NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa
NEPD is going with a slightly different format this week for Primetime Prospects to Watch. We are going to highlight the top prospects in the national games you will be watching from noon to past midnight.
We are inching closer to the half-way point of the college football season, where teams (and more importantly prospects) start to distinguish themselves and give clarity from preseason predictions.
In Week 6, the game of the week is #23 Cal vs #5 Utah pitting together two of the nations top offensive prospects, Cal QB Jared Goff and Utah RB Devontae Booker. NFL bottom feeders such as the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans will be eagerly watching as the top QB prospect Jared Goff leads an undermanned team into Utah, who has looked as strong as any team in the country thus far.
For my against the spread crowd, my lock of the week is Georgia (-2.5) in Knoxville to face Tennessee. The Vols have been arguably the most disappointing team in the SEC thus far, and got physically manhandled by an undermanned Arkansas bunch last week. I expect Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and the Georgia offensive line to handle the Vols easily Saturday afternoon.
Without further adieu, let’s get to your prospect viewing guide for Week 6.
#10 Oklahoma vs Texas 12:00 ABC
OU CB Zack Sanchez: He’s been a bit up and down this year, but overall I thought he played alright last week. He gave up some completions, even a touchdown, but still is one of the better cornerback cover cornerbacks in the country.
OU DE/OLB Eric Striker: Had one of the most active games I’ve ever seen from him last week. Striker had 13 tackles, 2 sacks and 3 TFL’s vs West Virginia. He also added a forced fumble. I’m not sure Texas has the horses to contain him even a little bit. He’s in the early Day 2 range for me right now.
OU DE Charles Tapper: Texas will try and run, run, throw short, run, throw shorter, and then run some more. Should they trail, Tapper and Striker should have a huge day.
#7 LSU vs South Carolina 3:30 ESPN (Game in Baton Rouge)
*LSU RB Leonard Fournette: In my opinion, the best player in college football. The sophomore is averaging an astonishing 8.7 yards per carry and has scored 11 touchdowns on just 99 carries this season. Even more impressive, LSU has little to no threat of a concept called ‘The Forward Pass’. Expect to Fournette to run wild once again.
LSU CB Tre’Davious White: He’s been great so far this year, and is the top defensive back in the always loaded Tigers’ secondary. He draws one of the SEC’s toughest matchups in WR Pharoh Cooper, which should be one of the best prospect battles of the weekend.
LSU OG Vadal Alexander: One of the top offensive linemen in the country, Alexander should have his way vs a younger USC front.
USC WR Pharoh Cooper: He is easily South Carolina’s go-to threat. He caught 9 passes last week vs Missouri, and is also a threat in the run game. Look for USC to get creative with Cooper against the obviously more talented LSU Tigers Saturday.
USC TE Jerell Adams: Adams hasn’t been overly productive, but his ideal frame (6’6 230lbs) poses enough of a threat to any defense and holds real NFL Draft stock.
Georgia Tech vs #6 Clemson 3:30 ABC
Clemson DE Shaq Lawson: Lawson was dominant last week against Notre Dame, more importantly against top OT Ronnie Stanley. His burst off the line caught my eye the most, but his power was evident as well. Lawson has a new animal to tackle this week that will test his power and discipline : the triple option.
GT DT Adam Gotsis: The anchor in the middle, Gotsis will be pivotal in shutting down the running game. He’s been a work in progress, but has shown legitimate growth and potential and has the most upside of any Georgia Tech prospect.
GT FS Jamal Golden: Doesn’t possess the ideal speed you want, but makes up for it with quick diagnoses and excellent closing burst.
#19 Georgia vs Tennessee 3:30 CBS
*UGA RB Nick Chubb: The sophomore running back has been dominant this year. Chubb has rushed for over 120 yards in all five games this season, and figures to have another big game vs a struggling Tennessee front.
UGA OLB Leonard Floyd: One of the most dominant and explosive pass rushers in college football, Floyd will be forced to be more discipline this week with a heavy zone-read attack.
UGA OLB Jordan Jenkins: Tennessee will have their hands full with Jenkins and Floyd, as good of a pass rush duo in the country. The explosive senior has 7.5 tackles for loss this season to go with 3 sacks.
TENN CB Cam Sutton: In a secondary that has struggled this season, Sutton has been the lone rock. He has struggled at points this season, but remains one of the more talented cornerbacks who has excellent ball skills with a fearless demeanor in the run game.
TENN RB Jalen Hurd: The true sophomore has been great for the Vols this year. At 6’4 240lbs, Hurd has great burst and open field speed for his size making him the focal point of the Vols’ offense.
#11 Florida vs Missouri 7:30 SECNetwork
UF CB Vernon Hargreaves III: His play has taken a step back, largely in part in my opinion due to various nagging injuries. Nonetheless, Hargreaves still has three interceptions thus far in 2015 and remains a Day 1 caliber prospect.
UF WR Demarcus Robinson: He may not be the Gators #1 WR at the moment, but Robinson turned in his best game of the season last week in the Gators shocking 38-10 win vs Ole Miss with 8 catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.
MIZZ ILB Kentrell Brothers: One of my favorite prospects in college football. You will hear his name all night, as he is instinctive, reliable and rarely takes false steps.
MIZZ C Evan Boehm: Big, physical and powerful. He is one of the strongest players in college football, and absolutely vital to the Mizzou run game.
Miami vs #12 Florida State 8:00 ABC
FSU CB Jalen Ramsey: Always around the ball. Always making plays. Always wreaking havoc. Ramsey has only built on his legend in 2015.
FSU K Roberto Aguayo: Worth mentioning for two reasons. 1) He’s the best kicker in college football. 2) Is there a rivalry more famous for kickers? I don’t think so. Aguayo is an absolute weapon for the ‘Noles.
FSU SS Tyler Hunter: Returning from recent injury, Hunter has been steady for the Noles.
MIA FS Deon Bush: A rangy safety who is asked to play all over the field. Far and away Bush is the best prospect for UM. He is a big time hitter and good ball skills, and should make for a solid safety at the next level.
#23 Cal vs #5 Utah 10:00 ABC
CAL QB Jared Goff: I think it’s clear that he is the top quarterback prospect in college football right now. His accuracy is excellent, his anticipation is beyond his years and has enough mobility and footwork to move around in the pocket when needed. His arm strength shows up on tape, particularly when throwing outside of the numbers. He doesn’t have the greatest supporting cast, but remains as steady a prospect as there is in college football. Quarterbacks are never a sure thing, but Goff seems to have all the tools necessary to thrive at the next level.
CAL RB Daniel Lasco: He’s missed some time earlier due to a hip injury, and still doesn’t seem quite right. When healthy, Lasco is a physical runner with good quickness and can provide Cal the balance that offense desperately needs. He says he should be good to go for Saturday after a poor 10 carry 22 yard effort last week, we will see.
Utah RB Devontae Booker: The senior back has exploded onto the national stage this year. He runs with a hard, physical and decisive running style. Through five games Booker has 443 yards and 4 touchdowns, and should see 25+ carries Saturday night.
Utah ILB Jared Norris: A productive linebacker, and the heart and soul of the defense. Lacks ideal speed, but makes up for it by being slippery vs opposing lineman and excellent recognition skills. If Lasco is at full force, one can expect more than a few collisions between these two.
Utah DE Jason Fanaika: The former Utah State transfer has been active thus far for the Utes, racking up 2.5 sacks on the early season. Fanaika shows good get off as well as the ability to disengage, but probably needs to work on his overall run defense. Nonetheless, Fanaika is probably Utah’s premier pass rusher.