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2021 Senior Bowl

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Recap: 2021 Senior Bowl highlights & observations


The Senior Bowl was played Saturday in Mobile, Ala. The format of the game consists of each quarter operating like a half to give the teams a chance to practice two-minute situations as time winds down. Here's what I saw on tape:

* The National team scored their first-half touchdown on the effort of two of the players who had strong weeks of practice. North Carolina running back Michael Carter (5-7, 202 pounds) broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage before showing his speed and elusiveness in space to gain 27 yards. Later in the game, Carter showed his power (with the help of his offensive line) to push a pile over the goal line for a touchdown. 

* Wide receiver/running back hybrid Demetric Felton finished off the first drive showing off his playmaking ability. Cornerback DJ Daniel played off-coverage inside 10, which allowed Felton to catch a quick pass at the line of scrimmage. Once Felton had the ball isolated in space, his quickness was too much for the defense to keep him out of the end zone. Felton also forced a penalty on one of his downfield routes earlier in the drive, and had an impressive punt return.

View the best images from the 2021 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

* Northern Iowa defensive end Ellerson Smith had an active game. He chased down mobile quarterback Kellen Mond on one play in backfield, forcing an incomplete pass in the first quarter, though he was called for roughing the passer. Later, he showed discipline and athleticism on an end around to Amari Rodgers, preventing Rodgers from getting outside and tackling him in space. In the second half, he used a quick inside move to tackle Louisiana running back Elijah Mitchell in the backfield. 

* Defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa had an impressive start to the game, beating Alabama guard Deonte Brown on a swim move for a strip-sack. Later, he stacked a block on a 4th-and-1 run to make a tackle just past the line of scrimmage.

* Louisville wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick and Clemson Cornell Powell were the two most targeted wide receivers in the first half and showed the ability to separate. Powell had a nice back-shoulder catch in the second half. Fitzpatrick made an excellent contested catch with his hands while tip-toeing the sideling in the fourth quarter. Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu and Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St-Juste both broke up passes early in the game.

* Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond showed off his athleticism all game. His ability to get out of the pocket in the face of pressure and turn nothing into something is impressive. He scored a touchdown on a quarterback keeper around the edge. Mond led two touchdown drives in the third quarter. 

* Tulane defensive lineman Cam Sample (6-2, 274), much like he did during the week, flashed some inside pass rush ability and had a sack in the second half. 

* Max Duffy had a very nice punt, landing it on the 5-yard line with backspin before it was downed at the 10. 

* Auburn inside linebacker KJ Britt was very active, playing a RPO perfectly and deflecting a slant pass. On the next play, he shot a gap and helped force a tackle for loss. 

* Notre Dame defensive end Daelin Hayes (6-3, 261) applied pressure from left end, using quickness to get around the edge and then his ability to bend to get upfield and after Jamie Newman. Hayes did the same during practice during the week. 

* Florida State edge rusher Janarius Robinson (6-5, 266) also had a sack-and-a-half rushing off the edge, something he did often in practice during the week. Pittsburgh defensive end Rashad Weaver (6-4, 265) flashed some inside pass rush in the second half. 

* Arizona State wide receiver Frank Darby (6-0, 194) made a nice play adjusting to the ball in the air. He put the cornerback on his back, but he was able to stop and turn his body to catch and underthrown the ball over the defender. But Darby also failed to come up with two catches that he had the opportunity to make in the second half.

* Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning (6-3, 241) showed versatility at outside linebacker. He was able to set the edge in the run game and flash some outside pass rush ability. On one outside pass rush, he was able to flush the quarterback inside and into the arms of Pittsburgh defensive lineman Patrick Jones. Jones (6-4, 264) was quiet during the week of practice, but got the sack after a quick inside move around the left tackle.

* Fellow Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard (6-0, 227) forced a turnover on downs by playing tight coverage and knocking away a pass over the middle. Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland also had a pass break-up on a pass over the middle. 

* Michigan's Ben Mason is an old school blocking fullback. He put South Alabama linebacker Riley Cole on his back leading the running back into the hole.

* South Carolina slot receiver Shi Smith (5-10, 186) caught a deep in-cut and had an impressive run after the catch on the American team's first drive of the third quarter. Smith had a clean sliding catch over the middle later in the quarter. Clemson slot receiver Amari Rodgers finished the drive catching a slant and taking the contact to score a touchdown. Rodgers caught a two-point conversion and absorbed a big hit in the end zone on the team's next drive. 

* Versatile LSU linebacker Jabril Cox (6-2, 233) showed the ability to cover throughout the game and was one of the better coverage linebackers during the week. 

* Bowling Green's Quintin Morris had a few catches over the middle, including one where he hurdled a defender for a big gain in the fourth quarter. 

* Tennessee wide receiver Josh Palmer (6-1, 210) caught a touchdown pass on a slant. He showed the ability to leverage his downfield speed into separation all week in practice. 

* After a consistent week of practice putting pressure on the quarterback, Miami defensive end Quincy Roche (6-2, 243) was in the backfield often rushing the passer during the game.

* Oklahoma safety Tre Norwood came down from his deep safety position to put his helmet on the football, forcing an incomplete pass after Shi Smith came down from a leaping grab with the ball in his hands. 

* Ohio State edge rusher Jonathan Cooper (6-2, 254) tracked down athletic quarterback Jamie Newman for a sack to start the fourth quarter. He was active all week. Cooper also combined with Notre Dame defensive lineman Ade Ogundeji (6-4, 256) for a sack of Newman. On the next play, Texas defensive lineman Ta'Quon Graham sacked Newman. 

* Pittsburgh safety Damar Hamlin caught an interception, but the credit went to Washington cornerback Keith Taylor (6-2, 191), who blanked Houston speedster Maquez Stevenson on the perimeter and deflected the pass up in the air. Taylor played good coverage on a go-route in the end-zone earlier in the game, knocking it away from the wide receiver. 

* Ole Miss tight end Kenny Yeboah (6-3, 247) put his raw tools to good use and made a fantastic jumping catch at the goal line for a touchdown.  

* South Dakota State slot receiver Cade Johnson made an excellent solo tackle on Marquez Stevenson on a punt return. 

* Illinois State safety Christian Uphoff made a great play at the line of scrimmage, shooting the gap and forcing a stop on a 4th-and-1 interior run play. 

* Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter, making a sliding catch on a ball thrown slightly behind him. He also had a catch on a back-shoulder throw in the first half.


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