The University of Southern California is always a team of prominence and talent. This season will be no different. The question may be is there talent enough in all the right places? In head coach Clay Helton’s third season the team still has a lot to prove and it all starts at the QB position with sophomore J.T. Daniels. He showed in 2018 what a freshman is with his inexperience but he also showed flashes of why he was a freshman starter in the first place. Problem was he didn’t show enough of a spark to consistently lead the team.
He’s surrounded by talent but are the players on offense up to task. The WR Corp most certainly is with veterans Michael Pittman Jr., Tyler Vaughns and the player who may very well be the best WR in the country already in sophomore Amon Ra St. Brown. If the offensive line can come together and play well enough the team should have some opportunities to post some big points on the board. The defensive line has a lot of talent as does the LB unit as well as the defensive backs. They need to pull thru in order for USC to return to their past aforementioned prominence.
#76 Clayton Bradley (rSr.) OT 6-5 295. Has appeared in 20 games with 3 starts. Versatile. Teams swing tackle. Has experience at both LT and RT. Has a solid frame with long arms. Appears to be able to add a little bit more weight and not lose any athleticism. Good athlete. Really coordinated in all of his movements. Has really quick feet. Can shift his weight from one direction to the other really quick. Has a natural and easy looking kick slide. Drives the defender like he’s driving a sled when he gets good push. Keeps his feet moving. Gets out to the second level in a hurry.
Suffered an undisclosed back injury in August of 2018 during fall practices. Missed significant portions of the season due to this back issue. Missed all of spring practice while recovering from the injury. Plays with inconsistent technique. Has all the tendencies of a waist bender. Doesn’t keep his back straight out of his stance. Crouches over towards the defender. Tends to dip his head on contact when engaging with a DL. Does a lot of lunging and pushing. Has poor hand placement. Arms flair outward and go low towards the defenders midsection. Hands also go low as a result. Hands tend to go to the outside of the defenders frame. He doesn’t get his hands into their chests but instead around the arms and up towards the shoulder pads. Allows defenders into his frame consistently. Tends to play off of his heels. Gets knocked back off of the line due to his weight moving backwards.
He’s a very athletic OT. He definitely has displayed the ability to play LT with his speed and quickness. He has natural and really fluid feet. His collegiate career has been one of which he hasn’t been on the field for any long stretch due to the depth chart and also due to injury. He’s been dealing with a troubled back for almost a year and it has cost him valuable game and practice experience. His technique is really poor at this stage in his development because he should have some refinement in every aspect of his game but he lacks it. From his setup in his posture, his hands and his feet, its all counter to what he should be doing as an OT. His weight always seems to be on his heels so when he engages with a defender he gets jolted backwards every time. He isn’t sturdy at all and he doesn’t fend them off because his hands are in the wrong places on their frames. He’s at best a developmental prospect because if he can be retrained he has next level swing tackle capabilities but it would be an investment in time that not many will have the time or resources to afford him. His value is in his versatility but he has to show that he can stay on the field first and foremost. That includes some decent playing time but that will only come barring injury to a starter. He may open some eyes if he’s able to perform at his Pro Day workout. It may be enough to garner some looks after the draft. UDFA.
#10 John Houston Jr. (rSr.) ILB 6-3 220. Has appeared in 37 games with 23 starts. Versatile. Lines up all over the formation in a variety of roles. Has lined up at OLB as a blitzer as well as ILB. Good athlete. Has good straight line speed. Makes sure to put his hands on a receiver who crosses into his zone in coverage.
Has an injury history. Sat out and took a redshirt in 2015 due to a back injury. Missed the September 16, 2017 game against Texas with a stinger. Missed the November 24, 2018 season finale against Notre Dame with a strained hamstring. Undersized for his position. Appears slender. Looks more like a WR than a LB. Has thin thighs and calves. Doesn’t disengage from blocks quick enough. Gets stuck to blockers and can’t make a play on the ball in time. Isn’t a downhill thumper. Doesn’t seem to get penetration thru the OL as a run defender. Gets caught up in the scrum and can’t get to the ball carrier. Isn’t a good blitzer. Lack creativity as a pass rusher. Isn’t a fluid mover. Shows hip tightness when changing direction. Has a start and stop mechanism were it’s almost as if he has to reset when changing direction. Lacks the ability to bend around the edge on an OL. Approaches OL and TE’s straight up with no bend or bend. Doesn’t try to give them a small target to block. He’s miscast as an ILB. He doesn’t have the size or strength to take on OG’s and C’s.
