flash into his routes. Really good blocker. Used more so as a blocker. Uses sound technique. Squares up to block nicely and uses strength to move defenders off of the ball. Holds up nicely against DE’s and LB’s. Was suspended for the 2016 season after being ruled academically ineligible. Was suspended for the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2018 against LSU for “internal matters”. Suffered a concussion on October 28, 2017 against North Carolina State and missed the following game against Wake Forest. Played one snap against Stanford on November 25, 2017 while nursing a hamstring injury. Doesn’t have much career production with 32 catches, 356 yards and 1 TD. Only had 2 of his 19 catches on the season after week six in 2017. Hasn’t displayed reliable hands. Was targeted 37 times on the season and had 7 drops! Isn’t a nuanced route runner. Doesn’t sell his routes at all. Never seems to set the defender up to fake them out before making his actual move. Doesn’t know how to create separation. Fast but not quick. Isn’t a zero to sixty type after the catch. Doesn’t go from making the catch to explosiveness in an instant. Makes a catch on a short pass and takes a tick to adjust. Will remain upright in his blocking a lot. Doesn’t always sink his hips and drive defenders back with a strong power base. He is a big time physical talent but it hasn’t translated to the field. Aside from his off field disappointments he hasn’t made one big play for the team. He’s made a few good plays but not one signature or definitive play. He’s a solid blocker but with his skill set he should be much more. Was used as a safety valve for the QB a lot in 2017. Ran drags and flat routes and wasn’t used as a downfield threat to exploit his natural physical matchup advantage over LB’s and DB’s. His hands will be a bit of an issue always because he doesn’t have naturally good hands but he can lessen the concern with a lot of hard work. He needs a great deal of coaching too on how to run routes and sell them. He has as much talent for the position as anyone but it will take time for him to fully realize how good he can be as a pass catcher. Has young talented TE’s breathing down his necks for playing time but it would be in his best interest to stay and embrace the challenges as he improves his game for the next two seasons. A 7th-UDFA if he leaves after the 2018 season but he can improve his draft stock immensely if he continues to improve. Doesn’t declare.
#99 Jerry Tillery (Sr.) DT 6-6.3/4 305. Has appeared in 37 games with 28 starts. Plays with a nonstop motor. Never gives up on a play. Chases the ball downfield. Really good athlete. Has rare movement ability for a bigger player. Looks fluid and agile. Shows good quickness and burst at the snap. Very aggressive upon contact at the snap. Has excellent size for an interior defensive lineman. Has long arms and a frame that can support more weight without sacrificing athleticism. Versatile. Has experience at both NT and DT. Athleticism lends itself to him being able to play in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defensive front. Extremely durable. A veteran of many defensive battles. Played 702 defensive snaps in 2017 and 1,329 snaps for the last two seasons combined. Has really strong hands. Gets good push when he uses good technique and gets his hands into an OL chest and locks out and gets those long arms extended. Was suspended for the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State on January 1, 2016 for a violation of team rules. Had two unsportsmanlike incidents against USC on November 26, 2006. The first was when he kicked a defenseless player who was on the ground in the head and the second was when another player was down on the ground and him intentionally stepping on the players ankle and twisting it. He faced internal discipline after the season by undergoing counseling and performing community service. Uncreative as a pass rusher. Doesn’t have any pass rush moves. Plays with an inconsistent pad level. Rises up out of his stance on almost every snap. Exposes his frame to OL. Gives them too much of his body to grab, push and pull on. Negates his base strength and gets pushed back off of the LOS because he loses leverage. Doesn’t dispatch OL quick enough. They always seem to stick to him long enough for him not to make a play on the ball. On the ground too much. The incidents against USC appear to be very uncharacteristic but he’ll still have to answer for them. Isn’t anywhere near the dominant type of player his size and athleticism would indicate he’d be. His height is a bit of a hindrance because he can’t get consistent leverage against OG’s who are always shorter than he is. His technique in staying low will always be an issue but he’s a coachable player so it can improve some. He will get a few sacks because he does hustle but he will never be an interior pass rushing force. He’s a good player who would work well in a solid rotation. Will get drafted higher than he should because of his level of size and athleticism. Not many have his physical gifts so he will get a measure of a boost to his stock after he performs at the Combine and Pro Day. 3rd-4th round.
