By Justis Mosqueda
Rashad Greene vs Ashton Lampkin: The match up of the night in Dallas
The premier game of the opening weekend of college football was the reigning champion Florida State facing off with Oklahoma State in AT&T Stadium. As the overwhelming favorites coming into the game, the Seminoles merely advancing with a six point win seemed like an impossibility. One of the most significant reasons the game was kept close was Oklahoma State’s junior cornerback Ashton Lampkin. On the flip side, the largest reason Florida State escaped without a defeat was largely due to what Rashad Greene was able to do to Lampkin.
Optimum Scouting ranked Greene as the fourth senior prospect in the ACC for the 2015 class in June, earning him a 1st-2nd grade. Here’s what our Eric Galko had to say:
“Kelvin Benjamin may have been the big name last year, but Rashad Greene was the far more efficient and NFL-ready receiver on the Florida State offense. He’s an efficient, smart route runner and a developed open-field runner. As a pass-catcher, he shows composed feet on the edge, natural vertical ability and the ability to finish with his hands at a high and NFL-ready level. He lacks top-end upside and may never be more than a solid number two in the NFL, but he’s worthy of a top-50 pick. ”
When studying Saturday’s game, one thing becomes apparent: Ashton Lampkin likes to take risks. In the first half, Lampkin started peaking into the backfield. Heisman-winner Jameis Winston wasn’t looking off defensive backs, leading to Oklahoma State’s defenders to cheat on plays. One example was a near interception that Lampkin had a hand on when Florida State had their backs close to the end zone. Winston stared down Greene, and before Greene finished his cut, Lampkin made a play on the ball.
Lampkin netted an interception for himself during the game, but the stats lean towards a Rashad Greene win between the two. Sitting at 11 receptions, 203 yards, and a touchdown, he’s currently the FBS’ second-place leader in receiving yards after Week 1 of the season. Lampkin’s risks cost him big twice, once on a 51-yard reception and again on a 37-yarder. Lampkin was more than willing to let Greene behind him so that he could make a play on an interception instead, and Greene’s stats would be even more impressive if Lampkin wasn’t called for interference three times during the game. Once Greene had his hands on the ball, those two plays were up to safeties to make.
Overall, it was an interesting match up. Greene is clearly Winston’s top target for 2014 and has the speed to break off long plays when given as much space as he got vs Oklahoma State. Lampkin, on the other hand, needs to be more consistent with his decision making. Allowing his eyes to collect rent in the backfield and trying to be a hero over making safe plays will hurt him more than not at the next level.
Kevin White is ready for his close up
Prior into the season, Kevin White (WR, West Virginia, #11) was on Optimum Scouting’s radar for the 2015 NFL draft. Here’s what our Alex Brown had to say coming into the week:
“On the offensive side for West Virginia, WR Kevin White is a day three draftable talent, who has the plus length to dominate at the catch point while also showcasing balance and fluidity as a vertical route runner.”
And a fluid route runner he was against Alabama. In another surprisingly close game featuring a premier team, the receiver posted nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown against the Crimson Tide. Here’s how his long plays were made:
1st quarter 12:51 : Four yard curl route, true freshman Laurence Hootie Jones stumbled, and White sprinted untouched until he’s pushed out of bounds for 29 yards.
3rd quarter 10:24 : Got past the corner (junior Bradley Sylve) on a vertical route with minimal contact, attacked the ball and came down with the catch for a 26 yard gain. He had about five yards of forward momentum with two defensive backs draped over him from the catch point to where he was ruled down.
4th quarter 14:51 : Lined up on the back-side of a left roll out by quarterback Clint Trickett, White was on a deep crossing pattern, found a hole in the defense, and slid to catch the ball for a gain of 25.
He also had a leaping vertical grab to seal in a touchdown on junior cornerback Bradley Sylve.
If White can put up those type of numbers on an Alabama defense, the 6’3” speedster could put up massive numbers against Big XII defenses this year, breaking into a higher tier than his current Day 3 projection.
Sleeper: Bobby Richardson, DT, Indiana
While it was against FCS talent, Indiana’s Bobby Richardson posted three sacks against Indiana State in Saturday’s Hoosier win. That give Richardson the FBS lead in sacks one week into the season. Our Ian Wharton had Bobby Richardson ranked as the fourth senior to watch on Indiana’s team in July:
“Richardson struggles to stay low consistently, and he gets moved downfield too easily for his size. He has good awareness for the ball, but is a major project.”
An undersized defensive tackle at sub-290, Richardson wins with hands usage and solid closing speed for his size. Here’s a breakdown of Richardson’s sacks in the season opener:
2nd quarter 14:32 : Used hands to shed himself of the left tackle. He dipped by the running back when coming off the edge and got to the quarterback in three seconds.
4th quarter 1:21 : Used violent hands to attempt to get to the quarterback. Without great power in his upper or lower body, he got free by using his feet to change which angles his hands came from. When the quarterback rolled to the left, Richardson was free from both the lineman and chipping running back and got the sack.
4th quarter 0:50 : Had a good jump from the start and kept his pad level low. Drove his lineman back into the quarterback in less than two seconds.
While Richardson may not be a first rounder, he has the technique and awareness to make up for his size. Look for Richardson to rise from an unknown to a draftable player in the 2015 class if he’s able to reflect this game over his 2014 season.