He’s best suited to be in space where his lack of size isn’t exploited. He doesn’t really seem to be in on plays in the tackle box. He’s outside looking in on nearly every play. His lack of agility and flexibility are major drawbacks in coverage as well. He doesn’t have a true position because he doesn’t have good enough skills in any one area. He doesn’t take on blocks well, isn’t a pass rusher and doesn’t flow gracefully in coverage. There isn’t much next level upside for this player. 7th-UDFA.
#88 Daniel Imatorbhebhe (rSr.) TE 6-3 240. Has appeared in 22 games with 9 starts. Versatile. Has experience lined up as an HBack in the backfield, as a TE inline and detached in the slot. Often tasked with staying in to block DL and LB’s.
Has an injury history. Suffered a hip flexor injury in early August of 2017. Missed two weeks of practice as a result. Aggregated the same hip prior to the September 9, 2017 game against Stanford and missed the following five games. Missed the 2018 season due to the same lingering hip flexor strain issues that curtailed his 2017 season. Doesn’t have much career production (25 catches, 394 yards and 4 TD’s). Appears to be less than listed height of 6-3. Only a decent athlete for his size. Isn’t explosive off of the line at the snap. Isn’t a refined route runner. Doesn’t create any separation as a route runner. Doesn’t offer much as a blocker. Legs and calves are on the thin side. Isn’t stout or sturdy enough to hold a block against DE’s and most LB’s. He’s missed a great deal of in game action as well as all of spring practice and most of fall practice in 2018. He may be granted another year of eligibility after the 2019 season because he’s missed so much time for his medical issues.
The TE depth chart has changed a lot since he was last in the lineup and he may not be able to reclaim his starting position. If he can come back and contribute it won’t be with him getting a lot of snaps and great production. With a very deep and talented WR corp along with the talent at TE there simply isn’t enough football to spread around. If he has another year of eligibility after the 2019 season he should most definitely utilize it to separate himself from the injury issues that have plagued his collegiate career. If he doesn’t gain an extra year he’s an injury risk who more than likely goes undrafted. UDFA.
#89 Christian Rector (rSr.) DE/OLB 6-4 270. Has appeared in 36 games with 13 starts. Very versatile. Has experience at DE in a 3-4 as well as the "predator" OLB position (pass rusher) in the 3-4. Has also lined up at DE in a 4-3 and at DT in a 4-3. A really good athlete. Very quick and coordinated in all of his movements. Has no obvious stiffness. Agile and flexible laterally, backwards and forward. Has the speed to chase down ball carriers from one side of the formation to the other. Has excellent get off at the snap. Explodes out of his stance. Shows a consistently good pad level. Has very good short area quickness. Has quick, active and violent hands. Very strong hands. Uses them very well. Can bend an OL or TE backwards when he licks them out. Has an effective rip move.
Suffered a broken right hand during practice on October 25, 2017 that required surgery. He missed the following two games against Arizona and Arizona State. Isn’t a natural pass rusher. Inconsistent in his get off at the snap at times. Will be the last lineman to move at the snap when he’s generally the quickest. Doesn’t have great flexibility and bend around the outside shoulder of the OT. Doesn’t vary his pass rush for long stretches. Will go to the OT’s outside shoulder repeatedly. Doesn’t seem to trust in much else. Doesn’t always locate the ball well on RPO’s. Will misread counters and misdirect plays. Almost always compromises containment on these plays.
He’s asked to do a lot and he fills all the variety of roles very well. He’s really physically gifted to the point where he’s at times tasked with dropping back into coverage and he looks confident and comfortable doing so. He’s at his best though when he locks out the OL. They tend to be at his mercy with how strong he is and how his rip move sends them to the ground. With how multifaceted he is and how talented his is physically he also is on the inconsistent side. He isn’t a guy who will rack up sacks but he should be good for 8-10 maybe at the most in a season. He needs to learn how to maintain contain much better than he does. He gives up too much as a run defender especially in the RPO where he borders on really bad. If he doesn’t ten out to be a starter he could most definitely become a super sub type player. A glue guy to a defense if he can get his inconsistencies ironed out. Could definitely ascend up draft boards after a solid season and an as expected good Combine and/or Pro Day performances. 3rd-5th round.
