CDS Week 5 Game of the Week by Steve Morton

NFL Draft

The Game of the Week

Notre Dame at Clemson

Why this game? This is a matchup of two of the most talented teams in the company with multiple Sunday players on both sides. This is one of the games that will have an impact on the playoffs.

Where can I see it? Saturday, October 3rd at 8:00 PM ET on ABC and WatchESPN

When Clemson has the ball –

Tempo, lots and lots of tempo. The Tigers if anything are playing faster than in 2014 under old Offensive Coordinator and current SMU head coach, Chad Morris. Clemson’s offnese features a spread, power-run attack molded by Morris and continued by new Co-Offensive Coordinator, Tony Elliot. The Clemson offense features one of the best QB prospects for the 2017 NFL draft, Deshaun Watson. Watson is a calm passer capable of throwing with both touch and accuracy. In addition, Watson is a plus athlete who can get extra yards with his legs. With Watson off against the Louisville Cardinals, tough running back, Wayne Gallman carried the offense. Gallman features good size and he ran with violence against a solid Louisville offense. Clemson features explosive sophomore WR, Artavis Scott. Scott doubles as a dangerous kick returner. Clemson’s best WR, Mike Williams broke his neck versus Wofford and will not play. Keep an eye on Clemson freshman OT, Mitch Hyatt. Hyatt has held his own as true freshman but faces a true test in Notre Dame defensive end, Sheldon Day. Notre Dame will counter with a 3-4 defense that features Sunday players, like Day, at all levels. Day is quick for his size and will kick inside on passing downs. The Irish’s best player and one of the best in the nation is off ball LB, Jaylon Smith. Smith is a complete player with elite speed for the position. He has excellent instincts and his technique is good as well. The way he uses his hands to beat cut blocks is a thing of beauty. The Irish have a good and experienced secondary led by KeiVarae Russell.

When the Irish have the ball –

Power running, the Irish like to spread out and then use an offensive line featuring several Sunday players led by LT Ronnie Stanley to wear the defense down. The Irish running attack features, C.J. Prosise, a fast, but surprisingly physical back for an ex-receiver. Prosise is a very good target out of the backfield as well. Injuries and suspensions forced the Irish to move Prosise from versatile offensive weapon to lead back and he has responded as the focal point of the Irish offense. The Irish also feature an array of talent at WR led by one of the nation’s most explosive players, Will Fuller. In addition to Fuller, Corey Robinson provides a big target and Chris Brown offers more speed. DeShone Kizer is the Irish’s QB and his arm talent is breathtaking. He also brings the inconsistency of a freshman who started the season as the backup to Malik Zaire. This is also a matchup of two of college football’s best assistant coaches in Notre Dame OC, Mike Stanford and Clemson DC, Brent Venebles. Venebles features an aggressive defense with NFL talent at all levels. The Tigers will look to rush the passer led by DE Shaq Lawson and trust the secondary with two of the best talents in college football: CB Mackensie Alexander and Safety Jayron Kearse to cover for any gaps. Alexander will shadow Will Fuller in one of the best 2016 NFL prospect head to head matchups.


2016 Draft Offensive Skill Players to Watch:

Will Fuller WR Notre Dame – Fuller is an explosive player with great speed and more importantly acceleration. When he gets the ball, his ability to fire his jets and explode through a defense is breath-taking. Fuller is a good route runner with excellent ability to cut at high speed. Fuller also has good hands. He doesn’t have the strength required to consistently win 50/50 catch situations and depends on his speed, quickness and change of direction skills to separate from the defender.

Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame – Stanley will more than likely be the highest player drafted in 2016 from this game. He is currently in the top 3 OTs going into the 2016 draft and could be the 1st one taken.  Stanley is an elite pass protector. Stanley has good strength and can anchor against a bull rush. His feet and athletic ability make him a long day at the office for any speed rusher. In the run game, Stanley uses his athletic ability to consistently get good position on the defender. He is an easy mover for a big man and gets to the second level with ease. The one criticism of his game that I have is he doesn’t look to finish defenders in the run game. He is effective but you don’t see him burying defensive players often.

Mike Williams WR Clemson – Williams will not play in this game and his injury is such to put when he plays again in doubt, but he is the best 2016 offensive prospect for the Tigers or as they are known – “The New Wide Receiver U.”  Williams, when healthy, is a complete WR with size, hands and wiggle. Without injury concerns, he might be among the top WR in the 2016 class.


2016 Draft Defensive Skill Players to Watch:

Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame – Smith is an off ball LB who blends elite speed for the position with excellent instincts and technique. Few RBs are going to beat Jaylon Smith to edge and he tackles them when he gets there; he is an excellent blitzer; he is the best pass coverage LB in college football. Smith is a complete football player and will be one of the 1st 10-15 players taken in the 2015 draft. One criticism of him is at times he is satisfied to let the lineman/play come to him and use his athletic ability to make the play instead of getting aggressively downhill.

Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson – Alexander is a red-shirt sophomore who if he declares will in my opinion be the 2nd best CB in the draft after Vernon Hargraves III. Alexander is a ridiculously quick-twitched athlete who can change directions easily. He is strong and fast. His lack of height will probably push him down in the draft more than it should. His matchup with Fuller will be one of the best in college football in any game this season.

Jayron Kearse – Kearse is another freak athlete in the Clemson secondary. He provides unusual size for this position at 6’5 220. He has excellent ball skills and range. He is a good tackler and run defender as well. In a safety class with players as good as Su’a Cravens and Jalen Ramsey, Kearse might be the best prospect. From the games, I have seen, I believe he could easily handle free safety at the NFL level. His range is good enough; his ball skills are more than good enough; no WR is going to love the thought of him in the middle of the defense.


Let the Fan Speak


@jbaker0171 (cont):

Clemson will force ND to struggle on O. Scott and Peake will give ND secondary problems and Gallman. The Tigers will have space to run because ND LBs can’t explode toward LOS with fear of play action or Watson runs

Home field is huge advantage.


Who wins?

This is the toughest game for me to call all year. Both teams are top 5-8 teams in talent and both have played well in 2015. I think Watson has a big game and gets himself back in the Fournette derby (otherwise known as the Heisman trophy). On the podcast, I am going to pick Clemson by a field goal 31-28


NostraMorton’s Top 12 (Week 4)


  • LSU
  • Baylor
  • Ohio State
  • Clemson
  • Notre Dame
  • TCU
  • Florida State
  • Ole Miss
  • Michigan State
  • Georgia
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas A&M



Same twelve teams as last week for the 1st time in 2015 but NostraMorton moves up some teams that played well while moving down some that didn’t. LSU remains at the top for being the most consistent team so far in 2015.

NostraMorton Heisman Watch



  1. Deshaun Watson
  2. Zeke Elliott
  3. Josh Rosen
  4. Joey Bosa


Who are we kidding, right now this is Fournette’s to lose.

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