Places people—places! The most anticipated game of the year is here. Our first matchup with serious College Football Playoff implications is upon us, and it feels so good. Let’s talk Week 10 games to watch.
This is the one right here. It’s No. 1 Tennessee taking a little business trip down to Athens, GA to take on the defending national champions and currently undefeated No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs. One of the country’s top defenses takes on the nation’s most unstoppable offense in a game that has implications for who will play in the College Football Playoff. You need to be planted in front of your television for what could be the game of the year.
It doesn’t end there. Another top-10 matchup is on deck—this time in primetime. Sixth-ranked Alabama heads to No. 10 LSU for a battle in “the boot.” There’s an abundance of high-profile prospects in this game for both sides.
A red-hot No. 13 Kansas State hosts No. 24 Texas in a high-profile Big 12 game. Texas is hoping to avoid two straight losses by utilizing the legs of two of the better running backs in college—Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson.
The No. 21-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons are coming off a stunning upset loss where they were blown out by Louisville last week. They take on No. 22 NC State—a team that soldiers on without starting quarterback Devin Leary, who’s out for the season. Each team comes into the game stumbling a bit for different reasons. It’s likely that both squads will fall short of earning a bid to the ACC Championship Game.
Let’s talk three prospect matchups to watch along with an in-depth look at our game of the week.
OT Peter Skoronski (Northwestern) vs. EDGE Zach Harrison (Ohio State)
Skoronski has been a steady presence in college football over the past couple of years. He isn’t making any headlines for his play in popular tabloids due to the general awfulness of Northwestern. Skoronski is still one of (if not) the best offensive tackles in college football. He will get the opportunity to line up against one of the biggest freaks in the Big 10.
That would be Zach Harrison, who’s been looked at as a general disappointment through his first few years of college given he has a ton of physical gifts to work with on the field. Harrison came to Ohio State as a five-star edge. The 6’6” 272-pounder is a freak, but he only has 9.5 sacks over the course of his four-year career. He has just one in 2022, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The light is beginning to come on for Harrison just enough to consider him as a high-profile draft prospect in 2023.
It will be fascinating to see if Harrison’s length and physical traits give Skoronski any issues in this game. The potential first-round tackle has been criticized for lack of arm length at the tackle position.
#OhioState DE Zach Harrison is 6-6 and 266 pounds with 35 3/4” arms and 4.5 speed. Those freaky traits alone lead to disruption.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 24, 2022
Had 5 pressures on only 9 pass rush snaps vs. Iowa, including this strip sack. pic.twitter.com/QQ6FxHzBL6
OT Broderick Jones (Georgia) vs. EDGE Byron Young (Tennessee)
Jones is a rock-solid tackle for the Bulldogs. The 6’4” 310-pounder plays left tackle and regularly performs at a high level. His ability to mirror pass rushers and get on the move as a lead blocker shows off his impressive athleticism at the position. Jones is likely a first-round prospect as it currently stands. He will, however, have his hands full on Saturday.
There have been few edge rushers who’ve elevated their stock more this season than Byron Young with Tennessee. Young has the juice to run games such that he consistently puts offensive linemen in conflict. He wants to beat offensive tackles to the outside shoulder and is often effective in doing so on Saturdays. Dealing with Jones and the Georgia offensive line will be a bit of a different animal.
LSU WR Kayshon Boutte vs. Alabama DBs Brian Branch & Eli Ricks
Boutte is a very versatile receiver who can align both outside and in for LSU. He was viewed this offseason as the potential top receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft class. A disappointing start to the year with a new quarterback at the helom in Baton Rouge hasn’t helped accelerate Boutte’s draft aspirations. Boutte has 288 yards and a score in seven games this year. He’s had four or more receptions in the last three. He’ll have to face off against two draft-eligible prospects in Alabama’s secondary, both of whom are surefire draft selections if they declare.
Brian Branch is likely the best slot receiver in the country. He’s perfect as a player in space to fit spilled runs and can be utilized as a coverage player against multiple different body types. Branch is a possible first-rounder and profiles as a potentially elite slot player from day one in the NFL.
