While only two games this week feature ranked opponents facing off against each other (Georgia-South Carolina and USC-Stanford), there is still plenty to be excited about during the second week of college football. These early games of the season are good opportunities to see how small-school prospects fare against better competition. If you’re a prospect from Ball State or William & Mary, NFL scouts will want to know how you played this week against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, respectively. Below are some of the prospects who will be trying to catch the eyes of scouts this week.
Talk about the games, leave questions on prospects and enjoy your weekend.
Keep your eyes on:
Ed Oliver, DT (Houston)
Oliver is already being touted as one of the premier talents of the 2019 Draft class. Despite being somewhat undersized, his speed, strength and, most of all, his effort is undeniable. This week he has an interesting test against Arizona and their mobile quarterback Khalil Tate. Look for Oliver to run down Tate every time he can. While he might not always make the tackle, his athleticism and effort for a defensive tackle are rare.
Other prospects to watch:
Tariq Cole, OT (Rutgers)
The Scarlett Knight’s leader on the offensive line is a solid NFL prospect. Having already started 24 games in his career, the senior left tackle is wise beyond his years. However, Cole’s biggest test of the season comes in the form of all-world defensive end Nick Bosa this week against #4 Ohio State. If the 6’6”, 320 pound Cole can at least hold his own, his draft stock could soar.
Bryan Edwards & Deebo Samuel, WR (South Carolina)
The two wideouts from South Carolina could be the 2019 version of James Washington and Marcell Ateman: prolific teammates that both see themselves drafted in the same year. Samuel, with his speed and open field moves is the star. Edwards however, is underrated. His body control and toughness in the middle of the field are his greatest strengths. They’ll both be tested this week by the strong Georgia secondary, including star cornerback Deandre Baker.
Cameron Smith, LB (USC)
Smith chose to forgo the NFL last year in the hopes of becoming USC’s all-time leading tackler. He only needs about 100 this season to break that mark. What he really needs to prove to NFL evaluators though is that he can cover. He’ll have a good chance this week against #10 Stanford, as the team loves to feature their tight ends in the passing game. The senior linebacker also shouldn’t forget about slowing down running back Bryce Love.
Jonathan Crawford, SS (Indiana)
Indiana’s secondary has been the team’s strength for a few years, and senior safety Jonathan Crawford has been a big part of that. Crawford has been a ball hawk in the past. He already has an interception this season, and nine total in his career. He’ll need to guard against the deep ball versus Virginia, as the team loves to feature their explosive wide receiver, Olamide Zaccheaus.
Dalton Risner, RT (Kansas State)
A redshirt senior, Risner is another offensive line prospect with mountains of experience. While he plays right tackle for the Wildcats, the thought is that his 6’4”, 300 pound frame would be better suited to guard or even center. Regardless, Risner will be facing one of the best defensive lines in the country this week in #18 Mississippi State. How he performs against Defensive end Montez Sweat will be a talking point for scouts come draft time.
Jaelan Phillips, ER (UCLA)
Only a sophomore, Phillips is a size and speed edge rusher who has some work to do learning the nuances of the position. His first game this year was encouraging, as he came down with 9 tackles and a sack against Cincinnati. He’ll need to build on that performance if the Bruins hope to win against #6 Oklahoma—a team that loves to sling the football all over the field.
Game of the Week: #17 USC vs. #10 Stanford
The Pac-12 is where it’s at this week, as the Trojans face off against Cardinal. The biggest draw will be seeing Stanford’s offense against USC’s defense. Both starting guards for Stanford are decent NFL draft prospects, while running back Bryce Love, tight end Kaden Smith and JJ Arcega-Whiteside proved to be quite prolific during their first game of the season. USC’s linebacking corps, featuring edge rusher Porter Gustin and the aforementioned Cameron Smith, is one of the best in the country.