NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa
#23 West Virginia vs #15 Oklahoma 12:00 FOX Sports 1
We thought the Oklahoma secondary was rock solid when they held Tennessee to 17 points. As it turns out, Tennessee’s offense is anemic and Tulsa later hung over 600 yards and 38 points on the Sooners a week later. After a bye week to regroup, the Sooners welcome the high flying Mountaineers’ offense to Norman. Oklahoma’s top two prospects to watch, OLB Eric Striker and CB Zack Sanchez will be in the spotlight after an overall horrid performance last week vs an undermanned Tulsa squad. I’m calling for the upset. I think we’re over valuing Oklahoma because of their win vs an overrated Tennessee squad. I think West Virginia rolls Oklahoma in their own house, 42-28.
DE/OLB Eric Striker: West Virginia’s offense has been firing on all cylinders thus far this season, but they haven’t faced edge rushers in the class that Oklahoma can produce. I’d expect to see Striker used extensively more as a pass rusher this week, more so then in any game so far this season.
CB Zack Sanchez: An opportunistic ball hawk that has been inconsistent with his overall technique at times, we should get a good look at Sanchez vs the aerial assault West Virginia is sure to bring.
WR Sterling Shepard: In his last two outings, Shepard has been a huge part of the Oklahoma offense. Caught two massive touchdowns vs Tennessee, and came back to catch 8 passes for 144 yards vs Tulsa. I think he will find a niche at the next level that fellow Oklahoma Sooner Ryan Broyles (who reminds me of Shepard a little bit) has not yet.
Other prospects DE Charles Tapper, WR Durron Neal, ILB Dominique Alexander, OG Nila Kasita
West Virginia prospects
SS Karl Joseph: One of the top senior defensive backs in the country, Joseph makes his money by being absolutely fearless. He’s one of the most physical players in the country, and a Day 1-2 type of prospect.
RB Rushel Shell: A bruising, ball control type of running back. He won’t run away from anybody, but is a valuable asset to keep defenses honest.
Other prospects: ILB Nick Kwiatkoski, P Nick O’Toole, SS KJ Dillon
#13 Alabama vs #8 Georgia 3:30 CBS
The game I’m most excited for this weekend. Like running backs? This game has a whole host of stud backs. Yeah, Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb will get all of the attention, but don’t forget about Bama RB Kenyan Drake and Georgia stud Sony Michel. Due to the poor quarterback play of both teams, expect to see all four get a heavy workload. People are already casting off Alabama due to a loss against one of the best teams in the country, but I still like the Tide’s chances this year. Once they get somewhat consistent play from the quarterback position they are still a national contender. Give me Bama on the road 23-17.
DT/DE A’Shawn Robinson: He will be a pivotal part in the campaign to slow down Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Keith Marshall. His job will be to eat and plug, so don’t too worked up about the stats.
RB Derrick Henry: In Alabama’s two marquee games this year, Henry has shined. Henry rushed for just shy of 280 yards vs Wisconsin and Ole Miss, and I’d expect a big day Saturday as well. He’s a big physical monster who has deceptive speed running in the open field.
TE O.J. Howard: He’s involved in the offense this year! Kind of. Through four games Howard has caught 13 passes for 183 yards, and is well on pace to beat last year’s 17 catch 260 yard effort. His numbers are misleading, as he could be the very best tight end in the country.
Other prospects: DE Jonathan Allen, RB Kenyan Drake, OLB Ryan Anderson, CB Cyrus Jones, ILB Reggie Ragland, DL Jarran Reed C Ryan Kelly
OLB Leonard Floyd: An elite pass rusher, Floyd has been productive this year even with the increased attention. Although he is physical and has great use of his hands, he wins with his quickness – which will be tested in Athens Saturday
OLB Jordan Jenkins: At one time it was thought Jenkins was a lock to commit to the Tide, now he’s a marquee player against the school he almost attended. Georgia must stop the run to make Floyd and Jenkins dangerous, but in obvious passing situations keep a close eye on the two star Bulldog OLBs.