#56 Jordan Iosefa (Sr.) ILB/OLB 6-2 230. Has appeared in 37 games with 16 starts. Versatile. Has experience at both ILB as well as OLB. Has a solid frame with long arms. Appears to be able to add 10-15 pounds without sacrificing any athleticism. Has really good speed and agility. Quick at the snap of the ball. Moves well in space. Opens up his hips will little to no stiffness when dropping back into coverage. An effective delayed blitzer.
Suffered a concussion on game day in warm ups before the Washington State game on September 29, 2017. Missed that game as well as the following weeks game against Oregon State while remaining in concussion protocol. Doesn’t display much in the functional football strength department. Doesn’t disengage from blocks well at all. Gets stalled at the LOS against an OL every time. Can’t stack and shed against TE’s either. Gets pushed backwards when getting blocked one on one generally. Doesn’t use his hands to keep OL and TE’s off of his frame. Lacks pass rush moves. Goes to the OL outside shoulder but gets ridden beyond the QB if not stopped in his tracks completely. Doesn’t have a game plan or a means to get to a QB.
He’s a good athlete especially in space where he shows how fluid he can be. That’s all he seems to be though because he doesn’t show up on the physical side. It doesn’t seem as if the offensive player blocking him ever breaks a sweat when dealing with him. He’s an easy player to block and doesn’t provide much resistance on the majority of the plays he’s on the field. He doesn’t show a nack for the pass rush so there isn’t much next level upside for this player. He’s more of a depth guy on the collegiate level who fills in for an injured starter as he has done. UDFA.
#29 Vavae Malepeai (rJr.) RB 6-0 220. Has appeared in 25 games with 1 start. A ST performer. Versatile. Has experience at up back or FB as well as his regular position of RB. A very naturally gifted athlete. Has really good speed, mobility and agility. Has tremendous quickness. Gets the handoff, one cut and upfield in a hurry. Has an excellent subtle short area shiftiness. Runs with a forward lean. Has really good pad level. Stays low and runs behind his pads. Isn’t an easy tackle. Keeps a low center of gravity so defenders have to make sure he’s down. Has good speed to the perimeter. Has a good transference of speed to power. Forward momentum gets him a few extra yards once a defender makes contact in the open field. Has natural hands as s pass catcher. Located the blitzer well in pass protection.
Suffered a broken left scapula (shoulder blade) in August of 2016. Was redshirted as a result of the injury. Suffered a sprained knee against Arizona State on October 28, 2017 and missed the weeks following game against Arizona on November 4, 2017. Doesn’t have much career production (142 carries, 762 yards and 8 TD’s along with 18 catches for 93 yards and 0 TD’s). Hasn’t carried the ball more than 15 times in a game. Has to get going and generate power. Can be stopped quickly if he doesn’t get his momentum going. Isn’t a sturdy blocker in pass protection. Doesn’t latch on and sustain blocks.
He’s an in between the tackles runner but does have the speed to bounce runs outside. He’s a very energetic runner without a great deal of wear and tear. There’s plenty of tread on his tires. He may fit best as a rotational back but he does have some lead back capabilities. He most certainly wouldn’t be relief for a defense once the top back comes off the field. He’s the type of back you just can’t keep off the field so he has to be in their often enough despite what the depth chart looks like. There aren’t any apparent holes in his game and any team would be happy to have him. He’s a player you draft and don’t quite realize the gem you’ve got on your roster until he suits up and begins to practice. He will perform at or near the top in most if not all of the RB testing at the Combine and/or Pro Day workouts and still be undervalued because he wasn’t a bell cow lead back. Could potentially outperform most of the backs chosen ahead of him whether he’s a part of the upcoming draft class if he declares or if he exhausts his eligibility. Doesn’t declare.
#6 Michael Pittman Jr. (Sr.) WR 6-4 220. Has appeared in 35 games with 17 starts. Has football bloodlines. Father Michael Pittman Sr. was a former Fresno State RB drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 4th round of the 1998 NFL Draft. His career lasted from 1998-2008. Versatile. A very solid ST player. Has experience at the X, Y and Z positions. Has great size for the position! Has a solid frame with long arms. Has a very big catch radius. A good athlete. Has really good straight line speed. Has excellent hands. Doesn’t drop many catchable passes. A natural hands catcher. Isn’t an easy player to tackle. Has good balance thru contact after the catch. Fights tooth and nail for an extra yard. A tenacious blocker. Looks to bury the defender on every block. Latches on at a good rate in space.
