Each week, the scouting department at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will provide insight into some of the top prospect performances from around the nation. Be sure to keep up with our latest game announcements on Twitter @NFLPABowl.
Utah handed Stanford a massive 52-7 beatdown on Friday night with a number of seniors standing out. After a 441 rushing yard output for the Utes offense, it would be wrong to highlight any other position group than the offensive line, led by left guard Nick Ford. Moving bodies and opening rushing lanes for his teammates, Stanford never had an answer for the Utah ground game.
In fact, the 9.6 yards averaged per attempt against the Cardinal is a new school record. Ford is a versatile lineman who has started every game that he has been healthy for since 2018. During that time span, he has started at all five offensive line positions, demonstrating that he can adapt and learn quickly. “We play off each other,” Ford stated. “We trust each other and that’s all we have to keep doing,” in regards to the record-setting performance.
Washington was trying to be nasty.
4th quarter Utah OG Nick Ford has had ENOUGH!
Here’s a short set snap down for you!
He makes him stay down too. pic.twitter.com/JmSgjjUM9B
— Hans Olsen (@975Hans) November 5, 2019
After suffering an exodus of talent prior to the season, few expected the Tennessee Volunteers to enjoy such a competitive season. Sitting at 5-4 after a 45-42 road upset against a ranked Kentucky team, they are likely to compete in a bowl game after the regular season. A pick-six by senior cornerback Alontae Taylor nearly put the game out of reach.
“I just baited him (quarterback Will Levis) into that, as soon as I saw his shoulders turn, I just drove on it. I knew that was my responsibility and I had help over the top.” Taylor said post-game when asked about the play. This was not the first time that the Tennessee native showed his football intelligence, as he plays with outstanding mental alertness and anticipation. Taylor sits on the SEC Football Leadership Council, where he was voted on by his peers. An instrumental part to the SEC coming back to play last season, he is a great leader on and off the field.
“You don’t lose to Kentucky.”
– Alontae Taylor, King pic.twitter.com/XcslfNHzRy
— Houston Kress (@VolRumorMill) November 7, 2021
The LSU Tigers gave Alabama a run for their money on Saturday night, with the Tide narrowly holding on to a 20-14 victory at home. One of the most impressive players on the field in Tuscaloosa was senior defensive tackle Neil Farrell Jr., who was disruptive from the interior all night long. The senior from Mobile, Alabama finished his day with seven tackles and one sack but his impact on the game was much bigger than the box score would indicate.
Farrell played a significant part in Alabama’s lackluster rushing output of just six yards on 26 attempts. Like many others across the country, his life changed when the pandemic struck in 2020. He left the team after learning that his beloved grandmother had been hospitalized with Covid-19 in August 2020. After making her recovery, she urged her grandson to return to LSU, which he did. Longtime friend and teammate Glen Logan proclaimed, “Him (Farrell) opting out and coming back made him a better player.” Farrell’s desire to play in adversarial circumstances showcases the impressive leadership and focus that he possesses.
“He came back a different cat.”
From Coach O yesterday on Neil Farrell, talking about his feel for the ball, his awareness, ability to shed blocks, etc. pic.twitter.com/QilC0xIZnk
— Harrison Valentine (@HValentineLSU) October 26, 2021
*For more insight on the 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl process, including players who have caught our attention, be sure to tune in to ‘The State of Football’ every Thursday at 9:00 am eastern time, as executive director Dane Vandernat joins Lorenz Leinweber on Sports Illustrated!