#2 Dexter Williams (Sr.) RB 5-11 215. Has appeared in 29 games with 0 starts. Temple, BC, MSU, Miami. A really good athlete. An explosive runner between the tackles. Has good agility. A one cut and upfield runner. Runs behind his pads. Always falls forward after contact. Has good vision thru the hole. Has never been a starter. Has only played 209 snaps over the last two seasons. Has minimal production for his career with 99 carries, 641 yards and 8 TD’s. Has never had 10 carries in a game. Doesn’t have much pass catching production with 6 catches, 29 yards and 1 TD. Tends to hesitate and tap dance in short yardage situations. Has no awareness or feel in pass protection. Doesn’t know where the blitz is coming from. Will look to just get out and block anybody instead of staying in to protect the QB’s blind side. Uses really poor blocking technique. He’s a back with good rushing abilities but isn’t really good at the other points of the position. His inability as a blocker and as a pass catcher has rendered him an afterthought on the depth chart for his three year career. As a senior however thru declaration for the draft and suspension/kicked off team he finally has a chance to be a difference maker on offense. His will be able to showcase his ability but not to the tone of being drafted because he’s not a three down or obvious passing down back. UDFA.
#7 Brandon Wimbush (rJr.) QB 6-1.3/4 222. Has appeared in 14 games with 12 starts. A true dual threat QB. Has a solid frame to endure as a dual threat. Excellent athlete! Has all the physical tools. Has a big arm as a passer. He can make all the throws. Has great speed as a runner and is really elusive. Has a really good spin move in the open field. Missed the North Carolina game on October 7, 2017 with a grade one foot sprain. Very inconsistent in everything that he does. Mechanics and throwing motion aren’t consistent. Inaccurate in his short, intermediate and deep passing. Lacks accuracy on short touch passes as well. Falls short accuracy wise even when he has a clean pocket and when he has impeccable mechanics from top to bottom. He just consistently misses no matter how good or bad the conditions are. Relies too much on his natural ability. Will become an arm thrower which lessens his accuracy further by throwing off of his back foot for no reason. Takes far too many hits. Has to develop a slide as to not take as much of a pounding. Doesn’t have great awareness in the pocket. Lacks the feel for pressure. Has escapability but will run backwards 10 yards and towards the sideline too often. Makes some poor passing decisions. He’s a QB with top end athleticism who also happens to have a big arm. He’s well worth developing because the upside is tremendous if he can put it all together. He’s a guy you don’t give up on but he is full of warts. Out of the 12 games he played in he had a completion percentage of 50% or less in 9 of them. He only had one game where his completion percentage was above 60% (Michigan State, 70%). At his core he’s an inaccurate passer who may seemingly make improvements and adjustments during the offseason but these gains need to be shown in live games. He did show a more mature passer during the spring game but he also showed that he still has the Brandon Wimbush of 2017 in there with poor mechanics and bad decision making. He’ll continue to be a work in progress but he has to also continue to improve and be able to keep the offense on the field with his arm and not just his legs. He’s a mixture of some good but more bad. He can do some beautiful things with both his legs and arm but he will off set these positives with maddening inconsistencies. This season is pivotal for his future because if he can’t prove to be more capable he will have some really talented underclass men breathing down his back. He should be able to stave them off with improved play but he needs to exhaust his eligibility in order to be anywhere near what his talent level says he could eventually be. Doesn’t declare.
