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College Football: Week 13 Scouting Notes

Well, just like that the college football regular season is over, but boy did we go out with a bang.

Rivalry weekend is always special, and I swear every year I learn something new about these traditional games and their origins. These games are always packed with incident, drama and usually a fight or two, and this year didn’t disappoint. 

The biggest storyline was Jim Harbaugh finally getting a win over Ohio State at the seventh attempt, and in doing so shaking up the Playoff picture. Auburn could, and should, have beaten their hated rival Alabama, but if you don’t take your chances, Nick Saban will do his best Freddy Krueger and continue to haunt you forever. It will be interesting to see if the Crimson Tide are “punished” by the committee for their narrow win, and perhaps moving them to number four, and in doing so hinting that a loss to Georgia in the SEC title game could be the end for them this season.

I pulled a long weekend of football watching madness, fuelled only by fried food and fizzy sugar laden drinks, and I’ll go through three of the in depth games I took in, starting in chronological order and the Egg Bowl…

Mississippi @ Mississippi State

This wasn’t the classic I was hoping for. I felt this new improved Bulldog Offense would have a field day against a rather porous Rebel Defense, but Ole Miss came out ready for the hostile environment, and one defender, who we’ll discuss below, had himself a day. Rebel Quarterback Matt Corral is still playing on two bad wheels, but while he was limited athletically, no one can fault the intangibles he is showing right now. He continues to carry this team on his shoulders, and even when not 100% fit he is leading his team to big wins, which will not be lost on the scouts watching.

I did a deep dive on the Bulldogs a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve picked two Ole Miss guys for my notes instead, starting with that defender who had a big day…

Sam Williams, Edge, 6’4, 265lbs, Senior

Williams was one of the top JUCO transfers in 2019 and had flashed big time talent during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He has taken it to a whole new level though this season, and those flashes are translating into production. He currently sits joint fourth nationally in sacks, with two of the three above him being superstars Will Anderson and Aidan Hutchinson, so he is in elite company.

I was always going to pay close attention to Williams’s match-up with Bulldog left tackle Charles Cross, as Cross has ascended draft boards and is now widely regarded as a 1st round lock, if he declares. If Cross does declare he may want to hide this tape from scouts as from the second quarter onwards Williams owned him. It had started off cagey with Williams mainly lining up against the shaky Bulldog right tackle and having success there, but as the game wore on, they switched Williams over to the other side and let him loose against Cross. Williams won in many different ways, which shows what a nice all-round skill set he has. He could get the outside arc and run it, he could win dipping back inside, and he could win with power too. Cross won a few reps as well, and if Williams didn’t win early, we could see a lack of counters on show. He also is a little inconsistent defending the run, but I think that is something that all pass rushers suffer from a bit, and I don’t think it’s worse than most of the top guys in this draft.

Detractors will point to a lack of length and only average overall athleticism, but what he put on tape here against a projected top level NFL prospect, and what he has done production wise in the SEC, should at least get him drafted in the top 100, if not top two rounds.

Jeremy James, Right Tackle, 6’5, 330lbs, Sophomore

Jeremy James is only a redshirt Sophomore, but he appeared on my radar last year with some great performances whilst playing guard as a Freshman. This year he has moved over to right tackle and been exceptional in the games I’ve seen. He is clearly the best, and most consistent, offensive lineman the Rebels have, and this is a line that features highly regarded left tackle Nick Broeker too. 

James looked great in this rivalry game, with all the Bulldog’s pass rushing success coming away from him, as he held down the right side easily. He is big and can engulf edges if they try to get into his chest, but he also has good length to control them if they try to take the outside. He is one of those offensive linemen that just looks effortless and smooth gliding about, but still can pack a punch in the run game too. 

Obviously one for the future here, but if Broeker heads to the NFL early, I think James could take over the Left Tackle spot and really propel himself into the national spotlight in 2022.

Honourable Mentions:

Makai Polk (Wide Receiver, Mississippi State). LaQuinston Sharp (Center, Mississippi State). Cameron Young (Defensive Tackle, Mississippi State). Martin Emerson (Cornerback, Mississippi State). Jett Johnson (Linebacker, Mississippi State). Dontario Drummond (Wide Receiver, Mississippi). Tavius Robinson (Edge, Mississippi). 

Missouri @ Arkansas

So, my interesting rivalry weekend facts I learned this year were that, a) Missouri and Arkansas are actually rivals and, b) this game is known as the Battle Line Rivalry. It’s all to do with the State line, between the two states, dividing the North and South during the American Civil War. It goes to show you can sit and watch a college football game and learn historical facts in the process.

As a game this wasn’t really close at all, with the Razorbacks dominating for long spells and running out 34-17 winners. The Arkansas stars on Offense continued to shine, and a not quite 100% fit Treylon Burks still continues to make big plays. He is so dynamic and the Mizzou defensive backs had no answer to his skills. In what will be an excellent crop of receivers in the upcoming draft, you could argue a case for Burks to be anything from WR #1 to WR#5, they are all that close at the top. 

For the Tigers they had a few players who stood out and fought all the way to the end, and we’ll talk about those guys here…

Tyler Badie, Running Back, 5’8, 194lbs, Senior

Now, I’ll admit coming into this season I wasn’t as high on Badie as most, but he has impressed me twice now this season and will be moving up my rankings accordingly. 

He is having a monster year, sitting third nationally with 1,604 yards at a very healthy 6 yards a pop. In this game he was the Mizzou offense, rushing for 219 yards and a touchdown. They only had 65 yards passing as a team, so they just kept feeding Badie the ball and letting him run loose. For a smaller back he really runs tough, rarely going down on first contact and always making positive gains. He has some nice wiggle in space and is also willing to run through tacklers too if required. This was his fifth 200-yard game of the season, and he has 574 yards in the last three games alone, against Arkansas here, and South Carolina and Florida previously. He is clearly on a hot streak and you can see that in the way he was running here, very confidently and with purpose. 

Now my issue with Badie has always been in Pass Protection. Three down backs are so valued these days, but Badie is close to being a liability if left to help out in pass protection, which makes him limited. He can catch the ball really well, so he can be used as a third down back, but this won’t get him drafted early though. 

Even with this incredible season he is having, the size limitations and pass protection issues mean he figures to be a day three pick. Where on day three will depend on how he tests and what teams’ value in their running back room.

Javon Foster, Left Tackle, 6’5, 297lbs, Junior

I’m a sucker for athletic left tackles, and I think I’ve stumbled across a bit of a hidden gem here in Javon Foster.

He only started two games last season at right tackle but has started all year in 2021 at left tackle. I caught the game in Week three against Kentucky, when the Wildcats were playing well, and he really impressed, and he’s backed that up with another impressive performance here against Arkansas. 

He is another who doesn’t seem to get fazed at all by flashy edge rushers, and he held an early season favourite of mine, Arkansas’s Tre Williams, to an almost blank stat line. Now it’s not just pass protection he excels in, as Badie’s 200-yard performance on the ground suggests. He sealed edges quickly and got to second level nicely too. He, and to be fair the whole offensive line in general, dominated at the point of attack and created some very nice running lanes that Badie took full advantage of.

If he can kick on next year, we may have someone who can rise in the rankings and take people by surprise.

Honourable Mentions:

Michael Maietti (Center, Missouri). Luke Griffin (Guard, Missouri). Isaiah McGuire (Edge, Missouri). Allie Green (Cornerback, Missouri).Treylon Burks (Wide Receiver, Arkansas). Dalton Wagner (Right Tackle, Arkansas). K.J Jefferson (Quarterback, Arkansas). Hayden Henry (Linebacker, Arkansas). Montaric Brown (Cornerback, Arkansas).

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State

Bedlam. 

Not just a word I use to describe getting my 5-year-old daughter to bed, but it’s also the name given to this wonderful rivalry game. And I think Bedlam certainly lived up to its name here as this was a crazy game, with twists and turns, and perhaps a surprise winner, depending on how you feel about the Sooners this year. It was easily the best game entertainment-wise I watched during this marathon session, and it had the best fight in it too. The Cowboys were deserved winners in my book, but they made sure that they left their fans sweating until the end, and credit to the Sooners for coming back and never giving up. We didn’t know this at the time, but this was Lincoln Riley’s last game as Oklahoma Head Coach as he, somewhat surprisingly, ditched the Sooners to take the vacant USC job. As much as I love the traditions around USC, jumping ship to L.A whilst Oklahoma head to the SEC soon seems a very strange decision to make, but I’m guessing all may not be well in Norman right now. Oh and of course the money may have something to do with it too!

Anyway, there were plenty of big-time performances in this year’s Bedlam, but I’ve gone with a Cowboy Receiver and a Sooner Cornerback who really impressed, probably because they very rarely lined up against each other….

Tay Martin, Wide Receiver, 6’3, 186lbs, Senior

Davontavean “Tay” Martin transferred out of Washington State the same time their Head Coach, Mike Leach, left to take the Mississippi State job. It would have been easy for Martin to go with his former Head Coach to the Bulldogs, but he chose Oklahoma State instead. He didn’t feature much last year, registering just 15 receptions for 149 yards in the shortened Big XII season. He has however become the #1 receiving option for the Cowboys this year and has almost double the yards as the second placed guy. He is a tall, thinnish receiver, with average athleticism, but he made big plays at big times in the game and was a vital part of the team’s success. He does a great job of high pointing the ball and is physical enough to win through contact too. Coming from Washington State and their “Air Raid” offense he wasn’t used to running a diverse route tree, and while that is still evident to a degree now, you can see how he is much more comfortable with what they are asking him to do. 

Still not on many people’s radars right now, if the Cowboys go on to win the Big XII and sneak into the College Football Playoff, he may well get some new fans, especially if he can play like he did here on an even bigger stage.

Woodi Washington, Cornerback, 5’11 191lbs, Sophomore

I was going to talk about Sooner Edge Nik Bonitto this week, who I think is criminally underrated, but I like to go a little deeper in these write-up sessions, so I moved onto a great named, young cornerback instead.

Washington flashed a little last year as a Freshman when he started five games to end the season. I was looking forward to seeing what he could do in 2021, but he was injured in week two and only returned in week eleven. I caught that week eleven game against Baylor, and although rusty, he still made some really nice plays. Now it seems he is fully healthy, we got an in-your-face, refuse to back down, the kind of display that I love from cornerbacks. Did he get beaten at times? Yes, but it’s how he bounced back that was impressive. Even after a couple of rough pass interference calls (wrongly in my book), he kept the level of aggression up and played the same way and trusting his ability, which he has a ton of. He had two interceptions in the game and a pass break-up, to go along with 6 tackles too. The first Interception is a brilliant read in zone and jumping a route, whilst the second is showing athletic ability and readjusting himself to grab a tipped ball. He seemed comfortable in phase with the wide receivers, and almost always was able to get to the catch point and contest catches. I do like these types of physical, cocky cornerbacks and if he can beat the injury bug next year I’ll be expecting big things from him. 

Honourable Mentions:

Brayden Willis (H-Back, Oklahoma). Kennedy Brooks (Running Back, Oklahoma). Nik Bonitto (Edge, Oklahoma). Spencer Sanders (Quarterback, Oklahoma State). Tyler Lacy (Edge, Oklahoma State). Devin Harper (Linebacker, Oklahoma State). Christian Holmes (Cornerback, Oklahoma State).

This concludes the 2021 season’s scouting notes. 

Focus will now turn to the tape I’ve missed during the season, and getting eyes on as many prospects as possible in the lead up to the 2022 NFL Draft. I’ll be contributing to the Full 10 Yards 2022 NFL draft guide, which is something that has always been a dream, and I honestly can’t wait to get started.

