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Small School Saturday: Jacksonville State Wins Big in Opener

Jacksonville State

Jacksonville State romped Stephen F. Austin in the FCS Kickoff in Montgomery, AL at the historic Cramton Bowl. I watched this one to look at the prospects for each team for this week’s Small School Saturday.

Throughout the season, each Saturday, I will look at the best prospects from the FCS (or lower level) prospects I watched the weekend before. Or, I will look at the 2023 NFL Draft prospects from the Sun Belt schools I watched the prior weekend.

SMALL SCHOOL SATURDAY

JACKSONVILLE STATE GAMECOCKS

Draft Countdown didn’t have any Jacksonville State prospects on our watchlist coming into this week. However, I came away impressed with 6th-year running back Matt LaRoche. The 5’9” 175-pound runner is very shifty. LaRoche shows good balance and runs through tackles well. He finished the game against SFA with ten carries for 90 yards and a score. LaRoche also caught one pass for 25 yards.

STEPHEN F. AUSTIN LUMBERJACKS

The best prospect for Stephen F Austin is probably their edge rusher BJ Thompson. He has a thin frame but he closes quickly. Thompson’s lack of upper body strength shows up. He is athletic enough to line up in the slot and cover tight ends, however.

Productive slot receiver Xavier Gipson had a decent afternoon. The 5’9” 170-pound pass catcher was targeted ten times. Gipson fielded six of those passes for 68 yards and a TD. His speed is evident based on this game.

4th-year QB Trae Self completed 14/29 passes for 135 yards. He had two touchdowns and a pick. Self was also sacked three times. He throws with a funky arm angle and delivery. Self has poor ball placement and his pocket presence is iffy, at best. He is mobile outside of his pocket. Right now, I do not see Trae Self being draftable.

Follow Brian on Twitter @DeepFriedDraft

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