College football Week 10 has already seen one previously unbeaten team, Appalachian State, go down to defeat while another, Baylor, eked out a win. Except for a few important top-25 conference games later today, the rest of the weekend’s schedule is uninspiring. Regardless, our PFN college football gameday blog will have you covered from Noon until Midnight with analysis, opinion, and lots of breaking news- so let’s get started!
Keep up with stories and analysis from the PFN Draft crew daily here at PFN, and be sure to check out the latest edition of the PFN Draft Insiders Podcast with Andy Herman and me, where we provide the latest inside information from around the NFL and preview today’s action.
UGA Left Tackle Andrew Thomas is having another stellar game tonight against Florida. Shutting down both Florida edge rushers Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga tonight and opening up rushing lanes for D’Andre Swift with ease. Looking the part of a top-10 draft selection in the upcoming NFL Draft. AJ
The Troy Trojans are playing right now against conference opponent Coastal Carolina. Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker is viewed as a Day 3 sleeper by fellow PFN Draft writer Andrew DiCecco, and I’d suggest getting eyes on. AJ
I have my concerns with Utah RB Zack Moss at the next level. He’s powerful and a smart runner, but doesn’t have the same athletic profile many other backs in this class possess. His physical style of running invites contact, but he’s had multiple injuries as a result, which makes me wonder about how the NFL will value him. AJ
I gave junior tight end Hunter Bryant a 5th round grade entering the season mostly due to the fact he was second on the depth chart in 2018, behind Drew Sample, the second-round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in April. I also mentioned Bryant has a ton of upside, which he’s meeting. He’s made several impressive catches during important moments of today’s game against Utah, including a 34- yard touchdown pass just moments ago to put Washington up 14-3.
Bryant is the antithesis of Sample as he’s a move tight end who will regularly split the seam and create mismatches in the secondary.
Have to give credit where credit is due- despite struggling with injury I listed Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager as a slider just a few weeks ago due to pedestrian production. Cager is healthier and has come away with several important receptions in the early going of the World’s Largest Cocktail Party, (sorry- i disdain political correctness). Cager is a big bodied receiver who can dominant play when he’s on his game.
Left tackle Trey Adams looked terrific during the first drive for Washington, as they marched down the field against one of the top defenses in the PAC 12 and scored on their initial possession against Utah. Adams handled Utes pass rusher Bradlee Anae with ease. I continue to hear what I first reported last month- Adams ultimate draft grade will almost solely be based on his combine exams.
Area scouts feel Adams play is worthy of a top 45 selection in the draft but his medical history, which includes a back injury that sidelined him most of last season and a knee injury which cut short his campaign in 2017, are MAJOR red flags.
I’ve mentioned my concerns on Jake Fromm’s game several times throughout the season and they center around his inconsistent accuracy and missing open receivers which lead to a loss of opportunity for the Georgia offense. We saw a perfect example right there. It should be 7-0 UGA were it not for that horribly underthrown pass by Fromm.
Miami travels to Tallahassee and takes on Florida State in what used to be a highly and hotly anticipated interstate battle with national title implications- not so much anymore.
The next level prospects on the field today leave a lot to be desired but I’ve heard from a number of people Janarius Robinson, the Seminoles defensive end, has people vetting agents and it’s looking more and more likely he will enter the draft. Robinson looks the part but his play is often underwhelming.
There’s been no word on the future plans of FSU defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, a week 9 riser and my highest rated prospect in this game.
Obviously, the big news surrounding the TCU – Oklahoma State game is the season-ending injuries to Horned Frog tackle Lucas Niang, a story broken here on Pro Football Network, and the same happening to Cowboy wide receiver Tylan Wallace. Yet there’s a terrific match-up to keep an eye on as OSU corner A.J. Green tries to slow down TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor.
Reagor has received plenty of ink as he’s a big-play threat but Green has his supporters in the scouting community and there’s a feeling he will land on the second day of the draft.
I stamped Damon Hazelton of Virginia Tech as a 6th round prospect entering the season and though the junior wide receiver has struggled with hamstring issues this year, he flashes dominance when healthy and on his game. He made a terrific reception for a touchdown by the pylon to briefly tie the game against Notre Dame.
It should be pointed out Hazelton beat Irish corner Troy Pride Jr on the throw, graded as a potential top 45 selection.
I just spoke about Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet, but Purdue TE Brycen Hopkins is another player who continues to put out quality tape. He just made a phenomenal catch against Nebraska and is Purdue’s leading receiver in this game. He’s a great athlete who can go up and make the tough catches over the middle. Hopkins is a senior and could have a huge day in Mobile to raise his draft stock. AJ
Boston College is currently taking Syracuse to the woodshed, and their running game has been a big reason why. AJ Dillon is a productive running back, but I don’t think he’s going to be a highly-coveted prospect. His athletic ability on tape doesn’t stand out in a deep running back group, and he’s an unproven receiver. If a team needed a rotational power back, then Dillon could appeal to them but he would more than likely be a late Day 3 selection like Bo Scarbrough was in the 2018 NFL Draft. AJ
While we are waiting for Florida-Georgia to kick off in a few minutes, I’ve got eyes on Virginia Tech vs Notre Dame. TE Cole Kmet seems to make plays every time I watch the Fighting Irish, and he already has a touchdown in this game. He was Notre Dame’s best playmaker against Georgia with 9 catches, 108 yards, and a touchdown. In a lackluster tight end class, Kmet’s name could creep up draft boards as the season goes on. AJ
It’s turning into another tough season for Carlos Davis, the Nebraska defensive lineman who flashed brilliance as a sophomore but has watched his play regress the past two years. To date, Davis has posted just 29 tackles, three TFL’s and 2.5 sacks during the Cornhuskers eight games. This afternoon against Purdue his totals include .5 tackles for loss and .5 sacks.
