Thanksgiving weekend for college football fans means that its time for the famous Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama. The game should be an especially exciting affair this year as both teams are ranked inside the top ten. That’s not to say their won’t be any other entertaining matchups, including another interstate rivalry game between No. 17 Washington and No. 13 Washington State. The winner will most likely find themselves in the PAC-12 championship game.
As always, talk about the games, leave questions on prospects and enjoy turkey weekend.
Keep your eyes on
Rashaan Evans, linebacker (Alabama)
Auburn sports a very balanced offense and should challenge Alabama in multiple ways. Evans will be tasked with covering frequent underneath passes and running down Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson, which is not an easy task. The senior linebacker has begun to get noticed as the next great Alabama linebacker and with teammate Shaun Dion Hamilton out for the year, he should be able to stand out even more.
Other prospects to watch
Tanner Lee, quarterback (Nebraska)
Lee was on the receiving end of some early season hype, but quickly had a meltdown in the form of nine interceptions thrown in the span of three games. He’s spent the rest of the season slowly picking up the pieces. The reason for the hype is that he works in a pro-style offense, sports a quick delivery, and has a good sense of timing with his receivers. It’s been rumored that he wants to declare for the draft and if he can perform against a tough Iowa defense this week maybe some of the buzz will return.
Christopher Herndon, tight end (Miami)
Herndon has stepped out of David Njoku’s shadow this year and while he doesn’t have the same talent as Njoku, he’s been very productive for the Hurricanes this year. A bit small for the position at 6’4” 252 pounds, he’s used more in an H-back role by the team, similar to how Charles Clay has been deployed in the NFL. Pittsburgh has an underrated safety in Jordan Whitehead and the battle between the two will be an interesting one to track.
Sony Michel, running back (Georgia)
I highlighted Michel’s backfield mate Nick Chubb last week, saying that Chubb was Georgia’s workhorse back and while that’s true, Michel is the more physically talented and versatile running back. Michel may end being the more successful as and NFL prospect as he offers more in the passing game than Chubb, who’s only caught 13 passes since his Freshman year. Against Georgia Tech, expect Georgia to use Michel to be the one generating big plays on end-arounds short passes and screens.
Scott Quessenberry, center (UCLA)
Quessenberry is the leader of the UCLA offensive line and, like the rest of his teammates, built more for pass blocking than run blocking. His quick punch is able to stun lineman immediately after the snap, but he doesn’t have the strength to survive a prolonged bull rush. Cal’s James Looney is well thought of, so the battle between the two should be intriguing.
Dre'mont Jones, defensive tackle (Ohio State)
Jones gets somewhat ignored as a member of the Ohio State defensive line, which is to be expected when your teammates are Nick Bosa and Sam Hubbard thats to be expected. He’s a speed rushing interior lineman that who is a bit of a one-trick pony at this point in time. If you stop his first move early on, he doesn’t have a second. Michigan’s Mason Cole is a well-thought-of center and should give Jones his fair share of trouble.
Van Smith, safety (Clemson) - Clemson always has a defensive back or two that gets drafted every year and it looks like Van Smith is this year’s candidate. He’s a bit undersized and doesn’t have many turnovers this year but he appears to be a decent athlete for the position. That athleticism will be tested the Sunday against South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst, one of the better tight ends in college football. His lack of height might be exposed in the passing game as well.