Who to watch in college football: September 25th

By | September 23, 2021

#7 TEXAS A&M (3-0) at #16 ARKANSAS (3-0); 3:30 PM ET; CBS … One might be tempted to ask what if they scheduled a big SEC game and a couple of old Southwest Conference teams showed. Of course, the Aggies and Hogs were both once rock-solid members of the original SWC, but both ultimately migrated to the SEC West, although in different years.

And for every team in the SEC West the question just about every year is ‘can anybody beat Alabama?’ One would think that Texas A&M feels that they have at least a shot; in fact, the Aggies will be hosting the Tide in two weeks. If nothing else, Texas A&M will certainly challenge Alabama’s dominance at the 2022 draft. Indeed, it’s the Aggies, not the Tide, that is the only team with more than one player currently included in the latest GBN Top 100 with DT DeMarvin Leal (#8, 6-4, 290) coming in at #8, while versatile G/T Kenyon Green (#55, 6-4, 325) rounds out the top 10. For good measure, the Aggies have a couple of later opening round prospect in RB Isaiah Spiller (#28, 6-1, 225) and TE Jalen Wydermyer (#85, 6-5, 255), both of whom are generaly considered to be the top prospects at their respective positions. Meanwhile, pro scouts will also be watching DT Jayden Peevy (#92, 6-5, 310) and explosive WR/KR Ainias Smith (#0, 5-10, 190), a pair of second-day type candidates.

Times have been pretty tough for the football Razorbacks since they jumped to the SEC, but there are hints that this, in fact, may be a program on the rise. The Hogs, for example, have one of the top receivers in this year’s draft class in veteran WR Treylon Burks (#16, 6-2, 225) who is big and fast with great hands. In fact, no one will be surprised at all if Burks is ultimately the first wideout off the board this coming April. However, the Hogs still don’t have quite the depth of talent of teams like Alabama and A&M, but do have several decent third-day prospects including LB Grant Morgan (#31, 5-11, 230), safety Jalen Catalon (#1, 5-10, 200), along with offensive linemen Myron Cunningham (#76, 6-6, 320), a somewhat underrated LT candidate, OG Ty Clary (#66, 6-3, 315) and C Ricky Stromberg (#51, 6-3, 315).

#12 NOTRE DAME (3-0) at #18 WISCONSIN (1-1); at Chicago; NOON ET; Fox … Interesting that while Notre Dame and Wisconsin are within about 4 hours driving distance, the two programs have seldom met. Indeed, they have faced each other just three times since the end of WWII, the last in 1964. They’ll redress that Saturday afternoon, by splitting the driving time and playing at Chicago’s Soldier Field. And maybe the most interesting storyline associated with this game – and just maybe in college football overall this week – is the fact Irish QB Jack Coan (#17, 6-3, 225) was actually a 2-3 starter for the Badgers before transferring to Notre Dame this winter as a grad transfer. It’s going to feel a little weird coming out of the other tunnel on Saturday.

And while, it is still early in the season, both teams really need a win. The Badgers, in particular, can hardly afford another home loss after losing to Penn State in their season opener. Meanwhile, Notre Dame is still unbeaten, but they have been less than overwhelming through their first two games. The Irish at least have the top prospect in this game in safety Kyle Hamilton (#14, 6-3, 220), who is built more like a LB, but has sideline-to-sideline range. Indeed, he is considered to be one of the top half dozen or so prospects overall for the upcoming draft period! The Irish also feature a pair of exciting, big-play skill position sophomores in RB Kyren Williams (#23, 5-9, 200) and TE Michael Mayer (#87, 6-4, 240). The Irish also feature a couple of solid third-day OL prospects in OG Cain Madden (#62, 6-2, 310), the former Marshall All-American, and veteran C Jarret Patterson (#55, 6-4, 310), while MLB Drew White (#40, 6-0, 230) anchors the defensive front seven.

This looks to be a rebuilding year of sorts at Wisconsin which, at least at this time, doesn’t look like it will have much of an impact on either of the first two days at the 2021 draft. The Badgers, though, do have some decent third-day candidates including TE Jake Ferguson (#84, 6-5, 245), OT Logan Bruss (#60, 6-4, 320), and active LBs Jack Sanborn (#57, 6-2, 235) and Leo Chenal (#5, 6-2, 260).