Missed the first three games of the 2017 season with a high ankle sprain of the left foot suffered in August during fall practice. Missed the November 10, 2018 against Cal with a shoulder injury (bone bruise) which occurred on the first series of the November 3, 2018 game against Oregon State. Doesn’t run sharp routes. Rounds off all of his routes. Lacks good footwork into his breaks. Doesn’t break down or sell sell his routes. Always seems to remain upright. Doesn’t sink his hips. Doesn’t create separation as a route runner. Runs his decoy routes differently then the routes he’s a potentially targeted receiver. Doesn’t have a second gear after the catch. Isn’t a yards after the catch type receiver.
He’s a really good jump ball and red zone receiver. His length and strength are huge pluses because he tends to win for those 50/50 balls with either one or the other. He’s hard to jam at the LOS because he’s so strong as well. His size can be a disadvantage to him as well because he doesn’t know how to get small when he needs to. He starts out as a route runner too tall for the most part where a solid cover CB can in fact jam him because he’s giving such a big target to jam. His inability to as of now sink his hips and run sharp routes will have him in more contested fights for the ball with defenders because he doesn’t create space. His size, hands blocking and ST ability are all very good but his route running must improve if he’s to reach his full potential. He could become a solid number two WR on a lot of teams but he isn’t a definite go to guy. He should have a good season to end his career with improved QB play. Could really enhance his draft stock with running and jumping really well at the Combine and/or Pro Day. Late 3rd-5th round.
#21 Tyler Vaughns (rJr.) WR/PR 6-2 190. Has appeared in 26 games with 22 starts. Versatile. Has experience at the X, Y and Z positions. A student of the game. Studies DB’s especially and how he can exploit their tendencies. Has very long arms and legs. Has a really big catch radius. Long legs allows him to eat up big chunks of area per stride. Good athlete. Has good speed. Has good agility. Can make short area cuts and movements like a smaller WR. Has great hands. Makes otherwise difficult catches look very easy. Has excellent concentration when making a catch. Makes some professional types catches along the sideline. Keeps his feet inbounds while looking the ball into his hands. High points the ball beautifully! Creates separation from DB’s with his close quarters strength and length. Stronger than he looks. Will break tackles and muscle his way thru contact for extra yardage. A solid blocker. Locks out his arms and can stifle a CB. Has good vision and short area quickness as a PR.
Has a really slight frame. Has thin arms and legs. Has small bone structure. Has a small waist with thin thighs and calves. Doesn’t appear to be able to add much muscle mass without sacrificing some speed or quickness. More of a possession receiver. Doesn’t create much by way of yards after the catch. Isn’t a refined route runner. Doesn’t run a full array of routes. Usually runs very short (quick outs, 5-10 yards upfield with a curl and occasional go routes). Lacks nuance or an ability to sell his routes. Rounds off his routes. Tips off his downfield routes with a flailing of the arm or with a head nod. Doesn’t have great downfield speed. Doesn’t get much separation with his speed or with his route running. Is often just a decoy and doesn’t go out to run a route. Will remain stationary on these plays.
He’s a tall, lanky receiver who knows how to use his size and frame to his advantage. He also has great hands which makes him a very reliable target in the short to intermediate game. He has the remarkable ability to paint inside the lines. He makes such great catches along the edges whether it be along the sidelines on at the back of the end zone. He’s more of a possession receiver because he lacks to end speed but he could be a really good piece and component to a receiving corp. He can and will at times beat CB’s with his short area quickness and ability to get off of the LOS downfield. Especially on slant routes. His route running needs a lot of refinement and he does need to add some muscle to his frame to better combat aggressive next level defenders so he might not be a dynamic instant contributor. His hands are what makes him the solid receiver he is and he is a capable PR man which could enhance his value and allow him to get on the field if he’s not getting major reps at the beginning as a receiver. Late 3rd-5th round.
