NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

Media outlets wishing to interview Colin Lindsay or Pigskin Paul Guillemette about the draft or other football topics should email the editor or call 613-692-1088

USU QB Love indeed heads to draft … With rumors swirling that he might transfer to a big-time national program for his final year of eligibility, Utah State junior QB Jordan Love (see our report earlier this evening) has confirmed through the school that he will in fact be entering the 2020 NFL draft where he currently projects to be an early second day candidate, but has the physical tools to go much higher.

Utah adds grad transfer QB; USU may lose one … Utah has confirmed that Jake Bentley is transferring to the program from South Carolina for his final year of eligibility next fall. As a grad transfer, Bentley will be eligible immediately; Bentley, who started 33 career games with the Gamecocks, but missed what would have been his senior season this fall after he suffered a foot injury in South Carolina’s season opener. Bentley becomes the favorite to replace Tyler Huntley who led the Utes to the PAC-12 championship game this fall. It also appears that Utah State will also be in the market for a new QB next fall with the impending departure of star junior Jordan Love who has been projected to go as high as the latter part of the opening round of the 2020 draft if he were to turn  pro winter this winter. There are rumblings around college football, though, that Love is seriously entertaining the idea of playing elsewhere next fall as a grad transfer where he could possibly improve his draft stock. In particular, there are rumors that Oklahoma could be a prime landing spot for Love where he would replace former Alabama starter Jalen Hurts. In fact, if Love where to end up at Oklahoma it would be the 5th straight year in which the Sooners would be led by a transfer at the position following in the footsteps of Hurts, Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield. It probably hasn’t escaped Love’s attention that Mayfield and Murray won Heisman Trophies in their year with the Sooners, while Hurts is one of 4 finalists invited to New York for this year’s ceremony, although it looks like the award is destined to go to LSU’s Joe Burrow this year.

BC RB Dillon; two other enter draft … Three more juniors have announced that they will be entering the 2020 draft including star Boston College RB A.J. Dillon, who also indicated he won’t play in the Eagles bowl game early next month. The 5-11, 250-pound Dillon had almost 4,400 career rushing yards including just under 1,700 in 2019. Dillon is currently the 13th rated RB on the GBN positional ranking. The other two to enter the draft today are Colorado WR K.D. Dixon and South Carolina TE Kyle Markway, although neither is considered to be much more than fringe prospects for the upcoming draft. However, the 5-8 Dixon has some additional value as a KO returner, while Markway is a 5th year junior who had been awarded a 6th year by the NCAA after he missed pretty much all of both the 2016 and 2017 seasons, but did have a productive this past fall when he had 31 receptions for the Gamecocks. And while most of the underclassmen news involves players heading to the NFL, a number of juniors have said they will be going back to school including 6-7 Virginia OLB Charles Snowden, who had been considered to be a top 100 by the GBN, along with DTs Lorenzo Neal of Purdue and West Virginia’s Darius Stills. For the record, the GBN continues to track which underclassmen have already declared for the upcoming draft, as well as who’s declared and who’s not on the Junior Scoreboard so far.

Weekly draft order update posted ... The proverbial ‘if the draft were held this week’ selection order for the opening round of the 2020 draft has been updated with the results from this week’s games in the books.

UK’s ‘Mr Versatility’ enters draft … Kentucky junior WR Lynn Bowden announced that he will be foregoing his final year of eligibility and entering the 2020 draft where he figures to be, if not one of the most, THE most versatile prospect on the board. The 6-1, 200-pound Bowden was the Wildcats leading receiver last fall (with 67) and through the first half of the 2019 season (with 38) before taking over at QB for the back half of the campaign because of injuries. While more of a run threat than a passer, Bowden led the Wildcats to a 5-2 record and a bowl invite after taking over at QB. Bowden also has been a very good KO and punt returner in his SEC career. Bowden will be considered as a WR for the upcoming draft and could conceivably go in the mid-to-late second if NFL teams think they see a Randall Cobb type talent who can line up all over the field.

