College football rivalries are somehow more fun than those in the NFL. If the games are like this Saturday’s Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas, they carry the weight of history and state-to-state competition. The two teams come into this week as potential candidates for the college football playoff, which should make for an exciting game. There are plenty of intriguing match-ups outside that game, though, including those that involve the prospects below.
So, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on
EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State)
The junior defensive end had a great game last week against an overmatched Purdue offensive line, but the Iowa Hawkeyes present a completely different challenge. Iowa tackles Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs will be looking to bounce back from their collective performance against Michigan last week. Gross-Matos needs to prove that he can still produce against top-tier competition.
Other prospects to watch
WR Justin Jefferson (LSU)
Jefferson, the seventh-leading receiver in the country, is a riser thanks in part to having a competent quarterback in Joe Burrow. He has a great sense for getting open in zone coverage but needs to prove that he can earn separation in man-to-man coverage. Florida’s CJ Henderson should serve as a good test for him this week, as the cornerback is perhaps the best man corner in the country.
DT Marvin Wilson (Florida State)
Clemson is one of the most productive offenses in the country and it usually takes a herculean effort to stop that engine. According to PFF Wilson has the most quarterback pressures in the ACC. There’s a possibility Clemson will turn to the ground game with Travis Etienne as a response, in which case Wilson needs to prove that he can stand up to the Tigers’ rushing attack.
CB/SS Julian Blackmon (Utah)
Blackmon just had the worst game against USC, a game that was so bad it might have torpedoed his draft stock. He has a chance to make up for it this week against Oregon State and Isaac Hodgins. The 6’4” receiver already has nine touchdowns on the year and loves to out-jump his opponents. The 6’1” corner should be able to use that height to his advantage though.
RB D’Andre Swift (Georgia)
Swift may be one the most versatile and talented running backs in the nation. The one criticism of the junior is that he hasn’t faced premier competition on defense this year. South Carolina’s defense is in the upper echelon of groups against the run, and their defensive line features Javon Kinlaw, one of the best all-around defensive tackles in college football.
Game of the Week
Last year’s Red River Showdown was a showcase of offensive talent, but there’s reason to believe this year will be a bit different with both teams coming in with new defensive leaders. Sure, Oklahoma still showcases offensive players like receiver CeeDee Lamb, and center Creed Humphrey, but linebacker Kenneth Murray could end up being the first linebacker drafted in April. Texas’ massive wide receiver Collin Johnson still serves as their leading threat, but the team also features safety Brandon Jones.