It was so good to finally watch Big Ten football again. It did not disappoint in the slightest with so many great games to consume. Indian and Penn State found themselves in an instant classic; Ohio State dismantled Nebraska; Michigan handled Minnesota in spite of doubters; and Rutgers pulled off a huge upset over Michigan State.
Even better than having those teams playing again, the prospects that come with the games. Saturday was a full day lined wall to wall with top notch prospects displaying their skills and pushing their stock up across the country.
One bad story that came out of the weekend was the injury to Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle. He will miss the remainder of the season with a broken ankle. It’s far too early to speculate on what this means for him and the 2021 NFL Draft, but put it in your back pocket until there is further news.
Week 7 Prospect Highlights:
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
We finally got a look at Justin Fields and 2020, and he did not disappoint. He picked up right where he left off last year, picking apart the Nebraska defense. Fields threw for 276 yards, 2 touchdowns, on 20/21 passing, while rushing 15 times for 54 yards and 1 touchdown. And he dominated so much more than those numbers indicate. It seemed like everyone started to write Fields off just because we haven’t seen him in nearly a year, but he reminded everyone who he is in just one game. I can’t imagine a world where Fields isn’t drafted in the first 5 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State
Toney had one of the more dominant games from a defender in a college game this season, and it was his first game of the season. Toney ended the game with 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss, and 1 QB hurry. But he made a much bigger impact than even those stats indicate. Toney completely took over the end of the game and didn’t let Indiana’s QB Michael Penix Jr. get comfortable at all. He has an incredible bend and can make such tight turns around the edge of offensive tackles. Toney looked like a legitimate first round edge rusher prospect this weekend, and I really hope he keeps it up. This class needs more too edge rushers, and Toney can find himself in the first round.
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Jones hasn’t really been given much of a thought this season, being the guy after Tua Tagovailoa. But it’s time he deserves some attention. He has looked excellent so far this year and looks more like a true QB draft prospect than we’ve ever given him credit for. He finished today’s game with 387 yards with 25 completions on 31 attempts. We know Alabama has some of the best receivers in the country, but just like Tagovailoa, Jones isn’t some random QB that can be replaced by anyone who can put up the same stats. He can make plays himself, not just rely on the excellent teammates around him. I really think Jones can end up being a 3rd or 4th round draft pick that a team can develop into a very good backup, or maybe even a starter in the NFL some day.
Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
Let me start this off by saying Auburn does not have a very good offense and Williams is their best player by far. Looking at this team, it wouldn’t surprise you if they won 2 games this year. But they already have 3 wins. The biggest reason for that? Seth Williams. He put Auburn on his back against South Carolina and they got the win. He ended the game with 8 receptions, 150 yards, and 1 touchdown. Williams has incredible athleticism which he showed off this weekend; one play where he cleanly hurdled over a defender, and the game-winning touchdown on an insane body adjustment to nab the ball on a back shoulder throw and then avoided tacklers to race 40 yards for the score. Williams is sitting just outside my top 50 prospects, but I expect that to change soon, in a good way.
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Welcome to the first round discussion, Zach Wilson. He has shown a lot of promising flashes on tape from previous seasons and the first half of this season. He has a very strong arm, he’s fairly athletic, and he contains the improvisation to never let a play die. He put all three of those things on display on Saturday, particularly in one play right before the half. Rolling out to the right side of the field at midfield to extend the play, Wilson spotted a receiver along the left sideline near the end end zone. He launched the ball across his body, without really setting his feet, and threw an absolute dime to his receiver for the score. Wilson ended the game with 287 yards and 4 touchdowns while completing 76% of his passes. Not only does Wilson like to throw deep and he’s not afraid to sling the ball around, he’s very protective of the ball, trailing only Mac Jones in completion percentage on the season at 78.3%. Wilson has me very excited, as we are still searching for the true fourth and fifth quarterbacks in this draft class.
Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
Marshall Jr. is the first player since 2006 in college football to receive two touchdowns in 4 straight games. Not having Joe Burrow at quarterback hasn’t changed much for Marshall Jr. this season He ended the game on Saturday with 6 catches, 88 yards, and 2 touchdowns, all of which he recorded in the first half as LSU didn’t need to pass much in the second half. This wide receiver class is insane, just like last year, so it will be very difficult for any receiver not currently in the top 50 to move up towards the first round. But Marshall Jr. has as much of a chance as anyone, if not a greater chance. He has made me a huge fan this season with his incredible touchdown production.