We are continuing our weekly series, Scouting 49ers' Scouts, where each week we will highlight some of the draft-eligible players from the games 49ers' scouts were credentialed. The Internet, and Twitter in particular, provide some insight into where NFL teams are sending scouts for college football games. We will likely never know the full list of games, but it does give us some insight.
Thanks to the folks at NFL.com's College Football 24/7, we have a look at some of the Week 9 action where 49ers' scouts were credentialed to attend.
West Virginia vs. TCU
The 49ers were 1 of 19 teams in attendance for the West Virginia vs. Baylor match-up. 49ers' scouts are likely keeping an eye on four draft-eligible prospects from West Virginia in RB Rushel Shell, No. 7; OT Marquis Lucas, No. 78; ILB Nick Kwiatkoski, No. 35; SS Karl Joseph, No. 8; and SS KJ Dillon, No. 9.
Junior RB Rushel Shell, is an elusive running back with a great combination of size (5'10" - 221 lbs.), athleticism, speed, quickness, and power. Shell displays great vision and balance bringing power behind his pads and the speed and elusiveness to run away from defenders. Shell's stats seven games in: 95 rushes, 326 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry, and 3 touchdowns.
OT Marquis Lucas, brings a nice combination of size (6'4" - 318 lbs.), strength, and versatility. The West Virginia right tackle, likely a guard at the next level, displays a good heavy punch, solid hand usage, and impressive balance allowing him to "dance" impeding defenders with a good mirror. He also shows nice technique and anchors well in pass protection.
ILB Nick Kwiatkoski is an aggressive downhill linebacker with a physicality to his game. Kwiatkoski displays a solid combination of size (6'2"), speed, range, and athleticism showcasing great awareness reading and reacting, sound tackling, plays very well in space, physical against the run hitting gaps with a purpose, has a nose for the ball, a film-junkie, and consistently plays with full effort. Should make his mark on special teams at the next level. Kwiatkoski's stats seven games in: 46 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, and 1 fumble recovery.
SS Karl Joseph, a thumper as a defensive back, is a physical player that loves to make the big hits, which at times is a liability when it comes to tackling. Nevertheless, Joseph displays great athleticism, leadership skills, instincts, fluidity, ball skills, aggressiveness, and a fearless mentality defensive coaches love seeing in their defensive players. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago (October 7, 2014) Joseph suffered a serious knee injury during practice and will be out for the rest of the season (had successful surgery to repair his ACL on October 14, 2014). Joseph finishes his senior campaign with 20 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, and 5 interceptions.
SS KJ Dillon has a great combination of size, length (long arms), and athleticism. Dillon showcases impressive skills in coverage displaying great natural instincts and nice ball skills; moreover, he is aggressive in run support and is a solid tackler. Dillon's stats seven games in: 31 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 5 pass deflections, and 1 interception.
* = indicates junior status
RB *Rushel Shell, No. 7, 5'10 - 221 lbs., 4.57 40 - (5th) Transfer from Pitt.
FB Cody Clay, No. 88, 6'3 - 265 lbs., 4.88 40 - (7th-UFA)
WR KJ Myers, No. 19, 6'2 - 196 lbs., 4.62 40 - (UFA)
OT Marquis Lucas, No. 78, 6'4 - 318 lbs., 5.28 40 - (7th)
DT Kyle Rose, No. 93, 6'4 - 294 lbs., 5.12 40 - (UFA)
ILB Nick Kwiatkoski, No. 35, 6'2 - 236 lbs., 4.78 40 - (7th)
SS Karl Joseph, No. 8, 5'11 - 197 lbs., 4.57 40 - (4th)
SS KJ Dillon, No. 9, 6'0 - 203 lbs., 4.59 40 - (5th)
P Nick O'Toole, No. 91, 6'4 - 228 lbs., 5.05 40 - (UFA)
LS John DePalma, No. 87, 6'5 - 252 lbs., 5.09 40 - (UFA)
TCU has several draft-eligible prospects, and their premier prospect put on an impressive showing for all the scouts to see during this match-up. WR Josh Doctson, No. 9, set a new school record for the most receptions in a season (broke Josh Boyce's 66 reception season in 2012), which is very impressive considering he broke the record eight games into the college season. Doctson displays an excellent combination of size (6'3"), speed, and athleticism, but what makes him truly stand out is his tremendous leaping ability and amazing body control. A vertical threat, Doctson shows some fluidity and great vision, with solid reliable hands and is one of the top wide receiver prospects in the nation at winning contested catches. Doctson's stats eight games in: 71 receptions, 1,250 yards, averaging 17.6 yards per reception, and 14 touchdowns.
