It’s close to the halfway point of the college football season, which unfortunately means that this week six teams ranked within the Top 25 are taking the weekend off. All that signifies is that draft observers need to look to some of the less-touted match-ups to find prospects. Games like Boston College-Louisville or Nebraska-Northwestern feature many deserving players, including tackle Mekhi Becton, running back AJ Dillon and linebacker Paddy Fisher.
So, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on
EDGE A.J. Epenesa (Iowa)
Epenesa is fighting a (losing) battle to be the first defensive end drafted but he hasn’t had a sack since Iowa’s game against Rutgers during the first week of September. But if Iowa wants to leave the Big House as winner, he’ll need to show up against Michigan. The Wolverines’ left tackle is coming back from an undisclosed injury, so Epenesa should be able to have his way during the early game.
Other prospects to watch
DT Raequan Williams (Michigan State)
The Spartans’ defensive tackle has been a draft riser this season and was virtually unblockable last week against Indiana, finishing with a sack and a tackle-for-loss. We’ll see if that continues against a much more accomplished offensive line in Ohio State. The Buckeyes rank third-best in line yards at 3.24 according to Football Outsiders and also rank fourth in FBS in rushing touchdowns with 16.
WR Denzel Mims (Baylor)
The Bears’ leading receiver, Mims was criticized before the season due to a perceived lack of speed and finesse. Production hasn’t been a problem for the senior through, as Mims had 106 yards on six catches with a pair of touchdowns last week against a tough Iowa State defense. Kansas State’s pass defense is a whole other animal. The Wildcats only allow 127 yards on average.
OG Shane Lemieux (Oregon)
Lemieux hasn’t really been tested since a Week 1 match-up with Auburn’s Derrick Brown, but this week’s game against Cal might be even more challenging. Cal’s defense is filled with hard-nosed players including the current FBS leader in tackles, linebacker Evan Weaver. If Lemieux holds up, he may have earned consideration as the top guard in this class and even as a first-round prospect.
CB Paulson Adebo (Stanford)
Like Williams, Adebo has been labeled as a riser this season. Over the course of a what looks like a lost Stanford season, the 6’1”, 190-lb junior is an aggressive cover corner who should be tested against Washington this week. The Huskies’ Aaron Fuller has enough speed to beat Adebo down the field and the corner needs to be careful not to get beaten by double-moves, as he was a few times against UCF.
Game of the Week
Utah State at No. 5 LSU
Saturday, 12:00 p.m., EST
You don’t usually look at these teams and expect to see top-flight quarterback talent, but that’s just what we have with this contest. LSU’s Joe Burrow has been on a meteoric rise this season, throwing 17 touchdowns to only two interceptions. Utah State’s Jordan Love, meanwhile, is an athletic specific at 6’4” and 225 lbs with a strong arm. Both teams still have their share of defensive prospects however, including LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, safety Grant Delpit and corner Kristian Fulton. If the Aggies want to come out on top, It’ll be imperative for their star linebacker David Woodward to have a dominant game.