It was week 8 for most of college football this weekend, with the Big Ten and Mountain West conferences playing their second week of the season. Most of the country is dealing with lower temperatures and crazier weather, which means it’s peak football time.
We had another set of classic games on Saturday, Michigan State pulled off a big upset over rival Michigan; Clemson squeaked past Boston College without Trevor Lawrence; Texas defeated sixth-ranked Oklahoma State in OT behind another great Sam Ehlinger performance; Alabama shut out Mike Leach and Mississippi State; and Florida handled Missouri in the second half after a near-all-out brawl before going into the locker rooms at halftime.
These great games wouldn’t have been possible without some great performances by some of the best NFL Draft prospects in the nation.
Week 8 Prospect Highlights:
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
I wrote about Wilson in last week’s article, but I did not do him any justice. I’m calling my shot right now: Zach Wilson will be a top 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And I might STILL be underselling him. Forget about the competition, forget about the school he plays for, just watch him throw. Wilson has an incredible arm that keeps doing amazing things every week, and he’s putting the nation on notice. This last Saturday, he threw for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he threw some absolutely dimes that his receivers couldn’t come down with. Wilson doesn’t just flash some plays, he’s consistent. Some of the things he can do with his body and his arm in a single play leave my jaw dropped, and mind racing with how good he can be.
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
Hall is somehow still flying under the radar, despite his ridiculous stats, show-stopping plays, and Iowa State’s record. There are a lot of great running backs in this class, but Hall is up there in a lot of areas, particularly what he can do in space. It just wasn’t fair at times on Saturday to get Memphis defense, and Hall just made them look silly. He finished the game with 185 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. If you’re looking for the running back this year that gets picked somewhere between 60-90 but makes a huge impact in his rookie season, Hall has to be among the top on the list.
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Speaking of playmakers, Dotson had the entire college football world in awe Saturday night against Ohio State, particularly at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Dotson somehow came down with an incredible bobbling catch down the sideline against Shaun Wade, providing a much needed spark to Penn State. Then, on the very next play, Dotson somehow made an even better catch, with one of the most insane one-handed grabs I’ve ever seen, for a touchdown. He finished the game with 8 catches, 144 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Dotson makes a quarterback’s life so much easier with a crazy catch radius and an ability to turn uncatchable passes into highlight reel catches.
Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
One if the most underrated Ohio State defenses players in recent history, Werner is such a fun linebacker to watch. He hits harder than almost anyone in college football today, plus he’s very fast and has high football IQ. He reminds me of Kenneth Murray at Oklahoma last year, all over the place, seems to always be in on the tackle, but Werner is much more aggressive (Murray was drafted 23rd overall in the 2020 Draft). All of the attention on Ohio State’s defenses always seems to focus on the edge rushers and cornerbacks, but Werner needs to start getting some more love. He’s moved up into my top 50, but he could be a late first-round pick come April.
Kwity Paye, DL, Michigan
Is Paye an edge rusher? Defensive lineman? It doesn’t matter; he can do both extremely well. He’s 6’4” and 271 pounds, but he moves with the athleticism of a pure edge rusher. He finished the game against Michigan State with 3 tackles and 2 QB hurries, but he had a massive impact in the run game. He is nearly impossible to block in the run game with just one offensive lineman, but even double-teamed he makes enough of an impact. And what did he do last week? 4 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 6 QB hurries. Welcome to the first round, Kwity Paye.
Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
My apologies for taking so long to highlight Tylan Wallace. He was a top 50 prospect entering this season, and he had been dominating so far, leading the nation in receiving yards. On Saturday against Texas, he had 11 catches for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is clearly the best receiving option for Oklahoma State and a ton of attention is paid to him, but he still puts up a stat line like that. His production this season is absolutely insane, but he also does the little things right in terms of what scouts look for in a wide receiver. First, his pure aggressiveness of attacking the football in the air makes him beloved by scouts. He’s as competitive as they get, while also being extremely strong at the catch point. If the football is close to him, there’s a very high chance he coming down with it. Despite a loaded wide receiver class, Wallace is on his way to being in first-round discussions.