QB Trevone Boykin, No. 2, is a terrific college quarterback and his game has been extremely impressive thus far, so much so he is considered one of the leading candidates for the prestigious Heisman Trophy award. The question is, does Boykin's quarterback skills translate to the next level. Many believe Boykin's best position is wide receiver, a la Ohio State's Braxton Miller. However, I see some traits that will make him an intriguing quarterback option at the next level. At 6'1" (possibly even under 6'0"), Boykin's size is not ideal for the position, but his tremendous athleticism, elusiveness, vision, quickness, change of directions skills, and speed brings a unique and added threat to the quarterback position. Boykin has a good arm, and even though he has an elongated delivery, some of his vertical passes over the top are beautifully impressive. He is extremely productive, which is likely the results of TCU's potent offense; nevertheless, Boykin would likely be considered a project at the next level, but his size could be the determining factor whether a position change is necessary. Boykin's stats eight games in: 198/297 with a 66.7% completion percentage, 2,927 yards, and a 28/5 touchdown to interception ratio.
RB Aaron Green, No. 22, is a tremendous athlete with amazing change of direction skills, impressive balance, flexibility, and solid instincts. The scatback does not have the power and ideal pad level to finish runs, and occasionally he bounces the ball outside where the inside run will garnish him more success; however, his agility and instincts helps him gain yardage where others fail. Another aspect of his game NFL teams will love is he is a reliable pass catcher, smooth route runner, and shows physicality as a pass blocker. Green's stats eight games in: 125 rushes, 699 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, 8 rushing touchdowns, 6 receptions, 27 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per reception, and 1 receiving touchdown.
WR Kolby Listenbee, No. 7, is a playmaking vertical threat with blazing downfield speed. His athleticism is through the roof, and although he will need to improve his overall game as a wide receiver (namely working the underneath routes), he is always a threat to take the top off coverages. Listenbee's stats five games in: 19 receptions, 389 yards, averaging 20.5 yards per reception, and 3 touchdowns.
OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, No. 74, showcases a great combination of size (6'6" - 315 lbs.), strength, and athleticism. Vaitai, also known as 'Big V', displays impressive footwork, quickness, and instincts, as well as the versatility to play both tackle positions. Big V mirrors well in pass protection, but will need to improve his hand technique and leverage issues (tends to be a waste-bender).
Another TCU player of note is C Joey Hunt, No. 55.
QB Trevone Boykin, No. 2, 6'1 - 208 lbs., 4.57 40 - (5th-6th)
RB Aaron Green, No. 22, 5'11 - 205 lbs., 4.53 40 - (4th) Transfer from Nebraska.
WR Josh Doctson, No. 9, 6'3 - 195 lbs., 4.49 40 - (1st-2nd) Transfer from Wyoming.
WR Kolby Listenbee, No. 7, 6'1 - 183 lbs. 4.36 40 - (5th)
WR Deante Gray, No. 20, 5'9 - 175 lbs., 4.50 40 - (UFA) Out for the year with knee injury suffered during the Spring 2015. Will take a redshirt and return in 2016.
OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, No. 74, 6'6 - 308 lbs., 5.23 40 - (5th)
OG Brady Foltz, No. 65, 6'4 - 320 lbs., 5.34 40 - (UFA)
OG Jamelle Naff, No. 77, 6'3 - 325 lbs., 5.32 40 - (UFA)
C Joey Hunt, No. 55, 6'2- 295 lbs., 5.27 40 - (6th-7th)
DT Davion Pierson, No. 57, 6'1 - 305 lbs., 5.22 40 - (UFA)
DE Terrell Lathan, No. 90, 6'4 - 280 lbs., 4.92 40 - (UFA)
OLB James McFarland, No. 40, 6'2 - 248 lbs., 4.78 40 - (UFA) Out indefinitely with a foot injury.
FS Kenny Iloka, No. 6, 5'10 - 205 lbs., 4.59 40 - (UFA) Out indefinitely with a knee injury.
SS Derrick Kindred, No. 26, 5'10 - 210 lbs., 4.64 40 - (UFA)
K Jaden Oberkrom, No. 33, 6'2 - 187 lbs., 4.96 40 - (UFA)
P Ethan Perry, No. 37, 6'3 - 230 lbs., 5.27 40 - (UFA)
North Carolina vs. Pitt
The 49ers were 1 of 13 teams in attendance for the North Carolina vs. Pitt match-up. North Carolina has two draft-eligible players of note in WR Quinshad Davis, No. 14, and OG Landon Turner, No. 78.
