It was an overall eventful week of college football, with two big developments. The Kansas Jayhawks, led by former University at Buffalo coach Lance Leipold, very nearly managed to upset Oklahoma, if not for some very questionable penalties. Meanwhile, the Illinois football team responded to being called out by their coach Bret Bielema by managing to beat the seventh-ranked Penn State in an NCAA record nine (!!) overtimes. Below are the prospects who stood out during Week 8 of college football.
EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
The consensus top prospect in the country, the hype has been there for Thibodeaux if not necessarily the production. Against UCLA though, he had a massive impact with a team-leading nine tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss (TFLs), two sacks and a forced fumble. Watching the game was even more impressive, as he really allowed the Ducks to shut down the Bruins’ run game, which had been the strength of their offense. There’s not much risk of Thibodeaux falling far in the draft, but having the stats back up his tape is always a good thing.
TE Grant Calcaterra (SMU)
The Oklahoma grad transfer, who previously was retired from football, has resurrected his career in Dallas and that continued against Tulane. With seven receptions for 90 yards—including several on third downs—allowed the Mustangs’ offense to sustain multiple drives singlehandedly. Although he doesn’t appear to be a truly dynamic option in the passing game, he’s a reliable target and offers at least some upside as a blocker.
QB Carson Strong (Neveda)
The return of Romeo Doubs—who was held out of Nevada’s last game with an undisclosed injury—allowed the junior signal-caller to post a career day, albeit in a losing effort. Strong ultimately finished with four touchdowns and a career-high 476 overall passing yards, while completing 80.3 percent of his passes. This performance follows two other elevated showings for the 6’4” 215-lb quarterback, who seems to be stamping his claim on being a first-round prospect this draft season.
LB Leo Chanel (Wisconsin)
Where did this guy come from? All the junior linebacker did in Wisconsin’s game against Purdue is led the team in tackles with nine and rack up 5.5 TFLs to go with 3.5 sacks. All in a days work for the 6’2” 261-lb junior, who missed the team’s first slate of games after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Since then, he leads the Badgers in tackles, TFLs, and sacks and averages over ten tackles and a sack per game.