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Senior Bowl 2023: More standouts from Day 3 in Mobile

Plus, an interview with Northwestern RB Evan Hull

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern RB Evan Hull is a man of many words.

If you ask him about if a hotdog is a sandwich (which it is not), Hull will tell you (Hull said it’s not, but if you consider sandwiches like a meatball sub, which have bread that’s connected like a hotdog, it’s a slippery slope).

You can ask him about his faith, which is evident in every word that he speaks. Hull never gets too high, but also never gets too low—he always plays the next play. “This is a process and so I keep thinking about how I can get better in the process,” Hull said after Day 3 of Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, AL. “You can have a good play or you can have a bad play, but you gotta get back up and get on the horse, and go do it again.”

Coming to Mobile sort of unheralded after leading Northwestern in rushing yards and finishing second in receiving yards for the 1-11 Wildcats, Hull was faced with the opportunity to stand out. Hull kept the faith for four years, and now it was time to put in the work. “God didn’t give us a spirit of fear,” Hull said. “He gave us a spirit of power, love and self control, so that’s what I’m trying to exercise.”

On the field, Hull is an energizer bunny, exploding through arm tackles and flying out the backfield for big plays. It’s what he wanted to show NFL teams this week. “I’m going to play with energy, with that juice and go hard every single rep,” Hull said. “I wanted to show that I could finish runs and be an asset on special teams.”

With Hull’s athletic ability and even-keel mindset, he’s headed towards the NFL with big goals in mind.

Practice Observations

National Team

  • Ohio State RT Dawand Jones was back at practice today, but not in pads. Troy LB Carlton Martial was not seen.
  • Stanford WR Elijah Higgins was working at TE, and that’s where I think he’s at his best when it comes to NFL projections. According to Sports Information Solutions, 16% of his routes run over his career have come from the slot, and he’s been more effective running over the middle on crossing routes there than out wide. He also has a frame that would allow him to add weight without losing any speed.
  • Despite a very skinny lower half of his body, Maryland LT Jaelyn Duncan did a very good job today taking on some of the power rushers for the National team. Against Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey, Duncan initially lost some ground, but was able to re-anchor and get his hands in better position, to win the rep. I worry about how much good weight he can put on because of how small his legs are, but he’s as smooth as they come in pass protection.
  • Northwestern DT Adetomiwa Adebawore has had a fantastic week in Mobile. He won the measurements by measuring in with 34 inch arms despite being 6’1 and 284 pounds, and he’s been a standout in both the run and passing game. He uses his length and leverage to his advantage with a nice bevy of pass rushing moves, but also has flashed some lateral quickness and agility, winning a few reps against North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch. He’s a very uniquely built player, but a player who is a ready made run defender and a promising pocket pusher from the inside. Easy Day 2 pick.
  • Keeping with the trend, Northwestern RB Evan Hull has been the best RB on the National team. He’s solidly built, with a thick lower body, but his ability to bounce off first contact and natural burst is going to get him on an NFL team. He’s been the best National team back in pass blocking and pass protection as well. This week has been very good to Hull, one that could see him go from UDFA to potential draft pick.
  • Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton has been very impressive all week. The former Badger plays with a lot of power, but has also shown the ability to play with finesse as well.
  • A name to keep an eye on: Chattanooga OL McClendon Curtis. He’s been very impressive this week, and put together a nice practice today.
  • I’d like to see Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey develop more of a pass rush plan. He goes to the long arm move often, but if the long arm move doesn’t work, he has no counter move to build off of. If he can use a reliable second move to go with the long arm, it would help him a lot.
  • Michigan C Olu Oluwatimi had a rough first couple of days, but today he really turned it around. He was able to anchor against power, something that he struggled with in the early days of practice. He also showed some nice moves in the run game.
  • Arizona State DL Nesta Jade Silvera had some nice moments today. The 6’1, 307 pound defensive tackle can pack some power in his pass rush, and won a few reps today.
  • Fresno State QB Jake Haener was impressive today. He showed the most touch in the red zone of any National team QB, and connected on some really sweet throws, including a perfectly thrown pass to Purdue TE Payne Durham in the endzone in team drills.
  • Once again: Washington State LB Daiyan Henley was very good in passing drills. He was taking away underneath routes and played very well in 1 on 1’s with opposing RBs. Another guy to keep an eye on.

American Team

  • South Carolina CB Darius Rush might’ve been overlooked due to his star teammate, CB Cam Smith, but he’s just as good in his own right. Rush had a phenomenal day three, showing the patience that he flashed on the first two days and then allowing it to pay off. He picked off two passes and was very impressive in every facet of the practice. He’s a guy I’m going to look back at after the Senior Bowl.
  • Houston WR Tank Dell didn’t practice, and has left the Senior Bowl. Sacramento State LB Marte Mapu and Miami CB Tyrique Stevenson were in attendance, but not practicing.
  • Florida State S Jammie Robinson was impressive today. He’s physical, which leads to moments where he gets very grabby, but he’s able to disrupt routes at the top of the stem in nickel. At safety, he’s very instinctive and there were a lot of moments where he passed off routes with South Carolina DB Darius Rush and played coverage perfectly.
  • Ole Miss WR Jonathan Mingo is listed at 6’1, 226 pounds, but he has nice footwork. I worry about his ability to drop his hips and create separation, but he’s physical and tough at the catch point. He’d be a great power slot.
  • Virginia WR Don’Tayvion Wicks has JUICE. His footwork and short area burst is so impressive, and he made a lot of DBs look silly in redzone 1 on 1’s. He also has got some explosiveness, jumping extremely high to almost catch a pass thrown in 7 on 7. Wicks is very inconsistent in catching the ball, but he can create so much space with his footwork.
  • Iowa State WR Xavier Hutchinson is very good at the catch point. He’s got great focus and concentration, and made a very nice catch in 1 on 1’s, extending and making a play against LSU’s Jay Ward. I’m not sure how consistent he can separate, but he’s very good in contested catch situations.
  • It was a rough day for the QBs, especially in the red zone. Houston QB Clayton Tune was the best of the three, but he missed some gimmes as well. Shepherd QB Tyson Bagent is all fastball right now, and doesn’t have the touch necessary to make the throws in the red zone. Duggan’s accuracy was all over the place.
  • FAMU’s Isaiah Land was lined up at off ball LB today in team drills. He wasn’t perfect there, but he made some nice plays. At 226 pounds, with a maxed out frame, that might be where he plays at the NFL level.
  • Tulane RB TyJae Spears had the best rep of the week, whew.

Vibe Check

  • It was cold here. And for all of you saying 60 degrees, windy and overcast isn’t cold—you’re a liar and a fraud.
  • The physicality and competition was turned all the way up today, I loved it. The trash talking was awesome to see.
  • The American team’s music selection was better than the National team all week.