This week marks the home stretch for college football. Most teams have only four or five games left to play, outside of bowl games. If you're a prospect who hasn't made an impression in front of scouts, now’s the time. Highlights of this week's slate of games include the high-powered no. 5 Oklahoma versus the equally high-powered Oklahoma State, no. 4 Clemson looking to keep it's college playoffs hopes alive against no. 20 NC State's defensive line and no. 1 Alabama's defense trying to stop no. 19 LSU's running game. Below are the prospects you'll want to watch:
Nic Shimonek, quarterback (Texas Tech)
Shimonek is the successor to Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech and has been just as effective in college as the current Kansas City Chief. While he doesn’t quite offer the elite athleticism and arm talent of Mahomes, his arm is good enough and he’s been more efficient. He’s only had one year as a starter, but he’s an older prospect at 23 years old so he may come out for the draft. Look for him to light up a poor Kansas State pass defense.
Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle (Clemson)
Wilkins draft stock as a potential top-ten pick has held steady this year and both the tape and the stats back that up. He’s continued to be a versatile, disruptive force on Clemson’s defensive line. This week against NC State’s Ryan Finley, he’ll need to bring his speed rush as Finley tends to get the ball of his hands very quickly.
Kentavius Street, defensive end (NC State)
I’ve already highlighted the rest of NC State’s defensive line and the most overshadowed member of the group may be Street. Rumored to be the most athletic prospect on the defensive line, his burst off the line is very impressive. He’ll occasionally be facing off against Clemson’s Mitch Hyatt this week, and if he can put some pressure on Kelly Bryant maybe he can start to rise up the draft board.
Calvin Ridley, wide receiver (Alabama)
The most polished route-runner in the draft may be Ridley who, if he wasn’t an older prospect at 23, would be a first-round lock. Unfortunately, Alabama isn’t the most pass happy of teams, which doesn’t allow Ridley to stand out amongst his many peers. LSU’s highly-ranked secondary might make it tough for him this week as well.
Billy Price, center (Ohio State)
Price seems to be following Pat Elflein’s lead in switching to center during his senior season, with the hope that he becomes a highly-drafted prospect at the position in the NFL. So far the change has been working for him, as his midseason All-American selection demonstrates. His hand fighting is particularly impressive, which is something he’ll be able to demonstrate against a strong, underrated Iowa defensive line.
Keishawn Bierria, linebacker (Washington)
I think its safe to say that this year’s linebacker class is strong. While there are plenty of linebackers that excel as run stoppers, the NFL seems to value players at the position that can cover and hit. That describes Bierria’s game to a “T”. His tackling ability will be tested by Oregon, who sports a top running back in Royce Freeman, but also a quarterback who likes to run.
Jordan Thomas, cornerback (Oklahoma)
Bedlam this week, as Oklahoma State challenges Oklahoma. Oklahoma State and Mason Rudolph love to put opposing corners in difficult spots and Oklahoma’s Jordan Thomas will need to be on his toes all game. Once thought of as a top corner, the tall and athletic Thomas has been inconsistent this year. Hopefully he can flash more of last year’s brilliance this week.