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College Football UK TV Preview Week 9

We are well into the swing of the season now with games coming thick and fast, with week 9 being no different at all. With the Thursday night games having whetted our appetites last night, Jake and Lee have 7 games for you to sink your teeth into right here, starting tonight with a game from the American conference…

Navy Midshipmen (1-6) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (3-4) – Skelly Field at H. A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Saturday 30th October 12.30am (UK)

Tulsa 11 point favourites at the time of writing

Despite the battle of the negative records in the AAC, there is plenty to like about the game in Tulsa. The Midshipmen are struggling for form, but can gain positives from their narrow loss to #2 Cincinnati last time out, whilst Tulsa will be looking for their third win on the bounce after victories against Memphis and South Florida.

The stat that really makes this game intriguing is Navy’s 6-2 series lead over the Hurricane, including a 4-0 record in Tulsa. Despite Tulsa coming in favourites for this game, there is certainly an element of optimism in the Navy camp based on recent record alone.

Despite the youthfulness of Navy’s offensive line, they can rely on Isaac Ruoss and James Harris II to build upon their 211 rushing yards a game, whilst Tai Lavatai can exploit the running game, as well as being consistent with his throwing. They certainly have the running game to attack Tulsa, and cause them problems, but the reliance on their offensive line to allow Lavatai to make plays will be key.

Tulsa will need to find a way to control the ball due to Navy’s reliance on the running game. If they can manage the clock and have the ball as often as possible then they can stifle Navy’s offense and find a way to pick up points. Navy currently ranks 2nd in AAC for rushing yards allowed, and 3rd overall for total yards in the AAC. This will make them a tough proposition to break down, but the offense will be led by Davis Brin, and if he can make plays happen and get his receivers the ball things may look better for Tulsa as the game goes on. They will also need Shamari Brooks, Anthony Watkins and Deneric Prince to continue their fine form on the ground to attack the solid defense of Navy.

Tulsa are expected to turn Navy over with plenty of points to spare, but this one could be a lot closer than first expected.

Texas Longhorns (4-3) vs. #16 Baylor Bears (6-1) – McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas

Saturday 30th October 5pm (UK)

Baylor 3 point favourites at the time of writing

It may not be the big rivalry in Texas, but the Big XII clash between these two certainly has excitement written all over it. The reeling Longhorns will be desperate to stop the rot after two tough home losses to two Oklahoma teams, whilst the surprising Bears will look to pick up where they left off last time out.

With 61.5 being the over/under total in this game, there must be plenty of offense expected from these two teams. 

Texas will look to talisman Bijan Robinson, who has been incredible this season so far. He has 10 rushing touchdowns in 7 games and averaging 6.3 yards a carry. If there was going to be a running back that will break down Baylor’s tough defense then there must be optimism from the Longhorns that it will be Robinson.

From the aerial side of things, Casey Thompson will find it tough against a defense that is only allowing 6.8 yards a pass, the fewest in the Big-12. He will need to try and play the short passes consistently and often, as well as throwing in the occasional play-action to try and catch Baylor off-guard.

Baylor has the solid and impressive Gerry Bohanon at quarterback, a player who has been intercepted just once this season. He has thrown for 12 touchdowns and averaged 9 yards a pass, the third best in the Big XII. If he runs into any trouble, then he has the explosive Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner to exploit the running game. Averaging 6.1 yards a carry, the highest in the conference, Smith is also joint on rushing touchdowns with Robinson. 

https://twitter.com/FTBVids_YT/status/1446904329424674816?s=20

The Longhorns’ defense has been leaky to say the least in the last 4 games, allowing 37 points a game, including 55 to Oklahoma. They will need to be as good as they can to overcome Baylor, and the bye week may have allowed them to come up with a plan to ruin Baylor’s season. This game should be a Baylor win, but don’t be surprised to see Texas cause an upset in Waco.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-3) vs. #4 Oklahoma Sooners (8-0) – Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma

Saturday 30th October – 8.30pm (UK)

Oklahoma 19.5 point favourites at the time of writing

Oklahoma are sitting atop of the Big XII with a perfect record of 8-0, however we all know this doesn’t tell the full story of the Sooners’ season, not at all.

Oklahoma has been in a couple of scraps, they’ve had their noses bloodied, they’ve had spotty quarterback play, to the point where their presumptive top-5 draft selection doesn’t look like he’s even going to be in the NFL next year. So you can see this one of two ways; they’re either very fortunate to be in this position, or they’re a gritty team who finds a way.

They answer, as is so often the case with these binary choices, is actually somewhere in between the two.

It is undeniable that Caleb Williams’ introduction to the team has lit a fire under the offense – To the point where he’s quite literally ripping the ball off his team mates to make a play and ensure that Oklahoma comes away with the win.

Did anybody actually establish whether that was legal or not, by the way?

Although, it’s also undeniable that the Sooners’ defense isn’t having a great year.

I am a fan of Alex Grinch, their Defensive Coordinator, but they’re looking disjointed and giving up far too many points.

So what will we see on Saturday evening?

Well, Texas Tech is a team who can trade blows. These guys have been in a number of high scorers this year and have been on the giving and receiving end of these kinds of results – So if you want to see explosive offenses and a whole heap of points getting scored, this one is the game for you!

The under/over is set at 66.5, which I think is pretty low considering the games that these two teams have been involved in.

There will be a good amount of offensive talent on show on both sides here; my guy Erik Ezukanma (above) could be on for a good game. The Texas Tech star has actually scored more rushing TDs than receiving TDs this season (2 vs. 1), which is odd for a 6’3 wide receiver but I’d back him to cause Oklahoma’s DBs a few problems.

That said, I could say the same for Marvin Mims and Jadon Haselwood for the Sooners.

Get some snacks in and get comfy because there’s going to be points here!  

#10 Ole Miss Rebels (6-1) vs. #18 Auburn Tigers (5-2) – Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama

Sunday 31st October – 12am (UK)

Ole Miss 3 point favourites at the time of writing

In the SEC this week we are being treated to a clash between a pair of teams who are enjoying decent seasons in the West division of the conference.

Way back before the season began I actually backed Auburn to have a bit of an iffy year, although I have to say I do think they’re maybe a game better off than I expected, but I do expect them to be dealt three more losses in conference play the rest of the way, starting with this game against the Mississippi Rebels.

I do think that this will be an intriguing game with the strengths of each team facing off against each other; the offense of Mississippi vs. The defense of the Tigers.

I like a good number of Auburn defenders, in particular the starting corner duo, Roger McCreary and Nehemiah Pritchett.

The will be doing well to suppress the arm and passing attack of Matt Corral, who will surely be looking to wrestle back some of the attention from others now that he’s not still flavour of the month when it comes to draftable quarterbacks.

Linebacker Zakoby McClain will also have to be on point too, as Ole Miss has a pretty balanced offense who can also move the ball on the ground as well as via the pass. McClain is having a good year so far – He’s a player who is anchoring the front seven for Auburn and is a player who can do it all, and if he has a great game he gives Auburn a real shot at keeping the score low and giving the Tigers a chance.

The fact that the defense needs to keep the score low is actually pretty imperative for this Tigers team.

The offense just isn’t prolific. It never has been with Bo Nix at the controls. Which for me, makes this game a difficult one to win.

Ole Miss put up points too easily with Corral and I just feel like they will overpower Auburn, if not at first then eventually they’ll grind them down and in my book, Auburn either needs to play outstanding defense or hope for an off day. That 3 point handicap shouldn’t take too much to overcome.

#20 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2) vs. #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1) – Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

Sunday 31st October 12.30am (UK)

Ohio State 18.5 point favourites at the time of writing

This game should be close if you see the records on paper but take a deeper look and you see a Penn State side who have lost their last two games and really struggle to get it going on offense. Then you look at Ohio State, and you see a side who narrowly lost to Oregon, before going on an explosive run in their last 5 games, scoring less than 50 points in just one of those games.

C.J Stroud and the Ohio State offense are playing unbelievably in the last 5 games. They have the nation’s best receiving trio in Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Chris Olave, whilst possessing one of the standout quarterbacks in 2021. Their running game has also been electric, with TreVyeon Henderson averaging 8.8 yards a carry and having 22 rushing touchdowns, whilst Miyan Williams is averaging 7.7 yards a carry. So how do you stop this offense? Especially when your defense allowed 356 rushing yards last time out. You just can’t, you just hope the secondary holds the receivers to minimal yardage, and the rushing defense steps up. If all else fails….

Penn State’s offense relies heavily on Sean Clifford being 100% and producing the performances that sees him have 1,647 yards this season. However, with him struggling to be 100% for the game at the weekend, then there could be holes in the Penn State offense. If he can pick up his performances and go back to the Clifford that started this season, then the Buckeyes may find it hard to control him. 

The Buckeyes’ defense has been steadily improving, and results have matched this. But as seen by the loss to Oregon, they have some holes in certain areas. Even Tulsa and Minnesota were very much in the game up until the 4th quarter. If Penn State can exploit the lack of a real game breaking pass rusher, then they may push this game a bit closer than expected.

However, Ohio State is strong in most departments and will look to control the ball for a length of time. If this is to be the case then the Nittany Lions have zero to minimal chance to be brutally honest. This game could be tight, or this game could be heavily controlled by the Buckeyes. My initial thought is the latter, and with the options they have in offense, then they can quite easily dispatch Penn State quite heavily. 

UCLA Bruins (5-3) vs. Utah Utes (4-3) – Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah

Sunday 31st October – 2am (UK)

Utah 4.5 point favourites at the time of writing

And for the night owls amongst us, the Pac-12 is offering up a treat with another really interesting match up within a division, but unlike the SEC match up, this one will have a huge bearing on who takes the Pac-12 South title.

Both Utah and UCLA lost last week and handed Arizona State a place in our winners column last week, despite not taking the field.

UCLA has zero ranked opponents left to play and really has a soft schedule for the remainder of the season (although, when does that matter in the Pac-12?). Utah, on the other hand, has this game against UCLA, a chippy Stanford side and Oregon to face, so they can afford no more slip-ups, especially when you consider that Arizona State is a game in front. However Utah do own the tie-breaking courtesy of their win of the Sun Devils earlier this year, which could be massive!

When we look at the odds, Utah being favoured by 4.5 says a lot. We usually allow a 3 point sway just for being at home, so really the bookies think this is pretty much a push, and as even as they come, which I would tend to agree to.

Both of these teams have their flaws, but they’re also pretty decent teams as well. They are both liable to drop a game where they shouldn’t, BYU and San Diego State are testament of that for Utah, and for UCLA you could point towards losses against

Although nice wins against LSU for UCLA and the aforementioned victory over the division leaders for Utah, shows that these teams can overcome big tests too.

So where will this one be won and lost?

For me, Utah is always a sum greater than their parts, whereas UCLA has some of the more individually talented players who can be game winners on their days, such as Zach Charbonnet and the talented offensive linemen that they have.

So with that in mind I feel that this comes down to the guy who is going to be the best player on the field, who is in fact a defensive stalwart for the Utes – Linebacker Devin Lloyd.

Can Lloyd lead the unit to smother and suffocate the Bruins offense?

If he can, then I think Utah keeps the score low enough and the Utes win the game.

Whilst Cam rising isn’t a super-explosive QB at this point, he beat out veteran competition to win the job, and they do have the trio of tight end talent to work with (as pointed out by our guy Keith in his scouting notes for week 7).

I’ll back the Utes here to take it in a close on – However, expect this game to have the usual thrills and spills that litter every Pac-12 game! 


