Last night, a full college football Saturday occurred for the first time in the 2020/21 season. The Eagles sent representatives to the Michigan vs Minnesota game in order to get an early eye on the 2021 draft class. It’s safe to say they were treated to a great game as it ended up 49-24 Michigan with multiple players on both teams impressing. Here are some players from both teams who may have caught the eyes of the scouts in attendance.
I’ll start with the team that won the game and a team that really impressed me on defense in the seriously aggressive Don Brown system. The linebacker group as a whole stood out. Senior Josh Ross had a phenomenal game with 9 total tackles, 6 solo tackles, and an interception that he took 18 yards down the field.
Another linebacker who seriously impressed me was Cameron McGrone, who played well in a rushing LB position on the edge, getting 5 total tackles, 2 solo tackles, one tackle for loss, and 0.5 sacks. McGrone was constantly hunting the ball with speed and precision and will be one to keep your eyes on during this college season.
The final linebacker that impressed me was Michael Barrett, who recorded 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 1.5 tackles for loss. He also had a 66 yard kick-off return that would have been a touchdown if he had a better blocker in front of him.
Michigan’s defensive line was a huge part of my pre-game preview and they showed why as everyone got involved with the fun. Off the edge, Aidan Hutchinson recorded 6 total tackles, while his edge partner Kwity Paye had 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for loss and was a constant pain in Minnesota’s offense’s side. Carlo Kemp showed great penetration through the middle of Minnesota’s offensive line and got himself 4 tackles and a sack, and Donovan Jeter had a unique game for a defensive tackle, recovering 2 fumbles and returning one, early in the game for a touchdown.
On the offensive side, Michigan have a great running back committee and they all showed out, with Hassan Haskins being the pick of the bunch with 6 carries for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns. Zach Charbonnet had a great start to the game, going for a 70-yard touchdown rush but after that, his other 3 touches in the backfield didn’t come to anything. Joe Milton, Michigan’s QB had a nice game too going 15/22, 225 yards and a touchdown whilst rushing 8 times for 52 yards and a touchdown. WR Ronnie Bell caught 4 balls for 74 yards and was unlucky not to add a touchdown.
Minnesota was always going to have a tough time in this game as it was announced just before kickoff they would be without their starting right tackle, Daniel Faalele, and their starting right guard, meaning they’d have to reshuffle their entire line and it killed them against such an aggressive and high-end defensive line.
Tanner Morgan, Minnesota’s QB, really struggled to get anything off in the game, being sacked 5 times, constantly under pressure and was picked off late on. Although Morgan struggled, Rashod Bateman managed to have a very good game. He came alive in the second half going for 101 yards off 9 catches and really would have done better if Minnesota didn’t have the issues with their offensive line.
Chris Autman-Bell was another guy who suffered due to Morgan facing constant pressure, but he had a really nice catch and run in the first half for 45 yards where he moved out of his route to get the ball and then go for a nice chunk of yardage after the catch.
However, the bright spark of the Minnesota offense was running back Mohamed Ibrahim. He had 140 yards off 26 attempts and 2 touchdowns, alongside 4 catches for 17 yards and looked to be the only way back for Minnesota during the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, Minnesota surprisingly had a few good performances. Tyler Nubin, a sophomore DB, had 8 tackles and a forced fumble whilst junior defensive tackle Boye Mafe played well on a limited snap count with 2 tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss.
Overall, the Eagles representatives chose a great game to go and watch. Not only was the game non-stop action and a high scoring game but there was a lot of promising talent on show and I’d imagine the Eagles scouts have noted down quite a few names to keep their eye on during the season and for the build-up to the 2021 draft.
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire