In what will be a weekly Tuesday appearence (generally earlier in the day starting next week), we'll use our resources and focus on the small schools to bring you a unique scouting take on prospects beyond just the FBS level.
This week, our staff was live at the West Chester vs. Delaware and Temple vs. Villanova game, while also scouting these games from the past week.
Notes this week by Eric Galko and Alex Brown
West Chester vs. Delaware
Nihja White, WR
I was expecting more out of the top receiver who’s averaged 4 catchers per game over his last 35 starts at Delaware. He didn’t have a drop all night, had very reliable hands, and positioned his body well in traffic. But once defenses started inching closer in double teams and started forcing him to beat him outside, he couldn’t gain separation and was nearly irrelevant. Still among the Top 50 small schoolers and a receiver to watch, but he’s not at a level that would make him a draftable receiver. (complete scouting notes from game)
Paul Worrilow, OLB
The leader of a front seven that lacks experience and depth, Worrilow has a lot of pressure to both instruct younger players along with being the feature playmaker. He struggled to get consistent pass rush as a blitzer and to stay clean in the run game, likely thanks to his interior defensive line consistently being pushed around. He also flashed but didn't consistently get great depth in coverage. While he may get a pass for early season struggles thanks to a poor front 7 around him, he needs to prove a lot to be worthy of an NFL shot.
Temple vs. Villanova
Norman White, WR
As a prospect I like a lot, I was expecting more out of Norman White. After recovering from a foot injury in the pre-season last year, the 6’4, 220 pound receiver didn’t get enough separation or show great route IQ all game long. Even though his lack of separation and speed were more prevalent than I expected, White’s natural physicality, size, and athleticism were enough to still impress me at the game. (complete scouting notes from game)
Indiana State vs. Indiana
Shakir Bell, RB (JR)
A jump-cutting, undersized and elusive tailback, Bell showcased the lateral agility and change of direction to expose bad run fits, make defenders miss, and consistently rack up positive yardage. Pressing the hole and having the patience to allow blockers to develop, Bell displays adequate vision and feel for the position. As an extremely undersized tailback that wins with a combination of quickness and burst, Bell has an uphill battle in making an NFL roster, let alone be drafted. That being said, Bell is just a junior and still has another year of eligibility to bulk up and develop. Certainly a small school back to keep an eye on.
Ben Obaseki, DE
While lacking great size or strength, Indiana State’s defensive end, Ben Obaseki remained highly active with his lateral quickness, movement skills, and motor. Moving forward, he’ll have to play with more bend and explosiveness as a pass rusher to warrant a draftable grade. Viewed as a 3-4 outside linebacker prospect by NFL teams, Obaseki still put forth a solid outing against a BCS conference, FBS opponent.
McNeese State vs. Middle Tennessee State
Darius Carey, WR
McNeese State’s most explosive and dynamic offensive weapon, Darius Carey contributes to the offense in a multitude of ways, as a starting receiver, the Wildcat quarterback, and the team’s return specialist. Quick footed and sudden off the line with his release, Carey gets into his route immediately, while avoiding contact well in route. Able to create yards after the catch with elusiveness and open field instincts, he has developed into a constant scoring threat. In his second season at wide receiver, it will be important to note his progression throughout the season as a route runner in particular, as he is a somewhat raw talent. More than likely an undrafted free agent, Carey will find his niche on special teams at the NFL level.
Malcolm Bronson, S
Easily the top NFL prospect for McNeese State, Malcolm Bronson continued to show why he’s a 2nd round caliber player. Playing more of a free safety role in the deep third, Bronson remained disciplined and under control in his run/pass reads, taking proper steps to flow and constantly placing himself in correct positioning. Communicating all calls and checks presnap, it’s good to see Bronson take that next step as a player, in leading the other 10 defenders on the field.
General Small School Scouting Notes
-Eureka QB (Division III) Sam Durley threw for an NCAA record 736 yards this past weekend. This doesn't make him an NFL prospect, but it does mean that I and likely NFL teams will at least call the school for game film to see if his stats can equate to skill set.
-The Miami Dolphins were one of a handful of teams that have already planned/seen Lehigh football this year, likely focusing almost entirely on WR Ryan Spadola. He's a fantastic receiver talent with both Z receiver and slot receiver upside.
-Four FCS teams won against FBS teams this past weekend. McNeese State and Eastern Washington over Middle Tennessee State and Idaho (respectively) aren't that surprising becasue both teams feature multiple fringe NFL talents (Malcolm Bronson of McNeese State, Kyle Padron/Nick Edwards of Eastern Washington). However, UT Martin over Memphis was surprising because Martin lacks some meaningful NFL talent, and Youngstown State upsetting BCS team Pittsburgh is more embarassing for Pitt than anything else, especially since YSU was lead by a freshman RB and a sophomore QB.
-Wofford FB Eric Breitstein rushed for 219 yards in his team's week 1 game against Gardner-Webb. While I have watched that game directly, I have seen Breitstein in the past, and he is one of the premier running fullbacks in country. If he can have another big year, stay healthy, and show versatility as a fullback, he could be worth a draft pick in the future.
-Former Notre Dame/Montana quarterback (and son of Joe) Nate Montana lost his first game at West Virginia Weslyan, 41-17. He threw for 255 yards, had a 55% completion percentage, and had 2 TDs. A good but not ideal start for Montana.