Follow Lee on Twitter – @Wakefield90

Follow Jake on Twitter @ACCUKAnalysis1

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Wakefield’s October Mock Draft Part 1

With the NFL season reaching week 6 and seeing some teams put together less-than-ideal starts to their campaigns, it is time to start welcoming some of those franchises to Draft Season.

And we know what that means… It means we can start to look at prospect and team fits and start to have a little bit of fun with our mock drafts and as it is October I will look to put out one mock a month as a minimum, although as draft season draws closer they will of course become more frequent.

Before we get into the picks, remember, it’s still early in the season, the draft order used here will change and does not matter. Nor do the picks much either – Of course stocks will go up and go down over the coming months, and this series of mocks will be used as a tool to track progression and most of all, have fun.  Although for clarity, I have used the Tankathon draft order.

Anway, even though I said that, you’ll probably still have your comments so let’s get into it…

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Evan Neal, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

This could be the year, a draft rarity, an offensive tackle goes first overall. Evan Neal is an athletic freak (named #1 in Bruce Feldman’s Freak List), he is experienced both in a blue-blood programme and also in multiple spots on the offensive line. Oh… and he is super-sized, super-powerful and he can block in both the pass and the run game too.

Neal is a snatcher of souls in the run game who plays with fantastic violence and leverage. He will mow down whoever is unfortunate enough to be in front of him and drive them into the ground, before carrying on up the field in search for another target to destroy.

  1. Detroit Lions – Malik Willis, Quarterback, Liberty

This will seem like an odd choice and super early, and it is! However, there is some logic to this pick too and a road to this happening.

Firstly, as we can tell with a offensive tackle going first overall, this QB class is, well… iffy. So it’s going to be about upside; there is no Trevor Lawrence type prospect in the 2022 draft, that much is clear through the early throes of the season. Malik Willis has the upside to be the best passer of this class in a few short years.

Willis would also arrive in a position to be able to sit for a year behind Jared Goff – The former Rams QB isn’t going anywhere with $30m worth of dead cap on his contract for the 2022 season.

  1. Houston Texans – Matt Corral, Quarterback, Mississippi

It is surely a matter of time until DeShaun Watson is no longer associated with the Houston Texans anymore, Tyrod Taylor is only signed through the end of the current season and Davis Mills is clearly not ready to be an NFL quarterback at this present time.

So, with what will surely be a top-10 selection in April’s draft, there is only one position that the Texans can go for here.

Matt Corral has every chance in being the first QB off the board but at this point he’s not quite elevated himself to that privileged position as of yet.

The Ole Miss QB has a huge arm, he’s got athletic traits which make him a threat on the ground and whilst he’s not got the NFL measurables in terms of height and weight, he has been really productive in Lane Kiffin’s offense with the Rebels – There are plenty of ingredients that make Corral and enticing prospect for NFL teams.

  1. New York Jets – Derek Stingley Jr., Cornerback, Louisiana State

I had to double and triple check the Jets’ depth chart when I was choosing this next pick, I simply could not believe how bad the cornerback room is for this team.

Giving them Kayvon Thibodeaux was the other option here, considering that regardless of position, the Jets just need good football players at this point and for my money, Stingley and Thibodeaux are the best two available in this draft. However, the fact that the Jets have recently invested in Carl Lawson and Jonathan Franklin-Myers in free agency, and Quinnen Williams in the draft, I felt that the secondary outweighed the defensive front in terms of need at this point.

Stingley is instantly the star player on the defensive side of the ball alongside Quinnen Williams, to add to the likes of Zach Wilson and Mekhi Becton on the offense. The Jets would still be a couple of cornerstone pieces away and probably expecting to continue the rebuild in 2022 but adding Stingley and having another first rounder later makes the picture nicer.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles via Miami Dolphins – Kayvon Thibodeax, Edge, Oregon

It feels kind of bizarre to be penning a talent like Thibodeaux as low as fifth overall here, he is that good. I think come April his absolute floor, barring injury, is five, and what affects the final draft position of each team.

Even if a team in the top 5 has picked a pass rusher recently, they will be considering taking Thibodeaux – In all honesty, he could have easily gone first overall to the Jaguars here too.

Thibodeaux is a polished player in both pass and the run games – It’s actually crazy how underrated he is as a run defender by draft fans, it might even be the better side of his game right now.

That’s not to say that the Oregon man is Jadeveon Clowney because he can get after the QB plenty too, it just speaks to how complete of an edge defender he is, and that’s special.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame

If the Eagles manage to pull this pair of first round picks off I can imagine Howie Roseman will be doing backflips in the war room.

Kyle Hamilton is another top-5 talent in this class; a truly versatile back end defender who is adept at being a deep middle of the field (MOF) defender, but as well as his sideline to sideline range, he also possesses the skills to play through the trees and come downhill to make a tackle.

He can line up deep, he can line up in the box, in the slot, can cover punts on special teams, he’s 6’3 but can change direction due to oily hips and he can introduce our podcast.

The next do-it-all safety is hitting the NFL in April 2022 and whoever gets him can stop playing checkers on defense and start playing 4D chess. 

  1. New York Giants – DeMarvin Leal, Interior Defensive Line, Texas A&M 

A pick which I wouldn’t pull the trigger on if it was me, but this is the fun of a predictive mock draft, you have to get in the mind of Dave Gettleman.

Firstly, Gettleman loves a big man early in the draft, I feel like he gets fixated on the measurables and either speed or power (or both) of certain players and then once he’s decided on them he takes them regardless. Even if he could trade down a few spots and still get his guy, he’s just going to take his guy.

He’s either going to do that or take a linebacker, although that seemed to be more of a habit when he was in carolina.

I feel like Leal serves the dual purpose of firstly, satisfying Gettleman’s need to draft a big trench player, and secondly adding to the Giants front, which is actually very good.

Leal can take up the same positions on the defensive line as he currently does at A&M, aligning from 0-4i techniques, and occasionally outside of the tackles (which he did more prior to this season), which allows Dexter Lawrence to maybe be shift back to nose tackle where he can two-gap and free up Leal and Leonard Williams to get after the passer on the interior. Add in the speed of Azeez Ojulari and the Giants front is looking healthy.

Just how Gettleman would want it.

  1. Atlanta Falcons – Sam Howell, Quarterback, University of North Carolina

Coming into the season, Howell was probably most people’s second rated quarterback, behind Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler, so there can’t be too much shock that I’m giving him to a team in the top 10.

However, the QB class is murky at this point and truth be told, I don’t love any of the prospects from what I’ve seen so far this season off the back of the previous games and film I’ve seen of these guys.

That said, this is a team/player fit that I like; Howell worked well at UNC with a strong run game in 2020 with Javonte Williams and Michael Carter providing that, Falcons HC Arthur Smith will want to install a similarly strong ground game during his time in Atlanta, he just doesn’t have the pieces yet.

Howell is also a strong armed QB who can push the ball vertically to targets like Kyle Pitts, and he also works well off play-action, so again that meshes well with what I’d imagine Smith will want to do from year 2 onwards.

Howell is also from a town in the western portion of North Carolina, so he’s from less than 200 miles from Atlanta too.

  1. New England Patriots – Andrew Booth Jr., Cornerback, Clemson

Andrew Booth Jr. is one of my favourite players in this entire draft class. He’s a former 5-star recruit, he’s reportedly a star in the classroom (2 time ACC-honor roll) as well as the field and he has the length, coverage ability and athletic traits to be a true number one cornerback in the NFL.

Of course, we can say this about a heck of a lot of prospects, especially at the cornerback position – If we take you back just over 12 month, the first mock draft we did before the 2020 season, as a group we mocked 8 corners in the first round as a group.

Corners catch the eye, everyone needs them and the best ones are so, so valuable.

Booth is also a fantastic open-field tackler too which again elevates him on my grading scale too, although that said, this is a predictive mock, not what I would do.

From a team building standpoint, the Patriots need to replace recently traded Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson is an unrestricted free agent once this season is done.

  1. Indianapolis Colts – Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, Arkansas

Whilst this could be seen as a surprising choice, again I think there’s a roadmap to Burks being selected as wide receiver one in the same way that I feel Malik Willis can be the first QB off the board.

The NFL in 2021 is full of creative offenses, whose coordinators and coaches are always on the lookout for versatile playmakers who can be used in a range of ways. A team’s WR1 no longer has to be a 6’3 X receiver who runs 9-routes and jumps higher than everyone else, it can be a guy like Treylong Burks who has the 6’3 frame and the 5XL glove size, but he also has the agility, the Yac-ability and he’s multiple enough to be able to line up both outside and in the slot.

Burks is just as capable of taking a screen or a swing pass and creating for himself as he is making an acrobatic catch down the field.

He will need to expand his route tree at the NFL level but I think Burks has every possibility of being an all around offensive weapon in the pros. Let’s look at what guys can or could do.

  1. Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers – Darian Kinnard, Offensive Tackle, Kentucky

The Dolphins have spent a lot of day one and day two draft capital in their offensive line over the past few years; Austin Jackson, Liam Eichenberg, Robert Hunt and Michael Deiter, as well as day three picks on Solomon Kindley and Greg Little.

The issue is the Dolphins are no closer to a solution for their line as a whole and it may have also cost them their QB because as things stand from a confidence standpoint, Tua Tagovailoa looks shot to pieces when he’s playing, and how much longer will Miami persist with the Sophomore QB? Especially since rumours of a trade for DeShaun Watson just won’t go away.

Miami needs to remodel the offensive line, so picking firstly, a good offensive lineman and secondly, a lineman with versatility would be a great place to start, Kinnard has that guard/tackle flexibility and is one of the better prospects in the class.

Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt and Liam Eichenberg are all too new to cut bait on, so the right side needs some attention. Kinnard and Hunt could form a hugely violent partnership on the right side – Whilst the line isn’t performing at the moment, those four could be a decent combination for whoever is throwing the passes in the coming years.

  1. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks – Adam Anderson, Edge, Georgia

Adam Anderson was a bit part player in his previous seasons with the Bulldogs but now he’s into a full-time starting role he’s exploded and become a really key piece of what is an unbelievable unit.

Anderson is an explosive edge rusher with excellent bend and burst, with the ability to turn the corner and get to the quarterback. Teaming Anderson up with the aforementioned Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams and Jonathan Franklin-Myers gives the Jets the foundations of a really young front seven who can begin to put consistent pressure on opposing QBs – Something a defense-minded HC like Robert Saleh had when he was calling defense in San Francisco.

Stingley and Anderson to kick off the draft, that’s a pair of defenders with a really high ceiling.

  1. Washington Football Team – Jaxon Kirkland, Offensive Tackle, Washington

A pick that has been made with pure upside in mind – Jaxon Kirkland has all the length in the world at 6’6 and whilst he’s maybe slightly slender, he has the frame to put on more weight.

He’s strong, has a decent anchor and he can move in space – Everything you would like in a rookie lineman.

Kirkland has played well at left tackle for the Huskies so far this season and whilst the Pac-12 isn’t exactly known for its defensive play, he’s has experience of going against some really talented and productive edge rushers that he’s gained during his time in Seattle.

Kirkland also has experience at playing guard, so to me, with the upside available it’s a great pick at this value, but you have the safety net of getting a decent floor given the flexibility and at worse you’re going to be getting an NFL calibre guard at worst.

For Washington, they have a need at tackle and they could also use an insurance policy against losing Brandon Scherff, as their star left guard is under the franchise tag this season.