Quinshad Davis brings a stellar combination of size (6'4" - 220 lbs.), speed, athleticism, length, and strength. Davis has the size and strength to outmuscle defenders, and the deceptive speed (long-speed) to be a threat over the top. He uses his body well to shield defenders and has strong hands to win contested balls along with his impressive catch radius. Davis is also a willing blocker utilizing his amazing length (long arms) quite effectively. Davis recently passed Hakeem Nicks as the Tar Heels career receptions leader reaching the mark of 182 career receptions. Davis' stats eight games in: 33 receptions, 352 yards, averaging 10.7 yards per reception, and 1 touchdown.
Landon Turner is a thick and wide mauler bringing tremendous strength and power at the point of attack road grading defenders with a physical intensity. His combination of size (6'4" - 325 lbs.), strength, and surprising nimble feet for a man of his size, makes him a monster in a phone booth. Turner's greatest asset is as a run blocker plowing through people, but his pass blocking skills are solid, aided by his quickness and impressive technique.
QB Marquise Williams, No. 12, 6'2 - 220 lbs, 4.78 40 - (UFA)
WR Quinshad Davis, No. 14, 6'4 - 220 lbs, 4.50 40 - (4th)
OG Landon Turner, No. 78, 6'4 - 325 lbs, 5.32 40 - (3rd)
ILB Jeff Shoettmer, No. 10, 6'1 - 235 lbs., 4.86 40 - (UFA)
There is not a lot of draft-eligible talent for Pitt, but one prospect in particular definitely worth keeping an eye on is junior WR Tyler Boyd, No. 23. Boyd is a technician as a wide receiver displaying great route running (very smooth), patience, amazing ball skills, quickness, and decent hand technique to gain separation. Boyd is not a speedster, but he runs fast in pads, shows good burst after the catch making plays. He also has tremendous body control and makes contested catches look easy with strong reliable hands catching the ball cleanly. He is a willing blocker, but he lacks the ideal strength at the next level to be a force in the run game, as well as the strength needed to battle press coverage. Boyd displays an excellent combination of size (6'2"), speed, and athleticism. A fluid route runner, Boyd showcases a complete game in all levels of the field, where he can excel in the underneath to intermediate game, as well as a vertical threat over the top. Boyd also brings value on special teams in the return game. Red flag concern, Boyd was suspended the first game of the season stemming from a DUI incident on June 12, 2015. Boyd's stats seven games in: 63 receptions, 578 yards, averaging 9.2 yards per reception, 4 receiving touchdowns, 17 rushes, 76 yards, and averaging 4.5 yards per rush.
WR *Tyler Boyd, No. 23, 6'2 - 200 lbs., 4.47 40 - (1st-2nd) Sentenced to 12 months of probation stemming from DUI on June 12, 2015. Suspended first game of 2015 season.
TE J.P. Holtz, No. 86, 6'3 - 250 lbs., 4.78 40 - (UFA)
C Artie Rowell, No. 57, 6'1 - 310 lbs., 5.32 40 - (UFA)
DT Darryl Render, No. 91, 6'2 - 300 lbs., 4.97 40 - (UFA)
DE/OLB Ejuan Price, No. 5, 5'11 - 250 lbs., 4.79 40 - (UFA)
CB Lafayette Pitts, No. 6, 5'10 - 195 lbs., 4.53 40 - (UFA)
UCF vs. Cincinnati
The 49ers were 1 of 2 teams in attendance for the UCF vs. Cincinnati match-up. With UCF having back-to-back first round selections in 2015 (WR Breshad Perriman) and 2014 (QB Blake Bortles), it is highly likely the 2016 NFL Draft will not produce a single draft-eligible prospect selected. Nevertheless, three priority free agents are definitely worth noting in DT Demetris Anderson, No. 94 (Out for the entire season with a knee injury); DT Lance McDowdell, No. 90; and DE Thomas Niles, No. 69.
DT Demetris Anderson, No. 94, 6'2 - 302 lbs., 5.29 40 - UCF (UFA) Transfer from Western Michigan. Out for the entire 2015 season with a knee injury.
DT Lance McDowdell, No. 90, 6'3 - 310 lbs., 5.30 40 - UCF (UFA)
DE Thomas Niles, No. 69, 6'2 - 270 lbs., 4.98 40 - UCF (UFA)
With the Colin Kaepernick situation up in the air, no doubt 49ers' scouts are paying extra attention to one particular Cincinnati prospect in junior QB Gunner Kiel, No. 11.
