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2018 NFL Draft: college football prospect preview & live chat, Week Nine

Three specific games make this week in college football must-see TV

SEC Championship - Alabama v Florida Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There are three matches that every fan of college football, or the draft, should be watching this Saturday, all at 3:30 Eastern. No. 14 NC State’s monster defensive line will face off against no. 9 Notre Dame’s equally strong offensive line. Jake Browning of no. 12 Washington will attempt to out-duel UCLA’s Josh Rosen. Penn State’s unstoppable running game will meet Ohio State’s impressive run defense. Several of the highlighted prospects below will take part in these three top matchups.

As always, talk about the games, leave questions on prospects and enjoy your weekend.

Keep your eyes on

Taven Bryan, defensive tackle (Florida)
I’ve wanted to highlight Bryan for several weeks, he’s one of my favorite players in college football. His burst off the line is elite and Kyle Williams-esque, he just needs to learn how to finish more. This week he’s going against some strong Georgia guards and will be challenged to defend the run.

Other prospects to watch

Kyle Shurmur, Quarterback (Vanderbilt)
Shurmur is in the midst of an inconsistent season. He’s had to face down the toughest defenses of the SEC. But starting this week against South Carolina, coming off a bye, Shurmur has a chance to reinvigorate his season. Look for Shurmur to be more aggressive in pushing the ball down the field, provided their protection manages to hold up.

Justin Jackson, running back (Northwestern)
A recent discovery, Jackson is a technically refined running back who really excels in Northwestern’s zone blocking scheme. He’s well-balanced in every facet of his game and brings a nasty stiff arm to the table. It’ll be interesting to see how he does against the no. 4 ranked defense in the country in Michigan State.

Dante Pettis, wide receiver (Washington)
Pettis has inherited the same deep speed role in the Washington offense that John Ross had previously. Not just a deep threat though, he's one of the best route runners in college football. This year, Pettis has been consistent but hasn’t really had a huge game statistically. While UCLA’s secondary has improved since the beginning of the year, look for Pettis to have his breakout game.

Mike McGlinchey, tackle (Notre Dame)
McGlinchey isn’t the most athletic tackle prospect, but he’s strong and is a technician. He and Quenton Nelson power Notre Dame’s hugely successful running game. He has a good test this week against one of the best pass rushers in the country in Bradley Chubb.

Mazzi Wilkins cornerback (USF)
The Bulls secondary has been a surprising strength of their defense and a big reason why has been Wilkins. Coming out of nowhere, Wilkins is tied for fourth in the nation in passes defended per game. He also has three interceptions. Houston’s passing offense will be one of the best USF plays this year.

Sam Hubbard, defensive end (Ohio State)
One of the keys to stopping Penn State’s all-world running back Saquon Barkley is setting the edge. That task will fall to Hubbard, who’s had a quiet season rushing the passer but has done some decent work against the run. Hubbard needs to have a good game some time if he wants to keep up with the rest of the past rushing class.

Shaquem Griffin, linebacker, (UCF)
Griffin is the brother of recent draft pick Shaquill Griffin and like Shaquill, is a very good athlete. He’s a coverage linebacker who’s a bit small but can run sideline to sideline. He won’t be a fit for every team in the NFL, but he’ll be a nice complementary piece for any team.