#19 Justin Yoon (Sr.) PK 5-10 198. Has appeared in 37 games. Has great poise and composure. Unfazed by the big stage or by a missed kick. Very technical in his approach to the art of kicking. Can correct his own flaws very quickly. Really quick and composed in his kicking routine. Accurate kicker. Pinpoint in the 20-29 and 30-39 range. Played thru pain with tendinitis for a portion of the 2016 season. Had a bone bruise in the spring of 2017 that prevented him from kicking until the summer of that same year. Has a strong leg but it isn’t powerful. Doesn’t have the strength to be a solid 50+ yard kicker. Has only attempted 2 kicks from that distance (has made 1 of 2). He isn’t driving kicks thru the back of the end zone. Touchback percentage decreased from 43.64% in 2016 to 28.85% in 2017. Kickoffs usually landed short of the end zone and were returnable. Kicks tend to veer right. Two misses again Temple from 44 and 47 yards went to the right or stayed right with no bend. 50 yarder against Wake Forest was short. Pulled a 44 yarder left that hit the crossbar. He’s a quality kicker who has only gotten more technically sound with time. With strength and conditioning his leg and back seem to have gotten stronger so he should be able to kick it with more force on both field goals and kickoffs. Has the all around skill set to be a next level place kicker for many years. 6th-UDFA.
#83 Chase Claypool (Jr.) WR 6-4.3/8 227. Has appeared in 24 games with 8 starts. Versatile. An excellent ST performer. Has experience at the X, Y and Z positions. Good athlete. Has good straight line speed once he gets a head of steam. Has very imposing size. Really tall with wide shoulders and long arms. Has a very big catch radius. Has good quickness when avoiding being jammed at the LOS. Has a nice stutter step off of the line and into his slant routes. Missed the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2018 against LSU after suffering an AC joint injury to his right shoulder that required surgery. Doesn’t have a strong body of work with 34 catches, 483 yards and 2 TD’s. Very inconsistent with everything that he does. Gets a slow release off of the LOS into his routes. Doesn’t appear to always be going full speed. Doesn’t really run them in a meaningful way. Rounds off all of his routes. Has lapses in concentration and will drop some very catchable and easy passes. Hasn’t shown himself to be a viable red zone threat. Doesn’t high point the one on one balls. Very unsuccessful at blocking in space. At an instant disadvantage because he uses poor angles to block. Lunges at defenders and never seems to latch on. Both CB’s and LB’s easily maneuver around him. Not his RB’s best friend as a blocker. The player he’s supposed to block is usually in position to make the play if it’s run to his side. Even on the rare occasion he latches on and locks horns he doesn’t seem to be the stronger player. Doesn’t hold those blocks either. This is a player with limitless potential. He’s Bigger, stronger and for the most part faster than any DB that he faces. He wasn’t born on American soil so there are differences in how he plays the game and the way guys came up playing in this country. It would be to strong a statement to say he lacks passion but he doesn’t match his opponents’ aggression or hungry demeanor. He’s from Canada so he’s still getting acclimated to what American college football is and how it’s played. He’s still very raw in every way but there are glimpses of an aggressive and dominant player. The route running, blocking and concentration all have to improve drastically in order for him to be a next level prospect because at this point he’s a developmental prospect. He needs to exhaust his eligibility and play as many reps as possible to get to the point where he has a good amount of work under his belt. Doesn’t declare.
#21 Jalen Elliott (Jr.) SS 6-0.1/2 205. Has appeared in 25 games with 13 starts. Played 689 defensive snaps in 2017 and 806 in his career. Versatile. Has experience on both the field and boundary. Good athlete. Has good size with long arms. Has good movement skills and agility. Flips his hips smoothly and looks natural in his backpedal. Moves downhill fast. Closes in on the ball in a hurry. A strong solid tackler when he uses sound wrapping technique. Tends to take bad angles in pursuit of the ball. Relies too much on laying a big hit. Misses tackles when he tries to lower the boom. Doesn’t have strong pass defense instincts. Lacks ball skills. A tick slow in his run/pass recognition. Gets tricked on run/pass option plays. He’s a really athletic SS but hasn’t made any impactful plays in his career. He simply hasn’t shown a feel or a savvy for defending against the pass. He showed good anticipation one time in the games watch and that was it. His inconsistency with tackling is apparent as well when he doesn’t wrap up. He has some ability as a back line defender but he’s not a difference maker or an impactful game changer. With the depth on the roster now he is in serious jeopardy of not having a prominent role on defense moving forward. With a reduce amount of snaps he won’t be in a position to consider an upward move. Doesn’t declare.
