Week 1 of the college football season kicked off with a full schedule. There were a few bumps in the early going, including a sloppy first-half performance by the Oklahoma Sooners. Still, we saw some excellent performances from a scouting perspective.
Week 1 College Football: Kennedy Brooks shines for Oklahoma
Speaking of Oklahoma, during last week’s Between the Hashes podcast, I mentioned my belief the Sooners’ offense would be even more lethal this season with the return of running back Kennedy Brooks. I gave the junior a fifth-round grade off his 2019 film before he chose to opt-out last season over COVID-19 concerns.
Brooks looked like he didn’t lose a step against Tulane, finishing with 87 yards on 14 carries (6.2 ypc) with 1 touchdown. While I gave him a fifth-round grade, several scouts I’ve spoken with stamp him as a second-round prospect — Brooks certainly looked like it today. Word out of Norman is Brooks will enter the draft after the season.
Other Week 1 college football observations
Before today’s game started, I tweeted out my curiosity on how the Michigan Wolverine defense would handle Western Michigan quarterback Kaleb Eleby, a highly regarded QB in the scouting community.
In the end, the Wolverines did a solid job against Eleby, though they received help from Western Michigan play-calling. Early on, it was easy to see why scouts like Eleby — he possesses a next-level arm, makes a lot of difficult passes he’ll be required to throw on Sunday, and has the athleticism to make plays throwing the ball outside the pocket.
Eleby’s performance suffered after his top receiver, Skyy Moore, left with an injury early in the contest. Additionally, the WMU coaching staff decided to take the ball out of Eleby’s hands during several critical third-down plays. From what I’m told, there is a very good chance Eleby enters the 2022 NFL Draft.
Josh Rivas of Kansas State showed against Stanford why scouts grade him as a late-round pick. Rivas is a tackle-sized offensive guard with great power and strength. He is a power-gap lineman who controls defenders with ease. And that’s basically what Rivas did against Cardinal defensive lineman Thomas Booker, who is graded two rounds higher than Rivas by NFL scouts.
Penn State LB Ellis Brooks displays draftable traits
I completely disagreed with the assessment of NFL scouts on Penn State linebacker Ellis Brooks. They gave Brooks grades which ranged from street free agent to fringe priority free agent. Meanwhile, I stamped the senior as a sixth-round prospect.
Round 1 goes to Brooks and I.
During today’s defensive battle against Wisconsin, the linebacker was sensational, leading all defenders with 11 tackles, including 1 tackle for loss and a sack. He was kicked out of the game after being flagged for a very questionable targeting penalty with five minutes left in the contest.
Brooks measures in at 6’1″ and a tad over 240 pounds. He possesses 4.7s 40-yard dash speed but plays much faster. Despite the late-game mishap, he proved to be a scheme-versatile, three-down defender against the Badgers.