Towing the Line: Khari Demos Talks College Football Weeks 7 & 8

Khari Demos joins Matt Waldman’s RSP site this season to profile college football’s trenches while keeping an eye on standout offensive skill players.  This week, BYU LT Kingsley Suamataia, USC QB Caleb Williams, and Notre Dame’s Ingram-esque RB Audric Estime.

Kingsley Suamataia, LT #78, BYU

What may have been lost in the Cougars’ 44-11 loss to TCU last week is that their left tackle is one of the best players in the country. The Orem, UT native is a projected first-round pick and he jumps off the tape right away with his gigantic 6-foot-6, 325-pound frame.

Suamataia is an excellent pass blocker, which he showcased from the beginning on BYU’s first drive.

He knows how to cover defenders up and angle them off to protect QB Kedon Slovis.

And even in the run game here, what was clear in his pass pro and as well is that he’s a nimble big man who can move comfortably.

But don’t get it twisted; the redshirt sophomore tackle is not finesse when it comes to moving defenders in the run game.

Even though this wasn’t his best rep, I think Suamataia has the right technique and approach in his pass pro. I think there are times too when he can move a little aimlessly when it comes to moving up to the second level. You can see it when he pulls on plays too, he’s got to have a little better vision when looking for linebackers (12:57). I don’t think it’s a major issue now, though, and this is something he can improve on for sure. But again, when you can pass protect like this, those other areas don’t seem as big of an issue (8:33).

One other encouraging sign from Suamataia was seeing that despite being blown out, he was still making an effort to handle his assignments.

And I know I mentioned how he can be a little out of control when it comes to his eyes when he moves up to the second level, I like how he kept his eyes in the right spot here and was able to adjust to the twist the Horned Frogs sent.

It may not have been an ideal showing for the Cougars, but Suamataia consistently put on a show with his pass pro. But we shouldn’t be surprised by that from him; after yielding no sacks all throughout the 2022 season, Suamataia has continued it on with another stellar showing this fall. It excites me to see a player of his caliber, especially one with that much room to grow as a 20-year-old prospect who will be eligible to legally buy alcohol in January. I like his game a lot — but he hasn’t even reached his peak yet. The question now is how much further can he go in his development?

Caleb Williams, QB #13, Southern California

I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to review the reigning Heisman Trophy winner’s game tape. He’s had a lot of highs this season as expected, as he compiled 28 total scores, with a 22-1 touchdown touchdown-to-interception ratio, through six games. But I wanted to see the tape on what is most certainly his worst performance at the collegiate level. Williams has all-world talent, but I think he has to break a few nasty habits that can become detrimental if they follow him to the NFL.

The first third-down throw of the game for Williams was a lot of the boring stuff that coaches love when he executes. In an empty set, the Washington, DC native finds Brenden Rice on a slot hitch. In rhythm, he quickly finds him with the Irish playing off-coverage.

Unfortunately, Williams was unable to keep the momentum of that conversion going, throwing just his second pick of the season on this pressure from Javontae Jean-Baptiste.

The biggest issue isn’t the decision itself; I totally understand Williams trying to find a wide-open Lake McRee to pick up the first down. But he compounded poor protection with a late pass over the middle, leaving the ball in harm’s way.

This play worries me more from the aspect of it being an example of how Williams’ faith in his physical skills can be a little too much at times. How can you blame him, though, when he’s able to escape, then tuck and run, like this?

Speaking of those physical skills, Williams’ enviable arm strength is on display on this dig route to Dorian Singer.

And even though Singer gets called for the push-off here, I like the placement on this back-shoulder fade.

As much power as Williams can throw with, I love the touch he can lace the ball with too. Once again too, those legs showed up from Williams, who got this crucial 4th-and-1 conversion by pulling the ball on a zone-read play.

The designed runs were a part of the game plan throughout and did not do as much damage as the Trojans would have liked. Despite the penalty calling another huge gain for Williams, you can see why USC is more than OK with him calling his own number when he’s not slinging the pill.

On a throw like this one here, I love the unique arm angle Williams connects with. Even as this seems to be a routine screen, being able to display this club from his bag shows how the junior QB can spin it with the best of them.

But once again, falling in love with that arm talent got Williams in trouble with his second pick of the game. While he did face pressure on the play, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner could have avoided this mistake altogether by throwing it underneath to Zachariah Branch.

The same can be said for his third INT on the night; rather than throwing the ball away this time around on 2nd-and-10, Williams arguably pushed the Trojans deeper into the hole they were unable to climb out of with this risky decision.

What I will share too is this was not USC’s best showing as an offense overall. Like these two throws below, there was a lot of sticky coverage on hand from Notre Dame.

And pass protection was not ideal giving up six sacks. But that does not absolve a potential No. 1 overall pick from making costly mistakes. Even on this near pick, Williams’s attempt was just a little too casual. I get not wanting to launch your fastball on your checkdown. But that was not the right type of heat needed to connect with Marshawn Lloyd.


One thing I will say about Williams is that he has heart. Rather than packing it in after falling behind 31-13 heading into the fourth quarter, he was able to connect on some beauties late, like this toss on 2nd-and-22 to McRee.

He eventually followed that up with his lone score of the game, finding Brenden Rice. This play alone is highlight tape-worthy, but it especially shows how well he plays outside of structure. That’s his calling card, but let’s hope he can clean up his game a bit so that the easy things don’t look so hard, while he continues to make the hardest things look so routine.

