A Few Big Time College Showdowns Bring Draft Prospects into Focus

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This Week College Draft Prospects Rise Or Die!


Week 10 of the college football season is in the books. Last week the college football playoff committee unleashed their first set of top 25 rankings. The pressure on the teams fighting to be one of the teams to compete in the 4-team playoff is increasing every game. But even the teams who are not in playoff contention are still fighting hard to end the year on a strong note. Draft-eligible players all around the country are doing everything they can to get noticed.

There were a couple of top 25 battles this week that showcased some NFL talent. Also a game between Washington, who has a number of good prospects, and California, who doesn’t have any high-level prospects but has some late round guys to keep an eye on.

#5 Washington at California

When you think of dominant college football teams Washington is not the first team that will usually pop into your mind. This season however Washington has been exactly that. This game was no different. Washington traveled to California and laid the smackdown on the California Golden Bears, winning 66-27.

Washington has a pretty good number of draft prospects, many of which helped themselves in this contest. California on the other hand doesn’t have any top prospects, and the prospects they do have didn’t help their stock.

Washington

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  • Cornerback Sidney Jones, Junior, 6’0” 181: Jones is considered one of the best cornerbacks in college football. He absolutely showed why against Cal. The junior had 3 tackles, 2 pass deflections, and 2 interceptions. NFL teams love to have playmakers in the secondary. Jones only had 1 interception coming into this game so he helped himself quite a bit. Jones is considered a late-first or second round prospect. It will be hard for him to raise his stock because of the impressive number of talented cornerbacks who will likely be available in the 2017 draft.
  • Wide Receiver John Ross, Junior, 5’11” 190 (Pictured Above): Ross has established himself as one of the most electric players in college football. He was explosive in this game. The Washington playmaker caught 6 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. The junior shredded Cal for big gain after big gain, including a 60 yard touchdown and a 67 yard touchdown. His speed and big play ability will have NFL teams licking their chops. He was a second or third round pick entering this game but after the showing he had he may have increased his stock.
  • Cornerback Kevin King, Senior, 6’3” 192: King is an intriguing prospect because of his size. He fits the mold that some NFL teams are looking for in a cornerback. He didn’t have a great game against Cal, but he didn’t hurt himself either. The senior had one tackle and three pass deflections. King likely won’t be taken very highly in the draft but he has the frame and ability to help an NFL team. He is a 3rd or 4th round prospect.

California

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  • Quarterback Davis Webb, Senior, 6’5” 230 (Pictured Above): Webb struggled in this contest against the talented Washington defense. The senior quarterback only managed to complete 23 out of his 47 attempts for 262 yards. He also tossed one touchdown and three interceptions, he added a rushing touchdown as well. This performance certainly won’t make a great impression on NFL scouts. He is a mid-round prospect.
  • Running Back Khalfani Muhammad, Senior, 5’9” 175: Like Webb, Muhammad didn’t do much in this game. It wasn’t really his fault though. It is tough to make an impact when you only get eight carries. He turned those carries into 34 yards, in case you don’t feel like doing math that comes out to 4.3 yards per carry which isn’t bad. Muhammad is a late round prospect and he will stay there after this game.

#10 Nebraska at #6 Ohio State

Ohio State came into this game in a bit of a slump. Their offense has had some problems in previous weeks. Nebraska suffered their first loss of the season last week. This game was very important to both of these teams. Both teams were looking to get their season back on track.

Ohio State pulled out the win, and it wasn’t close. The Buckeyes completely over-matched the Cornhuskers in this top 10 showdown, winning the game 62-3. It didn’t help Nebraska that their quarterback Tommy Armstrong jr. was carted off the field.

Nebraska

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  • Wide Receiver Jordan Westerkamp, Redshirt Senior, 5’11” 200 (Pictured Above):  There weren’t many bright spots for Nebraska in this game but Westerkamp showed some good things in this game. He is a polished receiver with good hands and is a solid route runner, which is rare to find in college football. The 5th year senior hauled in four passes for 51 yards against the Buckeyes secondary. Not a great showing but considering how much the Cornhuskers offense struggled it could have been much worse. He is a mid to late round prospect.
  • Outside Linebacker Josh Banderas, Senior, 6’3” 240: The Nebraska linebacker has good size for the next level. Another thing working in his favor is he is productive at the college level. That was no different in this game, he racked up nine tackles. He certainly isn’t considered an elite prospect by any means, but he’s showed enough to solidify himself as a late round prospect.
  • Safety Nate Gerry, Senior, 6’2” 220: Gerry is another Cornhusker who has established himself as a late-round draft prospect. Also like Banderas, Gerry logged nine tackles against Ohio State. His status as a late-round prospect won’t change after this game.