  1. Minnesota Vikings – Kaiir Elam, Cornerback, Florida 

The second of the picks that I wouldn’t make but again, knowing the tendency of Mike Zimmer and Rick Speilman who both absolutely adore using early round picks on defensive backs, I can see Elam being a realistic pick for the Vikings.

For me, the way I feel about Elam reminds me of how I felt about fellow Gator, CJ Henderson before the 2020 draft; I was down on Henderson and I’m lower on Elam than most seem to be.

Looking at my grading of Elam, I’ve got a low grade on him for tackling and noted some issues with footwork – He seems a bit anxious and can overreact and mis-step when he’s dealing with speedy or more precise route runners which leaves him exposed when it comes to double moves.

In terms of the Vikings’ investment in corners recently, it’s not gone so well since none of Xavier Rhodes,Trae Waynes, Mike Hughes or Jeff Gladney are currently on the team, and whilst Mackensie Alexander is he did spend some time with Cincinnati in 2020 before returning to Minnesota. They really need a corner to stick on the roster and be a cornerstone piece, because Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland are sticking plasters at the moment.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Spencer Rattler, Quarterback, Oklahoma

The Ben Roethlistburger era is all but over in Pittsburgh and the Steelers will not want to enter a Brown-esque QB churn for the next few years as they search for their next guy.

I can see the Steelers being even more keen to bring in the new era quickly considering they still have a playoff worthy defense which they will not want to waste.

Rattler brings big, big upside with the arm talent he possesses and whilst there has been evidence of poor attitude with Rattler but I do feel like Mike Tomlin is the sort of Head Coach who would keep a young passer on the straight and narrow.

The Steelers could potentially move from one QB to the QB and avoid a major rebuild, it would really just be about putting the receivers and offensive line around Rattler and go again.

I’m not sure I’m in love with this pick either and it’d be my final one in this run but it would certainly give Pittsburgh fans some excitement and a QB who can throw the ball further than 20 yards through the air.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

If at the end of the season Kansas City is picking at 16, then something will have gone badly awry, so it sort of makes this pick redundant because they’re still likely to make the postseason and therefore be picking a handful of picks higher at least.

Nonetheless, this is currently has the order stacks up so I will go ahead and pick the Chiefs an absolute humdinger of a pick to close out this mock draft.

Hutchinson is a player I fell in love with during our Summer Scouting series and it seems that our guy Raj has similar feelings towards the Michigan edge defender – Hutchinson comes in super high in Raj’s first big board of the year, which you can check out HERE.

If the Chiefs got Hutchinson, they could move Chris Jones to his more natural position in the middle of the defensive line and pair him with Frank Clark coming off the edges to form a fearsome threesome up front for the Arrowhead faithful. Clark has been disappointing so far in his Chiefs career so I’d expect Hutchinson to become Kansas City’s best edge defender in no time.

So what would they be getting?

A really big, powerful rusher who is technically refined and has a quick first step. Hutchinson also has the size and versatility to kick inside and perhaps rush next to Chris Jones if the down and distance dictates that – And believe me when I say, good luck blocking those two guys on the interior.

So that wraps up part 1 of my October mock draft – Check back tomorrow for part 2.


Follow Lee on Twitter – @Wakefield90

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2021 College Football: Week 6 Scouting Notes

Week 6 in the college football world gave us something so rare we had to check the score twice, an Alabama loss…..

A few weeks ago ‘Bama’s match-up with Texas A&M looked tasty, but with the Aggies losing two straight and having a back-up Quarterback in, most people, myself included, decided to ditch it from the must watch and focus on different games. Obviously on seeing the score there was no way I wasn’t going to do a deep dive on that game, and along with the Red River Showdown, these were perhaps the best two games of the season so far. So many twists and turns in each game, and afterwards you just felt that this is what makes college football so special.

We’ll start though with a game that happened the evening before….

Stanford @ Arizona State

I was looking forward to this game a lot as some of the F10Y College team have been hyping up a couple of guys on display in this one. The Sun Devils pretty much controlled this from start to finish, but this Cardinal team has a couple of really good looking young players in it, and you get the feeling they could be very decent next year in the PAC-12, where a lot of these teams are of similar ability, and any one of them can win the Conference.

Let’s start with a running back who a few of the lads really like….

Rachaad White, Running Back, 6’2, 210lbs, Senior

White shares carries in the Sun Devil backfield with DeaMonte (Chip) Trayanum, but it’s clear to see who the more dynamic player is, as White is a threat to catch the ball too, as displayed by his 24 catches through 6 games. He only had one catch in this game, but it was his running ability that really stood out here. He runs really gracefully, moving with ease at speed and consistently shows good athleticism, especially out in space. On one run, he took an option pitch near the sideline, exploded upfield and finished the play by hurdling a player and picking up extra yards. He also isn’t afraid to take contact and plough over people, and this is what makes him dynamic, as he can do the hard-nosed runs, the shifty runs and has great hands too. 

So we’re talking about a complete back here, with limited tread on his tyres, who is very much under the radar right now. 

The Lads are definitely right, he is certainly worth keeping an eye on. In what is becoming a bit of an underwhelming Running Back class, he has the potential to overtake some much bigger names comes draft time.

Kellen Diesch, Offensive Tackle, 6’7, 300lbs, Senior

I caught a bit of the Sun Devils game the week before against UCLA, and Diesch looked pretty good in that one. I put him under the microscope in this game and boy did he show up. In fact, he earned the highest grade so far by me for an Offensive Lineman this season, and I’ve done over 40 full games this year, so that’s pretty impressive! 

He looks to have all the tools to work with, height, length, strength and plays with an unfazed demeanour. Always in control whether in pass protection or run blocking, sliding effortlessly around the pocket on one play and then leading out into space to open up holes for the run on the next. 

He’s a transfer from Texas A&M where he got very few snaps on a very talented Offensive Line there, but he has now got everyone’s attention playing Left Tackle for arguably the best PAC-12 team right now. If this level of play is maintained I can’t see how he isn’t a top 100 player come draft day.

D.J Davidson, Defensive Tackle, 6’5, 325lbs, Senior

I’ve been a fan of Davidson’s since the 2019 tape. He seemed to flash every time I watched them play, and he, along with the currently injured Jermaine Lole, formed a very frightening duo in the middle of the Arizona State Defensive Line. With Lole out for the entire season, Davidson has taken it on himself to be a leader on that line, and his play has risen up another level. 

He moves really well for such a big man, with a great burst off the line he is into the Offensive Lineman’s chest and controlling his opponent with ease. He consistently disrupts run plays with his power, penetrating gaps and filling run lanes. He makes play for others, and this is reflected in the stat sheet for him, only making two official tackles, with one being for a loss. There are plays where he seems to run out of steam pretty quickly, but for a big guy who plays a lot of snaps, this is understandable. 

With Arizona State gaining a bit of momentum here, I think Davidson will get more publicity, and who can’t like a guy this size playing this well?

Photo Credit: CBS Sports

Tanner McKee (Quarterback, 6’6 228lbs, Sophomore) & Benjamin Yurosek (Tight End, 6’5 232, Sophomore)

We’ll put these two guys into one write-up as they are the future for Stanford’s Offense. Like Arizona State, I’d caught a fair bit of Stanford’s surprise win over Oregon the week before, but this was a chance to get a really good look at them, and these two guys stood out. 

There’s been a fair bit of natter amongst the lads on the team about Quarterback Tanner McKee. Now if you just read the stat line (45-27-356-1-3) you’d think McKee had had a stinker, but this is where you need to look past numbers, as they don’t tell the whole story. Two of his Three Interceptions on the night were from deflections, the other was a terrible stare down on a slant, but the fact is the stat line would have looked much better with just the one pick. McKee has an air of authority about him, really looking the part both physically and as a passer. He can really zip the ball about, that thing comes out of his hand like a missile, which is good most of the time, but that also led to some drops, as it was too hot to handle at times. As first watches go there’s a lot to like here, and I think he’ll end up being a better prospect than Davis Mills was last year.

I’d never heard of Yurosek before the season started but he flashed last week against Oregon, and he really broke out big time here. He had 6 catches for 118 yards, at a very healthy 19.67 average. He was the main recipient of McKee’s missiles, and he made three wonderful catches, all key 3rd down ones, and two of them he really had to climb the ladder to get. He moves like a big Wide Receiver, which essentially he is right now, but the way Stanford traditionally likes to play, he’ll need to bulk up and learn to block better for the run going forward. 

With Yurosek, McKee and a couple of other young guys, Stanford is certainly headed in the right direction.

Honourable Mentions:

Jayden Daniels (Quarterback, Arizona State), Tyler Johnson (Edge, Arizona State), Omarr Norman-Lott (Defensive Tackle, Arizona State), Jack Jones (Cornerback, Arizona State), Elijah Higgins (Wide Receiver, Stanford), Thomas Booker (Defensive Tackle, Stanford), Gabe Reid (Outside Linebacker, Stanford).

Oklahoma @ Texas

This game always seems to have everything, and it happened again this year, with the Sooners coming back from a 21-point deficit, to snatch victory from the heartbroken Longhorns. The big storyline here was QB Spencer Rattler being benched, and true Freshman QB Caleb Williams stepping in and leading the comeback. Where does Rattler go from here? Who knows, but you have to think Lincoln Riley has a tough job on his hands keeping both of these guys happy now. There were big games from the big names, but we go deeper than the star players here, so let’s delve into a couple of lesser known Sooners who helped make this game a memorable one.

Tyrese Robinson, Right Tackle, 6’3, 324lbs, Senior

Robinson has been an All-Conference Guard for the last two years, but he was surprisingly moved to Right Tackle for this season and he is still excelling, even at this new spot. They still love to pull him on run plays, and he helped open up big holes consistently, particularly in the second half when they needed it. He got injured in the third quarter and missed a series or two and it showed, as his replacement (Tennessee transfer Wanya Morris) couldn’t get the same push as Robinson did. There were times where he got beat with a speed rush to the outside, but in the 76 plays that he was out there, this happened only a handful of times, and again being a Guard normally he’d always have had help outside him, so this is just an adjustment that he needs to make at his new position. Between him and talented Guard Marquis Hayes, they helped the team rush for 339 yards at a 8.27 average and four touchdowns, which are absurd numbers. 

His NFL future is almost certainly at Guard, but playing Right Tackle at the level he is right now, only adds to his draft day value. 

Photo Credit: 24/7 Sports

Jeremiah Hall, H-Back, 6’2, 248lbs, Junior

Oklahoma still likes to use these H-Back types in their Offense, and Jeremiah Hall has excelled in this role for a number of years now. He can line up in the backfield next to the QB, as a traditional Fullback at times, as an inline Tight End too and occasionally split out wide as a Receiver. He has such a diverse skill set that you know the Sooners are just trying to get as much out of him as possible. He had a big play in this game, on a trick play where he led out wide as if to block, but arched through the defenders and up the sideline on a wheel route, and made a nice catch for a long gain. He has that ability to make plays in the passing game, but Oklahoma has so many mouths to feed that he isn’t targeted as much as he should be. They like to use him as a move blocker, and here he really looks good, often pulling and sealing the edges for big runs. He was a big part of the reason for the Sooners massive Offensive output (662 total yards) and he will have fans at the next level who value these multi-purpose players. I’m looking at you Kyle Shanahan.

Honourable Mentions:

Marvin Mims (Wide Receiver, Oklahoma), Anton Harrison (Left Tackle, Oklahoma), Marquis Hayes (Left Guard, Oklahoma), Isaiah Thomas (Edge, Oklahoma), Perrion Winfrey (Defensive Tackle, Oklahoma), Nik Bonitto (Edge, Oklahoma),  Xavier Worthy (Wide Receiver, Texas), Casey Thompson (Quarterback, Texas), Keondre Coburn (Defensive Tackle, Texas). 

