This Saturday is championship weekend in college football and as someone who studies the draft, there’s nothing better than seeing the best teams in their respective conferences face off against each other. It can really help elevate a prospect’s draft stock if he can manage to stand out against elite competition. Highlights of this week's slate of games includes the SEC championship between No. 6 Georgia and No. 2 Auburn, the ACC Championship between No. 7 Miami and No. 1 Clemson and the Big Ten Championship between No. 8 Ohio State and No. 4 Wisconsin. Below are the prospects you'll want to watch.
As always, talk about the games, leave questions on prospects and enjoy your weekend.
Keep your eyes on
Jarrett Stidham, quarterback (Auburn)
Admittedly, I had written Stidham off for this year after Auburn lost big to Clemson in a game where Stidham was constantly pressured on every single drop-back. Since that game, he’s really started to make good on his potential and really show off some pro traits. After all, he’s a recent transfer from Baylor and this is his first year in the Gus Mahlzan system. Stidham will have to maintain his exceptional level of play against Georgia in the SEC title game though, as their defense might be the best in the conference.
Other prospects to watch
Deon Cain, wide receiver (Clemson)
Coming in to the season, Cain was labeled as the next great Clemson wide receiver who would soon join the ranks of DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins in the NFL. While he is talented, that narrative has died down a bit as he has become a rarely targeted deep threat in the Clemson passing attack. If he can produce a big game against Miami and take that performance into the college football playoffs, scouts may revive that earlier narrative.
Jordan Chunn, running back (Troy)
Troy has had a successful reemergence into relevance this season and Chunn is one of the many reasons. He’s not the fastest or biggest guy, but he does a good job of following his blocks, running behind his pads and always falling forward. Also used in the passing game quite a bit. Arkansas State has a tough defensive line, so Chunn may be forced to find yards all by himself. With some decent yardage he could finish the game as Troy’s all-time leading rusher.
Trenton Thompson, defensive tackle (Georgia)
Thompson is another player that was pretty well thought of by various draft commentators but, despite playing for a dominant defense, he has failed to make much of that promise. The 6’4”, 295-pound lineman only has 31 tackles on the year and no sacks. He’s battled injuries throughout the year, but if he doesn’t start producing soon he will be lucky to be drafted in the middle rounds.
Travin Howard, linebacker (TCU)
Howard has been out a couple games with an injury but is returning for the Big-12 title game. He’s a bit on the lighter side for the position but is nonetheless a big hitter. TCU’s defense has been very good this year, and many point to Howard as one of the reasons. This Saturday, he’ll have a tough time keeping up with Oklahoma, especially Mark Andrews, who may be the best tight in the draft. Chasing down a scrambling Baker Mayfield is no easy task either.
Damon Webb, safety (Ohio State)
An undersized but athletic safety, Webb has flashed the ability to be a sideline to sideline, single-high safety. A recent convert to the safety position, he’s managed to greatly improve this season. He faces a good test in the Big Ten championship game in Troy Fumagalli, a player I’ve highlighted previously. Look for Wisconsin to also challenge him on a couple of deep throws; they like to take a shots after some successful runs.