Week 8 of college football was a memorable affair that featured No. 6 Wisconsin falling on the road to an unranked Illinois squad in one of the biggest upsets of the past few years. That wasn’t the only entertaining game, though, as there were a couple close calls between No. 9 Florida and the South Carolina Gamecocks, as well as No. 7 Penn State just managing to hold on long enough against No. 16 Michigan. Below are the prospects who stood out during Week 8.
RB Travis Etienne (Clemson)
There are rumblings that scouts have turned a bit on Etienne this season, allegedly because he’s a one-trick pony and doesn’t have the necessary NFL-caliber vision. He attempted to put some of those concerns to rest against Louisville, as the junior had his most productive game of the season with 192 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. The game served as a positive reminder that Etienne is still one of the best tailbacks in the upcoming class.
LB Jake Hansen (Illinois)
If you’re looking for reasons why Illinois was able to upset No. 6 Wisconsin, look no further than their defense, and the undersized Hansen in particular. Besides finishing the day with 11 tackles and a sack, the junior linebacker forced a fumble that kept his team in the game long enough to eventually seal the victory with a fourth-quarter field goal. That brings Hansen’s total to six forced fumbles on the year, which leads the FBS. He would have had another one, if the quarterback’s hand hadn’t kept moving forward.
WR Reggie Roberson Jr. (SMU)
SMU is the talk of college football after massacring a pretty good Temple defense to get to 6-0, and scouts are looking at Roberson as one of the Mustangs with the highest potential. The West Virginia transfer showed off his speed and ability to track the deep ball for most of the day, finishing with 250 receiving yards and three touchdowns on eight catches, including a 75-yard TD. The Owls had no answer for the junior, who schooled any cornerback who was lined up against him in single coverage.
TE Hunter Bryant (Washington)
The Huskies should be ashamed of themselves for not involving Bryant more in the passing game against Oregon. Although he did lead his team in receiving yards with 65, he only had three catches and was clearly dominating Ducks linebacker Troy Dye in coverage more often than not. The 6’2”, 240-lb junior also displayed some nice work blocking on the move, which sprung Salvon Ahmed on a couple of his long runs.
CB CJ Henderson (Florida)
Henderson had an all-around dominant day, demonstrating that he’s head-and-shoulders above most of his defensive teammates and one of the best in the country at his position. He had nine total tackles, a key sack and a pass breakup that would have been an interception if the junior could have squeezed the ball into his chest just a bit more. He helped hold South Carolina receiver Bryan Edwards to seven catches on 11 targets, none of which went for touchdowns.
EDGE Marlon Davidson (Auburn)
The senior edge rusher has been on a tear recently and his performance against Arkansas is a season high point. Granted, it’s Arkansas, but it’s hard to fault five tackles, three tackles for a loss, two sacks, a forced fumble, and fumble recovery. That’s elite production. The 278-lb edge rusher is a load to deal with when he decides to bull rush, but the biggest key to his success was his ability to bend the edge despite his size. Hopefully this level of play continues and he earns an invite to the Senior Bowl.