Alabama @ Texas A&M

As I put in the intro, this was a game I wasn’t going to bother with, but the result certainly needed further investigation. Now I had no idea Aggies Quarterback Zach Calzada had this type of game in him, and I’m guessing nor did the Crimson Tide. They looked shell-shocked as it was Calzada ripping them apart through the air and not star Running Back Isaiah Spiller doing the damage on the ground. This whole game had everything, and with Johnny Manziel cheering along on the A&M sideline, it was Calzada doing a great impression of Johnny Football in the game itself. He was moving out of the pocket on designed roll-outs, stepping up in the pocket when under pressure, and taking off if necessary, things we hadn’t seen at all in his previous starts. Is this the start of something for Calzada? Probably not, but the one thing we do know is that the stats will now show that a Saban assistant has finally beaten the master himself, and I’m kinda glad it was Jimbo Fisher who got to do it. 

Again, we’ll leave the biggest of the names alone, but I do want to briefly shout out a couple of Senior Alabama players who are really emerging from the shadows and into NFL draft relevance. 

Brian Robinson, (Running Back, 6’1 225lbs, Senior)

During his five seasons at Alabama, Robinson has had to play behind such Running Backs as Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, Damien Harris and Najee Harris. Just let that sink in for a minute…. Now I’m sure 90% of players in Robinson’s position would have transferred out during that time, but he backed himself to make it with the Crimson Tide and it’s certainly paying off now. 

Alabama leaned heavily on Robinson in this game to the tune of 24 carries for 147 yards, at a 6.13 average. He also caught four passes for 60 yards, giving him over 200 all-purpose yards against one of the stingiest defenses in college football. He has an aggressive running style that suits his size, but he can wiggle a bit too if he needs to. He was constantly ploughing his way through the bodies and gaining those tough yards that ‘Bama needed, and he was an absolute monster in Pass Protection too, stonewalling many an A&M blitzer. In his last two games Robinson has 60 carries for 318 yards and four Touchdowns, which is obscene. 

Now where does this magnificent performance put his draft stock? Hard to say right now, as he’ll be an older prospect who hasn’t played much, but if we continue to see this level of play he will certainly have gone from an afterthought, to possibly an early day three guy. 

Photo Credit: Alabama Athletics

Phidarian Mathis (Defensive Tackle, 6’4 312lbs, Senior)

When I did the summer scouting of Defensive Tackles for the Full 10 Yards, I had three Alabama players to look at. There was Mathis, D.J Dale and LaBryan Ray, and I thought all of them were massively overrated. Now Ray has hardly seen the field this season and Dale continues to flatter to deceive, but Mathis has been fantastic in the previous three games I’d seen this season, and he was even better in this one. 

He seems to have found a role on that Defensive Line and he is playing lights out right now. It probably helps having Will Anderson as one of the Edges, but even so Mathis is dominating when lined up inside and they even shift him out to Edge on some plays which is a sight to behold! I remember watching Clemson do something very similar with Christian Wilkins a few years back, and Mathis is doing the same here, a 300+ man lining up outside of the Tackle and trying to take his outside shoulder. Now admittedly he didn’t get any sacks or pressures this way, but the raw athleticism was there for all to see, and if you couple that with the strength he was showing on the interior, we have a very exciting prospect on our hands.

Who knows why the light has only just come on for Mathis, but it has, and it will save his draft stock. This looks a very average interior Defensive Line class and he’s put himself right back amongst the top guys now.

Honourable Mentions:

Jameson Williams (Wide Receiver, Alabama), Evan Neal (Left Tackle, Alabama), Javion Cohen (Left Guard, Alabama), Darrian Dalcourt (Center, Alabama), Ainias Smith (Wide Receiver, Texas A&M), Zach Calzada (Quarterback, Texas A&M), Jayden Peevy (Defensive Tackle, Texas A&M), Leon O’Neal (Safety, Texas A&M).


Follow Keith on Twitter – @LordLucken

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College Football – Top 5 Quarterbacks for the 2022 NFL Draft

This is a really interesting QB class, although I think we’re all in agreement that at this moment in time, there are no superstars in the 2022 class.

There is plenty of movement still to come, so by no means are these final rankings, just a little check in, but this is how I see these guys right now.

5 – Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

We’re starting at the bottom of this list and this particular selection will ruffle some feathers but at number 5 I have Spencer Rattler. Everyone’s favourite petulant child with a penchant for drama. A kid who seems more concerned with building his brand than building his skillset. A kid who likes the idea of being a quarterback than he likes well…playing quarterback. I shouldn’t be too hard on Rattler but the more I see him play the more holes I see in his game. Rattler has some really good traits that NFL coaches look for in a quarterback. Great throwing motion, decent footwork and pretty good pocket presence but there’s a lot of things that will really let him down at the pro level, mainly his attitude. Do you want a QB who puts the team on his back and elevates his guys or do you want a guy who will complain and throw others under the bus for mistakes that he’s made? If you chose the former Rattler is your guy…or big ben. At least rattler has an arm.

4 – Carson Strong, Nevada

My colleague Andy Moore (@AJMoore21 on twitter) will be buzzing that I’ve come around on Carson Strong of late but he’s just so good! There is a lot to like about Strong though, his arm is very good, his IQ and decision making are amongst the best in the class and he knows how to navigate a pocket even if it collapses quickly. He is not the type of athlete I’d be super comfortable taking as an NFL GM though. The pro game requires some speed and mobility now and that’s not really Strong’s well…strong suit. This isn’t to say that there’s not unathletic quarterbacks in the NFL but he sometimes struggles now and I wonder how much this would be amplified in the Pro’s

3 – Sam Howell, North Carolina

Yes it’s everyone’s favourite Baker Mayfield clone, Sam Howell. Despite the scruffy face and similar size there actually aren’t too many similarities between the two. Sam is a very good improvisor and isn’t afraid to move around and buy some time while guys get open. He’s also not afraid to take a hit if it means he can deliver the ball downfield. Now he does have some slightly erratic footwork that can cause some problems in the pocket but Howell is a safe bet. His ceiling might be Baker Mayfield but his floor is just a slightly worse Baker Mayfield. Howell isn’t a fun or flashy prospect. He’s Mac Jones, he’s safe. Might be a Detroit Lion at this rate.

2 – Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Where do I start with Desmond Ridder? Let’s start at the logical place… My aversion to bazooka armed athletes with below average mechanics. I missed on Mahomes and Herbert, so I’m not missing on Ridder. He has a howitzer attached to his right shoulder, his legs make him a legit duel threat and his progression as a player has made a lot of people stand up and take notice…that’s tough for an AAC quarterback to do. Ridder is undoubtedly a project guy…but the leap he could make is insane. He has the highest ceiling in this entire class and could really turn a franchise around if they take their time to develop him right. Ridder will be a star in the NFL; Mark my words. It will be interesting to see where Ridder ends up.

1 – Matt Corral, Ole Miss

Despite treating turnovers like pringles and not stopping at just one, Matt Corral is an insane quarterback talent. He can put the ball anywhere on the field, he’s a solid athlete and his football IQ (when not frustrated) is one of the best in this class. Corral is a smart player who can make some really tight window throws when he needs to, spend some time on his mechanics and you could have an all pro guy on your hands. Now having Corral at number one and Rattler at number five is something that I think might upset people…but just compare the two on and off the field. Yes Corral showed the more frustrating side of his game in 2020 but so far in this 2021 season he has shown enough to me to put him at the head of the pack. He’s not perfect, but he’s the best in this class, and to me its’s clear.


Follow Kieran on Twitter – @TheHimboF10Y

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College Football Preseason Storylines Revisited

Prior to the season we all have takes, we all say things and we make some predictions – Lord knows we are proven wrong throughout the season, but we all have our opinions and that’s the fun of writing, podcasting and really being a sports fan and talking with other fans.

Today I’ve picked out five storylines or takes that were either takes from one of our crew or a mainstream storyline that a lot of people were talking about before the college football season kicked off, and I am going to give a little bit of a sit-rep through 5 weeks of the season.

Let’s go…

Alabama are in transition – Wrong

So let’s kick this off with the big one, the one that we were talking about and I feel, a lot of people were talking about, the one we’ve all got badly, badly wrong.

Look, Alabama loses a boatload of talent to the NFL every year and people like us don’t usually panic as much as they did prior to this season. Why is that then?

It was a record setting draft class for the 2021 Crimson Tide with six first round players, including the Heisman Trophy winner and their starting QB, as well as several other key starters.

The previous iteration of the Alabama Crimson Tide also crushed all that lay before them, in a march to the National Championship – They beat everybody, posting a perfect record of 13-0, including five Top-25 teams and for the most part, blowing most teams out.

Anything would have been a step down, so I guess that’s what we all expected.

Raj and I were talking on this week’s podcast and musing over the question of whether there are actually just a whole load of average teams in the college football ranks this year… Which is entirely possible.

But still, this just feels ominous now regardless, it’s difficult to point and say that this team is in transition when they’re still blowing everyone out each week and will probably continue to do so.

Spencer Rattler is the best QB in the 2022 class – Wrong

Let’s dive right into another storyline that everybody was talking about prior to the season. Again, this is another storyline which feels like the vast majority of people are well and truly out on now, after all I think everybody’s Way Too Early Mock Draft had Spencer Rattler going #1 overall to the Houston Texans. Aside from me, I was not guilty – A reminder of mine here.

The vast majority of draft fans rated Rattler as the number 1 QB going into the season with Sam Howell the most popular second choice but fast forward a few weeks and neither of these guys are really separating themselves from the muddy puddle which is the 2022 QB class.

Photo Credit: Tulsa World

There are alarm bells going off which regards to Rattler’s decision making and in some quarters, his character – Some clips from his High Schools days are being dragged up on social media and I’m thinking ahead to Combine week when NFL staffs get to grill these prospects and I am wondering how Rattler’s personality will hold up.

This one isn’t a cut and dry as the storyline above and Alabama still being good, as mentioned the QB class does not look good at the moment, so there is still a chance for Rattler to catch fire in the Oklahoma offense, Oklahoma to win the Big XII, maybe get to the CFB Playoffs and for Rattler to have a great season from here on out, and really elevate himself above the rest of the pack.

But does that look likely at the moment? Absolutely not.

The transfer portal will have a big impact on roster building and be similar to “soccer” – Remains to be Seen

This one is something we considered a number of times in the off season and through five weeks of the season, I feel there is some truth in this one.

This situation is still something that is developing, and will be developing for another couple of years, until teams figure out how to gain a competitive advantage of the transfer portal and the new rules surrounding it. So this one might sit in the “Remains to be Seen” category for a little while yet.

There are some teams who are reaping the benefits early and their records show it. One such example is Kentucky – The Wildcats are 5-0 and are loving life at the moment.

Will Levis, their starting QB is having the season of his life, Wan’Dale Robinson is catching passes from him and Dare Rosenthal is blocking on the blindside, opposite Darian Kinnard. Kentucky also has a couple of starters on defense too who are having good seasons too and all this incoming talent has just added to what they already had in the likes of Kinnard, Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Josh Paschal (who our guy Keith was talking up in his week 5 scouting notes).

To add on to the entice and intrigue of the usage of the transfer portal, even Alabama are using it to add premium talent in Jameson Williams and Henry To’o To’o! If the teams at the top are able to exploit this, surely everyone will follow suit sooner or later?