#9 Daelin Hayes (Jr.) OLB/DE 6-3.3/4 265. Has appeared in 25 games with 12 starts. Played a total of 544 defensive snaps in 2017 and 699 in his career. Versatile. Has experience at OLB, DE and has even lined up in space as a slot defender. A great athlete! Extremely smooth and fluid movement abilities. Has natural pass rush capabilities. Looks effortless with his spin move. Has the look and demeanor of a cat who’s always looking to pounce. Has great cat like balance as well. Will get completely cut blocked, get right back up and be in position to pursue the ball. Covers a lot of real estate when dropping back into coverage. Gets to the short and intermediate flats in no time in a zone. Passes don’t get thrown in his direction much when he’s covering. Always aware of where the ball is. Was the first to react and in perfect position to recover the two fumbles he was credited with (Georgia and Michigan State). Has a history of shoulder injuries and subsequent surgeries. Shoulder injuries (1 on his left, 2 on his right and a custody battle) left him with only 10 games of high school experience in 3 seasons. Still extremely raw. Hasn’t been a productive player in his career so far (41 tackles, 3 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss). Was very unproductive down the stretch to end the 2017 season. In the teams last five games in 210 defensive snaps he only had 6 tackles, 0 sacks and 1 tackle for loss in the teams last 5 games. Isn’t a Tasmania devil as a pass rusher. Lacks aggression when getting after the QB. Isn’t a creative pass rusher. Doesn’t really use his pass rush moves. Doesn’t use his hands to fend off blockers much. Boars straight at them or attempts to get around their outside shoulder with speed alone. Once his initial move is stopped he has no counter move. The fight is over. Doesn’t seem to stack and shed blocks. Lack great upper body strength. Gets pushed back and at times gets pancaked by OL once they latch on to him. Happens when some TE’s latch on too. Stops and stalls in his tracks against play action at times. His athleticism and raw ability are obvious and in abundance but the production isn’t. He needs to play a lot more football at the collegiate level before he can realize next level success. He needs the benefit of allowing his game to catch up in all areas because he hasn’t played as much as most players at this stage have. He’s physically gifted but not even he can overcome not playing enough football. The further away he gets from his past shoulder issues and gains as much strength in them as possible, the better. His abilities as a pass rusher need to be improved upon and unleashed as well. He plays under control which is great, he plays to his defensive assignments as he should but he doesn’t play with an aggressive natural and doesn’t allow himself to see that he can make a play by going outside of the confines of his his responsibilities so to speak. He’s more of an OLB who can do it all as opposed to a DE as a next level prospect. His top notched athleticism isn’t going to be enough if he declares early. He’s much too raw at this stage to leave. He’d be doing himself a disservice if he were to leave. He needs to exhaust his eligibility to become the top ten type player he’s capable of becoming. Doesn’t declare.
#53 Khalid Kareem (Jr.) DE 6-4 265. Has appeared in 17 games with 0 starts. Had 287 defensive snaps in 2017 and 302 in his career. Has long arms with a solid frame. Size and further physical maturation lends him to being able to play in a multiple front defense. Good athlete. Has really good short area quickness. Effective on stunts. Has a good motor. Gives a persistent push at the LOS. Uses his strong hands and long arms to keep OL away from his frame. Hasn’t been really productive so far in his career with 21 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Isn’t overly athletic. Isn’t a natural pass rusher. Has a bit of stiffness getting around the OT. Doesn’t have a great burst off of the snap. Lacks an array of pass rush moves. Gets stuck to blocks far too often. Comes at the OL with his frame exposed. Gives them too much to grab and latch on to. Gets out maneuvered and out leveraged against the run. Doesn’t stack and shed well as a run defender. Will get glued to a blocker and not disengage in time to make a play on the ball. He’s a talented player but still raw in his technique at times. Hasn’t played a lot or produced enough in his short career. He will be the starter at SDE moving forward but needs these two years of eligibility to make himself into a true next level prospect. With his build and level of strength he could add size and become more of a 3-4 DE which is what he appears best suited for. Doesn’t declare.
