It’s going to be a crazy week in college football this weekend with a ton of rivalry games and games all day on Friday and Saturday. Sadly, this is the last weekend of the season before conference championship weekend. This will be the last game for many players across the country, but it also means a transition period in scouting as less live games means more time to dig into film on the games we’ve seen this season. This means opinions might really start to change across big boards.
My first article in a new series where I fix NFL teams that are scrapping the bottom of the standings went online last Friday so make sure to check that out if you haven’t yet. I’ll be releasing an updated Big Board this Friday. Enjoy both articles and Happy Thanksgiving!
1) Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Chase Young is the number one prospect on every person’s board (and has been for a while), but he’s a riser this week because he’s really starting to make everyone think about taking him number one overall. That sounds weird, but the Bengals are close to locking up the number one pick and they desperately need a QB. LSU’s Joe Burrow has been phenomenal and really looks like a franchise-quarterback. But the argument lies in taking Young at 1 this year, a player who can single-handedly change a game on the defensive side, and hope you’re in a position next year to grab Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State QB Justin Fields. By the way, on Saturday, Young had 2 forced fumbles and 3 sacks, setting the single-season record at Ohio State with 16.5. And they still have at least one game to go and Young missed two games this season.
2) Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
It was a barn-burner in Souther California on Saturday between USC and UCLA. USC outlasted UCLA due in big part to Michael Pittman. He finished with 13 catches for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. Pittman has had an explosive season in his senior year. Pittman gives me the feeling that he will dominate in the Senior Bowl and sneak into the backend of the first round of the draft. Needless to say, I expect a big rise for Pittman in the next couple months.
3) Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Arizona State got a huge upset victory over the 6th ranked Oregon Ducks on Saturday, and Aiyuk was a huge part of that. He reeled in an 81-yard TD with 4 minutes left in the game to put Arizona State up by two scores. Aiyuk had 7 receptions for 161 yards and the 1 touchdown in the game. In the 2019 NFL Draft, Arizona State saw their star WR N’Keal Harry go in the first round, and Aiyuk is starting to look even better than Harry at this time last year.
1) Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
The result of the high-scoring shootout between USC and UCLA pits Holmes as a faller only draft stock. USC has some underrated receivers, but Holmes couldn’t help but getting burned repeatedly. Freshman WR Drake London had Holmes’ number all game, while Holmes had zero answers. I had hope of Holmes rising this season beyond a late round prospect, but that’s not looking good right now.
2) Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Eason has a poor and frustrating outing against Colorado on Saturday and was a big reason his team lost. His interception was the 5th in his last three games, the same number as his touchdowns in those three games. Eason and Washington’s offense have been struggling in the second half this season, after a strong and dominant start to the season. Eason is trending towards a Day 2 pick in the draft, so it’s still up in the air if he will return to school or enter the draft.
3) Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Love exited last week’s game with an undisclosed injury, but he played the full game on Saturday against Boise State. And it was a blowout. For Boise State. Love threw a pick-6 in the first quarter and then continued to struggle for the next three quarters. It’s the traits that scouts are impressed with in Love, similar to Josh Allen at Wyoming and Drew Lock at Missouri. But the lack of production and inconsistency is a major concern with Love that want as a parent for those other two QBs. I still like Love as a second round pick, but he needs to sit at least a year in the NFL before starting.
Small-School Prospect Highlight:
Matt Peart, OT, University of Connecticut
Peary has started every game the past 4 years after redshirting his freshman season. He’s now on track to be the first UConn offensive player drafted since 2015. He didn’t start playing football until high school and now standing at 6’7” and 304 pounds, he’s going to get a lot better. His big frame, strength, and raw abilities make him an extremely intriguing prospect. He will be at the Senior Bowl and he reminds me of Tytus Howard coming out of Alabama State last season who had a great week at the Senior Bowl and was selected in the first round as a developmental OT prospect.
Top Three Games to Watch this Weekend:
1) Ohio State vs Michigan - 11/30
Ohio State has completely dominated every opponent they’ve faced on their schedule, until they met Penn State. But they showed they were able to win a close game. They’re in a great position to make the playoffs. Ohio State features edge rushers Chase Young and Jonathan Cooper, cornerbacks Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade, and Damon Arnette, linebackers Malik Harrison and Tuf Borland, running back J.K. Dobbins, wide receiver K.J. Hill, and offensive lineman Thayer Munson.
Michigan is on a roller coaster season, starting off very sluggish, but they’ve been firing on all cylinders the past month. A win against Ohio State, which will also most likely knock Ohio State out of the playoffs, will make this season a win for Michigan and their fans. Michigan’s prospects for 2020 are receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black, cornerback Lavert Hill, offensive linemen Ben Bredeson and Jon Runyan, linebacker Josh Uche, and quarterback Shea Patterson.
2) Alabama vs Auburn - 11/30
Alabama has had a nightmare season. They lost to LSU and their star QB in Tua Tagovailoa suffered a horrible injury and is out for the season. Their playoff hopes are very small, but they still sit at 5, waiting for someone to slip up. Alabama’s top prospects include wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, and DeVonta Smith are an unfair trio for any receiving group. This defense is still top-notch with defensive lineman Raekwon Davis, cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Shyheim Carter, edge rushers Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis, and safety Xavier McKinney. The offense, besides the receiver trio, has offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills, and running back Najee Harris.
Auburn is a good team but playing in the SEC will rack up losses even for good teams. They’ve had a resurgent season and a win in the Iron Bowl will give them a season they’ll be very happy with. Defensive lineman Derrick Brown is a huge reason for their success, and he is improving every game, establishing himself as the best interior defensive lineman in the 2020 Draft class. Auburn also has top prospects in edge rusher Nick Coe, offensive lineman Price Tega Wanogho, defensive lineman Marlon Davidson, and linebacker K.J. Britt.
3) Wisconsin vs Minnesota - 11/30
Wisconsin was on track to potentially make the playoffs, but they suffered big setbacks against Illinois and Ohio State. They playoffs are out of the picture, but if they win this game against Minnesota they will be in the conference championship. 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, linebackers Zack Baun and Chris Orr, and receiver A.J. Taylor.
After a huge win over 4th ranked Penn State, Minnesota suffered a disappointing loss to Iowa. They are still having one of the greatest unexpected seasons in college football this year. Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. is a huge riser this season and is a top 50 talent in this draft class. Minnesota is also led by wide receiver Tyler Johnson, linebacker Kamal Martin, edge rusher Carter Coughlin, and cornerback Chris Williamson.
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