Prospect Watch Week 3 College Football

By | September 16, 2016

After a week to more or less catch our breath we are back to a loaded schedule of great college match-ups this weekend.

Much to my surprise this game is a bit under the radar. It had better not be for the Seminoles. I will say it out loud…. if FSU falls as far behind as they did in the first half of their opener with Ole Miss, Louisville will be much harder to come back against. This game starts with a classic dual between FSU freshman DEONDRE FRANCIS and Louisville sophomore LAMAR JACKSON, two of the best young QBs in the country. Indeed, the Cards’ Jackson, the early Heisman leader, looks every bit as good as Clemson’s highly touted junior DeSHAUN WATSON. There will be plenty more great prospects in this game, though, than just the young QBs including redshirt sophomore RB DALVIN COOK, junior  LT ROD JOHNSON, DE DEMARCUS WALKER and S NATE ANDREWS of the Seminoles and DE/OLB DEVONTE FIELDS, S JOSH HARVEY-CLEMON, and NT DEANGELO BROWN among others. And you can count on HC BOBBY PETRINO not taking his foot off the gas pedal no matter what the score. Both teams have talent laden, big play defenses and I expect the turnover/takeaway numbers to decide the outcome. Prospects to watch:

FLORIDA STATE                                                                     LOUISVILLE

#4 DALVIN COOK/RB 5’11/206 JR                                           #97 DEANGELO BROWN/DT 6’0/308
#29 NATE ANDREWS/S 6’/210                                                  #92 DeVONTE FIELDS/DE/ER 6’4/245
#72 KAREEM ARE/OG 6’6/330                                                  #25 JOSH HARVEY-CLEMONS/LB 6’5/230
#44 DeMARCUS WALKER/DE 6’3/275                                    #55 KEITH KELSEY/LB 6’1/235
#27 MARQUEZ WHITE/CB 6’0/181                                           #17 JAMES QUICK/WR 6’1/191
#3 BOBO WILSON/WR/RS 5’10/186                                           #2 JAMARI STAPLES/WR 6’4/195
#77 ROD JOHNSON/LT/6’6/310/JR

Sorry to say that the Ole Miss fold-up against FSU two weeks ago has me a bit skeptical of them as a top tier team, although I believe they can win 9 games and go bowling for dollars come season end. Veteran QB CHAD KELLY is a legit pro prospect, but he tends to cut it loose under pressure and creates turnovers, while TE/HB EVAN ENGRAM, a possible top 100 pick this year, is one of the best receiving prospects at the position in the country. Kelly and company, though, will have their hands full as the Alabama D, led by DE JONATHAN ALLEN, ILB REUBEN FOSTER, DE/OLB TIM WILLIAMS and redshirt sophomore CB MARLON HUMPHREY each of whom has first-round potential, is the wrong unit to play loose against.. The Tide’s best pro prospect though could be junior OT CAM ROBINSON, while TE O.J. HOWARD is arguably the best two-way prospect at the position. I fear the Alabama front seven will eat up the Ole Miss OL and unleash their seeming legion of pass rushers all night long. Too bad Ole Miss still does not have a running game to control the clock and make the blitzing dial it back a bit. But there are playmakers on both sides of the ball for Ole Miss and they are capable of big plays on both sides of the ball. It could/should be an exciting game overall. Prospects to watch:

ALABAMA                                                                        MISSISSIPPI
#93 JONATHAN ALLEN/DE 6’3/294                             #1 TONY BRIDGES/CB 6’0/185
#22 RYAN ANDERSON/ER 6’2/253                              #12 TONY CONNER/S 6’0/215
#88 O.J. HOWARD/TE 6’6/242                                      #17 EVAN ENGRAM/TE/HB 6’3/235
#4 EDDIE JACKSON/S 6’0/195                                      #93 D.J. JONES/DT 6’0/324
#74 CAM ROBINSON/OT 6’6/327 JR                            #10 CHAD KELLY/QB 6’2/215
#56 TIM WILLIAMS/OLB 6’4/237

Notre Dame appears to be off to another start of a season that will test their mettle and depth. Injuries and player suspensions are already mounting, but the Irish still have a solid talent base and will look to ride home field advantage, not to mention the talents of emerging junior QB DESHONE KIZER, who is starting to get some top 5-10 buzz, to a win over Spartie. Michigan State has a top 5-10 guy of their own in DT MALIK MCDOWELL, but overall the Spartans who seem to lack playmakers on the offensive side of the ball this season. If Notre Dame’s D can bring some serious heat on QB/TYLER O’CONNOR the Spartans may be hard pressed to score many points. Prospects to watch:

