What I really love most about the scouting process is the fact that it is ever evolving. How your list starts the season isn't usually how it will end up. The reason being, there are always guys who tend to pop up on film who could be considered late bloomers. 

This often happens for a variety of reasons. You may have a senior player who, while yes he's been there for four years, may be in his first year of starting. And because of that, he may or may not have been on your preseason watch list. Another possible reason is that for some guys, the light just comes on and the game starts to slow down for them, subsequently leading them to execute at a ridiculous level. We're seeing that currently with the way Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker is playing

The same rules apply to the small-school prospect as well. 

In this week's edition of The Hunt Report, I wanted to focus my attention on some of the guys who have flown under-the-radar in the preseason, but who most definitely fit the description of the senior player who is playing some really good ball entering Week 8.

(For last week's Hunt Report, be sure to click here.)

College Football

QB Fred Payton

  • Year: Senior
  • College: Mercer
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 215

Very smart football player who will not put the ball in harm's way. It's not that he's super risk-averse; he's just very judicious on when and where he delivers the ball. He really does a masterful job of keeping the offense on pace. In the passing game exclusively, the ball comes out on time with top-tier placement. He's always leading the receiver to open grass, while also protecting him from defenders. I've been impressed with his play so far this season, and he's someone you should add to your scouting list as well. Next game: Oct. 22 vs. Chattanooga

OLB Ronnie Thomas

  • Year: Senior
  • College: Mississippi Valley State
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 250

Thomas plays with really good functional strength. Sometimes we like to call this 'grown man strength'. He just doesn't allow himself to get bullied up front despite being an undersized defensive end. I like how Mississippi Valley State coaches give him the flexibility to put his hand in the dirt or play from a two-point stance. He shows the ability to quickly read, diagnose, redirect and attack the ball. Since transferring in from East Mississippi CC, Thomas has racked up 21.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He's their best pressure player and someone I see as more of a SAM backer at the pro level. Next game: Oct. 22 vs. Bethune-Cookman

CB Shaun Lewis

  • Year: Graduate student
  • College: UT-Martin
  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 180

Sticky defender who shows excellent hand usage in coverage. He is able to play both press and off-man coverage rather well. The ball skills are exactly where you want them to be, as he doesn't get overly panicky or grabby in phase, nor when the ball is in the air. He's always got a good feel for where the receiver is, while also being able to keep a watchful eye on the quarterback. I'm a big fan of how physical he is in run support, both in how he tackles and how he is quickly able to disengage from blocks to make a play. The former Houston transfer has tremendous nuance within his game. Big time opportunity for him this weekend to become a household name. Next game: Oct. 22 vs. Tennessee

OL Nicolas Melsop

  • Year: Graduate student
  • College: Delta State
  • Height: 6-6
  • Weight: 325

Melsop is very impressive on film. He shows a great deal of tactical patience, allowing the defender to show his hand first before having the perfect counterattack. Great eyes as well, as you don't see him fooled by twists or stunts. When asked to fire off the ball in the run game, he's able to move defenders to different positions with how far he's driving guys off the ball. Melsop has a very good anchor, not allowing himself to be bull-rushed. He made a really good impression in the Mississippi Valley State game when he was asked to block Ronnie Thomas at times. He could potentially be a guard as a professional player. Next game: Oct. 20 vs. Shorter

OL Ben Farrell

  • Year: Graduate student
  • College: Indiana Wesleyan
  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 299

Farrell is a heavy-handed left tackle for the Wildcats, who uses those strong hands to stymie a defender's ability to rush. While his pad leve at times can get a bit high, he also does a solid job of resetting his hands and is able to maintain control of the block. IWU finds a lot of success running weakside behind Farrell. With the way he's able to maul defenders on both ends of the offense, I wonder if there's a potential future for him at center. In one of these postseason all-star games coming up in December and January, I'd like to see him get work across the offensive line. Next game: Oct. 22 vs. St. Francis (IN)