Bengals’ streak over; hang onto top pick … Cincinnati’s modest one-game winning streak came to an end this afternoon when the Bengals lost in Cleveland. That drops the Bengals record to 1-12 and means they will hang onto the #1 pick overall in the opening round selection order for the 2020 draft were it to be held this week. In fact, the top 4 picks will remain unchanged when this week’s selection order is posted after the Monday night game between the Giants and Eagles in Philadelphia tomorrow evening. Even if they were to win against their division rivals, the 2-10 Giants will hold onto the #2 pick as their SOS figure is weaker than that of the league’s remaining three win teams. Meanwhile, if the draft were held this week, Washington would pick 3rd, followed by Miami at #4 and Detroit at #5. However, the rest of the top ten and beyond won’t be decided until the conclusion of the late afternoon and prime-time games. As usual, the full, updated selection order as it stands for the upcoming opening round will be posted after the Monday nighter.

LSU earns #1 CFP seed; get Sooners; Ohio State and Clemson in the other … The 4-team CFP playoff match-ups have just been announced and it will be LSU against Oklahoma in one, while Ohio State and defending national champs Clemson in the other. LSU, leapfrogged Ohio State for the #1 seed after defeating Georgia in yesterday’s SEC final and will play 4th seeded Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl on December 28th. Meanwhile, Ohio State and Clemson will play in the Fiesta Bowl the same evening. The winners of the two national semi-finals will then meet for the national crown on January 13th in New Orleans.

UGA, OU, Baylor battle for ‘final’ CFP playoff spot … Don’t want to ruin anybody’s day, but folks settling in for an afternoon/evening of college conference championship games should be aware that Ohio State, LSU and Clemson are almost certainly going to be in this year’s 4-team CFP playoff bracket even if they lose their respective title games later today. In fact, there is probably only one spot actually up for grabs and Georgia will get it if the Bulldawgs upset LSU in this afternoon’s SEC championship game. If #2 ranked LSU prevails in Atlanta today then the 4th playoff spot will go to the winner of today’s BIG XII title game between Oklahoma and Baylor after Utah went down 37-15 to Oregon in last night’s Pac-12 championship game. For the record, the Sooners and Bears play at Noon ET early this afternoon on ABC; LSU and Georgia hook up in the SEC title game at 4 PM ET on CBS; Clemson plays Virginia for the ACC crown at 7:30 PM ET this evening on ABC; while Ohio State battles Wisconsin for the BIG TEN championship at 8 PM ET tonight on Fox. And again here is our preview of the 2020 draft prospects we’ll be watching in today’s games for those that didn’t see it earlier this week.

Two corners, top TE enter draft … Three more juniors indicated today that they will be entering the 2020 draft including CBs C.J. Henderson of Florida and Mississippi State’s Cameron Dantzler, along with Washington TE Hunter Bryant. All three are projected to be early second day prospects at the upcoming draft.

Pigskin’s weekly prospects review … Every week, GBN Associate Editor/Scouting Director Pigskin Paul Guillemette posts his observations from the past weekend’s college football highlights focusing on players that stood out with an eye toward the 2020 draft. Here is this week’s post.

Who to watch in this weekend’s college conference title games … Its championship weekend in college football as all the conferences hold their title games starting with the PAC-12 championship between Utah and Oregon later this evening. And with – mostly – the best playing the best this weekend, there will be plenty of top prospects for the 2020 draft to check out. Here‘s a preview of who we’ll be watching in this weekend’s Power-5 conference championship games.

Beavers WR Hodgins to enter draft … Another underclassman has spoken their intentions regarding the 2020 draft as Oregon State junior WR Isaiah Hodgins has indicated that he will be turning pro this winter. Hodgins is an intriguing prospect in that he has good size at 6-4, 210 and he was very productive for the Beavers as he racked up 86 receptions this fall for almost 1,200 yards and 13 TDs. For the record, no other Oregon State receiver had more than 45 catches this fall. Hodgins is currently listed as the 28th WR on the GBN positional ranking.

Pigskin posts latest top 15 college teams … With just the conference championship games to go this weekend, and less than a week until we find out who the 4 CFP playoff teams are, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has posted the latest edition of his college football rankings.