#78 Tommy Kraemer (rSo.) RT/RG 6-5.5/8 316. Has appeared in 13 games with 10 starts. UNC, spring game. A massive human being! Gives the appearance of someone much bigger than his measurables. Well proportioned with excellent weight distribution from top to bottom. A powerful player. Once he gets his hands on an opponent with solid technique he tends to bury them. Has a maulers mentality. His aggression as a run blocker shines thru when he latches on to a defender. Makes a concerted effort at times to move his feet quickly in his kick slide and defenders can’t get around him. Not a really good athlete. Has naturally sluggish feet. Often plays flat footed and will stop his feet on contact. Abandons sound technique and footwork. Gets beaten like a drum consistently in pass protection to his outside shoulder. Hand placement gets thrown off because of his bad balance. His hands are often bad in connection with his feet. Does a lot of lunging and pushing to make up for his lack of agility and athleticism. Slow getting out on pulls to the second level. He will never be a fit in a zone blocking system. He doesn’t have the movement capabilities to be of use in this scheme so he wouldn’t be a fit on a lot of teams. Has to be an OG or maybe a C on a team that runs a power running scheme. There aren’t many of those so his stock will be very limited moving forward if he can’t improve his short area explosiveness drastically. He has a good deal of eligibility left so who and what he’ll become can be hammered out down the line but there needs to be an idea of it shown sooner than later because it’s already known what he isn’t. Doesn’t declare.
#27 Julian Love (Jr.) CB 5-11 193. Has appeared in 25 games with 21 starts. Had 835 defensive snaps in 2017 and a total of 1,397 in his two year career. A superb ST performer. A participant on all kick and punt coverages. Versatile. Has experience at both the field and boundary CB positions as well as at FS (start against Navy, 2017). Very good athlete. Really smooth and fluid in all of his movements. Has great eye discipline. Triangulates between the QB and WR very well in off and zone coverage. Sound technique. Springs out of his backpedal and back towards the receiver. Has the poise and composure of a seasoned veteran. Doesn’t waste much movement when in coverage. Still matches the receiver step for step downfield. There aren’t many yards to be had after the catch. Doesn’t allow receivers to get behind him much. Very strong. Gets off blocks quickly to make tackles. Exceptional ability to evade blockers in his pursuit to the ball. A really solid wrap up tackler. Breaks down and is a sure tackler in the open field. Comes downhill fast. Doesn’t miss very many tackles. Stops the ball carrier dead in their tracks on contact. Hits hard while ensuring that he is actually making a proper form tackle. Takes good angles to the ball. Looks natural at the FS position. Has really good centerfielder type range to cover a lot of ground as a pass defender. Doesn’t have ideal size for the position. Built more like a NCB than an outside CB. Always there to contest but loses those one on one, back shoulder fades and jump ball situations. Can be boxed out as well. He’s grown used to pouncing on short and intermediate passes some to the point where he gambles a bit in this area leaving himself susceptible to double moves (Miles Boykin 1st quarter catch in 2018 Spring Game is an example). Gave up a few TD’s near the goal line on back shoulder fades. Does such a good job in coverage that QB’s tend to not look in his direction a lot. He tends to shut off that short yardage valve. He’s much stronger than he appears to be and just has an overall savvy to his game that most don’t have. He’s extremely well rounded to the point that he doesn’t have a huge weakness to put a finger on. He’s on the smallish side but he’s too strong for that to be a real issue. He matches up well and wins all of his matchups whether their against bigger receivers like former LSU and current Jacksonville Jaguars 2nd round pick, WR DJ Chark, former Georgia Bulldog and current Chicago Bears 7th round WR Javon Wims or quick and shifty small receivers like former USC and current LA Rams UDFA WR Steven Mitchell Jr. or former USC and current Tennessee Titans WR Deontay Burnett. As well as highly touted and current Miami Hurricanes WR Ahmmon Richards. These receivers didn’t fare well when matched up against him. He will be faced with the question of whether or not he can play on the outside which will lower his value some but he will outperform most if not all of the CB’s drafted ahead of him while proving to be an outside CB. Late 2nd-early 4th round.
