With only four more Saturdays of regular-season college football, it’s more important than ever to highlight draft prospects that most casual draft fans may not have seen yet. Week 12 of the college football season brings some intriguing conference match-ups, which allows us at Buffalo Rumblings to shed light on more prospects that have only recently leapt into draft analysts’ collective consciousness. All of these prospects have burst onto the scene in the past few weeks of 2018 and are worth watching this week.
As always, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on
UAB has been wildly successful this year, going 9-1 in Conference USA. They’re a team built on running the ball and playing great defense, and Garcia-Williams is their primary pass-rush threat. A towering 6’8”, 255 pound-behemoth, he’s raw with rare athleticism for a player that size. The question this week is how will he handle a step-up in competition as the Blazers are set to play Texas A&M, an SEC team with SEC-caliber tackles.
Other prospects to watch
OT Colton McKivitz (West Virginia)
Mountaineer left tackle Yodny Cajuste earns most of the praise for West Virginia’s stellar pass protection, but McKivitz certainly deserves his due. Being in West Virginia’s offense means that the 6’7”, 300-pound right tackle is very comfortable in pass protection, and he looks the same when blocking on the move in the run game. It’ll be entertaining to see him face Oklahoma State’s Jordan Brailford this week, who has nine sacks and counting already on the year.
TE Kendall Blanton (Missouri)
Another player with a more well-known teammate, Blanton is the more well-rounded of the two Missouri tight ends, and because of that quality he actually may be more attractive to some NFL teams. While Blanton doesn’t have the speed of sophomore Albert Okwuegbunam, he sports some reliable hands and his blocking is generally up to snuff. This Saturday, he’ll have the chance to prove it against Tennessee’s strong group of pass rushers.
DT Demarcus Christmas (Florida State)
Boston College is a team that likes to pound the rock, so it’s crucial that Florida State presents a strong front in the middle of their defense. That’s where Christmas needs to deck his halls (pardon the pun). Occasionally, he flashes the speed and strength necessary to anchor against double teams or dominate one-on-one match-ups, but consistent effort needs to be his goal this Saturday.
CB Trayvon Mullen (Clemson)
The forgotten man in Clemson’s defense, Mullen has the size NFL teams want in an outside corner and the alpha-dog mentality NFL coaches want as a leader of the secondary. Duke quarterback Daniel Jones is starting to gather some hype as a top quarterback prospect this year, but he will need to be careful when he’s targeting the 6’2” man-coverage specialist. Look for Mullen to also affect the run game; He’s not afraid to crash down and tackle ball carriers.
WR Kalija Lipscomb (Vanderbilt)
Despite the injury to D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss still has a pair of future NFL pass catchers in A.J. Brown and DaMarkus Lodge. That means the pressure will be on Lipscomb Saturday to keep up with those two dynamic playmakers. Lipscomb is a physical player with and without the ball in his hands, although he projects as a possession receiver at the next level. the Ole Miss defense isn’t anything to write home about—so there’s a chance he breaks 100 receiving yards for only the second time this season.
Game of the Week
No. 12 Syracuse at No. 3 Notre Dame
2:30 PM, EST
Both Syracuse and Notre Dame have had magical seasons thus far, and both sport a decent number of NFL prospects on either side of the ball. The Orange rely on their fast tempo and pass catchers such as Jamal Custis and Sean Riley to pile on the points. Then, Syracuse’s defense is allowed to feast on opposing quarterbacks. Defensive end Alton Robinson and defensive tackle Chris Slayton shine when they are allowed to pin their ears back and rush up field.
The Irish generally prefer to keep the ball on the ground, leaving the game in the hands of bruising tailback Dexter Williams, but they’re not afraid to air it out either. Alizé Mack (née Jones) and Nic Weishar are reliable options for them in that area. Notre Dame is one of the more stacked defenses in the nation, with NFL talent at all three levels. Julian Love has earned second-day grades from most analysts, as have linebackers Te’Von Coney and Drue Tranquill. Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery’s sack production has slowed in recent weeks, but his interior pass rush is still elite.