1. OL Madison Akamnonu (6-5/295)
Son of a son, that’s some athleticism. If Akamnonu has done anything for his year away, I hope he’s added some weight, but if he’s anything like his junior year tape, yes, junior year tape, this is your future left tackle. You just don’t normally see a guy with his frame and size be able to move like he does. And it seems like he’s already got some serious strength that you just don’t see with a guy his size and speed. Yes, he would have his struggles, but he would be awfully good if he were to move into that left tackle spot. That footwork is pretty great too, he gets big when he’s pass blocking and he doesn’t get off balance at all.
2. OL Terence Steele (6-6/285).
No video and no film to get excited about because Steele didn’t release any past his junior year and what he has released he’s moved to a private setting and you can’t see it. Based on Lee Hays’ analysis during the end of the season, he was as high on Steele as he was Akamnonu and Steele is as athletic and fast and Le’Raven Clark. I’m as excited to see Steele as I am Akamnonu. Again, when a player only releases junior year film, loses 50 pounds and completely transforms his body. I’ve got a good feeling that there’s going to be some fun competition this year.
3. RB Corey Dauphine (6-0/194).
Going back and watching his tape, I realize how straight-lined he actually is as a runner. Not as much wiggle as I previously thought, which isn’t a bad thing. He’s got the size and strength that this straight line explosion is going to be something to watch. Similar to Stockton in that he can out-run anyone, but with a bigger body and bigger frame than Stockton. There are many times when he looks like he’s being shot out of a cannon. The biggest difference for me, between Dauphine and Stockton is that Stockton looks to be a bit tougher to bring down between the tackles and if he’s added weight during his redshirt year, he’ll be more likely to run over you, not run past you.
4. WR Donta Thompson (6-4/203).
Thompson has a huge frame and he’s another guy that I’m incredibly interested to see how and if he’s transformed his body from last year to this year. Officially, he’s only at 203, but if he’s closer to 220 or 225 then that makes him that much tougher to defend. Watching Thompson come out of breaks, he’s got such long legs, it’s like watching a giraffe at times because it takes a while for him to get going, but when he does goe, he’s got terrific body control and terrific hands. He goes up and gets the ball at the highest point, which is what makes him so dangerous and great at 6’5″. If he’s continuing that trend of getting the ball at the highest point, then he’ll be great in the red zone.
5. WR Quan Shorts (6-2/196).
When I was trying to choose the fifth guy, I debated between Shorts and Dylan Cantrell. I’m guessing that Cantrell will have the bigger impact, but since we haven’t seen video of Shorts in a full year, I thought it would be more worth our while to re-visit Shorts. Shorts does have tremendous speed and I think the big reason why he was redshirted this past year was because he needed to work on the finer points of being a receiver. That screams that Shorts needs to work on blocking (and more blocking) and the nuance of how to be a receiver, i.e. running the correct pattern based on the coverage, running crisp patterns, etc. A bit different than Thompson, Shorts sometimes catches the ball with his body and not his hands.