It was college football’s rivalry week, although that designation has lost some of its luster when, say, Georgia Tech has to get beaten down by Georgia or Florida State has to endure getting smacked around by Florida. Having said that, the week yielded several exciting games, included an Iowa-Nebraska barnburner, an LSU-Texas A&M game that resulted in overtime and 146 total points and a come from behind win for Iowa State against Kansas State. Here are the prospects that stood out in college footballs final week of regular season action.
QB Kyle Shurmer (Vanderbilt)
Shurmer has been close to perfect in the month of November, and that held true in his game against Tennessee. With only four incompletions on the day, the senior was calm, cool, and collected in picking apart the Volunteers defense with accurate fades and back shoulder passes. New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmer must be proud of how his son’s played this season, given that it may allow him to be drafted come April.
WR Emanuel Hall (Missouri)
The speedy Hall needed a strong showing against Arkansas after dealing both injuries and a pernicious case of the dropsies late in the season. Hall delivered, and then some, to the tune of 153 yards on only six catches in what turned out to be a rain-soaked afternoon. Playing against the worst team in the SEC made it somewhat easy for him, so we’ll have to see Hall continue this streak in Missouri’s bowl game.
S Johnathan Abram (Mississippi State)
Among a dying breed of big-hitting safeties, Abram nonetheless had an interception and two passes defensed in the game against rival Ole Miss. Abram had a strength is when he’s closer to the line of scrimmage and, like many strong safeties, Abram has a tendency to leave his feet and drop his head in the hopes of getting a big hit on pass-catchers. Thankfully, that was no where to be seen in Thursday’s game.
DE Anthony Nelson (Iowa)
The Hawkeye defensive end is not a finesse player at the position. The 6’7”, 271-pound senior gets it done with a mix of strength and tenacity, two qualities he displayed in Iowa’s Big Ten barnburner against a Nebraska team starting to finally find its feet. Nelson finished the day with two sacks and two tackles-for-loss, mostly by being able to overpower the Nebraska right tackles with bull rushes and hand-fighting. That gave him 9.5 sacks on the year.
LB Caleb Kelly (Oklahoma)
In a game that featured 115 total points and more than 1300 total yards, you wouldn’t think there would be many defensive standouts, but Kelly came up big for his team and allowed Oklahoma to keep pace with West Virginia. Outside of his team-leading 14 tackles, Kelly’s strip-sack of Will Grier in the second quarter put the team up by two touchdowns and in great position headed to the second half. Additionally, Kelly’s versatility and coverage chops came through all throughout the game.
DT Gerald Willis III (Miami)
Willis and the rest of the defensive line completely shut down the Pitt rushing attack thanks to penetration and that’s Willis’s game to a tee. His explosion off the snap was too much for the Pitt guards, which allowed the senior to blow up a handful of runs and come down with a sack. His motor was also noticeable during the game, as he made an effort to run down rushers even after they had gained a fair amount of yards. That’s something that will impress scouts.