Will the real Brett Hundley please stand up? Week 13 is his show and there’s no bones about it. Yes, #8 Ole Miss vs Arkansas and #20 Missouri vs Tennessee will be crucial in SEC division races. #15 Arizona vs #17 Utah and Oklahoma State vs #7 Baylor will certainly be games worth paying attention too. But there’s no denying that we all will have a much clearer opinion of highly criticized UCLA QB Brett Hundley. So let’s get right to it, here are the most prospect oriented games of the weekend with the prospects you should be keeping a close eye on.
Louisville vs #18 Notre Dame NBC 3:30
What was once a dream season for the Irish has quickly become a nightmare. Notre Dame looks to rebound Saturday after a home overtime loss to Northwestern and now have lost three of their last four games. Point blank, the Irish defense went from the strength of the team to a disaster. Over their last five games (2-3, including one near home loss to North Carolina) the Irish are giving up 36 points per game. Even worse, the offense just can’t hold onto the ball in crucial situations. Coming into town is the ever talented yet underachieving Louisville Cardinals. Outside of Florida State, Louisville has as many draftable prospects as any team in the ACC. The defense has been solid this year, ranking 10th in points against. They will need to turn in another workman-like performance against the Irish as starting quarterback Will Gardner is done for the season. Louisville has a lot of back-end round prospects to keep your eyes on. Everett Golson is questionable to play due to a shoulder injury, however I don’t think it would make a difference. I see a rout coming in Notre Dame Stadium. Give me Louisville, on the road, by 3 scores.
Notre Dame Prospects
CB Cody Riggs: Undersized, but very smart and versatile. Has played well this year, and with help stood his ground vs Stanford’s Ty Montgomery. He will be tested once again with Rashard Greene.
TE Ben Koyack: Very polished as a blocking presence, however needs to work heavily on becoming more of a factor in the passing game. Not a great route runner who’s without great explosion at this point.
QB Everett Golson: Has a shoulder injury and is questionable for Saturday. He’s had moments this year, but to me he just isn’t an NFL caliber quarterback at this time. Inconsistency in his decisions, and well as a bad habit of turning the ball over at the worst possible time (Arian Foster syndrome)
Other prospects: OG Christian Lombard, DE Ishaq Williams, CB KeiVarae Russell, DT Sheldon Day
WR DeVante Parker: He’s been phenomenal since his return with a broken foot. My big knock on him last year was his inability to get separation in his routes. So far so good, let’s see if Parker can continue to make quite the lasting impression heading into the draft process.
OLB Lorenzo Mauldin: He is “hopeful” in the words of Coach Petrino for Saturday. Nice quickness off the edge from Mauldin and good technique. Former ILB who still shows those in the box instincts. I have him as a mid-round prospect right now.
S Gerrod Holliman: One of the nice feel good stories in college football this year. Great size 6’2 215 with the speed to go with it, Holliman has proven to be a game changer for the Cardinals, with an astounding 13 interceptions in 10 games including 3 vs Boston College in his last effort.
RB Michael Dyer, TE Gerald Christian, G John Miller, C Jake Smith, CB Charles Gaines
#8 Ole Miss vs Arkansas 3:30 CBS
Is Ole Miss really in the playoff race after two tough losses and the devastating injury of their best offensive player in WR Laquon Treadwell? The Rebels are ranked 8th in the land and although they don’t control their destiny to the SEC Championship game, they are in the thick of things. Before we get ahead of ourselves here, let’s not forget about Arkansas. If there was an Irrelevant Awards ceremony at the end of the season, the Razorbacks would get the ‘Best Non-Bowl eligible team in college football’ award hands down. After going winless in the conference all year (brutal losses vs Alabama and Mississippi State) the Razorbacks got their first SEC win of the season last week shutting out arch rival LSU. After star running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins had a quiet day, Arkansas found a way to win in conference. I don’t believe their fortunes will be the same if their star running backs don’t get going Saturday. ”We can play with anybody in the country,” Coach Bielema said after the win Saturday. I believe he’s actually right. I also believe that Ole Miss will eventually impose their will in Fayetteville, and get a hard fought SEC road win. Rebels, close.
