Rivalry Week is here—one of the more exciting weeks in College Football. This week is famous for featuring historic in-state (and out of state) matchups such Ohio State-Michigan, Ole Miss-Mississippi, or Alabama-Auburn in the Iron Bowl and this time will be no different. That’s not even counting Saturday’s Game of the Week. It’s not uncommon to see certain prospects shine the brightest on these types of stages. So, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on:
RB Kenneth Walker III (Michigan State)
For several weeks now, Walker has been among the most prolific rushers in the country, but his projection to the pros has been a bit murkier. Physically, Walker’s isn’t much of a standout. He’s not the biggest or the fastest player on the field. Moreover, he’s not particularly shifty either. What he offers, however, is productivity and reliability. That will be tested this week against the Penn State Nittany Lions, which despite having a down season still sport a particularly strong defense.
Other players to watch:
DT Travis Jones (UConn)
The recent confirmed invite to this year’s Senior Bowl has fantastic size—6’4” and 333 lbs—and what appears to be good-enough athleticism to play all along the defensive line at a variety of alignments. Even better, he’s been productive this year on what is a very bad team, with 4.5 sacks. The opportunity is there for him to build up some more buzz before the Senior Bowl in his first chance playing a ranked team, with No. 24 Houston coming to town.
S Dax Hill (Michigan)
A rising star at safety this season, he may be the best pure athlete on the Michigan defense, which is saying something when your defense has a likely top-ten pick in defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. His twitchy athleticism and fluidity in coverage will be at the forefront this week, as Ohio State receivers love to test safeties deep and put them into one-on-one situations. That’s not even mentioning their underrated tight end Jeremy Ruckert, who should be matched up against Hill in the run game at least.
OT/OG Kenyon Green (Texas A&M)
Possibly the most well-rounded (or safe) offensive line prospect this draft season, Green is one of four finalists for the Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s best college football offensive or defensive lineman. A likely first rounder, the junior has only this final week—against LSU and their rotating cast of defensive tackles—to prove he should be drafted in the top 15 selections, similar to Alijah Vera-Tucker last year.
Game of the Week
No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 7 Oklahoma St
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EST
This particular Bedlam game has the potential to be unique when compared to recent years, as the Cowboys actually rank higher than the Sooners for the first time in a long while.
With the notable exception of offensive lineman Josh Sills—Oklahoma State’s prospects are all on the defensive side, which ranks second in the nation in scoring. That includes linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez who leads the conference in tackles, as well as safety Tre Sterling who recently returned from a long-term injury.
The Cowboys’ defense will need to play a smart, clean game against the Sooners—which still fields a threatening offense featuring running back Kennedy Brooks. Oklahoma also has its share of defensive prospects, including pass rusher Nik Bonitto and defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey.