Primetime Prospects to Watch: Week 5

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.

Oklahoma prospects

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.

Alabama prospects

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

Georgia prospects

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

Florida prospects

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

Clemson prospects

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

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8 Responses to “Primetime Prospects to Watch: Week 5”

  1. tester says:

    this is a test

  2. Jeff says:

    Speaking of trades, I think Mayo and Amendola will be shopped by the Patriots in the off-season due to the cap-savings of moving their salaries. A team receiving these players could still cut them if they don’t work out without having to worry about the signing bonus the Pats gave them. I think the Pats would look for a low draft pick or two (a 5th and a 6th?) for Mayo (if anyone is willing to give that up for a player likely to be cut), and maybe a player-for-player trade with the Eagles: Amendola for Ryan Matthews. The Eagles will need another receiver next season with a couple coming off the books, and Amendola had a lot of success with Sam Bradford. The Eagles also need to move salaries out of the running back position with Murray already on the books, and with Blount a free agent, the Pats will be looking for a 1st down back. If the Eagles add a D-lineman, a couple of guards, and a DB with their first 4 picks, and sign a DB in FA, they should have a pretty complete roster next season.

    • Jeff says:

      I could see Mayo and Rufus Johnson going to the Giants for their 5th round pick in the off-season.

  3. Todti says:

    I’ve read that Alterraun Verner seems to fall out of favour in TB and is now playing slot CB. He might not be an optimal fit in NE as he excells in off coverage or zone schemes and press coverage really isn’t his strength, however, he’s good at anticipating/diagnosing plays and is very fluid. Also, during his breakout season in Tennessee he used to play at the right side of the defense so his favourable spot would naturally be opposite of Butler. Furthermore, there’s no guaranteed money on his contract after this season and he’s still only 26. If Belichick thinks he can mold him into a valuable CB for NE how about a 3rd round pick (there’s a compensatory 3rd round pick coming for Revis) and Bradley Fletcher in exchange for Verner? You can cut him for nothing if it doesn’t work out or keep him for about 6m$ next season and extend his contract. A CB corps of Butler, Brown, Verner, Coleman, Roberts, and Ryan wouldn’t look so bad in 2016.
    What do you guys think about it?

    • Ryan says:

      If Verner isn’t especially liked in Tampa Bay we might be able to get him for Fletcher and a 4th. Seeing as we lost our 1st-rounder I like that option much more, as we will need all of the Day 2 picks we can get. Even though Verner is probably worth Fletcher and a 3rd, we already have a slew of undersized-to-average ballhawks on the roster and adding another one at risk of a 3rd-rounder might not be the best way to go in the secondary. Verner is good with better years coming, but right now I’d rather risk a fourth-rounder based on our draft picks and his fit with the team.

      • Todti says:

        True but the upgrade from 4th to 3rd round had more to do with getting rid of Fletcher to clear cap space.

    • Jeff says:

      I see the Pats using their highest pick at that position if it works out – they should have flexibility to move up a bit if necessary. If they like Coleman, Roberts, and Ryan enough, they could feel comfortable waiting through the beginning of the season while the draft pick gets comfortable at the NFL level in the Pats scheme. I think they’re trying to save as much cash as possible for their impending free agents in the front 7 (Hightower, Collins, Jones, Sheard, Ninkovich), as they’d probably like to keep 3-4 of these players if possible, so a cheaper route at CB will be preferable.

    • Kevan says:

      What about Marcus cooper?

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