Week 4 is here, and it feels like we’ve made it through the lopsided match-ups in college football. Some teams (Alabama) are still playing much weaker opponents (no offense to Southern Miss), but there are a lot more top tier match-ups.
Now that the season is three weeks old, judgments and opinions can start being made on how prospects look this year without the danger of overreacting to just one or two games. There were some great performances this week, making it difficult to narrow it down to just three risers. I’ll be releasing an updated Big Board on Friday to reflect the movement so far this season.
1) J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
Dobbins started off the game with a dropped pass in the end zone and finished with 22 carries for 193 yards and a touchdown. He showed all the traits that could launch him into round one talk. On some runs, Dobbins showed patience and vision to wait for a hole top open and then the burst to get downfield quickly. Then on other runs, he pushed through the defense and broke several tackles showing off his balance and strength. I had Dobbin’s as a third-round prospect before the season but that will be reevaluated.
2) Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
With Alabama’s star linebacker Dylan Moses out for the year, Simmons was thrust into the spotlight as the best linebacker in the 2020 draft class. He’s living up to that billing. Line him up at safety, linebacker, slot corner, Simmons will handle any defensive assignment given to him. He finished Saturday with 11 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. Simmons is as versatile as they come, with a great blend of speed, agility, strength, and intelligence. The NFL is transitioning to smaller and quicker linebackers, and Simmons will benefit greatly from that on draft day.
3) Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
This 2020 class is absolutely loaded at the wide receiver position, but Tyler Johnson is making a case to be put in the top tier. He had a monster game on Saturday, pulling in 10 catches for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns. Johnson is one of the best route runners in the country and he consistently grabs the ball over defenders at the highest point. Johnson’s game translates well to the next level and he’s looking at a top 50 selection.
1) Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State
Lewerke has officially cemented himself as nothing more than a game manager and there is no going back at this point. While he isn’t necessarily losing games for Michigan State, he certainly isn’t winning them either. Lewerke struggles with his accuracy, even on short throws he’s behind receivers. After a good sophomore season and a junior year battling injury, a bad start to the year is not good for Lewerke’s draft hopes.
2) Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
After week one I was very high on Adebo as he shut down an entire half of the field against Northwestern. The past two games against USC and UCF had Adebo coming out on the wrong end of success. He’s been burned on deep routes and been flagged several times for grabbing receivers that have beaten him. Adebo still has the talent to turn things around with a long season still ahead, but the inconsistency alone has me worried.
3) Shyheim Carter, CB, Alabama
Carter had an off game against South Carolina on Saturday and a first-time starter in QB Ryan Hilinski. He looked confused and turned around on several plays, getting beat for a touchdown on one play. Carter hasn’t looked as good as anticipated so far this season after a good season last year. He looks like a solid college cornerback, but I’m not sold that his ceiling is very high. Carter could prove to be another Alabama player that gets hyped up in the draft process simply because he plays for Alabama.
Small School Prospect Spotlight:
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir Rhyne
Dugger is a massive safety standing at 6’2” and 220 pounds, but don’t think that means he’s slow. One of is best traits is his speed, in fact. Last week, Dugger had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown. Aside from Dugger’s ability in coverage, he often comes downhill hard and likes to lay a big hit. He’s a big, physical, and athletic safety with great ball skills; Dugger has a chance at being the first Division II player taken in the 2020 draft.
Top Three Games to Watch this Week:
1) Notre Dame vs Georgia – September 21
This is one of the best matchups in the early part of the year between two top-10 teams with premier draft talent on both sides. Notre Dame lost a lot of talent to the draft last year but are reloaded again with top talent. They’re led by offensive linemen Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg, edge rushers Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem, safety Alohi Gilman, wide receiver Chase Claypool, cornerback Troy Pride Jr., and defensive lineman Daelin Hayes.
Georgia has several prospects that are ranked in my top 3 in their respective positions. Their top prospects are quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D’Andre Swift, offensive linemen Andrew Thomas and Solomon Kindley, safeties Richard LeCounte and J.R. Reed, defensive linemen Tyler Clark and Julian Rochester, and wide receiver Demetrius Robertson.
2) Michigan vs Wisconsin – September 21
Another great contest this week with the bonus of a bitter rivalry. Both teams are littered with draft talent across their offenses. Michigan is led by receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black, cornerback Lavert Hill, offensive linemen Ben Bredeson and Jon Runyan, linebacker Josh Uche, and quarterback Shea Patterson.
Wisconsin’s top prospect is running back Jonathan Taylor, who was a Heisman candidate as a true freshman and now he is finally eligible for the draft. Wisconsin also has offensive linemen Tyler Biadasz and David Moorman, linebacker Zack Baun, and receiver A.J. Taylor.
3) Oregon vs Stanford – September 21
A Pac12 showdown that is slightly dampened by Stanford’s starting OT Walker Little and QB K.J. Costello out for the year due to injuries. That being said, both teams have several 2020 NFL draft prospects and Oregon is a top 25 team in the nation. Oregon’s quarterback Justin Herbert is my second ranked QB in this draft class and a top 15 overall prospect. Oregon’s other prospects are offensive linemen Calvin Throckmorton, Shane Lemieux, and Jake Hanson, tight end Jacob Breeland, linebacker Troy Dye, defensive lineman Jordan Scott, and wide receiver Juwan Johnson.
Even through the injuries to Little and Costello, Stanford still has high-end prospects in tight end Colby Parkinson and cornerback Paulson Adebo. They also have mid to late round talents in defensive lineman Casey Toohill and offensive lineman Foster Sarell.