DE/OLB Trey Flowers: Solid edge rusher, great length, but sometimes doesn’t have the impact on the game as I think he could. Still room to grow and a high ceiling here… I currently have him as a late third round pick.
RB Jonathan Williams: Big, physical back. Just over 6 feet and 225 pounds, Williams is a downhill runner who should see plenty of carries this week. I thought he ran exceptionally well vs Alabama. The stats won’t show it, but Williams was impressive in that game and I think he’s a legitimate prospect as well as the much talked about Alex Collins.
RB Alex Collins*: Potential high 2016 draft pick here. Runs with great fluidity and vision for such a young player. Ran for over 1000 last year and certainly looks like he’ll pass that with ease in his sophomore campaign.
Ole Miss Prospects
FS Cody Prewitt: Most people don’t have a first round grade on him, I do. On film he’s always around the ball and shows decent coverage ability but can definitely improve on that end. One of the hardest hitters in the draft who can make plays as well, I see him as a first round talent.
OT Laremy Tunsil*: Potential 2016 #1 overall pick. Has put together great film during his sophomore campaign. I think he’s already a top 2-3 OT in college, by the time the season is over he may be a better prospect then 2015 top prospects Andrus Peat or La’el Collins.
QB Bo Wallace: Massively struggled until the final drive Saturday night. I won’t kill him for it though, the ‘Death Valley at night’ mantra is a real thing. He should put up numbers vs Auburn Saturday.
Other prospects: DE C.J. Johnson, SS Serderius Bryant, CB Senquez Golson & DE Robert Nkemdiche* WR Laquon Treadwell* (Hurt – done for season)
#19 USC vs #9 UCLA 8:00 ABC
UCLA has improved its pass protection throughout the season, and with it, so has the play of QB Brett Hundley. Against Washington last week, Hundley played what I thought was the best game of his season. He’s been more of a threat running lately (100+ yards in 2 of last 3 games), which has opened up the passing game for the entire Bruins offense. It can be argued that UCLA is playing about as well as anyone in the country right now after tough conference losses to Utah and Oregon in early October. For whatever reason, USC has been prone to blowing some second half leads this year (ASU, Utah, narrow win vs Cal). USC must get to Hundley on defense, early and often. He’s playing as confident as he’s ever been and is a true dual threat weapon at the moment. If UCLA wins this game, their ticket is clinched to the Pac 12 Championship Game. I don’t believe this is an opportunity that they will let slip through their fingers. This game is all about Brett Hundley to me. National stage. Cross town rivalry. If he still has aspirations of being a top pick this is his moment to shine. I’ll buy into the hype, and bet my good faith on UCLA Saturday night. UCLA 31 – USC 20.
QB Brett Hundley: He’s been inconsistent this year, no question. But I believe he’s turned a corner in his career. Over 80% completions on the road vs Washington last week is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s more the way that he looks in the pocket. He looks so much more confident and poised now then he was earlier in the year. I’m looking for a big night out of Hundley.
DT Ellis McCarthy: Just haven’t seen it yet out of McCarthy. He’s played alright this year at times, just hasn’t been the force UCLA was expecting out of him this year.
ILB Eric Kendricks: Patriots fans, pay close attention. Could be a beautiful fit in New England if he’s on the board. Instinctive, quick with his decisions, can flow sideline to sideline and I believe he’s a three down NFL linebacker easily. I like Kendricks because I think he’s athletic enough to play multiple LB spots at the next level. If that doesn’t describe the prototype Patriots linebacker then I’m not sure what does.
