Not everyone can be a first or second-round prospect. Those players that must fight their way up from the lower-end of the draft board always face quite an uphill challenge. This week’s college football recap features several ignored or forgotten prospects that managed to stand out and make an impact in their respective games. It won’t be long before these players garner more attention from draftniks.
QB Khalil Tate (Arizona)
Tate had a career-type game against the Colorado Buffaloes. The 6’2” passer earned his Tyrod Taylor and Russel Wilson comparisons in throwing for 350 yards on only 22 attempts while scrambling around the packet under-duress. His accuracy actually improved greatly when throwing on the run. Not exactly known for his passing prowess, and in a weak quarterback class, Tate needs to build on this performance if he wants to have any future in the NFL.
WR Jalen Hurd (Baylor)
Baylor pulled off the upset versus Oklahoma State thanks to their senior weapon. Hurd was a former running back for Tennessee, but has been making the transition to wide receiver. Against the Cowboys, Hurd caught 7 passes for 96 yards while running 9 times for an additional 27 yards. Improving by leaps and bounds, Hurd is a lower-round prospect that’s on the rise.
RB Nico Evans (Wyoming)
Another lower-round type prospect, Evans picked his spots all night against San Jose State. While his overall production (187 yards) was impressive, his ability to do the little things well is what will impress scouts. He has yet to fumble this year, and that continued against the Spartans. While his athletic qualities will never get him drafted highly, he’s a gamer. One to watch, moving forward.
TE Irv Smith Jr. (Alabama)
Alabama knew that LSU was without starting middle linebacker Devin White in the first half of their game, so they chose to target his replacement in the middle of the field with their tight end/H-back. The receiving tight end was truly the engine of the offense in the first half. Crimson Tide Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should have actually targeted him more, as replays showed him running open more often than not.
SS Amani Hooker (Iowa)
Hooker came into the season largely ignored and under-appreciated, but after coming down with three picks and five passes defensed, for an ostensibly run defending safety, has him approaching NFL relevancy. He picked up a pick-six against Purdue which only added to his resumè as an effective pass defender. Against the run, Hooker was also solid, as Iowa likes to use him as a linebacker-hybrid in the box.
DT Derrick Brown (Auburn)
Brown was a wrecking machine against Texas A&M. His specialty was quickly jolting the offensive lineman with a punch, jolting the guard off his feet, and quickly moving past in an effort to sack the quarterback. By the time the game ended, Brown had piled up a sack, a tipped pass, two tackles-for-loss and multiple hurries. The junior may be making his move up the board.