#7 Stephen Carr (Jr.) RB 6-0 210. Has appeared in 19 games with 2 starts. Versatile. Has lined up as a RB as well as occasionally out wide as a WR. Really good athlete. Has good straight line speed (appears to run in the 4.55 40 range). Has good patience. Allows his blocks to set up before pouncing. Has good vision thru the hole. Has good short area quickness. A downhill runner. Runs with a forward lean. Seems to pick up speed as he goes. Packs a punch on contact with a defender. They may make the tackle but they take the violent blow. He must be properly tackled in order for him to go down. Has really soft and natural hands as a pass catcher. Appears to be a capable KR man as well. Shows good open field vision on his rare returns.
Has an injury history. Suffered a sprained right ankle against Washington State on September 29, 2017. Missed the next four games of the season as a result. Missed spring practice of 2018 after undergoing surgery for a herniated disk in his back. Suffered a high ankle sprain to his right foot against Oregon State on November 3, 2018. Missed the remainder of the season (final three games). Doesn’t have much career production (146 carries, 747 yards and 5 TD’s with 25 catches, 214 yards and 0 TD’s). Lacks a second gear or breakaway speed. Isn’t a home run type threat for his size. Is on the smaller size for a featured back. Isn’t very elusive in between the tackles or in the open field. Takes too many hits. Doesn’t always locate the blitzer quick enough. Won’t see in time and get to that spot to help his QB. Isn’t always stout when fending off a defender from his QB.
He’s a really solid all around athlete with the ability to be an offensive weapon type. He’s a RB first but he does have a varied skill set that lends itself to him being used in the slot and out wide. His hands are really good and he turns catches upfield in a hurry. There’s still plenty of progress that needs to be made in order for him to get a bell cow backs amount of carries if that’s even what he ever turns out to be. He gets stopped for a lot of negative yardage. This of course isn’t entirely his fault but he does do a lot of running north south. He doesn’t have the speed to beat most defenders to the perimeter and run past them. He is a one cut and downhill runner but he takes too much punishment in the process. He’s either delivering a blow or receiving one on every carry. He has to learn to avoid these high impact collisions because at his size he won’t survive. He’s best suited as a back by committee where he’s more the second back or 3rd down back. He has a great deal of tread still left on his tires and he should be preserved to an extent. He’s in a time share and although his touches will go up he shouldn’t be overused. His injury history and size plus his running style don’t add up to him remaining healthy for a full season. Chances are he does declare if he has a healthy campaign and will more than likely test very well in a Combine and/or Pro Day setting. He has excellent tools that have yet to be fully realized but size and health will go a long way in determining how high he rises up draft boards. Could ascend as high as a 2nd round pick when it’s all said and done but he should return to school to maximum his talents and complete understanding of the position which would justify his high draft positioning. Goes later than that though after declaring. 6th-UDFA.
#83 Josh Falo (Jr.) TE 6-6 230. Has appeared in 22 games with 3 starts. Versatile. Has experience lined up as an inline TE as well as detached and in the backfield as an H-Back. Very good athlete. Quick off of the LOS. Fast into his routes. Appears to run in 4.50-4.60 40 range. Could get up in the 245-255 pound range and not lose much of any of his athleticism. Looks as if he’s gliding. Has good blocking technique. Gives good effort as a blocker. Latches on well at the second level.
Has missed some time due to injury. Suffered a sprained ankle and missed the Arizona State game on October 28, 2017 and Arizona on November 4, 2017 respectively. Suffered a hamstring injury in August of 2018 which resulted in him missing the first two games of the season against UNLV on September 1, 2018 and Stanford on September 8, 2018. Doesn’t have much career production (14 catches, 223 yards and 2 TD’s). Played only 238 snaps in 2018. Doesn’t run a varied amount of routes. Only up the seam and short, flat routes for the most part. Isn’t sharp. Doesn’t sink his hips or sell his routes. Undersized for an inline blocking TE. Can’t anchor against bigger players like DL and most LB’s. Isn’t stout as a blocker. Built more like a WR. Has a long lower body with thin thighs and calves.
He’s a very good athlete with great size and size potential for the TE position. He can bust the seam and create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. He’s shown that potential on a play or two but not on many more. This isn’t at all any fault of his, he isn’t on the field logging starters minutes. When on the field the QB doesn’t generally look his way when he has at times been open. His statistics could and should be more than what they are but he has room to grow and time will work this out as well. He’d benefit greatly from adding muscle mass and adding lower body explosiveness also. He has a great deal of potential but it may not be fully realized on a team so loaded with next level type pass catchers. He will be found despite that anyway but he has two years of eligibility remaining to improve and prove that he has real next level upside himself. Doesn’t declare.
