What makes Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, other stars shine? Watch Week 4 like a scout #news

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By Rob Rang
FOX Sports NFL Draft Analyst

Watch Week 4 of the college football season like a skilled scout with this at hand viewing information.

While ultimate week’s motion indubitably featured some heart-pounding moments — particularly for the house crowds at Washington, Notre Dame and Appalachian State — it was once slightly an appetizer compared to Week 4, which boasts a slate flush with Top-25 showdowns and sour convention rivalries.

Like most school soccer lovers, NFL scouts admire tightly contested video games between blue-blood techniques. 

And whilst scouts are patently specializing in draft-eligible avid gamers, make no mistake, they’re simply as prone to get swept up within the pleasure over a younger famous person as the remainder of us — with Michigan’s dual-threat quarterback J.J. McCarthy already producing quite a few buzz. 

McCarthy and the fourth-ranked Wolverines lead off this Saturday’s must-see scouting alternatives. 

Maryland at No. 4 Michigan (noon ET; FOX and the FOX Sports app)

In hindsight, the verdict turns out glaring, but if Clemson head trainer Dabo Swinney made up our minds that then-true freshman Trevor Lawrence would give his staff its best possible likelihood at successful a nationwide championship over incumbent starter Kelly Bryant, there have been quite a few critics.

Michigan head trainer Jim Harbaugh hopes to have a an identical scenario brewing with McCarthy, who indubitably appeared the a part of a younger famous person since taking on for Cade McNamara, the passer who helped the Wolverines win the Big Ten a 12 months in the past. Needless to mention, McCarthy has a lengthy, lengthy approach to pass prior to warranting comparability to the No. 1 total select of the 2020 NFL draft, however the aggregate of pace, arm power and accuracy he’s proven up to now is thrilling. 

J.J. McCarthy to Roman Wilson!

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy discovered Roman Wilson on a 42-yard TD go in opposition to Hawaii this season.

And Harbaugh isn’t shielding his younger protégé. McCarthy was once requested to make a number of NFL-caliber throws within the Wolverines’ dismantling of Hawaii and Connecticut the previous two weeks, and he confirmed very best contact and trajectory on deep balls, in addition to timing and precision on slants, posts and deep outs to the sideline. 

Better but, whilst agile and explosive as a runner, McCarthy has proven excellent imaginative and prescient and endurance to threaten as a scrambler and pressure defenders to creep towards the road of scrimmage, most effective to layer passes excessive within the areas they’ve vacated. Of route, enjoying quarterback is far more uncomplicated with dynamic guns at the outdoor like Ronnie Bell and Roman Wilson, either one of whom most likely will likely be on NFL rosters at the moment subsequent 12 months.  

The visiting and undefeated Terrapins are a steep improve from the contest McCarthy and the Wolverines have confronted, up to now, boasting a celebrity quarterback of their very own in Taulia Tagovailoa, the more youthful brother of the Miami Dolphins’ standout signal-caller. The Terps boast a high quality secondary to head in conjunction with their gifted passing assault. Junior protection Beau Brade has just about two times as many tackles (27) as somebody else on Maryland’s roster, with an interception and compelled fumble, as smartly. Cornerback Jakorian Bennett is these days tied for 2nd within the nation with 5 go breakups and entered the marketing campaign already at the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Bowl’s respective Watch Lists.  

No. 15 Oregon at Washington State (4 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports app)

Like lots of the other contests in Week 4, this key Pac-12 showdown between the Ducks and Cougars will probably be “billed” as a fight between switch quarterbacks Bo Nix (up to now at Auburn) and WSU’s Cameron Ward (Incarnate Wood), although the 2 quarterbacks clearly gained’t in reality be dealing with each and every other.

Many faculty soccer lovers (and scouts) are already fairly aware of Nix, however Ward has in truth proved the extra constant participant this season and over their respective careers, appearing the mobility, imaginative and prescient and a short unlock to be fairly efficient because the chief of WSU’s offense. 

Cameron Ward tosses TD vs. Wisconsin

Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward findsNakia Watson for the 31-yard TD go in opposition to Wisconsin previous this season.

While he has struggled with consistency — particularly as a pocket passer — Nix possesses the bodily characteristics each NFL staff is having a look to increase, together with quite a few arm power and athleticism. He performed fairly smartly in Oregon’s thumping of a gifted BYU squad ultimate week however has a more difficult problem in opposition to WSU’s athletic protection, which is led by way of linebacker Daiyan Henley. A senior, Henley now not most effective possesses the velocity to fulfill Nix at the perimeter, however he’s additionally bodily and short to diagnose performs, attacking downhill in a flash. Henley led the Cougars with 9 tackles (together with 1.5 for loss) of their disappointed win at Wisconsin two weeks in the past and he will have to be in a similar fashion efficient in opposition to an Oregon staff having a look to run the ball simply as frequently because the Badgers.

