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Game Notes

Small School Scouting: USF at East Carolina

The East Carolina Pirates won a rain-slogged game against the South Florida Bulls on Thursday night, 29-14.

Let’s look at how the top prospects from this game fared.

EAST CAROLINA PIRATES

The top prospect in this game was ECU junior wide receiver, CJ Johnson. The big-bodied pass catcher shows great body control and the ability to high point the football. Johnson caught five of his eight targets for 84 yards. I doubt Johnson enters this draft class, but he could open the 2023 draft cycle as a top 15 receiver prospect.

After watching him against South Carolina, I was not a fan of junior QB Holton Ahlers. The rain hampered him in this one but nothing really changed my opinion. Ahlers continues to be wildly sporadic with his accuracy and his arm is just above average. He was more of a threat with his feet in this game. Ahlers completed 21/35 for 220 yards and one score. Ahlers added 78 yards rushing on 11 carries.

South Florida QB Katravis Marsh rarely challenged ECU corner, Ja’Quan McMillian. It was probably for the best. Marsh threw three interceptions already without going after the Pirates’ best cover man. McMillian is another player unlikely to enter the 2022 class.

SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS

The only player from our watchlist entering this week for USF was senior LB Antonio Grier. Grier has decent size at 6’1” and 222-pounds. He is more of a run-and-chase linebacker than a downhill thumper. Grier has decent speed but nothing earth-shattering. He recorded 12 tackles against ECU with five solos. He also had one TFL and a forced fumble.

I liked what I saw from the Bulls junior RB Jaren Mangham. Mangham is a north-south runner. He is a big strong back with a little wiggle. Mangham doesn’t appear as much of a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield but he is a strong pass blocker. Mangham isn’t going to win a 10-yard dash. He finished the game against ECU with 68 yards rushing on 12 carries with a touchdown. Mangham has scored a touchdown in seven straight games.

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