Davis struggled when Nebraska shifted to a 3-4 alignment two years ago as he’s a natural three-technique tackle in a four-man front. Expectations were higher coming into the season as first-year Husker Darrion Daniels was expected to draw double teams at nose tackle which would open things up for Davis. It’s not happened the first two months of the campaign and Davis is watching his draft stock drop.
Wake Forest plays Clemson in two weeks and the winner controls their destiny in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. This, of course, assumes Wake beats Virginia Tech and Clemson defeats North Carolina State next Saturday- a safe assumption on both.
Watching Wake Forest play this season and seeing some of the athletes they have on both sides of the ball, as well as the way the team executes with smart, mistake-free football, I absolutely believe the Demon Deacons have the goods to beat the Tigers.
The game is in Death Valley which gives Clemson a decided advantage but it will be a lot closer than the wagering line starts at.
Looking for a sleeper pass rusher? Keep Duquense’s Chris Favoroso on your radar. I’ve had the well-traveled Favoroso, who was never graded by scouts, on my radar since his days at Montana in 2017 when he posted 13 tackles for loss and six sacks as a sophomore. Six games into 2019 the senior has posted 5 TFL’s and 4.5 sacks. Today against St Francis, he’s added one of each to that tally.
Favoroso won’t be selected in the draft but will get a chance in camp next summer If he brings any of his pass-rushing skills with him, I could definitely see him making a Sunday roster.
You can see the dynamic playmaking potential of Maryland running back Anthony McFarland. His burst of speed is incredible and McFarland has the ability to score from any point on the field. I’ve previously reported the feeling in the scouting community as well as in the Terps program is McFarland will likely enter the draft after the season. Expect Maryland coach Mike Locksley to make a big push to keep McFarland on campus.
After a tough loss to Rutgers a week ago, Liberty needed a victory against UMass for bowl eligibility and they will get it. At halftime, they lead the Minutemen 49 – 14. Wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden, a week 1 riser, continues to impress and has already posted six receptions, 137 yards and one TD.
A large part of Surratt’s rise to prominence has been a similar rise by Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman, a redshirt junior who has jumped on the scouting radar in a big way. Newman has played smart, productive football all season long. He’s accurate, always gives pass-catchers a chance to make the reception and does a great job leading the offense. You’ve got to love the way Newman uses all his targets and stays away from poor throws.
Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt is having a tremendous season and he’s turning a lot of heads in the scouting community. Coming into the NCSU contest, Surratt totaled 53 receptions, 8881 yards and nine TDs in seven games. Thus far, the wide receiver has two receptions for 15 yards in the first half.
The feeling at this point from numerous people I’ve spoken with is Surratt, a redshirt sophomore, is very likely to return for another season on the college field with Wake Forest.
I’m really disappointed in Michigan tight end Nick Eubanks this season. He was ignored by scouts coming into the season yet I saw enough flashes of ability to give him a late-round grade. I expected him to put together a good season but Eubanks has shown little development in his game. He’s not improved as a pass-catcher or blocker.
The play Darrion Daniels just made for Nebraska, intercepting a shovel pass then rumbling some 25 yards, will be replayed around the nation all weekend. Despite pedestrian stats he’s put up this season Daniels has played well this season.
Entering the 2018 season, Daniels was graded as a middle-round choice before choosing to sit out the season and transfer to Nebraska from Oklahoma State. He received similar grades coming into the 2019 season, which tells you what scouts think of his ability.
Daniels is a powerful wide body defender who occupies the gaps while making plays on occasion. He’s a terrific nose tackle prospect who could move into the early part of day three is he’s able to participate in the Senior Bowl and looks good during practice.
That was a nice interception by Wake Forest cornerback Amari Henderson.
Henderson had a tremendous sophomore season in 2017, intercepting two passes and breaking up another 14. Last season, he broke up 10 passes yet somehow scouts ignored him coming into the season while giving high grades to his teammate Essang Bassey.
Henderson has a length and speed advantage over Bassey and I presently grade him as a last round prospect.
Houston looks good in the early going against UCF and have taken the lead.
Last week Cougars offensive tackle Josh Jones was a slider during my Week 9 column. I’ve spoken with several people since who have told me Jones is a guy satisfied getting by on natural talent rather than doing the little things off the field necessary to improve his game.
In other words, they are alleging Jones is lazy and in my opinion, his play on the field justifies that criticism.
One underrated match-up to keep an eye on during the North Carolina State – Wake Forest contest is Deamon Deacon left tackle Justin Herron versus Wolfpack pass rusher James Smith-Williams.
Herron was someone I graded as a potential 3rd round prospect after his junior season but he missed all of 2018 with a knee injury. Smith-Williams is a terrific athlete who runs 4.55 seconds in the forty at 255 pounds but has yet to pull it all together. He’s struggled with injuries this season and has missed four games.
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North Carolina State takes on #23 Wake Forest in a noon kickoff, which we highlighted during this week’s edition of The Draft Insiders podcast. The Wolfpack offers several solid underclassmen receiver prospects while the Demon Deacons have three NFL players in their defensive back seven.
Houston travels to Orlando for a meeting against Central Florida, which should be an easy win for the Golden Knights. I’ve reported multiple times since September that receiver Gabe Davis will enter the draft.
I’m also told his teammate Otis Anderson is also leaning towards making the jump as well. Anderson is an undersized utility player who can line-up in the backfield, slot, as well as return punts and kicks.