Week 4 of College football only had two games that had top 25 teams going up against each other, but there were still plenty of shocks and narrow escapes for the other ranked teams. I did an in-depth dive into three games this week, and whilst Wake Forest vs. Virginia and Oklahoma vs. West Virginia were decent watches, it was Texas A&M vs. Arkansas that seemed to be rammed with future NFL talent, so let’s start there…
Texas A&M Vs. Arkansas
This game was played at Jerry World (AT&T Stadium) and former Razorback Jerry Jones will be more than happy with what he saw go down in his own stadium.
Whilst the first Quarter produced some exciting Arkansas splash plays, the majority of the game was dominated by the defenses. Top NFL prospect DeMarvin Leal looked excellent again, dominating when lined up inside or out on the edge, and his stock is firmly pointing up and potentially into the top 10. Arkansas’s top prospect, Wide Receiver Treylon Burks, also shone in this one, particularly during the first half. Burks had a long Touchdown catch showing nice speed for a big guy and caught everything thrown at him, including an unbelievable side-line catch which was ruled out of bounds by the length of a toenail. Burks is in contention to be WR1 come April for sure.
Although, enough of these top guys, let’s take a look at some guys who caught my eye and are much lower on most everybody’s lists, but certainly balled out here.
Tre Williams, Edge, 6’5 255lbs, Senior
Williams had four unspectacular (at least production wise) seasons at Missouri before transferring to Arkansas for this campaign. In this game he certainly announced himself to a national audience with a terrorizing display, particularly when rushing the passer. He was able to consistently beat the veteran Left Tackle for A&M, Jahmir Johnson, to the outside but he certainly wasn’t just limited to speed wins, as he showed strong hands too to slip inside at times and overpower with strength. He beat up on Johnson so badly that they ended up moving All-American Guard Kenyon Green over to replace him, but he didn’t fare any better, which is extra kudos to Williams. He isn’t just limited to being a pass rusher either, as he played the run nicely too and set the edge properly, understanding his role in not letting RB Isaiah Spiller to get to the outside.
Officially credited with 4 tackles, 2 sacks and 5 hurries, Williams was the main reason A&M Quarterback Zach Calzada was forced into bad decisions.
I have 7 previous notes on Williams from his Mizzou days, and I certainly liked what I saw from him in 2018 and 2020. In fact, he graded highly last year in the two games I saw of him, against LSU and Alabama no less, so he’s someone who deserves watching, and hopefully if Arkansas keep winning, he’ll get more exposure.
Micheal Clemons, Edge, 6’5 270lbs, Senior
DeMarvin Leal is the big name on the A&M Defensive Line, but there are two other guys here who are playing out of their minds and need mentioning. Clemons spent most of the game going up against Arkansas Left Tackle Myron Cunningham, who is considered a decent NFL prospect too, and Clemons took his lunch money all game. I Like Cunningham myself, but this was a bit of a horror show, as Clemons dominated him when matched up. He is a bigger Edge, but he has plenty of bend to him and has a great get-off too, so he’s into the Tackle before they are set and can manipulate them as the play develops. He, like Williams before, can beat you inside or out and he played the run really well too, particularly in the second half.
He finished with 4 tackles, 2 for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Great numbers for someone who I’ve liked previously, but the biggest knock on him was production, so if he can keep going and putting up numbers like these, then I’m sure we can be talking about an early day 3 guy come next April
Jayden Peevy, Defensive Tackle, 6’6 315lbs, Senior
In past seasons I’ve always noted that Jayden Peevy lacked consistency and strength to his game. His listed weight for this year is up 20lbs from last year, and this may be part of the reason why he is looking so much stronger and dominant at the start of this season. He is someone that was always capable of big splash plays, but he was also responsible for blowing gap assignments and giving up big runs too.
Against a very good Arkansas interior Offensive Line, Peevy showed strength at the point of attack, good awareness and play recognition and the ability, even at this bigger weight, to still get into the backfield and cause quick disruption to plays. This is a very strong front 4 for A&M and Peevy is a big part of their dominance.
I watched the Colorado game in week 2 and he had a monster game there as well, so perhaps we have a new determined player, and if we do, he certainly will have the measurables to get NFL teams salivating.
Ricky Stromberg (Center, Arkansas), Beaux Limmer (Guard, Arkansas), K.J Jefferson (Quarterback, Arkansas), Reuben Fatheree (Tackle, Texas A&M), Demani Richardson (Safety, Texas A&M), Jaylon Jones (Cornerback, Texas A&M), Antonio Johnson (Nickel, Texas A&M)
Wake Forest @ Virginia
Wake Forest have made a great start to the season, going unbeaten through four games so far. I wanted to watch this one as I have a bit of a draft crush on Wake Forest Left Tackle Zach Tom, but I was also interested to see if this team has a chance to compete for the ACC title, as the conference is wide open this year. On what I saw in this game, albeit against a pretty average Virginia team, I’d say they certainly have a sniff.