Last year, Gunner Kiel exploded during the very first game of the season turning heads with a six touchdown passing performance and continued on to have a very impressive season. With high expectations going into the 2015 season, Kiel has struggled with consistency and displaying poor decision making. Moreover, Kiel has shown some durability concerns for the next level. He had a serious frightening neck injury (also has concussion concerns), which led him to be carted off the field and taken by ambulance to the local hospital. In his absence, redshirt freshman, Hayden Moore, has played admirably in Kiel's place, which has led to a quarterback competition Kiel is non too pleased with. Nevertheless, Kiel showcases an impressive arm with a quick release, solid accuracy, amazing touch, good vision, and nice athleticism with sneaky escapability. He confidently stands tall in the pocket with good mechanics and sound footwork, and will make impressive throws in tight windows. Operating exclusively from the shotgun (Pro Spread offense), Kiel will need to learn to operate under center at the next level. Kiel's stats six games in: 111/161 with a 68.9% completion percentage, 1,514 yards, and a 12/5 touchdown to interception ratio.
WR Mekale McKay, No. 2, is a terrific size (6'5" - 195 lbs.) and speed combination wide receiver with excellent length, athleticism, and an impressive catch radius. The former high school basketball star is a deep threat that utilizes his speed, athleticism, and length to win contested balls, increased strength to battle and separate from defenders, excellent ball skills, and is a constant threat in the red zone. McKay's stats six games in: 11 receptions, 271 yards, averaging 24.6 yards per reception, and 2 touchdowns.
WR Chris Moore, No. 15, is an explosive athlete with excellent speed and is another vertical threat easily capable of taking the top off coverages. Moore (6'1") does not have the height of McKay, but he displays excellent ball skills, fluidity, and smoothness in his route running with great hands. He showcases excellent burst after the reception with the explosiveness to make plays when his hands touches the ball. Moore's stats six games in: 21 receptions, 454 yards, averaging 21.6 yards per reception, and 3 touchdowns.
OT Parker Ehinger, No. 78, is a mountain of a man at 6'7" - 318 pounds. A physical offensive lineman with tremendous power, Ehinger plays the game with a nastiness mentality and is a people mover plowing through defenders with a stout base and great power through his hips. His best asset is as a run blocker, but Ehinger also displays some quickness in his surprising nimble feet allowing him enough lateral movement to be a force in pass protection utilizing good hand technique and great arm length to impeded defender's progress. He also does well pulling, showing good athleticism and awareness, finishing off blocks with a purpose. Ideally, Ehinger is best utilized in a phone booth, where his power and active heavy hands can stifle defenders and push them out of the action. Ehinger is likely viewed as a guard or right tackle prospect at the next level.
Another Cincinnati player to keep an eye on is: DE Silverberry Mouhon, No. 92.
QB *Gunner Kiel, No. 11, 6'4 - 208 lbs., 4.85 40 - (2nd-3rd) Transfer from Notre Dame.
WR Mekale McKay, No. 2, 6'5 - 195 lbs., 4.46 40 - (5th) Transfer from Arkansas.
WR Chris Moore, No. 15, 6'1 - 190 lbs., 4.49 40 - (6th-7th)
WR Shaq Washington, No. 19, 5'8 - 178 lbs., 4.48 40 - (UFA)
WR Johnny Holton, No. 3, 6'2 - 190 lbs., 4.47 40 - (UFA)
WR Max Morrison, No. 25, 6'0 - 173 lbs., 4.54 40 - (UFA)
OT Justin Murray, No. 74, 6'5- 295 lbs., 5.37 40 - (UFA)
OT Parker Ehinger, No. 78, 6'7 - 318 lbs., 5.27 40 - (4th)
DE Silverberry Mouhon, No. 92, 6'3 - 252 lbs., 4.86 40 - (7th-UFA)
DB Leviticus Payne, No. 9, 5'9 - 192 lbs., 4.52 40 - (UFA)
Virginia Tech vs. Boston College
The 49ers were 1 of 4 teams in attendance for the Virginia Tech vs. Boston College match-up. There are several draft-eligible prospects from Virginia Tech the Niners are likely targeting, and one offensive player in particular is TE Ryan Malleck, No. 88. Malleck displays a great combination of size (6'4" - 252 lbs.), speed, and strength (squats 500 pounds). He is a reliable pass catching receiver with solid blocking skills. Malleck's stats eight games in: 16 receptions, 198 yards, averaging 12.4 yards per reception, and 2 touchdowns.