Other prospects: RB/LB *Myles Jack, OL Malcolm Bunche, FS Anthony Jefferson, OC Jake Brendel
DE/DT Leonard Williams: Top defensive player on my board. Gets consistent gap penetration into the backfield, as well as showing good explosiveness off the line for a player who probably projects as a DT at the next level. His main fault is he can tend to have poor technique against the run, being stiff and too high at the point of attack. But to me it’s ticky-tack criticism. I feel safer with him over Shane Ray or Randy Gregory, and I expect him to be the first defensive player off the board in the spring.
RB Javorius Allen: The 6’1 220 pound junior running back has splashed onto the scene with a huge 2014 season. With 2 games to play, Allen has compiled 1,184 rushing yards averaging 5.5 yards per carry, tallying 8 touchdowns.
G Aundrey Walker, C Max Tuerk
You know the deal: No trades, just a good look at where we stand in the draft process the week before Thanksgiving.
1) Oakland Raiders: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota: It’s going to be Thanksgiving soon and the Raiders are still winless. David Carr isn’t the main problem in Oakland, I just don’t think he’s the solution either.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars: USC DL Leonard Williams. In reality, I’m looking to trade this pick to the highest bidder for Jameis Winston in the hopes of moving down only a few slots. Why not add extra picks to a team who needs them and still add a dynamic player like Amari Cooper or Landon Collins? But for this scenario, I’m giving JAX the top non-quarterback on my board.
3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Florida State QB Jameis Winston: Tampa Bay (2-8) won last week to pull into a tie with the Jets. In this position the pick would be, better be, and quite frankly has to be Famous Jameis.
4) New York Jets: Alabama WR Amari Cooper: You just have to think the Jets, even if they are drafting in the 4-7 range, will do whatever they can to land a top quarterback. However, I see Tampa Bay, Tennessee, St Louis, and possibly Chicago all looking to do the same. A quarterback is preferred, but Cooper is just a freak who continues to get better and better. With Gurley now hurt (sigh), Cooper can be argued as the best overall player in college football.
5) Tennessee Titans: Nebraska DE Randy Gregory: No change here. An upgrade at pass rush is severely needed in Nashville. Drafting at 5, I’d say the Titans would be happy landing my top edge rusher in the class.
6) Washington Redskins: Missouri DE Shane Ray: With a top pass rusher and top OT still on the board (both massive needs) the Redskins could go either way here. With Orakpo and Kerrigan’s future uncertain, I think the opportunity to add a talent of Ray’s pedigree is the wise decision.
pick change: OT Andrus Peat
7) New York Giants: Stanford OT Andrus Peat: In this scenario, Scherff makes the most sense. Will Beatty most likely will not be back for Big Blue, which leaves a hole on Eli Manning’s blind side. Enter : The best OL in the draft.
pick change: DE Shane Ray
8): Carolina Panthers: West Virginia WR Kevin White: This is the highest I’ve had White all season long. This is more of a ‘need’ pick then a, I think Kevin White should be a top 10 pick. I do love White’s outstanding separation ability for a guy of his size 6’3 210lbs. Kelvin Benjamin has been great this year, and a welcome surprise. Past that, Cam Newton might as well just throw the ball to himself. Pairing Benjamin with White may not mean wins right away, but could be a devastating combination for years to come for opposing defenses.
9) Minnesota Vikings: Alabama S Landon Collins: In this scenario, Collins is a steal. Best defensive back in the draft to pair alongside Harrison Smith. May not be the biggest need on the team, but in a division with Aaron Rodgers you can’t argue with adding significant secondary help, can you?
10) New Orleans Saints: Georgia DE/OLB Leonard Floyd. Floyd over Fowler Jr. is risky. Fowler Jr. is more of a polished prospect at the moment, but I see higher upside with Floyd. Absolute speed rusher with loads of potential. He played horrendously, against Fowler Jr’s Florida Gators and was benched the following week. Nonetheless, I see Floyd projecting well at the next level. My opinion on Floyd, Fowler Jr., and Vic Beasley from Clemson are that those are three prospects who are very close on most big boards, and it will simply come down to who teams drafting in the 8-14 range see as the higher priority.