Maybe, but this isn’t a done deal, there are also teams who have gone all out and are still languishing with a poor record.

The Big Ten is just Ohio State and the ACC is just Clemson – LOL 

So sometimes you get things so wrong it actually makes you question whether you know anything about what you’re talking about and whether you should hang your microphone up and retire your keyboard.

The only comfort that I can take in this one is that nobody really saw this one coming either – Back in August, as a team we put together our bold takes article for the coming season and every single one of us had Ohio State to win the Big Ten and when I wrote the question about the ACC and who would win that, I actually posed the question of who Clemson would beat in the championship game, rather than who would simply make it there.

They were the levels of certainty that we had as a group that these two conferences were almost a foregone conclusion even before a game had kicked off.

How wrong we were.

Although, this was not a bold take from anyone. Yet here we are, Ohio State lost to Oregon in week two, whereas Penn State and Iowa occupy the four and three spots in the AP Top-25 and by virtue of playing each other this weekend, one will cement their place in the top 4 with a win and move to 6-0, putting themselves in a strong position for the Big Ten crown and a CFB Playoff appearance.

Overall the Big Ten has four teams sitting at 5-0. 

Over in the ACC Clemson’s season is in shambles and they are 3-2, and have time to climb back to the top of the conference, there are teams that just look much better than the Tigers and let’s face it, Clemson is struggling to score points.

Sorry Clemson fans but you’re taking a year off this year and might not even make the Championship game this year considering how Wake Forest is performing.

This is an odd feeling for a college football fan and really makes the feat of Alabama and their perpetual success all the more impressive.

Photo Credit: Her Loyal Sons

Kedon Slovis stinks the place out and rules USC out of contention in the Pac-12, getting Clay Helton fired in the process – On the Money, Big Time

Finally, we are getting a storyline right and I feel like this one from Andy, which was actually in the Bold Takes section of the aforementioned preseason article, is a really impressive shout.

The warning signs were there with Kedon Slovis last season and his shaky form has continued well into this season now, and really there are rumblings in some corners of #DraftTwitter that he’s playing himself out of even being a draftable prospect at the point.

Clay Helton was also on a relatively warm seat prior to the season so it was never going to take a great deal to push him off and over the edge this year, especially given USC fans’ low opinion on their now ex-Head Coach.

However, this was still a bold take because a heck of a lot of people, myself included, still thought that USC had too talented of a roster to not overcome this and mount a challenge in the Pac-12.

The Trojans sit at 3-2 now with losses to Stanford and Oregon State on their season resume at the time of writing and what’s more, their next two games are against Utah and on the road to rivals Notre Dame. Could USC be four losses down by the end of the month? That’s a scary thought considering how they were thought of before the season.

USC also has games against Arizona State, UCLA and BYU before the season’s conclusion too… Could things get ugly?


Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90

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2021 College Football: Week 5 Scouting Notes

There was a real anticipation in the air leading up to the week 5 college football fixtures. Mouth-watering matchups between Arkansas and Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss, and Notre Dame and Cincinnati were on the menu, but if truth be told only the latter lived up to any of the hype. Alabama and Georgia proved yet again that even if you think you’re good enough to compete with these two, you’re not. Arkansas and Ole Miss were ruthlessly dealt with in typical fashion, but from a scouting perspective at least, we still come away with new names to register and keep an eye on during the rest of the season. 

We’ll start though with a relatively dull affair in Tulsa, as the Golden Hurricane took on the Houston Cougars in a Friday night filler.

Houston @ Tulsa

This game had no right being anywhere near a national audience. Tulsa were no match for a far superior Houston team, who could have won by more than the finishing 45-10 score line.

Now in all honesty I wanted to watch this one for Tulsa Left Tackle Tyler Smith, who as a Redshirt Freshman last year really impressed me. There aren’t many opportunities to watch Tulsa, but in the 3 games I caught last year Smith looked amazing. Unfortunately, there’s nothing worse than watching one of “your guys” put in a stinker, and Smith had a torrid time in this one, particularly in the 2nd half, but all the tools are still there he’ll just need to rebuild his confidence going forward.

There were lots of good individual performances from the Cougars, but I’ve picked one unheralded guy who looked great and even though Tulsa got smashed, one guy kept fighting to the end and deserves some praise

Latrell Bankston, Defensive Tackle, 6’0 300lbs, Junior

Bankston is a former JUCO transfer who spent the 2020 season playing for Iowa State. I caught three games of him last year and he really impressed in two of them, including a Big XII defensive player of the week award for his 2-sack performance against Texas. Surprisingly he transferred to Houston for this season, but he already is putting up some very good numbers for his new team. It’s not all about numbers of course, as officially Bankston only had two tackles and half a sack in this game, but he was so much more dominant than those numbers suggest. He absolutely owned the interior offensive line of Tulsa and blew up numerous running plays, using sheer physicality to win straight off the snap. He has a real stocky build to him which made him almost impossible to move off the line, but he also offers a threat as a pass rusher and certainly isn’t a one-dimensional gap occupier his measurables would suggest he should be. 

He’s obviously moved down a level of competition, but if he continues to dominate like he did here, he may have some late round draft appeal either for 2022 or 2023. 

Here is a clip of the nose tackle (#56) playing for Iowa State;

Anthony Goodlow, Edge, 6’4 274lbs, Junior

Goodlow is a nicely sized edge who displayed an unbelievable motor during this game. Whilst most heads went down as the thrashing continued, he kept firing off the edge and causing Houston’s decent Tackles constant problems. 

He had a similar stat line to Bankston in this game, 2 tackles with half for a loss, but again this doesn’t tell the whole story. Tulsa’s Defensive Line is actually the best unit on this team, but Edge Cullen Wick and big Defensive Tackle Tyarise Stevenson carry more draft buzz than Goodlow, but in the games I’ve seen (including three from last year) Goodlow consistently outplays his teammates. 

Now I doubt Goodlow is a great athlete, but he certainly has enough effort and desire to constantly win against the bigger tackles, and he does showcase a few pass-rush moves that can be used at the next level.

Still only a junior, so I doubt he comes out this year, but if he keeps opening eyes, we may hear more about him for the 2023 draft.

Honourable Mentions:

Nathaniel Dell (Wide Receiver, Houston), Christian Trahan (Tight End, Houston), Tank Jenkins (Guard, Houston), D’Anthony Jones (Edge, Houston), Deontay Anderson (Linebacker, Houston), Joseph Anderson (Defensive Tackle, Tulsa)

Cincinnati @ Notre Dame

As I mentioned in the intro, this was the only one of the three big games to live up to the hype. Everyone loves an underdog, and with a win here, in the toughest match-up on their schedule, the Bearcats are certainly getting the credit they deserve now and making new fans along the way. If they can win out as expected, surely they will be knocking on the door of the play-off?

The game itself was a chance for star Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder to showcase his skills for everyone, in the biggest challenge he’ll face. After a slow-ish start, he grew into the game and showed a level of maturity and game management that the other top 2022 Quarterback prospects aren’t right now. Is he the most talented of the 2022 Quarterbacks? No, but no one can doubt that he deserves to be in the same conversation as the other top tier guys.

As usual though we’ll bypass the bigger names and I’m going to highlight four guys, two from each team, that need to be talked about.

Alec Pierce, Wide Receiver, 6’3 213lbs, Senior

Alec Pierce, a lot like his team, has been flying under the radar, but performances like this, against the best competition he’ll face, will finally put him on the draft map.

You’d think a guy at his listed size would be more of a possession receiver, but he is anything but, acting as the team’s best vertical threat. He displayed that here making two big catches deep down the sideline, with speed getting him the separation from the Cornerback on both occasions. Now there is a chance that Notre Dame corner Clarence Lewis is really slow, but if we assume he has average corner speed, then Alec Pierce is running 4.4’s and that is great for someone his size. He’s not just a deep threat either, he showed some nice hands over the middle and some pretty crisp routes too, so we have a pretty complete Wide Receiver here. In the two big games Cincinnati have had (Notre Dame and Indiana) Pierce has a stat line of 11-230-1, and that is very impressive indeed. 

Surely Pierce can’t be overlooked anymore, but if he is, perhaps we’re looking at the next Adam Thielen……

Jowon Briggs. Defensive Tackle, 6’0 290lbs, Junior

Briggs, like the previously mentioned Bankston, has dropped down a level of competition after transferring from Virginia to Cincinnati, and is excelling. Now the Bearcats mostly run a 3-man front, so Briggs tends to play the End/Tackle, lining up for half the snaps inside the Guard and the other half either over the Tackle or outside of him. Now his frame is much better suited to a more traditional Defensive Tackle role, but he showed some excellent movement skills that caused the Notre Dame Offensive Line numerous problems when he lined up outside. Surprisingly quick off the ball, he was winning with speed and power and was the standout player on a very talented Cincinnati Defensive Line. He will still have draft eligibility left at the end of the season but if Cincinnati continue this winning streak then there’ll be plenty of eyes on them, and Briggs can make a name for himself for the future.

Cam Hart, Cornerback, 6’3 205lbs, Junior

The best Cornerback on display in the game was Cincinnati’s Sauce Gardner, who has me believing he could well be a top 15 pick in the 2022 draft. But another Cornerback also caught my eye for the first time….. 

A first-year starter at Corner, Cam Hart was a well-regarded Wide Receiver coming out of high school. He displayed those former receiver hands last week, picking off two passes against Wisconsin, and he almost had another one in this game. 

The first thing you notice about Hart when you see him is his size. He looks every bit the listed measurables but moves like a much smaller player, with clean transitions and fluid movements there’s nothing clunky in his play, which is what you usually see in a big Corner. Now like I said this is his first year of starting, so we only have a five game sample right now, but after a shaky start to the season he has reeled off three very impressive performances, and the name has been duly noted down.

Isaiah Foskey, Edge, 6’5 260lbs, Junior

Foskey, like Hart is a first-year starter, but unlike Hart he had seen the field a fair bit in 2020. He flashed in the games I caught last year and now you can see him exploding in his expanded role for the Fighting Irish. Prototypical size and speed, he looks the real deal and is currently playing at a very high level indeed. If Cincinnati does have a weakness it is on the Offensive Line, and Foskey exploited this on numerous occasions, beating the Tackles easily for quick wins, causing big disruption to plays. He had a great Sack/Fumble on Quarterback Ridder displaying terrifying closing speed, but he plays the run well too, setting the edge nicely and forcing things back inside. He already has five sacks over just five games so far, beating the four he had from all of last season already. A truly ascending player, if Foskey keeps putting up these numbers he’ll be an enticing prospect, even in a pretty deep edge class, if he chooses to declare. 

Honourable Mentions:

Leonard Taylor (Tight End, Cincinnati), Darrian Beavers (Linebacker, Cincinnati), Sauce Gardner (Cornerback, Cincinnati), Deshawn Pace (Linebacker, Cincinnati), Jarrett Patterson (Center, Notre Dame),  Michael Mayer (Tight End, Notre Dame), Kyren Williams (Running Back, Notre Dame), Howard Cross (Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame).

Florida @ Kentucky

This was a game that had crept under most people’s radar, as the big three games were grabbing most of the attention. The feeling before this game was that although Kentucky were unbeaten, Florida would still be too much for them to handle. Well, they were wrong. The Wildcats made the bigger plays on Offense, Defense & Special Teams, and if it wasn’t for some very dubious calls from the refs, I feel they would have won this without having to withstand a late Florida charge. This game was by far the most exciting of the week for me, and the loss puts Florida in a deep SEC East hole and Kentucky now viewing their trip to Athens to face Georgia on the 16th October as a division decider. 