Iowa at Rutgers (7 p.m. ET; FS1)

When the 2022 agenda was once launched, few most likely expected that it will be the Scarlet Knights getting into this contest undefeated fairly than the visiting Hawkeyes. But head trainer Greg Schiano has Rutgers enjoying with self assurance, serving to this system pull out tight victories over Boston College (22-21) and Temple (16-14) at the highway. Few are higher in shut video games than Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, which will have to make this the type of defensive brawl the Big Ten used to hold its collective hat on.

For a lot of Ferentz’s tenure, Iowa has produced excellent, blue-collar, tough-guy soccer avid gamers that scouts and draftniks have lauded — most effective to observe them fight in pre-draft exercises. That, then again, isn’t prone to be the case with cornerback Riley Moss, probably the most “freakiest” athletes in faculty soccer, in keeping with longtime analyst Bruce Feldman.

The 6-foot-1, 193-pound Moss isn’t associated with the Hall of Fame extensive receiver, however one would possibly suppose it when he works out, as he’s anticipated to publish eye-popping numbers within the vertical bounce and trip drills — assessments which show explosiveness and alter of course. Those skills are vital to enjoying cornerback, and Moss has already proven his namesake’s ball abilities, intercepting 10 passes over his profession with 3 of them returned for touchdowns. 

Moss may be matched up one-on-one with Rutgers’ most-gifted athlete, Aron Cruickshank, who leads the Scarlet Knights in receptions and receiving yards, has scored as each a receiver and runner, and likewise serves because the staff’s best kick and punt returner. At 5-foot-10, 170 kilos, Cruickshank possesses the lithe body and sport to present the lanky Moss a actual problem. In a sport that most likely doesn’t produce many issues, this matchup may well be very attention-grabbing. 

Kansas State at No. 6 Oklahoma (8 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports app)

This sport is being performed in September, nevertheless it feels like consuming dessert after a hearty Thanksgiving meal. That’s as a result of probably the most tastiest matchups of a implausible Saturday of faculty soccer doesn’t come till overdue when Felix Anudike-Uzomah — the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year — will get a likelihood to surprise Dillon Gabriel and the website hosting sixth-ranked Sooners. 

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Anudike-Uzomah was once incredible a 12 months in the past, completing 2nd most effective to Alabama famous person Will Anderson Jr. amongst sophomores around the nation, amassing an eye-popping 14.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 6 compelled fumbles. He is proving that ultimate 12 months was once no fluke, too, registering 9 tackles, together with 3.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, and any other compelled fumble in 3 video games to this point this 12 months.

Anudike-Uzomah is a amusing participant to guage as a result of he flashes all varieties of thrilling characteristics, which recommend that he’s simply scratching the outside of his attainable. When he instances the snap proper, his quick-twitch explosiveness can depart tackles sucking vapor trails. He’s lightning-quick and coordinates his fingers and toes smartly, dipping and ripping his well past would-be blockers. He’s additionally strangely robust on the level of assault and performs exhausting, popping out of nowhere to “steal” large tackles at the back of the road of scrimmage when he’s apparently been contained for many of the play.

By now, scouts are fairly aware of the Wildcats’ go rusher, they usually will have to additionally know the Sooners’ proper take on, Wanya Morris, who in the beginning signed as a five-star recruit at Tennessee. Scouts have some background to paintings on with Morris — together with why he was once suspended previous this season — however his skill is simple. The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder is short off the snap and displays excellent lateral agility, steadiness and duration to stay edge rushers corralled. He’s anticipated to line up at proper take on in opposition to Kansas State, however maximum of his revel in is at the left facet. With Anudike-Uzomah prone to be moved far and wide the road for the visiting Wildcats (a 12.5-point underdog per FOX Bet), there will have to be quite a few battles for scouts to observe those two long run NFL avid gamers compete. 

Stanford at No. 18 Washington (10:30 p.m. ET; FS1)

Stanford’s Tanner McKee was once probably the most extra extremely touted quarterbacks all over the offseason, however his junior marketing campaign has now not began off in addition to was hoping, with him tossing an interception in a season-opening win over Colgate and two extra in a loss to USC. Still, scouts are enamored together with his prototypical body (6-foot-5, 230 kilos), arm and revel in in a pro-style offense, and either one of his alternatives in opposition to the Trojans had been catchable passes deflected into the air by way of his meant goals. 