This game, to me, is a perfect example of what some scouts fear about Williams. He no doubt is a generational talent, but his looseness on the field at times can be to his own detriment. I love the Patrick Mahomes-esque plays, but side-arm throws and launching passes on the run don’t mean much when you aren’t consistently hitting your layups.

To me, Williams reminds me of a slightly bigger version (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) of Kyler Murray. Some may feel that’s a slight, but it is not whatsoever. I’m a huge fan of Murray, but I think he can get himself caught up at times too when he’s too reliant on his physical tools.

One thing I love about the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner, though, is that he played with a lot more structure while at Oklahoma. His Sooners successor in Williams has the capability to do so, evidenced here in this matchup with ND. But the question is will he be willing to do that even more from here on out?

Like I said before, that boring, “take what the defense gives you” approach is what scouts want to see and need to see Williams improve on. I have all the faith in the world that he can do this, but we need to see that growth in his game.

I know there are rumors out there of him coming back to USC next season and him entering the 2025 draft, but if he does stick with this year, a performance like last week’s could fuel the debate going on about Williams and UNC QB Drake Maye. As I talked about in a recent column, I can understand the love for Maye and why some may view him at, or even above, Williams’ level in the scouting community. All I know is Williams has every opportunity to prove he’s QB1 from here on out. But he cannot continue to try to live up to his “Superman” moniker when he can be Clark Kent more often than he is today.

Audric Estime, RB #7, Notre Dame

While Williams will be looking to bounce back from a tough showing this week against Utah, Estime was able to follow up his worst outing of 2023 in the loss to Louisville with a big showing against USC. Estime has been the straw stirring the drink for ND’s offense this season.

The Nyack, New York native has tallied five games this season with 90-plus  rushing yards, and two other outings where he totaled 106 yards from scrimmage (vs. Duke) and rushed for 70 yards (vs. Ohio St.), respectively. The junior back reminds me a lot of Heisman Trophy winner and former Pro Bowl RB Mark Ingram. As much power as he brings with his 5-foot-11, 227-pound frame, Estime’s shiftiness for a guy his size is impressive and is part of why he’s punished defenses the way he has this fall.

Estime’s first carry of the night was a delightful gain inside the red zone to pick up 6 yards. He showed a little bit of that shiftiness by stepping by a USC defender falling in his path before charging on for positive yardage on his opening carry.

Carry No. 2 was not as pleasant, but he once again evaded defenders to turn a potential TFL into advancing past the line of scrimmage.

But he’d get back to it in no time with his third tote of the game, showing off great vision to cut backside, but also a lot of burst to move forward on the first down.

One of the more encouraging signs of growth for Estime is the fact that he’s improving as a receiver. He seems comfortable hauling the ball in on check-downs, and the numbers show that he’s making strides there.

In 13 games in 2022, Estime finished the season with nine receptions for 135 yards and a score. Through eight games this fall, he’s already surpassed his 2022 receptions total (11) to go along with 93 receiving yards. That’s nothing to write home about yet, but we must applaud Estime for improving on an aspect of his game.

He also showed to be a capable blocker as well.

That wasn’t the only instance of that in the game either, which is a pleasant sight to see from a back with such a bruising play-style.

And, of course, that play-style came in handy, as he scored his ninth TD on the year. Those other attributes will keep shooting Estime up the draft boards, but his bread and butter is running the football downhill, Offensive coordinators throughout the NFL should be anxiously waiting to add a back like this that is multifaceted.

Estime is a hammer, evidenced on runs like these, as he keeps pushing the pile forward to make it a gain of 4.

He nearly got into the paint a second time, following his lead blockers smoothly on this wider power scheme before being tripped up at the 1-yard line.

But he capped it off the next play, giving himself now three games this season where he’s rushed for at least two TDs.

One other aspect of Estime’s game I like too is his footwork seems to always be on point when it comes to setting up plays, like taking his counter steps or just deking defenders out.

Although it’s not the biggest deal in the world, especially considering that he plays running back, one of Estime’s drawbacks is that he does not have elite breakaway speed. However, that is not the most important piece of the game for an RB. Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, thumped his way to 18,355 yards after being clocked at 4.55 in the 40-yard dash.

Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s reigning rushing champion and two-time Pro Bowler, had a similar time as well. I will say, though, one thing I think he can improve upon is his patience. While it is important to be patient and follow your big guys upfront, there are times when he can rev it up a little more too.

Estime is an excellent RB prospect and one that I think will be starting for an NFL team next season. I think he has an immediate role as an early-down rusher, but he’s shown his game is more complete now, so he’s got the potential to become a three-down back. While he may not be as juiced up as a Bijan Robinson or even the likes of Jahmyr Gibbs, Estime should be a Day 2 selection come April.

We all know that’s the sweet spot for RBs anyway; from Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook to Alvin Kamara and Joe Mixon, many of the best backs in the league in recent years have been Day 2 picks. Whose to say Estime couldn’t be the next in line?

And of course, if you want to know about the rookies from this draft class, you will find the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), with the 2023 Rookie Scouting Portfolio for $21.95. 

Matt’s new RSP Dynasty Rankings and Two-Year Projections Package is available for $24.95

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2022 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2022 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

Best yet, proceeds from sales are set aside for a year-end donation to Darkness to Light to combat the sexual abuse of children. 

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