College Football Scouting Notes: Marcus Mariota Improves His Draft Stock


Sep 6, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) walks with fans after the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 of the season is in the books, so I wanted to share my college football scouting notes from what I saw on Saturday from a scouting and observation perspective. Even though many people thought this was a weak schedule of games, there were a lot of interesting matchups that helped give us a clearer picture of some of the top prospects in the draft.

Marcus Mariota showed his full potential.

I believe it was Charles Davis who brought up that Marcus Mariota had worked with George Whitfield during the offseason to help with his pocket presence. That definitely paid off. He was smoother in his actions in the pocket and did a much better job at keeping his eyes downfield. His footwork was not perfect, but he was still leaps and bounds better when under pressure than he was during his sophomore year. Before the year started, I had Jameis Winston rated higher than Mariota, but Mariota is making strides in taking over that top spot.

Connor Cook is also very interesting.

Do not overlook Connor Cook. I have not done an extensive look at him, but I definitely liked what I saw in his game against Oregon. There is definitely some refinement issues, but he has good pocket presence and a strong, accurate arm. Don’t be surprised if he becomes a first round pick in 2015 or 2016.

I overrated Devin Gardner again.

Thank God he is a senior, because if he were eligible again next year, I would undoubtedly overrate him again. I blame this on Denard Robinson preceding him, as Gardner looked so much better at quarterback than Denard. Although Gardner shows flashes of his potential, but he’s not a quarterback prospect, he’s a receiving prospect at the next level.

The B1G is not out of the title picture.

But Wisconsin lost in week one…

And Michigan State lost…

And Ohio State lost…

And Michigan lost…

And Nebraska barely beat McNeese State.

Well, to that last one, I respond with, “A win is a win.” To the others, it doesn’t help the conference, but it doesn’t kill the conference. If any team in the Big Ten goes undefeated the rest of the way, it will take an extremely unlikely scenario to keep that team out of the playoff. Is the Big Ten good this year? It doesn’t appear so, but that doesn’t mean they will not put a team in the playoff. It’s early, and by the end of the year, the power of these non-conference losses lose their steam, as people will value their recent results over what happened at the beginning of the year.


Iowa is still undefeated.

Iowa beat Ball State 17-13 this week thanks to two touchdowns in the final three minutes. That may not sound impressive on its face, but this is not just a run-of-the-mill MACrificial lamb. This is literally a state of ballers. So bravo to the Hawkeyes on an impressive victory. Iowa has a very weak schedule, but they also don’t appear to have enough talent to take advantage of it. If you do watch an Iowa game, enjoy watching Brandon Scherff (who could be a top-10 pick) plow through people. Enjoy watching the defensive line, especially Carl Davis (who has a chance to be a first round pick) and Drew Ott (who is turning himself into a draftable prospect). Two true sophomores that have shown great potential are Desmond King, who is basically shutting down half the field in the passing game, and Reggie Spearman who is athletically gifted and just turned 18 years old less than a month ago. He makes mistakes in his assignments, but what 18 year-old doesn’t make mistakes? I would say his are more commendable than most people his age, who are being convinced to buy cigarettes and pornography for their friends.

And that wraps up my thoughts on Week 2 of the college football schedule. Week 3 has a better depth of games but is lacking on top-level matchups. Still, college football is great, and there is no NFL on Saturdays, so unless you want to waste time hanging out with family and friends, sit back and enjoy the games.