GBN first-round projection updated … With the NFL now at the 3/4 pole, the GBN first-round projection for the 2020 draft has been updated here.

Another three enter draft … As noted earlier, now that pretty much all that’s left on the college schedule are the conference championship games and the bowls, players are starting to make their intentions regarding the 2020 draft known, although juniors and redshirt sophomores who intend to turn pro this winter actually have until January 15th to file paperwork with the NFL in order to be in this year’s draft field. Another trio of juniors announced today that they would be entering this year’s draft including Central Florida WR Gabriel Davis, Michigan OLB Josh Uche and Maryland RB Javon Leake. Davis is the 13th rated WR on the GBN positional ranking and the 98th overall prospect on the GBN Top 100. Meanwhile, Uche, the #16 OLB, is an early third day prospect, while Leake is considered to be a later round or free agent candidate. The GBN is tracking which underclassmen have already declared for the upcoming draft, as well as who’s declared and who’s not on the Junior Scoreboard so far.

PSU DE Gross-Matos enters draft … You can add one more name to the list of underclassmen who have announced their intention to enter the 2020 draft as Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos has announced that he will be foregoing his final year of college eligibility and turning pro this winter.  The 6-5, 265-pound Gross-Matos is an early second day candidate with at least some opening round potential after posting 8.5 sacks this past fall.

GBN Big Board tweaked … With the college football regular schedule now in the books, the GBN scout staff has tweaked the GBN Big Board ranking the top 100 prospects for the 2020 draft. A couple of noteworthy moves. First, LSU QB Joe Burrow is now the top-rated guy overall on the full GBN board ahead of a couple of Ohio State stars: DE Chase Young and CB Jeffrey Okudah. At the same time, Oklahoma junior WR CeeDee Lamb has moved ahead of Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy as the top-ranked receiver and into the #5 slot overall, while Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons, maybe the best athlete pound-for-pound in this year’s draft class, is up to #6. Also keep an eye on South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw, who is up to #23 on the Big Board, after posting 6 sacks this fall.

Burrow, Young headline GBN AA team, other award picks … Its award season in college football with the regular season in the books. And as huge college football fans, the GBN head honchos couldn’t resist making their personal picks for this year’s major awards here and our choices for the All-America squad here.

Three more enter draft including top WR prospect … As noted earlier, now that pretty much all that’s left on the college schedule are the conference championship games and the bowls, players are starting to make their intentions regarding the 2020 draft known, although juniors and redshirt sophomores who intend to turn pro this winter actually have until January 15th to file paperwork with the NFL in order to be in this year’s draft field. And a trio of underclassmen announced today that they would be entering this year’s draft including Colorado WR Laviska Shenault, Missouri C Trystan Colon-Castillo, and Maryland RB Anthony McFarland. Shenault and Colon-Castillo are juniors, while McFarland is a redshirt sophomore. Shenault is the 5th rated WR on the GBN positional ranking and the 18th overall on the GBN Top 100. Meanwhile, Colon-Castillo, a third-day prospect for the upcoming draft, is the #10 C, while the 5-9, 200-pound McFarland ran for over 600 yards in an injury-plagued season this year after emerging with over 1,000 last year; he is also considered to be a later round candidate. The GBN is tracking which underclassmen have already declared for the upcoming draft, as well as who’s declared and who’s not on the Junior Scoreboard so far.

Two more enter draft … As noted earlier, now that pretty much all that’s left on the college schedule are the conference championship games and the bowls, we can begin to expect players to start to make their intentions regarding the 2020 draft known, although juniors and redshirt sophomores who intend to turn pro this winter actually have until January 15th to file paperwork with the NFL in order to be in this year’s draft field. And a couple more juniors announced late yesterday that they would be entering this year’s draft including TCU WR Jalen Reagor and Missouri TE Albert Okwuegbunam. Both are considered to be second round prospects at this time with Reagor ranked 40th overall on the GBN Top 100, while Okwuegbunam, this year’s second ranked TE on the GBN positional listing, is at #52 on the big board. The GBN is tracking which underclassmen have already declared for the upcoming draft, as well as who’s declared and who’s not on the Junior Scoreboard so far.

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