Prospect Watch: Austin Peay vs. Central Arkansas Week 0
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Football is finally back! The first game of the season is an FCS matchup, Austin Peay vs. Central Arkansas. Even though this is the FCS, there are a couple of prospects that you should pay close attention to. Both are corners, but one is an undersized nickel and the other is an athletic freak who likes to play physical press coverage on the outside. Below is a quick preview on the prospects. Post scouting notes will be in red.
Kordell Jackson - CB - 5'9, 185
Jackson had an outstanding 2019 season. He had 7 interceptions and 2 of those were taken back for touchdowns. In a game against Mercer, he had three tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a pass break-up and two interceptions returned for a touchdown, becoming the 33rd player in FCS history with multiple pick-sixes in one game. He was also a finalist for the annual Buchanan Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player and he's earned high praises from his coaches.
Jackson plays primarily in the slot, and with his size and quickness that’s where he projects in the NFL. I haven’t seen a lot of Jackson, but he looks like a quick corner with good man cover skills and instincts in zone. He seemed to struggle with taking poor angles to the ball carrier, but he also had at least one stop behind the line in eight games last season. His stats show he’s a playmaker on defense and I’m hoping to see that against Central Arkansas.
I thought Jackson had a really nice game. He looked quick and fast and showed good closing speed. His athleticism is a big plus and he possesses fluid hips to change directions easily as receivers break. He was sticky in man coverage and had a nice pass breakup, which you can see below. The clip after that also shows Jackson making a nice tackle behind the line. However, his run defense isn't very good right now. There were a couple plays where he got sucked into the middle of the field and this left space for the ball carrier to bounce outside. With his small frame I don't expect him to be a great run defender out the slot, but he needs to show more discipline and cover outside the mesh point. Overall I was impressed with his coverage ability.
He gets physical at the top of the route and makes a fast breaks on the ball
Good speed of the edge to make the tackle behind the line
Damion Barber - DL - 6'3, 290 (Transfer from Penn State)
Terrell Lucas - DL - 6'3, 255
Baniko Harley - WR - 6'1, 195: Harley had a solid game. He ran some clean routes and I like his sudden break on slants. Their QB was struggling to get the ball to the receivers, but Harley showed quality route running skills and his RAC ability is great. Once he gets the ball he turns into a running back and runs with strength and speed.
He's only a freshman right now, but running back CJ Evans looked great. Aside from scoring a 75 yard touchdown on the first play, he ran with great quickness and agility all game. He's elusive running inside and in space, and he displays really nice vision and creativity. I'll definitely be adding him to my prospect list and get back to him in a couple years. Another player that had a decent game was Terrell Vassel. He's a safety for Austin Peay. He played best as a safety coming downhill, tracking the ball carrier and making the tackle before the ball carrier could break into the second level. He didn't look like the most athletic player, so when runners got by him he struggled to catch up. His hips seemed tight too and he had trouble changing directions.
Robert Rochell - CB - 6'1, 176
Last season, Rochell recorded 5 interceptions and 18 pass breakups. He was #12 on Feldman's Freak list this year, boasting insane measurables such as an 11-8 broad jump, 41 inch vertical, 4.38 40 time, and a 3.98 short shuttle. He's got the playmaking stats and athleticism to really drive up his draft stock.
Rochell is a physical outside corner with solid press man skills. He’s got great athleticism and fluid hips but he normally plays with a high pad level, often hurting his breaking speed and tight coverage ability. I know his athleticism will pop during the game, now I’m just looking for him to take that next step and refine his technique.
Rochell had a pretty rough first game. He's obviously incredibly athletic and he's got long arms that allow him to play physical. He does well to press at the line and displays good mirroring skills to remain in tight coverage. His problem this game was that he gets too grabby. He had 2 penalties called on him, both defensive PI's. He just needs to improve his technique more. You can see the first penalty below, and I actually think he was in good position. He showed great recovery speed to catch up to the receiver but he dove too early on the receiver, getting their before the ball did. I really like his athleticism and fluidity, both of which are so key to becoming a great corner in the NFL. I'll be looking for him to up his game on Thursday against UAB.
Great recovery speed by Rochell but he makes a poor play on the ball
Breylin Smith - QB - 6'3, 210: Smith did not look good on Saturday. I like his mobility and pocket presence, and he does well to keep his head up when moving outside the pocket. He was just really inaccurate and showed poor ball placement. There was a play in the 4th quarter where he had a receiver wide open running over the middle of the field, and he just throws not even close to the receiver. He also displayed poor decision making, especially on his second interception where he tries to lob the ball over the defender, but it goes straight to the defender instead. The ball coming out of his hand is wobbly and he needs to work on his mechanics to get that spiral.
Nathan Grant - DL - 6'4, 245
J.W. Jones - DL - 6'4, 260: Solid run defense. He's pretty quick and fast for someone of his size. I was also impressed with his hand fighting. Good motor too.