After a pretty quiet opening week in which there were few games of national significance things heat up this weekend on the college football schedule with a number of really intriguing match-ups across the country. And the most intriguing match-up this weekend will be at Texas where the 9th ranked Longhorns host #6 LSU from the formidable SEC West. It is a particularly Important game for Texas which desperately wants to get back into the ranks of true college football elites and start contending for a spot in the national playoffs.
And Texas may be getting closer as for the first time in quite awhile the Longhorns appear to have stability at QB. Junior Sam Ehlinger (#11, 6-3, 230) emerged last year as a quality college passer when he threw for 3,300 yards and 25 TDs while tossing only 5 interceptions. For good measure, Ehlinger can run just enough to help keep defenses honest. It doesn’t hurt Ehlinger’s numbers that he works with a veteran WR corps including rangy Collin Johnson (#9, 6-5, 220), Devin Duvernay (#6, 5-11, 210) and John Burt (#1, 6-2, 205). Johnson, in fact, toyed seriously with entering the 2019 draft after catching 68 passes last fall and was projected to go somewhere early in the second day had he turned pro early, but ultimately opted to return to school to try and get back into the opening round. Meanwhile, the young Texas offensive front is anchored by veteran C Zach Shackelford (#56, 6-3, 305) who should get some late-round consideration this coming April. Same story for Texas defenders Malcolm Roach (#32, 6-2, 290), a physical run-stuffing 3-4 DE, and veteran SS Brandon Jones (#19, 6-0, 205). The Longhorn defender NFL teams would really like to get their hands on though is sophomore FS Caden Sterns (#7, 6-0, 205), a freshman All-American last fall when he had 4 picks, but he won’t be draft eligible until 2020.
Needless to say Texas will have its hands full with LSU which has national aspirations of its own although truth be told this is a relatively young Tigers’ roster. However, the Tigers do have one of the very best prospects for the 2020 draft in junior FS Grant Delpit (#7, 6-2, 205), a top 5-10 prospect who makes plays going both ways. Indeed, the athletic Delpit had 5 sacks and 5 picks last fall while piling up 74 total tackles. Delpit lines up beside senior CB Kristian Fulton (#1, 5-11, 200) who has first-round potential of his own, while wide-body DE Rashard Lawrence (#90, 6-2, 310) should get some second-day consideration. And redshirt sophomore OLB K’lavon Chaisson (#18, 6-3, 250) could make it a full quartet of LSU defenders with at least top 100 potential if he were to opt to enter the upcoming draft. Like the Longhorns, the Tigers have an experienced game manager at QB in veteran Joe Burrow (9, 6-3, 220) who isn’t the most gifted passer around, but he finds ways to keep the chains moving while minimizing mistakes. Burrow has an emerging target in junior WR Justin Jefferson (#2, 6-2, 195), while veteran OG Damien Lewis (#68, 6-3, 335) anchors a rebuilt offensive front that has four new starters.