#73 Austin Jackson (Jr.) LT 6-6 310. Has appeared in 26 games with 12 starts. Grandfather Melvin Jackson was an OT at USC and was a 12th round pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 1976 NFL Draft. Has great size. Has a solid frame from top to bottom with broad shoulders and really long arms. Has big hands as well. A really good athlete. Has the required quick and fast feet for the LT position. Has a really mean streak. Hand strength is obvious when he does get his hands on a defender cleanly. Give the defender a jolt with his hands before he drives them off of the ball as a run blocker.
Very inconsistent technique as s pass blocker. Doesn’t make adjustments in his stance in his pass sets. Won’t open up enough when a defender is at a further depth, like a wide nine. Stops his feet when anticipating contact with a defender. Either gets off balance or lunges when that expected contact isn’t made. Lacks coordination in his kick slide. Rises upward and compromises his pad level and strength off of the snap. Allows defenders under his pads and gets pushed back into the QB. Hips fly open with the threat of a rusher to his outside shoulder. Upper body gets bent backwards a lot when engaged. Has inconsistent hands. Does a lot of reaching and overextending. Doesn’t let a defender come to him and then punch. Hand placement is often all over the place. Doesn’t sustain blocks because he doesn’t get his hands on defenders bodies where he can keep them at bay.
He’s a young player who is still growing into his already solid frame. As he gets bigger he will also get stronger as well. Aside from his size and athleticism he’s a major work in progress as a LT. His technique needs a great deal of cleaning up. He’s constantly at a disadvantage because of the way he sets his feet in a way that he can’t recover from. His hands are extremely sloppy and doesn’t get the desired effect he needs when he’s engaged with a DL. His best position long term in fact very well may be on the inside at OG. His quickness is obvious when he’s going to the second level. He could be really effective as an inside run blocker who gets out in space as well as a guy who has help to his left and right in the passing game. He’s extremely green still so there’s no reason to consider declaring early. He may make strides but he’d be best served exhausting his eligibility. Doesn’t declare.
#9 Greg Johnson (rSo.) CB 5-11 190. Has appeared in 14 games with 4 starts. Very good athlete. Has really good straight line speed. A quick twitch athlete. Displays solid technique. Very smooth and fluid in his backpedal. Has really fluid hips. Can flips his hips with zero stiffness.
Suffered a separated shoulder in fall camp of 2017. Played the first four games of the season but reaggravated the injury and had season ending surgery. Suffered a sprained shoulder against Oregon State on November 3, 2019. Was ruled out for Cal on November 10, 2019 but returned to practice before the UCLA game. Has season ending surgery and missed the remainder of the season. Doesn’t have much career production (15 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 passes defended and 1 fumble recovery). Has only played 173 total snaps. Isn’t very strong. Lacks functional football strength. Plays small. Has to tackle low. Easily discarded when he attempts to tackle high. Gets knocked back off of the ball when blocked on the perimeter by most WR’s. Doesn’t contend well with big receivers and TE’s. Doesn’t spring toward out of his backpedal. Lacks ball skills in both man and zone. Can triangulate between the QB and WR while in a zone and still not see the ball in the air. Gives up too much cushion in zone. Doesn’t stop the bleeding/yards after catch in zone.
He’s a solidly built athlete with long arms and good athleticism. He appears to look good in his backpedal but the rest of his game needs a great deal of work. He’s missed a lot of game action to two separate shoulder injuries which will garner further looks later on. He’s missed two consecutive springs while recovering from each shoulder surgery as well. This is all very valuable game and practice time and it also hinders his ability in the strength and conditioning department as well. He has an uphill climb with the depth chart being as talented as it is with him missing so much time. He did overcome it last season to become a starter so it isn’t out of question that he can retain his position but it will be difficult. He has so much to work on as far as strength and in man and zone coverage. He has zero reason to declare unless he has a miraculous recovery and a miraculous season where he’s just lights out on the field. Doesn’t declare.
#91 Brandon Pili (Jr.) DT 6-4 325. Has appeared in 21 games with 4 starts. Has excellent size for the position. Great weight distribution all throughout his frame. Has long arms with thick thighs, calves and ankles. Really strong. Has brute strength. Gets good push when he locks out his arms against an OL. Has good athleticism. Quick off of the snap.