RB Nick Chubb: A 2017 prospect, Chubb is probably the second best RB in the conference. Some say he’s better then Todd Gurley (who he replaced), I don’t quite buy that. Nonetheless, Chubb is a phenomenal talent with the killer combination of quickness, power and vision.
Other prospects: WR Malcome Mitchell, OT John Theus, OG Greg Oyke, FB Quayvon Hicks, RB Keith Marshall, LS Nathan Theus
#3 Ole Miss vs #25 Florida 7:00 ESPN
It’s been a wild few weeks for these teams. Florida comes off one of the most insane endings to a game I’ve seen in a while, coming back to beat Tennessee by 1 point last week. Ole Miss survived a major letdown last week vs Vanderbilt after a win in Tuscaloosa two weeks ago, one of the biggest in school history. This game consists of multiple Day 1 prospects. Like WR/CB battles? This game will feature Ole Miss stud WR Laquon Treadwell vs the consensus top CB in the country Vernon Hargreaves. As for the game, I see this being a rout. I think Ole Miss will hang 40+ in the swamp, and Florida won’t be able to keep up. Give me the Rebels, 41-24.
Ole Miss prospects
DT Robert Nkemdiche: Arguably the top prospect in this prospect-filled game, Nkemdiche is a weapon all along the defensive front…he may even score a touchdown as well.
WR Laquon Treadwell: Get your popcorn ready. There won’t be a better WR/CB battle all season long with Hargreaves.
Other prospects: SS Tony Conner (Hurt), OT Laremy Tunsil (Out), TE Evan Engram, OG Aaron Morris, ILB CJ Johnson
CB Vernon Hargreaves III: He’s been a bit nicked up, but he won’t miss the showdown with Laquon Treadwell.
WR Demarcus Robinson: Had 6 catches vs a decent Tennessee secondary last week. Florida just has to get the ball in his hands, as Robinson normally causes the most damage to opposing defenses after the catch
DE Jonathan Bullard: He was active last week causing issues vs a young Tennessee front. Ole Miss should prove to be a bigger test.
#6 Notre Dame vs #12 Clemson 8:00 ABC
Notre Dame has arguably been the most impressive team in college football this year. Injuries and a tough schedule haven’t been enough to topple the Irish… yet. Make no bones about it, this will be a line of scrimmage game. Also interested to see Clemson QB Deshaun Watson. Sure, Wofford, Appalachian State and Louisville aren’t exactly menacing competition, but he’s looked great completing almost 75% of his passes. Should Watson’s stellar play continue, Clemson will come up victorious. Can sophomore QB DeShone Kizer carry the Irish on the road? I’ll say no. Clemson, close.
Notre Dame prospects
OT Ronnie Stanley: A consensus top 10 prospect at the moment, Stanley has impressed and then some thus far in 2015. DE Shaq Lawson could be his toughest test yet.
OLB Jaylen Smith: The stats aren’t overwhelming, but Smith has been a force in 2015. He is the main defender to watch Saturday.
DT Sheldon Day: He’s been up and down throughout his career, but nonetheless he’s been solid thus far in 2015 and has a legit shot at the NFL.
CB KeiVarae Russell: Patriots fans will appreciate this, he reminds me a bit of Malcom Butler in the run game. He’s had a few big time stops this year in that regard, and has also impressed in coverage. His stock is rising after not playing last season.
Other prospects : WR Will Fuller, C Nick Martin
DE Shaq Lawson: The Vic Beasley Jr. replacement, Lawson vs Stanley could be the best matchup to watch all weekend.
FS Jayron Kearse: A 2017 prospect, Kearse arguably has the most talent of any Tigers’ defender. At 6’3 with legitimate athleticism, Kearse is an ideal safety prospect and could be a big name to watch next year.
Other prospects: OG Eric Mac Lain, WR Charone Peake, ILB BJ Goodson
Tags: A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama, Clemson, Derrick Henry, Eric Stiker, Florida, Georgia, Jayron Kearse, Karl Joseph, Laquon Treadwell, Leonard Floyd, Nick Chubb, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Robert Nkemdiche, Shaq Lawson, Vernon Hargreaves, West Virginia, Zack Sanchez