Ohio State

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  • Cornerback Gareon Conley, Redshirt Junior, 6’0” 195: If you were to just look at the stat sheet you wouldn’t think that Conley did much in this game. The corner recorded 1 tackle and 1 pass deflection. However Conley did a good job of applying consistently sticky coverage to whoever he was covering. He did get hit with a pass interference penalty but that will happen occasionally when you play tight man coverage. Conley is one of the top cornerbacks in college football and is considered a first or second round prospect.
  • Safety Malik Hooker, Redshirt Sophomore, 6’2” 205 (Pictured Above): Entering the season Hooker wasn’t on anybody’s draft radar. He didn’t play much before this season. Now that he is a starter he is showing what he can do. The Buckeye has burst onto the scene and has established himself as one of the top safeties in college football. He was great in this game with 3 tackles, 1 pass deflection, and an interception that he took 48 yards for a score. He has shown time and time again that he can make big plays. He is a first round prospect.
  • Cornerback Marshon Lattimore, Redshirt Sophomore, 6’0” 192: Much like Conley, Lattimore was basically nonexistent on the stat sheet. In this game Lattimore only recorded one pass deflection. Lattimore still made a pretty big impact in the game however. He didn’t allow his receiver much separation and on balls down the field he did a good job of turning his head to find the football. He is a first or second round prospect.

#1 Alabama at #13 LSU

This was expected to be a defensive game, and it definitely lived up to that billing. There were only ten points scored, and all ten were scored by Alabama. Both offenses struggled to get much going.

Both teams have an impressive number of top prospects for the 2017 draft.

Alabama

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  • Defensive Tackle Jonathan Allen, Senior, 6’3” 291 (Pictured Above): The top interior lineman prospect for the 2017 draft has been consistently productive all season. In this game he had three tackles, one tackle for loss, and a sack. He has been an impressively disruptive player for the Crimson Tide and will be a high first round pick in the 2017 draft.
  • Cornerback Marlon Humphrey, Redshirt Sophomore, 6’1” 196: Humphrey is another impressive player in the pool of 2017 cornerback prospects. He had a good showing in this game recording eight tackles, which is an odd stat line for a cornerback but proves he is solid in run support. He is a mid to late first round prospect.
  • Inside Linebacker Reuben Foster, Senior, 6’1” 240: Foster is the top inside linebacker prospect for 2017 and that likely won’t change. He played a large role in shutting down LSU’s running game in this contest. The Alabama linebacker racked up 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and half a sack. He seemingly puts up a stat line like this every time Alabama takes the field and will probably end up being a mid-first round pick on draft day.

LSU

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  • Running Back Leonard Fournette, Junior, 6’1” 230: The LSU running back struggled to get anything going against Alabama. He only managed 35 yards on 17 carries. It likely won’t affect his stock. Fournette has shown enough already to basically lock down the top running back prospect spot for the 2017 draft. Because of his rare blend of size and speed he will be a high first round draft pick.
  • Safety Jamal Adams, Junior, 6’0” 211 (Pictured Above): Adams is another high-end prospect. The junior is one of the top safeties in college football and was very good against Alabama. He recorded six tackles, one tackle for loss, and an interception. He is a mid-first round prospect.
  • Inside Linebacker Kendall Beckwith, Senior, 6’2” 252: Unlike his two teammates mentioned above Beckwith won’t hear his name called in the first round. He is more of a third or fourth round prospect. In this game however Beckwith was extremely productive. The linebacker had an impressive 16 tackles and half a tackle for loss. The senior has proven that he has the potential to help an NFL team that struggles defending the run.  

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About the Author

Cory Hayes
I attend Central Michigan University, I am majoring in Journalism and minoring in Sport Management. I am a junior. I am from Marysville, MI. I love following sports, both professional and collegiate. I follow the Lions, Pistons, and Tigers very closely, and the college team that I choose to cheer for is Ohio State.