DT Luther Maddy, No. 92, is a stout run stopper with nice quickness to his game. He has an impressive quick first step, lateral agility, violent and quick hands, and quick feet. His size (6'1") is concerning for the next level, but his burst and closing speed is very impressive. Maddy's stats nine games in: 41 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.
OLB Dadi Lhomme Nicolas, No. 90, is a former high school basketball player showcasing tremendous length, size, speed, athleticism, fluidity, and explosion. Dadi has an excellent first step, shows quickness and great bend with impressive change of direction skills. He flashes good hand technique to help stack and shed opponents, and shows great balance, body control, and lateral quickness to side-step and burst with closing speed. He has a natural ability in coverage (good fluidity) and looks solid in space and has a tremendous ability to run down ball carriers. Nicolas stats nine games in: 30 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble.
One of my favorite cornerbacks in this years' class is CB Kendall Fuller, No. 11. Kendall, the youngest of the four NFL Fuller brothers (Vincent, Corey, and Kyle), in my opinion, is the best out of the bunch. The junior shut down corner showcases tremendous fluidity and quickness, agility, balance, amazing instincts, savviness, and superb ball skills. He shows great patience and stays close to the receiver's hip in coverage. I was a huge fan of his brother Kyle, and was distraught the 49ers did not make a play for him in the 2014 NFL Draft. If Fuller declares, he has the potential to be a #BaalkeDelight, since he is out for the season after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Another Virginia Tech player to keep an eye on is DE Corey Marshall, No. 96.
QB Michael Brewer, No. 12, 6'0 - 200 lbs., 4.82 40 - (UFA) Grad transfer from Texas Tech.
RB J.C. Coleman, No. 4, 5'7 - 190 - lbs., 4.49 40 - (UFA)
TE Ryan Malleck, No. 88, 6'4 - 252 lbs., 4.77 40 - (5th)
DT Luther Maddy, No. 92, 6'1 - 293 lbs., 4.96 40 - (5th)
DE Corey Marshall, No. 96, 6'1 - 262 lbs., 4.65 40 - (7th-UFA)
OLB Dadi Lhomme Nicolas, No. 90, 6'3 - 236 lbs., 4.58 40 - (3rd)
OLB Deon Clarke, No. 40, 6'1 - 218 lbs., 4.65 40 - (UFA)
CB *Kendall Fuller, No. 11, 6'0 - 197 lbs., 4.48 40 - (1st) Out for the year with a torn meniscus.
Boston College has one player of note in DT Connor Wujciak, No. 90. Wujciak is powerful and stout run stuffer clogging the gaps with a solid and strong base, and he shows impressive lateral movement with nimble feet working through the trash, sound awareness, and a high intensive non-stop motor. He struggles converting speed to power in pass rush, but he is definitely a plugger in the middle, a stalwart. Wujciak's stats seven games in: 19 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
Another Boston prospect to keep an eye on is: FS Justin Simmons, No. 27.
OT Dave Bowen, No. 74, 6'6 - 290 lbs., 5.21 40 - (UFA)
DT Connor Wujciak, No. 90, 6'2 - 300 lbs., 5.04 40 - (6th-7th)
DT Mehdi Abdesmad, No. 45, 6'6 - 286 lbs., 5.06 40 - (UFA)
ILB Steven Daniels, No. 52, 6'0 - 257 lbs., 4.87 40 - (UFA)
FS Justin Simmons, No. 27, 6'2 - 201 lbs., 4.59 40 - (7th-UFA)
Maine vs. Villanova
The 49ers were 1 of 7 teams in attendance for the Maine vs. Villanova match-up. Moreover, 49ers' scouts also visited Maine's practice earlier in the week. The targeted players the 49ers are likely keeping an eye on for both teams are all priority rookie free agents. Those prospects are listed below.
C Bruce Johnson, No. 55, 6'2 - 298 lbs., 5.16 40 - (UFA)
DE/OLB Trevor Bates, No. 9, 6'1 - 250 lbs., 4.77 40 - (UFA)
RB Gary Underwood, No. 5, 5'11 - 226 lbs., 4.65 40 - (UFA)
WR Kevin Gulyas, No. 4, 5'11 - 190 lbs., 4.67 40 - (UFA)
ILB Don Cherry, No. 44, 6'1 - 226 lbs., 4.65 40 - (UFA)