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College football’s Week 12 recap: Let’s hear it for Conference USA

This week’s recap features two prospects from one of the lesser-watched conferences in college football

If you have talent, teams will find you. That mantra seems to hold true year after year, as scouts unearth prospects from outside the Power 5 conferences or even the lesser divisions. The Buffalo Bills’ own Taron Johnson, a player that hails from Weber State of the Big Sky conference, is an example of that same principle. A couple of the prospects this week come from Conference USA and are some of the more exciting prospects to watch in the country.

QB Mason Fine (North Texas)

The closest version of Baker Mayfield that college football has this year plays for North Texas. The diminutive 5’11” junior proved that in his complete dismantling of Florida Atlantic. His accuracy and ability to improvise shone through all night against the Owls, as there were just as many big plays turned in when plays broke down than when everything was working smoothly. After Mayfield became the first pick of the 2018 Draft, we’ll have to see how much love Fine gets when he decides to go pro.

WR Tyre Brady (Marshall)

A transfer for Miami, Brady isn’t going to run by anyone with his speed but he managed to come down with some big plays against UTSA. With six catches for a whopping 162 yards and a touchdown, Brady and quarterback Isaiah Green were toying with the Roadrunners secondary. Brady’s hands and ability to contort his body, as he did in one particular long catch, will have NFL scouts intrigued.

OG Logan Stenberg (Kentucky)

Kentucky teammate Bunchy Stallings was highlighted in the column a few weeks ago, and now it’s Stenberg’s time. The junior is a massive interior guard at 6’6”, 320 pounds and he was pushing poor Middle Tennessee linemen around all game. The Wildcats put up over 200 yards rushing the ball, thanks to both running back Benny Snell, and various assists from Stenberg at the point of attack, was a big reason why.

RB Joshua Kelley (UCLA)

Kelley, like his team, is on the upswing this late in the college season. He’s a bigger back that runs very well behind his pads and that was certainly the case in UCLA’s upset of USC. What stood out though was his ability to decide quickly what hole to hit and immediately make one-cut and take it up field on runs to the perimeter. The junior tailback looked very comfortable running behind pulling guards in the gap scheme.

TE C’yontai Lewis (Florida)

It was Senior Day for the Gators so it’s only fitting that they steamrolled Idaho with some help from the senior Lewis. The tight end was, surprisingly, the leading receiver for the team, on only three catches. I say “surprisingly” because Lewis is primarily used as blocker by Florida and is more of a plodder when running routes. He flashed some soft hands during this game though, so perhaps he has an NFL future ahead.

FS Alohi Gilman (Notre Dame)

Gilman set the tone early for the Irish defense in their game against the Orange. He came down with two interceptions in the first half. His first interception really showed off a strong ability to read the eyes of the quarterback and the hands to come down with a jump ball. His second demonstrated the talent to know just the right time to lay a hit on a receiver. On top of that, the junior was second on the team with eight tackles. Not a terrible day at the office.