DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
Illinois went into last Saturday’s game averaging 37 points per game through the first three weeks of the season. On the flip side, the Redhawks of Miami University had lost their first three games by an average score of 36-7. The results were predictable, with the Illini cruising to a 50-14 win on their home field. Here’s a look at how some of the draft eligible players from both sides performed that afternoon.
#2 QB Nathan Scheelhaase
- Drops, plenty of time, surveys and dumps it to the left to the RB
- Has a man open down the left sideline between two defenders but WR can’t come down with the ball – not a bad throw, just a little too far to the outside
- Play action and again dumps it down to the RB – not sure if it’s planned but he doesn’t seem to be giving much of a look down the field
- Play action from about five yards out draws the DB in and he lobs it to the back of the end zone for a TD to the TE
- Play action and throws a tight spiral down the right sideline to the open TE – nice touch on the throw
- Drops back and plants – overthrows a wide open TE down the middle of the field on a possible TD
- Again, throws to the same area of the field – two receivers and five defenders in the area and the ball is up for grabs and picked off – poor decision, poor throw
- Finds his WR on a skinny post to the middle-left portion of the field – not great velocity but nice touch to get it over the LB
- Behind his WR on the slant but complete
- Finds his slot WR on a hitch for a third down conversion
- High throw to the back of the end zone – TE makes a terrific leaping, fingertip catch to save the TD
- Play action and throws deep between two defenders – WR makes a leaping catch on another high pass
- Shoulder fake and again throws it high down the middle of the field, complete with four defenders in the area
- Play action and finds the TE in the flat for another short TD throw
- Pump fake and hits the TE deep to the middle-left part of the field – throw is almost broken up or picked off by the TE corrals it and runs it in for another TD
- Under pressure and flips it backhanded toward the RB – very dangerous and questionable decision
- Successful on a couple of keepers – athletic runner
Overview: Scheelhaase connected on five touchdown passes in about two and a half quarters of football. He did well selling the play action, and showed pretty good touch on a number of downfield throws. However, he tends to sail the ball high and force his receivers to climb the ladder to make the catch. He also made a couple of questionable decisions – one resulting in an interception, and another that just missed being picked off. Scheelhaase is a good athlete and has improved as a passer, but he has been erratic throughout his career. It will take more than a few big games against lesser competition to convince NFL teams that he is worthy of being drafted.
#45 LB Jonathan Brown
- Reads the rollout and closes very quickly – shows strength to drive the pulling G back into the QB but does not disengage quickly enough to make a tackle – QB scrambles for a first down
- Squares up and makes the tackle on a short run near midfield
- Drops back into coverage on the TE and gets his hand up to tip the ball – nice job of tracking the ball and almost picked off
- Flows down the line and makes a big hit to stop the QB keeper after a short gain
- Gets off the block of the TE to make a stop on a red zone run – RB picked up about five yards first
Overview: Brown displayed strength, speed and solid tackling technique throughout the game, but his most impressive play was the pass breakup. He read the pass and looked comfortable dropping into coverage. Consistency in this area would go a long way in boosting his draft stock.
#59 DE Tim Kynard
- Gets over the outside shoulder of the RT and stays at home – nice job recognizing the QB keeper and moving in for the tackle right at the line of scrimmage
- Stays with the play and is able to make a tackle on a short scramble for a first down
- Knifes inside the RT and gets into the backfield but is unable to make the stop
- Gets his left hand up and bats down a ball at the line of scrimmage on a third down pass
- On fourth down near midfield the snap is botched and picked up by the RB – smothers the RB for a tackle for loss and turnover on downs
- Chases down the QB to make the tackle on a short keeper
Overview: Kynard is in his first year as a full time player, and was disruptive early in this game. He looked stout in run defense, and he batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Kynard is worth keeping an eye on as the Illini head into the Big Ten portion of their schedule.
#8 WR Miles Osei
- Lines up in the slot to the left and runs a skinny post – makes the catch down the field and holds on after a hit
- Takes the pitch on a reverse and throws the ball away – D was not fooled
- Blocking downfield on a big gain by the RB
Overview: Osei is a former quarterback, and the Illini tried to run a pass play for him, but it took too long to develop and was blown up by pressure. His lone reception indicated that he may have some future as a possession receiver, and he is not afraid to help out in the running game. Osei doesn’t have gaudy statistics, but his versatility could earn him an NFL tryout.
#89 TE Evan Wilson
- Tremendous, leaping, fingertip grab in the back of the end zone on a very high throw – only gets one foot in bounds but very close to two – athletic play
- Strong block on a run play to seal off the lane to the outside and help spring a big gain
Overview: Wilson has prototypical size and showed impressive athleticism on his touchdown catch, but he is one of three tight ends that Illinois uses regularly so he flies under the radar. He seems like the type of prospect who could turn out to be a better pro than collegian.
#16 QB Austin Boucher
- Fakes the jet sweep and keeps – gets back to the line of scrimmage and not much else
- Rolls right and gets pressured from the LB – is able to elude the heat and scramble for the first down
- Fakes the jet sweep left and keeps for about an eight yard carry
- Under pressure and rolls right and throws it away
- Finds a man open down the left sideline for a big gain
- Series of QB keepers and one throw away to close out the first half
- Down the left sideline again for a completion – throws are floaters – not much on them
- Throws left again and should have been a pick six – no business making that throw
- Finds the TE on a quick hitter down the middle
- Finds a man open on a rollout right on fourth and goal at the two – play is ruled a TD but WR had the ball poked away – iffy call
Overview: Miami’s offense was ugly and involved a lot of designed quarterback runs. Boucher split time under center, and when he was asked to pass he didn’t make a single, NFL caliber throw. There is no reason to think of Miami’s signal caller as an NFL prospect.
#87 TE Steve Marck
- Slips into the middle of the field and makes a catch – drags a couple of tacklers for a few extra yards – not an athletic looking player
- Throws a block to seal the defender to the outside on a QB option keeper
- Gets called for ineligible man down field penalty – not his mistake
- Blocking the LB on a run in the red zone – LB gets off the block and makes the stop but after a decent gain
Overview: Marck only caught one pass and still managed to look like the best draft prospect on Miami’s offense. He doesn’t have ideal size or athleticism, but he looked like he can be counted on to do the dirty work. Marck won’t get a lot of opportunities this season, but he could still get a look in a tryout next spring.