The Florida State Seminoles played a tight game vs the #1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners, but failed to win the game as quarterback E.J. Manuel failed to impress. But players on both defenses had tremendous games.
I was high on Manuel heading into last night’s game and was waiting to see if he could sky rocket his stock into the 1st-2nd round range with a big game. Manuel has a lot of qualities N.F.L. scouts are looking for. He has a big arm, excellent size and mobility and serious untapped potential. But Manuel didn’t have a great game. He was 13 for 19 with 85 yards (and average of 4.5 yards per attempt) and threw two interceptions. One of the interceptions was an absolute terrible pass where Manuel just threw it right over the middle because he was hurried. The other interception was because he didn’t loft the ball high enough on the screen pass, but on that player the Sooners linebacker Tom Wort made an excellent play to tip the ball to himself and come away with the interception. It’s not that Manuel didn’t flash his potential, but on a night when he had a serious chance to put himself into the conversation with Nick Foles and Kirk Cousins as the first quarterback in the second tier, he came up short. More troubling is that Manuel left with a shoulder injury, he came running back onto the sidelines hoping to play, but remained on the sidelines.
Sayre’s scouting report on Manuel prior to the College Football season.
Manuel enters his first season as the unquestioned number one quarterback on the Florida State roster, and he could be poised for a big season. Has been tweaking and perfecting his mechanics and footwork for the last couple of years, to the point where head coach Jimbo Fisher has indicated he should see significant improvements in accuracy and arm strength, and has decreased his chances of re-injuring his shoulder (which he has had problems with in the past). Perhaps not a candidate to leave early because he is so raw, but he should be the focal point of the FSU offense this year, and could be poised for a huge season. Fans will want to see him make great strides in his touchdown/interception ratio, which last year was 1:1, even though he only threw 93 passes overall. Big, rangy athlete with a strong arm and solid vision down the field. A threat to move the chains any time he touches the ball because of his ability to scramble. To this point, has been more of a thrower than a passer, which has resulted in some poor throws and interceptions. Still, his completion percentage has always been high. When he sets his feet correctly, his accuracy down the field is dead on, and he has a strong enough arm to complete any and every NFL throw. Look for this kid to really break out in 2011 and potentially vault himself into first round discussion with a solid year as a first time starter.
What was more impressive was the intensity that both defenses played with. What also happened is that the Seminoles showed that their lofty top 5 ranking is not premature. The Seminoles are back with Jimbo Fisher at the helm. They are laden with good N.F.L. prospects on both sides of the ball, headlined by DE/OLB Brandon Jenkins, OT Andrew Datko (had a very solid game), and CB Xavier Rhodes.
Rhodes is a better cornerback prospect than former Noles and recent first round pick, Patrick Robinson. Rhodes is a redshirt sophmore and could potentially work his way into the first round of the 2012 N.F.L draft and seems like a lock for the first round if he continues his progression into next year for the 2013 N.F.L. draft.
But the Semioles defensive player who might have put himself on the map is DL Bjoern Werner from Germany lived in the Sooners backfield throughout the game, and especially in the first half making life rough for the potent Sooners offense.
On the other side of things Landry Jones also had an opportunity to put Matt Barkley on the back burner, but was unable to have the kind of Heisman candidate vaulting performance the Sooners were hoping for. Jones didn’t hurt his stock (and neither did Manuel, Manuel just missed an opportunity vault his stock), but he looked less than stellar facing a quality defense that is going to put players in the N.F.L. The most impressive performance last night was Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills who had some very awesome catches, ending up 7 catches for a 125 yards. Still overshadowed potential first round pick, Ryan Broyles.
From a non-scouting perspective, what an excellent game. College Football at its finest.
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