I talked about some Florida guys a couple of weeks ago, so we’ll leave them and talk about two standout Wildcats, one from each side of the ball.

Josh Paschal, Edge, 6’2 278lbs, Senior

Paschal has been on my radar since 2019, but he had a bit of an up and down 2020 which made him fall down my list a bit. He will be moving back up again now after this monster game against Florida. I’d previously praised the Florida Tackles against Alabama a few weeks ago, but Paschal ate them both alive here. He is a bigger edge, but he looks longer than his measurables suggest. He is a slippery man, always disengaging from blocks quickly and constantly disrupting plays. He had a stat line of 7 tackles, 2.5 for a loss and the momentum changing blocked Field Goal that was returned for a Touchdown. He really was everywhere, doing everything, and he has previous too as I caught the Missouri game in week two and he was dominant there as well.

Come draft time he will be an interesting evaluation, as he may not test that well and some will view him as a potential Defensive Tackle convert, but all he can do right now is keep blowing up these games and making people take notice.

Wan’Dale Robinson, Wide Receiver, 5’10 185lbs, Junior

Robinson is a transfer from Nebraska, he was criminally underused there in Lincoln for two years, but he’s certainly getting plenty of love now after his move. He is an entertaining watch and the easy, but pretty accurate comparison, is Rondale Moore, the 2nd round pick from Purdue last year. Kentucky, like Nebraska, are a run first team, but they seem to be very willing to get Robinson touches as often as possible, and boy does he take advantage of them. He is such an explosive athlete, you can see he has elite speed in the way he moves, and that was exemplified by his touchdown catch in this one, weaving his way through some traffic before hitting the jets. He won’t be putting up gaudy stats, this offense won’t allow him to do that, but his highlight reel is full of big plays which will be grabbing people’s attention. With Rondale Moore’s impressive start to his NFL career, there will be teams that will be looking for the 2022 version, and Robinson will feature in that conversation.

Honourable Mentions:

Chris Rodriguez (Running Back, Kentucky), J.J Weaver (Edge, Kentucky),  Jacquez Jones (Linebacker, Kentucky), Tyrell Ajian (Safety, Kentucky), Stewart Reese (Guard, Florida), Antonio Valentino (Defensive Tackle, Florida). Amari Burney (Linebacker, Florida).


Follow Keith on Twitter – @LordLucken

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2021 College Football: Week 4 Scouting Notes

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. 

Honourable Mentions:

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.

Honourable Mentions:

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.

Honourable Mentions:

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

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College Football: Winners & Losers Week 3

This weekend we had a bunch of games between pairs of ranked teams, as well as thrills, spills and let downs from other teams at the top (we’re looking at you, Clemson). There will be a fair amount of movement in our top 25 rankings this week, some fallers and some new entries too perhaps, so one to keep your eyes peeled for. However, less of that for now, this is where we celebrate the winners and show our concern for this week’s losers! 

Andy is away this weekend, so our new boy, Jake joins me and picks up the losers section of the article today

Let us know what you make of the column @Full10YardsCFB…

Winners – Lee (@Wakefield90)

Iowa State’s Big Name Skill Position Players

After an appearance in the losers section of this column last week, Iowa State has bounced back to flip the script and appear atop of the winners section!

It was only UNLV, who even gave a handful of snaps to Tate Martell (remember him!?), but the Cyclones did what top 15 ranked teams are supposed to do and turned over a lesser opponent, and by a good margin too.

I did the losers section last week and I mentioned Brock Purdy in particular but also threw in Breece Hall, Charlie Kolar and Xavier Hutcherson. This week all of those guys showed up and had themselves a day. As mentioned, it was only UNLV so we have to keep that in mind but it was all pretty much spotless for the stars of the Iowa State offense.

Brock Purdy was super efficient, completing 21 or 24 for 288 yards and three TDs, the recipients of those three touchdown passes were Hutcherson (twice) and Kolar and Hall ran for 100 yards and two scores. Hutcherson also had 133 yards from 10 catches and Kolar had 69 yards off of four grabs. 

That must be absolute music to the ears of Iowa State fans because that is exactly what you want from your playmakers. That’s exactly what fans and coaches were expecting from Iowa State before the season and these are exactly the kind of performances that are needed if Iowa State is going to make noise in the Big XII.

Their Big XII schedule gets going next week at Baylor, so more of the same, chaps! 

Brock Purdy Photo Credit: Des Moines Register

Jameis Winston, Jared Goff and Teddy Bridgewater

Yes, this is still the college football section of the website and I am writing, momentarily, about NFL QBs, but it’s with good reason.

This year’s draft class is bad.

Perhaps that’s unkind, I think some of this year’s QB class is bad, others have their problems and deficiencies, or have things to prove for the remainder of the season. I’m talking about pretty much 

So why does that benefit these three bad NFL QBs? 

Because at this point (and that could change the rest of the way) it feels less likely that they have their jobs taken by rookies next year and they could get contract extensions and/or continue in their starting role in 2022.

Coming into the season, pretty much everyone had Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell as their top two QBs, with the likes of Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, Malik Willis and Carson Strong in some order behind them.

Through three weeks of the season, I am not sure I am trusting any of those guys with my NFL Franchise week 1 of the 2022 NFL season and long time listeners and followers will name just how anti-Jameis Winston I am, and may have seen my glee at Teddy Bridgewater being named Broncos starter and Jared Goff, is well, Jared Goff. I don’t want any of these guys as my QB1 either… But I’d trust a veteran over this batch of rookies, and that says so much.

Rattler’s decision making has been terrible thus far, Howell looks fine but hampered by Phil Longo’s offense and not like a top 10 draft pick, Corral has been fantastic this season but Ole Miss has played nobody and in his previous seasons, decision making has been abysmal. Ridder looked horrible on Saturday versus Indiana and really hurt his draft and Heisman stock, and whilst Willis and Strong have both looked good so far this year, they’re not NFL-ready, and again, not week 1 starter material.

NFL Head Coaches and front office staff are generally risk-averse and with less preseason games nowadays, there are less chances for rookies to prove themselves, which means veterans are in a strong position to get snaps and starts.

We might see a modern-day rarity come the 2022 NFL Draft, and not have a QB go number 1 overall and that kind of illustrates and epitomises my thoughts on this QB class at this point.  

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons are 3-0!

Yes, they have only played Old Dominion and Norfolk State before Saturday night’s victory over Florida State but after a season in 2020 where Wake Forest only won four games all season, 3-0 is to be celebrated.

There are some really nice positives for this team which has thrust them into the winners section this week.

Firstly, they are one of two unbeaten ACC teams after three weeks and the other team isn’t Clemson! Florida State aside, the Atlantic division of the ACC is having a good start to the season with Wake Forest and Boston College on 3-0, with the rest of the division on 2-1.

So with that in mind it’s important to keep the pace up and keep winning considering Clemson has already lost this season. Wake Forest’s penultimate game of the season is against Clemson on November 20th, then they play Boston College a week later in their final regular season game, Boston College being the other unbeaten at present, but remember BC’s star QB is currently injured. Obviously there are plenty of games for these three teams between now and then but we could be in for an exciting end to the ACC season this year.

Another reason to be cheerful this morning is the play of QB, Sam Hartman!

Through three weeks, Hartman’s completion percentage has jumped 10.5% from 58.2% to 68.7%, he’s thrown six touchdowns to a solitary interception and he’s posting career highs in yards per pass attempt and QB rating.

Hartman is looking really comfortable, he’s got a strong arm and he’s also got a group of receivers who are playing really well and the connection seems strong – Case in point on the arm strength and connection in the tweet above, this one was to A.T Perry but the star of the show is Jaquarii Roberson, although he did have a quiet outing against FSU.

Is Wake Forest the second best team in the ACC this year? Too early to tell but they are certainly looking like they’ll keep things more interesting at the top of the ACC this year.

This is a golden opportunity for there to be a different ACC champion this season. Will it happen? Probably not because the rest of Clemson’s schedule is easy but we can dream! And Wake should be the one dreaming.

Losers – Jake (@AccukAnalysis1)

UCLA

After their 2-0 start to the 2021 season, UCLA were expected to make it 3-0 against unranked Fresno State. However, this was not to be as Fresno made all the big plays, in particular quarterback Jake Haener, who had 455 yards. 

Starting the weekend ranked #13 in the AP Poll, UCLA’s defeat saw them drop to #24, largely in part due to their defensive frailties that were evident from the beginning. When your quarterback throws for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns, whilst your best receiver has 7 receptions for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns, there was never going to be a question on the offensive side of things.

Defensively there will be plenty for them to work on before a trip to Stanford next. Two pre-snap penalties in punt coverage on fourth down allowed Fresno to keep the ball for longer, whilst their inability to stop the passing of Jake Haener cost them dearly. They allowed 569 overall yards, which is just 80 less than their first two games together. This combined with allowing 32 first downs, had the Bruins struggling from the get-go. 

This loss would have been damaging for the Top 25-returning Bruins, so a big win is needed next week to keep them in there, especially after spending the last 4 years outside of it.

Virginia Tech’s awful first half

The Hokies went on the road for the first time in 2021, and it was not going to be an easy one despite their 2-0 start to the season. After getting themselves to #15 in the AP Poll, the Hokies had plenty of optimism heading into their biggest game of the season.

However, they were blown apart in the first half and looked to be heading for a big loss on the road. Allowing 24 points, and 371 yards, they headed into the break 24-7 down. Although there was a big response from the offense and the defense in the second half, it was too little too late for the Hokies.

Burmeister tried his best to rally a response from Virginia Tech, throwing for 218 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the defensive frailties in the first half cost them. Allowing 188 yards on the ground, in particular an 80-yard TD from Leddie Brown in the first quarter, the Hokies looked to be in for a long day at the office before forcing 2 turnovers and allowing a sole field goal in the second half.

Yes, the Virginia Tech defense would have taken plenty of the blame, but the offense was just as poor. Bad play calling, a lack of execution in the red zone, and an O-Line that allowed 6 sacks was always going to cause problems and stifle the offense. Their first 2 plays of the game both led to punts and just 21 yards. From a team that had scored 52 points, and allowed just 24, much more was needed in such a heavyweight clash in Virginia.

Braxton Burmeister Photo Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh’s Defense

Defense seems to be the order of the day for the Losers of the Week. The Pittsburgh defense was just as poor and it let them down badly. A team that scores 41 points and has 489 yards should be getting a win, but it was not to be in Pittsburgh.

Kenny Pickett was impressive for the Panthers at quarterback, throwing for 380 yards and 6 touchdowns, whilst picking up another 49 yards on the ground, but he was let down by a defense that was steamrolled by the Broncos.

The first half looked to be a battle of who was going to hold their nerve in offense as there was little in terms of defensive plays from either team. Although this settled slightly in the second half, a combined 52 first downs and just 8 punts in the game showed how dominant the offenses were in this game.

Pittsburgh was touted to win the game, especially after an impressive 2-0 start to the season. They were scoring points for fun, and Pickett was a big part of that. On the other side of the ball though the defense was starting to show cracks. Tennessee had 378 yards and 34 points in their last game, and then West Michigan came to town and put them to the sword, especially in the air. 

Another home game next week against New Hampshire should see them getting back to winning ways but there are clearly issues in the defense that need rectifying beforehand. There is a lot of emphasis on the offense to produce, but the Panthers need to start making defensive plays and allowing less points to help them out as this weekend was clear evidence that the offense can’t always bail them out.