Whereas McKee has underwhelmed up to now this season — a minimum of statistically — Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. has arguably boosted his inventory up to any quarterback within the nation to this point, proudly owning an outstanding 10-1 landing to interception ratio and appearing brilliantly in ultimate week’s house victory over then-Eleventh ranked Michigan State

The quarterbacks will understandably obtain the majority of the pregame center of attention, however Stanford and Washington are widely known for generating high quality NFL potentialities alongside the road of scrimmage, and this 12 months isn’t any other. Scouts are circling the matchup between Stanford’s stable senior left take on Walter Rouse and Washington’s toolsy redshirt sophomore edge rusher Bralen Trice, whose body and sport are harking back to his former teammate Joe Tryon, a 2021 first-round select by way of Tampa Bay

Like the quarterback he’s protective, Rouse appears to be like like he got here out of central casting for his place, boasting a robust 6-foot-5, 318-pound body with very good weight distribution, excellent preliminary quickness and lateral agility, and a robust pop to stun and stall defenders. Trice (in addition to teammate Zion Tupuola-Fetui) have sufficient burst and bend off the snap to problem Rouse, however the Huskies aren’t prone to keep watch over the road of scrimmage the best way they did many of the evening in opposition to Michigan State, making this a contest value staying up for.

No. 5 Clemson at No. 21 Wake Forest (noon ET

Scouts looking at this key ACC matchup will indubitably be specializing in the quarterbacks, as Clemson junior DJ Uiagalelei (6-foot-4, 240 kilos) is likely one of the extra bodily enforcing potentialities on the place in years, and fourth-year Wake Forest celebrity Sam Hartman — whilst indubitably smaller at a indexed 6-foot-1, 210 kilos — is these days the easier, savvier passer. 

If the Twenty first-ranked Demon Deacons are to tug off the house disappointed over No. 5 Clemson, Hartman must be extra than simply excellent, then again. The Tigers boast one of the proficient defenses in faculty soccer and could be emotionally charged given the anticipated go back of junior defensive take on Bryan Bresee. While simply a redshirt sophomore, the 6-foot-5, 305-pound Bresee is already a projected first-round select, demonstrating a phenomenal aggregate of measurement, energy and athleticism. He overlooked ultimate week’s sport grieving for his sister, Ella, who died at simply 15 because of an competitive type of mind most cancers. Several teammates, together with all of Clemson’s defensive tackles and Uiagalelei, joined Bresee in attending Ella’s funeral this week. 

One indubitably couldn’t blame Bresee if he had been distracted, however this sport pits him and the remainder of a gifted Clemson entrance in opposition to probably the most extra underrated internal offensive traces within the nation. Bresee is an athletic surprise, demonstrating uncommon burst and versatility for a guy of his measurement, however the Deacons’ middle Michael Jurgens and left guard Sean Maginn are NFL hopefuls, as smartly. Neither possesses the lateral agility to maintain a targeted Bresee one-on-one for lengthy, however each possess sufficient measurement and power to anchor properly and paintings smartly in tandem. 

No. 20 Florida at No. 11 Tennessee (3:30 p.m. ET)

While Florida’s toolsy younger quarterback Anthony Richardson was once touted by way of some all over the offseason as the following large factor at quarterback within the SEC, Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker has staked his declare because the respectable proprietor of this moniker, main the undefeated Vols’ to their best possible score in years with six passing touchdowns (and two extra as a rusher) with out an interception. While hardly ever discussed a number of the best passing potentialities, Hooker has a profession TD-INT charge of 59-10 and possesses all of the characteristics wanted for luck within the NFL. 

Hooker, who started his profession at Virginia Tech, has advanced superbly beneath Tennessee head trainer Josh Heupel’s tutelage, demonstrating a great deal stepped forward consciousness, imaginative and prescient, contact and poise. Hooker is likely one of the higher deep ball passers on this draft magnificence, shedding the ball into the bucket with consistency. He and the Vols are dealing with their stiffest take a look at of the 12 months, then again, with a gifted Florida protection coming to Knoxville. Given Hooker’s deep-ball skillability, most likely probably the most intriguing “one-on-one” matchup of this sport could be with Florida protection Trey Dean III, who, like Hooker, entered the 12 months at the Senior Bowl’s watch listing.

Dean was once terrific in ultimate 12 months’s 38-14 drubbing of Tennessee, amassing 11 tackles, together with 1.5 for loss, each season-highs. He is a rangy, alert defender short to cause downhill to reinforce the run. His price to the NFL, then again, lies together with his agility, pace and consciousness in protection. He now not most effective can maintain deep protection obligations, Dean possesses the man-to-man duvet abilities to drop down and maintain slot tasks — as he frequently did a 12 months in the past in opposition to the Vols in Gainesville. 

Read extra:

– CFP, Heisman and other predictions from FOX Sports staff 

– Who can challenge Ohio State, Michigan in Big Ten?


– The Ultimate College Football Road Trip hits Tennessee

– Maryland-Michigan and more: Week 4 by the numbers

– Oklahoma on the rise: Joel Klatt’s top 10

– USC, Oklahoma on a CFP collision course?

Rob Rang is an NFL Draft analyst for FOX Sports. He has been protecting the NFL Draft for greater than twenty years, with paintings at FOX, Sports Illustrated, CBSSports.com, USA Today, Yahoo, NFL.com and NFLDraftScout.com, amongst others. He additionally works as a scout with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Follow him on Twitter @RobRang.

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