#42 Julian Okwara (Jr.) DE/OLB 6-4.1/2 241. Has appeared in 23 games with 0 starts. Had 322 defensive snaps in 2017 and a total of 340 in his career. Younger brother of Romeo Okwara who was an alum at Notre Dame (2012-2015). He is currently a DE for the New York Giants. Excellent athlete! Has very good agility with quick hips. Extremely quick and fast off of the snap. Has a great burst out of his stance. He’s on the T’s outside shoulder in a hurry. Gets them really uncomfortable quickly. Has good bend around the OT. Has great straight line speed. A lot stronger than he appears. Can get good push on OT’s and jolt them backwards with a strong hand punch. Has a relentlessness the closer he gets to the QB. Versatile. Has lined up in a three point stance as a DE but has also stood up at OLB as a pass rusher. Doesn’t have much career production with 21 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Wasn’t a prominent member of the defense on 1st and 2nd downs. He had only 170 defensive snaps on 1st and 2nd but 152 on 3rd down. He’s more of a 3rd down pass rush specialist. Undersized for the position at this point. Long and linear frame with not a lot of weight on it. Has a narrow lower body with thin thighs and calves. Doesn’t always show that he has a plan of attack as a pass rusher. Doesn’t vary his speed at all. It’s just speed with no actual pass rush moves. Has what equates to a 100 mph fastball that he throws on every pitch. Hitters will catch up to it eventually. Doesn’t have a lot of experience dropping back in coverage. Light on experience as a run defender as well. Was a healthy nonparticipant against a triple option running team in Navy. Gets mauled and rag dolled when he is in there as a run defender a lot against OL. He’s still the backup to a much more well rounded defender in Daelin Hayes at the “Drop” position but will once again see the majority of his snaps on 3rd downs. His sack totals aren’t up there but he does have an ability to alter the pocket on every rush. QB’s either have to move up in the pocket or avoid him. He also does get the best his opponent but the QB gets the pass off quickly with a quick screen pass or a three step drop. He has a world class first step and burst so he is a threat every time he’s on the field as a pass rusher. He has to show himself to be a well rounded player as opposed to the one dimension he’s shown so far. He needs to add at least 15-20 pounds of muscle mass so that he can stay on the field and withstand the rigors of the trench work he’s tasked with. He’s so athletic that he wouldn’t lose an ounce of speed or agility with the added size. He’s an extremely talented prospect physically but he has a long way to go in all facets of the game. He should show well enough if he can add size to be in the conversation as a top edge rusher for the 2020 Draft. He needs as much experience and fine tuning as he can get in order to become the top level prospect that he’s capable of. Doesn’t declare.
#5 Troy Pride Jr. (Jr.) CB 5-11.1/2 190. Has appeared in 20 games with 7 starts. Had 354 defensive snaps in 2017 and a total of 563 for his career. Extremely physically gifted athletically!!! Runs on the track and field team as well as the football team. Set an ACC indoor record in 2017 with a 6.77 60 meter time. In the spring of 2018 he ran a 10.56 in the 100m and a 21.16 in the 200m. His track speed translates to the football field. At a Notre Dame team Combine he ran a 4.30 40. Has an unreal top gear. Can chase down a play from the other side of the field (Dexter Williams, 3rd quarter, 2018 Spring Game). As fast as a lot of WR’s in his backpedal and bail technique. A quick twitched athlete. Really fluid and smooth. Natural movement ability with zero stiffness. Very coordinated in all of his movements and always seems to be physically composed. A physical player. An aggressive tackler. Doesn’t allow much by way of yards after the catch. Only allowed 20 yards after the catch which was the third lowest total for all of college football CB’s. Doesn’t have a great deal of snaps or productivity under his belt (34 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 passes defensed and 1 INT). Of his 563 career snaps he hasn’t had very many in bump and run coverage. Gets caught flat footed against smaller/quicker type receivers. Doesn’t spring out of his backpedal. A tick slow out of it and back towards the receivers in off coverage. Susceptible to giving up short and intermediate receptions if he gives a cushion. Doesn’t have ideal size for the position. Is on the slighter side. Has more of a NCB’s size and not an outside CB’s size. With his level of athleticism he’s guaranteed to garner a lot more attention now that he’s a starter. Has top flight physical tools but needs a lot more football under his belt to maximize his full potential. He’s sound technically for the most part but has to still work out some of the finer points of his position. Transitioning out of his backpedal forward, not rounding off out of his transitions and working on his ball skills. He has the ability to shoot up draft boards with a good season and with a great Combine and Pro Day showing which he definitely will have. If he were to declare he’d be no later than a mid 2nd-mid 3rd round pick but with two years of seasoning he will certainly be in the discussion for one of the first CB’s selected in the 2020 Draft. Doesn’t declare.