Isn’t a three down performer. Rarely on the field for 3rd downs or obvious passing downs. Lacks any pass rush moves. On the ground far too much. Foregoes technique for outright muscling opponents. Isn’t very stout. Gets knocked back far off of the LOS at times. Plays a bit too fiery at times as well. Will hit the opposing OL. Could have and should have been ejected for a punch landed against a UCLA OL on November 17, 2018 (was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct).
He does have great size, strength and athleticism so there is plenty to work with with this player. He has a lot of upside but he’s far from a polished player. He’s still quite raw in everything that he does. His pad level is good for the most part but his overall technique isn’t there. He really needs how to use his hands much better than he uses them. He has active hands but he doesn’t have a game plan on how to use them. He tends to try to overwhelm OL with his strength but he loses to them when they have good technique themselves. He tries to wrangle himself free but loses balance a lot. He should be a 3rd down performer with how quick he is but he has to develop moves. He needs to learn how to be active and balanced as well as to keep a cool head and not cost his team with foolish penalties. He needs these two years to develop either into a three down player who’s not a liability on passing downs and/or to become more technically sound so that he can be a good to great run stuffer. Doesn’t declare.
#78 Jay Tufele (rSo.) DE 6-3 305. Has appeared in 12 games with 5 starts. Versatile. Has experience all along the DL from a 0 technique out to a 5 technique. ST contributor as well. Has a nonstop motor. Relentless. A very good athlete! Has good agility and lateral speed. Really good flexibility for a big lineman. Has very quick and violent hands. Has incredible strength! A man mover. Commands double teams. Jostles OL with his initial hand punch. Very disruptive. Like a knife thru the OL. Makes himself skinny when shooting gaps. Can overwhelm with his quickness. Has a very effective swim move. Leaves linemen flailing or grasping at air. Closes fast when in pursuit of the QB. Stout. Doesn’t get knocked back off of the LOS.
Still raw and really inconsistent in his overall technique. Tends to rise straight up out of his stance. Stops his feet on contact at times. Tries to outmuscle OL without using sound technique. Will forego using his hands when trying to use his quickness. When initially blocked and first move doesn’t work he will take a circuitous route to the ball. Can be handled and quieted by OL who are technicians. Allows them to get under his pads and keep them at bay. Isn’t a zero technique. Doesn’t play OL off of each other when getting double teamed. Doesn’t have really long arms to lock out OL and keep them off of his frame.
Has a very special blend at such an early stage in his development. Has a quickness, strength and power most DL don’t possess and most OL can’t handle alone. He makes OL have a physical reaction one way or another on almost every snap. Whether it be getting moved backwards with his hand punch, getting spun around and knocked to the ground because of his strength and quick hands or grabbing at thin air because of his physical quickness, there’s an obvious show of a disturbance. Not everything he does is successful or done with proper technique though. When facing veterans who have good size and are well coached he will go quiet for stretches. They use steady hands along with the ability to re-anchor once they get over the shock of his hand punch. He has to learn to find a way to work thru this so that it occurs less often but he’s young and still developing. It was a really good first campaign and his athleticism, strength and skill set makes him a terror as a pass rusher. He looks like a 10+ sacks a season type pass rusher moving forward who can also be an unblockable type force. He’s a top 10 pick in waiting but he may need more time to refine his skill set. He’d be better served in staying in school for two seasons but if he does declare its because he had an extraordinary 2019 season which would be a lead in to a high 1st round anyway. Doesn’t declare.
#51 Marlon Tuipulotu (rSo.) DT 6-3 305. Has appeared in 15 games with 11 starts. Versatile. Has experience at all three DL positions in a 3-4. Lines up anywhere along the line from down to down. Has a nonstop motor. Will chase plays down the LOS and downfield. Has a thick build. Has a solid frame with big thighs and calves. Has a good rip move when he does use it.
Suffered a sprained knee against Stanford on September 9, 2017 and missed the following game against Texas on September 16, 2017. Suffered a herniated disk in his lower back prior to the September 29, 2017 game against Washington State. Had season ending surgery and received a medical redshirt as a result. Missed spring camp of 2018 while recovering. Doesn’t appear to be his listing of 6-3. Looks to be closer to 6-1. Isn’t consistently active with his hands. Gets stuck to blocks due to inactivity with his hands. Does a lot of pushing and attempted strong arming. Doesn’t have any real quickness off of the snap. Isn’t a pass rusher. Isn’t creative in his pursuit of the QB. Rarely uses any moves or variation as a pass rusher. Isn’t very stout as a run defender. Gets pushed around and knocked back off of the LOS a lot. Gets taken out with little resistance when double teamed.