MICHIGAN STATE                                                         NOTRE DAME
#30 RILEY BULLOUGH/ILB 6’2/230                              #36 COLE LUKE/DB 5’11/195
#7 DEMETRIOUS COX/FS 6’1/200                                   #94 JARRON JONES/DT 6’3/315
#4 MALIK McDOWELL/DL 6’6/280 JR                          #68 MIKE McGLINCHEY/OT 6’7/315 JR
#82 ISIAH PRICE/TE 6’4/260                                           #90 ISAAC ROCHELL/DE 6’3/287
#12 R.J. SHELTON/WR 5’11/205                                      #14 DESHONE KIZER/QB/6’4/230/JR

It’s only September and here comes a game that could set the pace for the rest of the PAC-12 season. The Trojans can ill afford another loss to a Top 25 team, while STANFORD needs to win this home game against an arch rival. Both teams are breaking in new QBs with the graduation of USC’s CODY KESSLER and Kevin Hogan of STANFORD. For the record, junior Max Browne takes over at USC, while Stanford starts senior Ryan Burns. Both guys are 6-5 with decent arms, but neither is as good as their predecessor. Fortunately, both QBs get to work with one of the best skill players in the country. Browne, for example, throws to junior WR Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster, who entered the season as the consensus #1 wideout in this year’s draft class. At the same time, Stanford RB Christian McCaffery just may one of the very best all-purpose backs in college football history. Pro scouts will also be watching USC junior CB Adoree Jackson, who has also been known to dabble as a receiver and kick returner at times.  Prospects to watch:

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA                                             STANFORD
#73 ZACH BANNER/OT 6’9/350                                          #57 JOHNNY CASPERS/OG 6’4/296
#22 JUSTIN DAVIS/RB 6’1/195                                            #99 LUKE KAUMATULE/6’7/295
#2 ADOREE’ JACKSON/CB/RS 5’11/185 JR                      #29 DALLAS LLOYD/SS 6’3/213
#48 TAYLOR McNAMARA/TE 6’5/245                                 #5 CHRIS McCAFFREY/RB/RS 6’0/202 JR
#9 JU-JU SMITH-SCHUSTER/WR 6’2/215 JR                   #3 MICHAEL RECTOR/WR/RS 6’1/185


Best game of the day, though, may be in Norman where #2 ranked Ohio State plays Oklahoma in a match-up of two traditional college football powers that just don’t play all that often. The game lost a little luster when Oklahoma lost its season-opener to upstart Houston, but its still the Buckeyes and Sooners with plenty on the line. That’s particularly true for Oklahoma that just can’t afford to lose a second non-conference game and still have a realistic hope of making the BCS playoff. Like a couple of other games this week, the Buckeyes-Sooners features a match-up between two of the better QBs in the country in juniors J.T. Barrett of Ohio State and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, both of whom are legit Heisman candidates, although neither is necessarily a prime-time draft prospect. However, both squads do have their share of top prospects like C/G Pat Elflein, junior ILB Raekwon McMillan, and DEs Tyquan Lewis, another junior, and sophomore Sam Hubbard. Meanwhile, the Sooners feature one of the best 1-2 RB combos in junior Samaje Perrine and soph Joe Mixon; ILB Jordan Evans, junior DE Charles Walker, junior CB Jordan Thomas and FS Ahmad Thomas. Should be fun! Prospects to watch:

OHIO STATE                                                                                 OKLAHOMA

#16 J.T. BARRETT/QB/6-2, 255/JR                                              #6 BAKER MAYFIELD/QB/6-1, 212/JR
#65 PAT ELFLEIN/C-G/6-2, 300                                                  #32 SAMAJE PERINE/RB/6-0, 235/JR
#6 SAM HUBBARD/DE/6-4, 265/RSO                                         #25 JOE MIXON/RB/6-0, 230/RSO
#59 TYQUAN LEWIS/DE/6-3, 260/JR                                         #97 CHARLES WALKER/DE/6-2, 300/JR
#5 RAEKWON MCMILLAN/ILB/6-1, 240/JR                             #26 JORDAN EVANS/ILB/6-1, 235
#95 CAMERON JOHNSTON/P/5-11, 195                                        #7 JORDAN THOMAS/CB/5-11, 190/JR
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                                      #13 AHMAD THOMAS/FS/5-11, 200

Make you sure you have your recording device of choice all programmed for the weekend’s action. These are only the highlight games. There are a few other big match-ups that could spawn some upsets.