#14 Devin Studstill (Jr.) SS/FS 6-0.1/4 200. Has appeared in 23 games with 9 starts. Has football bloodlines. Father Darren Studstill was a 6th round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 1994 NFL Draft. Had 250 defensive snaps in 2017 after having 582 in 2016 (a total of 832 career snaps). Versatile. Has experience lining up on the field side as well as the boundary. Has come up to the LOS to cover the slot. Good athlete. A real striker as s run defender. Embraces the physical nature of the game. Will lay a big hit or make a solid tackle to prevent forward progress. Only played 30 defensive snaps on 3rd and 4th downs in 2017. Lacks instincts and discipline as a pass defender. Isn’t economical in his movements. Very herky jerky and wasteful as a last line defender. Takes bad angles to the ball at times. Over pursues. Takes a step or two too far and gets himself out of position. Appears to have trouble looking off the ball and locating the receiver in coverage. Gets lured out of position on play action plays. Never there to help his CB over the top in coverage. He’s a one dimensional player with that one dimension being a run defender only. He’s a liability in pass coverage because he doesn’t appear to have a knack or feel for it in any way. He’s a better run defender but even there it isn’t his strength either. He looks to lay a lick on ball carriers and will miss tackles because of it. He isn’t a starter barring injury because there is talent on the back end and he may even fall to third string. It will be a battle for the starting position but that isn’t the issue for him. His battle is separate. He may not get the 220 snaps he got on 1st and 2nd downs that he did in 2017. He’s in danger of falling way back and out of consideration for playing time all together. There’s no reason to declare because he’s not a next level prospect at this point. Doesn’t declare.
#8 Donte Vaughn (Jr.) CB 6-2.3/4 211. Has appeared in 19 games with 4 starts. Logged 55 defensive snaps in 2017 and has a total of 351 for his career. Has great size for the position! Really tall with extremely long arms. Size presents WR’s problems with their release off of the LOS in press coverage. Dealt with some back problems for a good portion of the 2017 season. Has minimal production in his two seasons (28 tackles, 6 passes broken up and 1 INT). Isn’t a great athlete. Isn’t quick or fast. Doesn’t show agility. Really deliberate in his backpedal. Doesn’t sink his hips and get low. Appears to play off of his heels at times. Doesn’t transition quickly out of his backpedal as a result. Loses balance when changing direction. Isn’t very strong or physical. Gets stuck to blocks. Doesn’t disengage quick enough to make a play on the ball. More of a drag down tackler. He has great size and length and that will always make him an intriguing next level prospect but his game is a ways off at this stage. He absolutely isn’t anywhere near a draftable prospect because he has major strength gains to make as well as technique refinement. He passes the eye test but that is where it currently ends for him. He’s not going to start this season barring injury but there should be plenty of snaps for him as a dime defender and also in spells for starting boundary CB Julian Love. He has two years of eligibility remaining so there’s no reason to declare but he has to work really hard to remain relevant on the CB depth chart. The depth is really good and only one of the top 5 CB’s, himself included will have exhausted their eligibility after the 2018 season. He has obvious upside aside from his obvious shortcomings so it could easily go either way for him. It’s all about his development moving forward. Doesn’t declare.
Non draft eligible player(s) of note:
#72 Robert Hainsey (So.) RT 6-4.5/8 295. Has appeared in 13 games with 3 starts. Good athlete. Has good foot speed for a developing OT. Gets out to the second level really quickly. Has to continue to develop his technique as well as make major strength gains. He too often allowed pressure and when initially engaged got knocked backward into the pocket which shrunk the pocket considerably on a consistent basis. Could also be bumped over to OG if he gets to the point where his strength gains will allow it.
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