His strength and motor are his biggest attributes but every aspect of his game is lacking. With his size and as before mentioned strength he should have an advantage as far as pad level goes but he comprises that by rising straight up out of his stance far too often. He negates his built in advantages before engaging an OL. He isn’t a stout run defender for this reason. He isn’t as quick or as fast as he could be consistently off of the snap as a pass rusher. He lacks a burst. He doesn’t bend and only ever approaches an OL straight up exposing his frame once again negating any real possibility of getting to the QB. He does have quick hands when he unleashes them but that’s rare. Very nice swim move that goes to waste. There is some talent here but he has a great deal of work to do in order to become a viable next level prospect. He’s far from that at this stage. Doesn’t declare.
#72 Andrew Vorhees (Jr.) RG 6-6 315. Has appeared in 25 games with 20 starts. Married since March of 2018. Has excellent size for the position. Has a solid frame with very weight distribution all throughout with long arms. Has OT size. Good athlete. Coordinated and compact in all of his movements. Has quick feet and remains centered from top to bottom. Quick mover going forward towards the second level. Latches on at a good rate. Has good technique. Absorbs contact from the defender really well. Uses good hand placement. Has good awareness. Keeps his eyes up and his head on a swivel as a zone blocker. Keeps his C and RT within arms reach in case a quick double team is needed.
Suffered a meniscus tear in April of 2018. Had surgery as a result. Had a flare up of the injury in fall camp but didn’t miss any regular season game time. Lacks a great deal of functional football strength. Isn’t a powerful player. Isn’t a mauler or man mover. Hand punch doesn’t affect defenders much at all. Has some hip stiffness. Has his troubles moving quickly laterally at times. Slow reaction time to a defender coming in on a blitz where he has to move laterally to fend them off. Seems to fall to one knee every time in such instances. Tends to dip his head down right before engaging in a block with a shorter defender. Feet get sluggish when dealing with speed from a defender.
Has a look at points where he has promise at both RG and RT. Looks very composed and coordinated and is able to control DL after the initial contact quite well. His inability to redirect laterally is striking for an otherwise good athlete. It becomes more obvious and pronounced the better the competition. He’s seems to have even less strength, worse balance and appears lesser an athlete. He can’t seem to make the adjustments against interior defensive linemen players with speed, power and pass rush ability (was match up against Notre Dame DL Jerry Tillery only a few times in 2018 but each one on one snap was a no contest). There are some tools here but he’s far from being a next level prospect in some very important ways. He needs a great deal of work in the strength and conditioning department, better lower body flexibility and work on his technique. He looks like a good athlete with a lot of upside, even possibly at RT at times but it’s more of a mirage at this point. Conditions have to be ideal, as in DL who are quick off of the snap where he can remain composed. Most situations aren’t ideal however so he has to improve drastically. He has to exhaust his eligibility to get to a positive point. Doesn’t declare.
Non draft eligible player(s) of note:
#8 Amon-Ra St. Brown (So.) WR 6-1 195. Has appeared in 12 games with 5 starts. Very smart. Speaks three languages fluently (English, French and German). Picks up on things quickly. Versatile. Learned and is capable at all three WR positions. A bonafide #1 WR! Excellent athlete. A well beyond his years route runner. Runs crisp routes and is effective at creating separation with his quickness and fluidity. Has excellent hands. Is a top flight short, intermediate and deep pass catcher. Can create yards after the catch. Tracks the ball very well over his shoulder. He’s a future franchise type WR on the next level barring any setbacks. A very, very rare player who you appreciate from both sides immediately.
#18 JT Daniels (So.) QB 6-3 210. Has appeared in 11 games with 11 starts. Very cerebral at a very young age. Good athlete. Has a very strong arm. Can make all the throws in the book. Shows accuracy to the short, intermediate and deep levels. Play was at times spectacular and at other times he looked like a freshman QB with the really bad decisions that he made. Has the makings of a franchise type QB with the ark he’s on. Physical and mental maturity will go a long way in determining how good he’ll become but his freshman season was a bright start.