Anyway, here’s my ramblings on Zach Tom and a really exciting young Virginia Receiver.
Zach Tom, Tackle, 6’5 295lbs, Senior
Zach Tom first caught my eye in 2019 when he was playing Center for the Demon Deacons. He scored really highly in those two games, and last year he moved over to Left Tackle and looked great again in the three games I watched (Clemson, NC State and Wisconsin). Virginia isn’t a team with good Edges or Outside Linebackers in their 3-4 system, so this wasn’t the best game to evaluate him, it was more of a check box that he still looks good. Everything I liked before is still there, smooth in pass sets, aggressive in the run game and never looks out of control.
He is in a similar situation to Tre Williams of Arkansas, where the longer their teams stay competitive and relevant, the more eyes will come over them and hopefully draft stock will go up accordingly.
Dontayvion Wicks, Wide Receiver, 6’1 205lbs, Sophomore
Wicks is a guy who didn’t play at all last year and had just 3 catches in 2019 as a Freshman. Through four games this year he has 22 grabs for 460 yards at a whopping 20.9 yards per catch. He currently sits 7th nationally in receiving yards per game and looks every bit as good as those stats suggest. He was the go-to receiver for Quarterback Brennan Armstrong, and he was clutch all game. Good size and speed, crisp routes and some yards after catch ability, he reminds me of another very underrated guy in Boise State’s Khalil Shakir. Obviously this was just the first watch for me of Wicks, but I have to say I was very impressed with what I saw and may take another look at him this week against Miami.
DeVonte Gordon (Right Tackle, Wake Forest), Blake Whiteheart (Tight End, Wake Forest), Ryan Smenda (Linebacker, Wake Forest), Olusegun Oluwatimi (Center, Virginia), Anthony Johnson (Cornerback, Virginia)
West Virginia @ Oklahoma
I had Oklahoma ranked #1 in pre-season, but they have really struggled so far. They are still unbeaten, although they got away with one here against West Virginia, who really should have won this. Most of the criticism is aimed at Quarterback Spencer Rattler, and while some of it is justified, I think there’s so many mental mistakes being made, by so many, all over the field, that he can’t be held solely responsible. Oklahoma has Kansas State in Manhattan next and that potentially will be a tougher game than this one, so the upset alert is on.
This game was actually a complete reversal of normal Big XII action, where both defenses played really well, and there were only 29 combined points, which is obscene for this conference. I’ll leave the Oklahoma players out of this write up as I’m sure we’ll see them plenty more as the season progresses, so instead we’ll take a look at two stand out Mountaineers from this game.
Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Wide Receiver, 6’3 220lbs, Junior
Another Wide Receiver who is fairly new to me is West Virginia’s Bryce Ford-Wheaton. I had a couple of average graded games from him from 2020, but I caught him in Week 1 of this season against Maryland and was intrigued by what I saw. This obviously was a much tougher match-up against potential NFL cornerbacks, and he bossed it.
West Virginia pretty much turned him into their version of New Orleans Saints star Michael Thomas, by getting him to run slants on pretty much every other play. Here, he can use his big body to shield the corner from the ball and his strong hands could withstand any contact from the defender too. He made key third down catches and was clearly their go-to guy when they needed a play.
For draft purposes, overall athleticism will be an issue, but strong handed guys like this do still carry value in the NFL.
Scottie Young, Safety, 5’10 207lbs, Senior
Young is a former Arizona Wildcat who transferred into West Virginia for the 2020 season, but only appeared in 2 games for the Mountaineers. This season he has taken over Tykee Smith’s (now of Georgia) role, in what they call their Spear position, which is a nickel/safety position.
I’ll admit that my graded games of Young whilst at Arizona were not good, but I’ve seen a totally different player in the 2 games I’ve caught of West Virginia so far. This one in particular, against a high-powered Offense led by the possible QB1 for the draft, he looked outstanding.
Clearly displays high football IQ by diagnosing plays quickly and getting to the ball. I think that’s always been there with Young, but the position West Virginia has put him in means he can make plays on the ball now, and he did that here with 2 passes defended and was constantly around the receivers at the catch point. He looked athletic, strong in the tackle and led by example on what was a very impressive display by the entire Mountaineers defense.
Obviously we can’t throw out old tape, but if Young continues to impress in this new role at West Virginia I think he could end up with a draftable grade, which would have been insane to think about prior to the season.
Akheem Mesidor (Defensive Tackle, West Virginia), Daryl Porter (Cornerback, West Virginia), Tyrese Robinson (Right Tackle, Oklahoma), Nik Bonitto (Edge, Oklahoma), Delarrin Turner-Yell (Safety, Oklahoma), Latrell McCutchin (Cornerback, Oklahoma).
Follow Keith on Twitter – @lordlucken