During a week when the number-one team in the country, Alabama, is playing an FCS Mercer squad, you’ll take what you can get in terms of entertaining performances and games. Luckily, the Iowa-Iowa State matchup lived up to the hype and the PAC-12 supplied some chaos with the 12-ranked Oregon Ducks upsetting No. 3 Ohio State and unranked Stanford doing the same to No. 14 USC. Below are the prospects who stood out during Week 2 of college football.
Matt Hankins CB (Iowa)
After teammate—and fellow draft prospect—Riley Moss snatched two pick-sixes in the Hawkeyes’ matchup with Indiana, Hankins grabbed two of his own to help short-circuit the Cyclones’ passing attack. Hankins’s first interception of the game was the most impressive, demonstrating his high-point skills but also his raw speed to keep up with a receiver running a corner route. He was the beneficiary of a tipped ball for his second interception, but timed his catch on the ricochet particularly well.
CJ Verdell RB (Oregon)
In a performance that included 195 scrimmage yards, the junior running back largely carried his team to victory by himself. His ability to make players miss with his jump cuts, but also bring the load when he needed to, really stood out. It was his three catches though that may make scouts sit up and watch. He looks extremely natural catching passes for a 200-lb + tailback and his transitions from catching to running forward looked virtually seamless.
Aidan Hutchinson DE (Michigan)
Watching Hutchinson perform against one of the top tackles in the country in Washington’s Jaxson Kirkland, it must remind some draft analysts of Joey Bosa. He’s so polished with his hands and can win in several different ways, including with pure strength at 6’6” and 265 lbs. He made Kirkland looks silly throughout the contest, in collecting 2.5 sacks and the same amount of tackles for loss. He is the early front-runner to challenge Kayvon Thibodeaux for title of best pass rusher in the country.
Taj Harris WR (Syracuse)
It was a career day for Harris, even if it didn’t result in a victory for the Orange. The junior’s 122 receiving yards represented nearly half of Syracuse’s total offensive output against Rutgers. He did collect a ton of his yards on a deep shot, but a lot of his damage was done on screens, whip routes, and just broken plays. He plays much bigger than his size, and proved to be a load to bring down at times on those aforementioned screen passes.