It’s becoming more clear by the day that there are three favorites to land in the College Football Championship game in LSU, Clemson and Ohio State. The Buckeyes have continued to roll thanks to their new quarterback—who draft fans will be hearing about next year—and a defense that features the best overall prospect in the nation in Chase Young. Meanwhile, Oregon had only one loss and was anticipating possibly making the playoffs, but stumbled against a tough Arizona State team and their improving offense.
Below are the prospects who stood out this week in the college football landscape.
TE Cole Kmet (Notre Dame)
Notre Dame had a difficult time in the first half against Boston College as the Eagles’ safeties took away the deep ball and doubled big wide receiver Chase Claypool. So instead, quarterback Ian Book decided to target Kmet for most of the day. The 6’5” junior tight end was the quarterback’s safety valve, providing a big target and a pair of soft hands on underneath routes. Leading his team with seven catches for 78 yards, Kmet also drew a big pass-interference call late in the second quarter that directly led to a field goal.
EDGE Bradlee Anae (Utah)
A well-rounded prospect who continues to produce against great competition, Anae has enough ‘tools’ in his repertoire to be productive on Sundays and well as Saturdays. Against Arizona, Anae was a contestant pass-rush menace with inside moves, outside swats, dip and rips and even a spin move, which is how he earned his one sack of the game. It wasn’t just the sack that made his play stand out, thanks to his efforts he led his team in solo tackles and also had one for a loss. Watching the tape, it’s also clear that he was held several times by offensive linemen, which is always encouraging.
WR Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State)
Most of the country is just catching up to Aiyuk, who’s been putting up big numbers in the Sun Devils’ scheme and has been flying up draft boards as a consequence. Against Oregon he was the team’s difference maker and big-play threat thanks to his seven catches for an eye-watering 161 yards and a touchdown. It was an all-around showcase for the senior, who was earning separation through his route-running as well as his pure speed. In particular, his 75-yard touchdown was thanks to a nasty double-move.
OG Trey Smith (Tennessee)
The Volunteers produced 526 yards of total offense thanks to the combined efforts of their passing and rushing offenses, both of which are anchored by the massive Smith. The junior guard blocks really well when he’s in a phone booth, occasionally putting the defensive lineman’s face in the dirt on pass plays. The left guard’s biggest asset is his huge frame: When defensive lineman try to test his strength on pull rushes, they tend not to make much headway.
CB Josiah Scott (Michigan State)
Against putrid teams like Rutgers you want to see prospects absolutely dominate their opponents, which is what the junior corner did against the Scarlet Knights. No receiver had more than 25 yards or two catches on the day, thanks to Scott’s efforts. This is all despite being targeted in coverage multiple times. Scott ultimately finished with a single tackle and three passes defensed, to go along with a forced fumble and subsequent recovery that kept the Scarlet Knights out of the end zone and ultimately preserved a shutout.
LB Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State)
Someone needs to get credit for the season Appalachian State has been having and on Saturday Davis-Gaither once again proved that he deserves a lot of said credit. The senior linebacker was his consistently playmaking self against Texas State, with six total tackles, including one tackle for loss, to go along with two quarterback hurries. His two hurries came on crucial third-down blitzes, which is a really positive area of his game. The Senior Bowl invitee has 3.5 sacks this season.