By Lee Wakefield & Jake Tweedie

Posted on 1 Comment

College Football UK TV Preview Week 2

Here we go then, hopefully you’re feeling right back into the swing of things and college football is back to being part of your weekend routine.

We had a little warm up with week 0, then a bumper slate last week for week 1, and now week 2 is (already) upon us and with the NFL returning this weekend, it feels like football iosi front and centre again!

Here is your week 2 UK TV preview.

Kansas (0-1) @ #17 Coastal Carolina (1-0) – Brooks Stadium, Conway, South Carolina

Saturday 11th September 12.30am (UK)

Coastal Carolina 25.5 point favourites at the time of writing.

Each and every Monday here at Full 10 Yards CFB, we are going to be bringing you our weekly college football top 25. This week, Coastal Carolina was not in it, they ranked 27th in our composite rankings. We understand that this is upsetting, no more so than for our friend, Simon Carroll, from The Touchdown and Collapsing Pocket Pod…

However, what I will say is that if Coastal Carolina beats a Power-5 opponent on Friday night, I can guarantee that they will be ranked by us on Monday.

Which means, they will be ranked by us on Monday.

Coastal Carolina is a team who are a lot of fun and albeit they were everyone’s darlings of college football last season, they are a very good football team who again, will win a lot of games this season.

Kansas on the other hand are… Well… An historic basketball programme.

These teams met almost one year ago to the day – September 13th 2020, the Jayhawks were on the end of a 38-23 loss and I don’t see that there’s been too much improvement from the team that didn’t win a game last season – At least they’ve broken their duck this season with a week 1 victory. Last year the game was in Lawrence, but now the lowly Jayhawks have to go on the road, so the odds are stacked against Kansas in a lot of ways and it’s going to be tough to follow up with another win.

25.5 point favourites really does say it all. What Jamey Chadwell did with this team last year was phenomenal and I think they could post a similar season record this season too (11-1 overall, 8-0 in conference in 2020). 

The Chanticleers are talented and they have a handful of NFL guys on this roster – Grayson McCall at QB, Isaiah Likely at tight end and possibly the best of the bunch is Jeffret Gunter who plays as an outside linebacker.

I made a similar write up on the Michigan State @ Northwestern game last week that heavily favoured Northwestern. I did namecheck a couple of Michigan State players in that one but still felt that I had a bit of egg on my face after the Spartans won.

Well this one was all about Coastal… So Coastal by a million.

PS. I had Coastal ranked 23rd in my own personal rankings, direct the hate to @AJMoore21 on Twitter 

#13 Florida Gators (1-0) @ South Florida Bulls (0-1) – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Saturday 11th September 6.00pm (UK)

Florida 28.5 point favourites at the time of writing

By American standards this matchup is somewhat of a local derby, Steve Spurrier Field and Raymond James Stadium stand a mere two hours and 129 miles apart. Because of that, there should be a fairly rowdy atmosphere in Tampa, with fans descending from Gainesville on the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the South Florida Bulls.

Despite the Gators losing a lot of talent to the NFL Draft earlier this year, this game shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for Dan Mullen’s men. They come into the game off a fairly comfortable 35-14 victory over Florida Atlantic, and will likely use the game to help Emory Jones further adapt to his new role as the starting QB.

Despite the relative ease of the Gator victory in game one, Jones was outplayed by FAU’s N’Kosi Perry. After being tipped for big things all off-season, the Junior signal caller threw two interceptions and struggled to move the ball through the air, relying on the use of his legs and Malik Davis in the run game to shift the chains. Mullen will be looking to see more this week, especially with Anthony Richardson waiting in the wings.

South Florida took a beating in their opening game, losing 45-0 to NC State. Quarterback tandem of Cade Fortin and Timmy McClain completed 14 passes on 33 attempts whilst throwing three interceptions. They’ll be facing an even tougher test this week against a good Florida defense that features highly rated talent such as Zachary Carter (DE), Ventrell Miller (LB) and Trey Dean (S). Whilst no one is expecting the Bulls to get anything from the game, if they feature former three-star recruit Xavier Weaver (WR), then they might give the home fans something to cheer about.

Dan Mullen greets Gators fans photo credit: Orlando Sentinel

#9 Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0) @ #10 Iowa State Cyclones (1-0) – Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa

Saturday 11th September 9.30pm (UK)

Iowa State 4.5 favourites at the time of writing

The game of the weekend. Sadly the matchup doesn’t have a catchy name like the ‘Red River Showdown’, instead someone thought it was a good idea to call it the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. Catchy!

Name aside, this has all the makings of an early season classic. The Hawkeyes blew past Indiana in week one, putting up 31 points in the first half and limiting the Hoosiers to two field goals throughout the whole game. The Cyclones weren’t as convincing, spluttering past Northern Iowa, but there’s no doubt of the talent on their roster.

Brock Purdy (QB), Breece Hall (RB) and Xavier Hutchinson (WR) are one of, if not the best skill position tandem in the Big 12. When you add Charlie Kolar into the mix, it’s fair to say that they’ve got the potential to be a match for anyone when they’re firing on all cylinders. In their season opener the Cyclones featured Hall often, as he carried the ball 23 times and caught four passes for 100 all-purpose yards. Expect the number of carries to drop in week two with the return of Kolar, but the Hawkeyes defense would be wise to load the box more often than not on early downs.

Iowa is a strange beast as a football team, perhaps reflecting the blue collar nature of their fans, the Hawkeyes are a true three yards in a cloud of dust proposition. Last weekend’s win against Indiana saw everything centre around Tyler Goodson on offense and Riley Moss on defense. Goodson rushed for 99 yards and a TD, whilst Moss picked off Michael Penix Jr twice. 

However, against the Cyclones, Kirk Herentz will be screaming for more from his QB, Spencer Petras. Petras has always been a game manager, even with weapons like Ihmir Smith-Marsette at his disposal last season. If they’re to take down the Cyclones, he’ll need to step up his game, if he doesn’t then this game will likely go to Matt Campbell and Iowa State.

#15 Texas Longhorns (1-0) @ Arkansas Razorback (1-0) – D.W.R Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Sunday 12th September 12am (UK)

Texas 7 point favourite at time of writing

Texas couldn’t have asked for a better start to their season. Put on upset alert by nearly everyone, the Longhorns eased past Louisiana 38-18 while bedding in a new starter at QB. 

Hudson Card stepped up with the eyes of a nation on him and delivered a good, competent performance, completing 66% of his passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns. The redshirt freshman displayed a nice quick release and good short to medium accuracy. However, Steve Sarkisian will be wanting to see Card using his legs outside the pocket, showcasing what made him the second ranked dual threat QB in the 2020 class.

Outside of the new QB, Bijan Robinson (RB), Jordan Whittington (WR) and the Longhorns defensive front came to play in week 1. Robinson is arguably the best RB in college football, and Texas are clearly set on running their offense through him until Card finds his feet. He’ll have the ball in his hands a lot in week two if Ray Thornton and DeMarvion Overshown can continue to put as much pressure on the opposition signal caller.

Arkansas are clearly on the up under Sam Pittman. In KJ Jefferson they’ve got a promising dual threat QB, but in Trelon Smith (RB) and Treylon Burks (WR) they’ve got two of the most electric playmakers in the division. Burks could well be the best receiver in football, but he needs Jefferson to get the ball out of his hands quickly to bring him into play. If Jefferson can do that, whilst finding the optimum time to run the ball, then this Razorbacks offense can be dangerous.

But perhaps the most intriguing player on the Razorbacks team is Safety Jalen Catalon. Catalon is the prototypical strong safety, hard hitting with a great sense of anticipation, he’s not afraid to get stuck in amongst the tackle in the run game. He’ll have to be at his best in what will be a very close game against Robinson and the Texas offense. 

Washington (0-1) @ Michigan (1-0) – Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Sunday 12th September 1am (UK)

Michigan 6 point favourites at the time of writing

Michigan made light work of their in-state rival, mainly behind the running of Blake Corum, who averaged just a tick under 8 yards a carry, racking up 111 yards and a score. Corum was the headline act of a heavy dose of rushing that was used in week 1 – Michigan ran the ball 40 times overall, with Hassan Haskins also carrying 13 times to Corum’s 14.

All of this meant that Junior QB, Cade McNamara only had to throw the ball 11 times last weekend. He completed 9 passes, of which two went for 6 points – So it was an efficient game overall, and he’ll be looking for much of the same, albeit against much tougher opponents.

Speaking of those opponents, the Washington Huskies will be looking to make amends for what was a banana skin loss to a FCS school in what was a disastrous week 1 for the Pac-12 North as a whole. I don’t think Washington has become a bad team overnight, or indeed, over the offseason and am happy to put that down to a blip.

The Washington defense in particular is still full of talent; linebacker Edufaun Ulofoshio and defensive backs Kyler Gordon and of course, Trent McDuffie will be a problem for the Wolverines. Washington are always well coached on the defensive side of the ball and their zone-heavy defensive scheme which rarely places less than five defensive backs on the field at one time does make it tough for opponents to score on them through the air. 

Given the talent on the defensive side of the ball for Michigan also, with the likes of Aidan Hutchinson, Dax Hill, I would expect this one to be a low scoring affair. I’ll be particularly interested to see how Washington left tackle Jaxson Kirkland deals with Aidan Hutchinson coming off the edge for the Wolverines – That battle should make this game worth watching all on its own.

With Ronnie Bell out for the season for UM, and Dylan Morris throwing three interceptions against Montana I do wonder if we’ll see much action through the air at all. I also wonder if Washington does struggle to move the ball through the air, I wonder if calls for Sam Huard will grow stronger.

#21 Utah (1-0) @ BYU (1-0) – LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah

Sunday 12th September 3.15am (UK)

Utah 7 point favourites at time of writing

Now, here are two teams who simply do not like each other.

If you want a rocus crowd, in a beautiful setting, with some hard-hitting football being played on the big green rectangle, The Holy War might be worth staying up for, or setting an alarm for (delete as appropriate), or at last checking out on ESPN Player when your trying to wish Sunday away whilst you’re waiting for the NFL slate.

Utah are the rightful favourites here and will be looking to build upon their 9 game streak over the Cougars in what is the 101st meeting between the two sides, ever since the first meeting in Salt Lake City in April of 1896. If the Utes are victorious their winning streak of 10 will be the longest either school has held over the other at any one time.

So in the early hours, there will be pride, at stake there will be a potential record streak at stake and most of all, there will be the Beehive Boot at stake.

The Beehive Boot

The Beehive Boot is a 100-year old Pioneer boot which isn’t actually just between these two schools but is awarded to the best performing school in the state of Utah, but as the biggest schools in Utah (sorry, Utah State), the Holy War game goes a long way to deciding where the boot ends up at the season’s conclusion.

On the field, to me at least, Utah are the far superior team at the moment. Kyle Whittingham is an unbelievable coach who has performed miracles in Salt Lake City. They have a veteran QB in Charlie Brewer, a solid offensive line, Theo Howard and podcast favourite, Brant Kuithe and defenders like linebacker Devin Lloyd.

BYU has lost their starting QB in Zach Wilson, Dax Milne and Matt Bushman from their offense as well as lineman Brady Christiansen and Tristan Hoge. All of whom are an immense amount of talent to lose for a programme like BYU, so games like this against talented and battle-hardened teams like Utah is a tough ask.

However… Given that this is a local-derby. Given that it’s in Provo. And given that BYU will want to put on a show since they are looking to showcase themselves as a potential Big XII team…

Well I still think Utah wins, but maybe it’s closer than it should be. 


Follow Lee on Twitter – @Wakefield90

Follow Andy on Twitter – @AJMoore21