It’s a revenge game for defensive back Eli Ricks against LSU on Saturday. Ricks had a slow start to his Alabama career after transferring from the Bayou Bengals. Alabama had a bye last week, but Ricks put on a show in his first start for the Crimson Tide. Ricks is primed for a meteoric rise if he puts together more performances like he did against Mississippi State.
This game has two former teammates with a lot on the line. Boutte’s stock has fallen dramatically, but many are still holding on to what they saw from him as a sophomore. The time to perform is now. Ricks plays his former team with a chance to make an NFL Draft statement. Storylines!
After a slow start coming back from the injury, LSU junior WR Kayshon Boutte finally looks like himself.— Luca Sartirana (@SartiranaLuca) October 19, 2022
A twitchy game-breaker able to impact the passing game at all three levels while displaying speed, burst and the ability to break tackles. 1st round profile. pic.twitter.com/7abPCKgBYw
Game of the Week: (1) Tennessee at (3) Georgia
Saturday, 3:30 PM Eastern, CBS
This game is simply loaded with tons of NFL Draft prospects. Georgia lost potential first-round edge rusher Nolan Smith for the rest of the season last week (bummer), but there’s so much we need to dig into with these two teams.
Let’s start with Tennessee’s offense, which has put up astronomical numbers all season. They’re led by and excellent scheme and signal caller in Hendon Hooker. Hooker has the inside track on the Heisman Trophy as it stands, and he will only solidify those hopes if he leads his team to a victory on Saturday afternoon.
Other players on offense you need to know for the Volunteers are receivers Cedric Tillman and Jalin Hyatt. Tillman had been the more well-known commodity going into the year, but an injury early in the season vaulted the hype for Hyatt. Tillman and Hyatt offer very different skill sets with the former being a natural vertical ball-winner on the outside. He has true “X” receiver traits. Hyatt is a vertical slot who thrives with how smooth he is as he flies out of the gate and regularly gets on top of defensive backs. This tandem is fun and it’s must-see television on Saturday.
Offensive tackle Darnell Wright has had a big-time year to put himself in plenty of draft conversations. He isn’t the most gifted player in the world, but he’s been very good this season. Wright’s matchup against Nolan Smith would have been one to watch, but Georgia’s defense offers talented depth to challenge him.
Georgia’s defense starts smack dab in the middle of the defense with projected top-five selection at defensive tackle, Jalen Carter. Carter has been hurt since the beginning of the season, and hasn’t played a full workload in nearly two months. The ‘Dawgs may have to fully unleash him on Saturday. Carter offers special first-step quickness and strength for the position.
Robert Beal Jr. is one of the players who’s going to need to step up in place of Nolan Smith. Beal has excellent explosiveness in his own right, and he will need to utilize that against Wright and the Tennessee offensive line if the Bulldogs want to hold Tennessee’s offense in relative check.
Kelee Ringo is likely Georgia’s second-best prospect. Ringo lives on his own island. His production won’t speak volumes, but it’s not because he’s playing badly. Ringo has elite athleticism with legitimate track speed. His athleticism, height, and weight profile will have NFL teams falling over each other to draft him.
Chris Smith is the man in the back-end for the ‘Dawgs. He’s a mid-late-round prospect who will have a lot of responsibility in this game to keep Tennessee’s receivers in front of him. Keep eyes on if Smith is able to contain the ‘Vols’ vertical passing attack.
When Georgia’s offense hits the field, there are a few freaks you need to know about. We talked about big Broderick Jones and his impressive agility in short areas. While he’s impressive, the biggest unicorn on the field will be tight end Darnell Washington. Washington’s physical traits are unbelievable with more production coming in 2022. He has put some more production as a pass catcher on tape—albeit with no touchdowns this season. Washington breaks tackles, runs away from defenders, and has put a couple of hurdles down on defenders this season. He carries 6’7” and 270 pounds as well as anyone you’ll ever see. That size profile shows up big-time in the run game. NFL scouts have to be salivating over his ability.
Running back Kenny McIntosh isn’t a special back, but he offers up the ability to accelerate in short areas and catch the ball out of the backfield. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken clearly prefers a back-by-committee approach, but McIntosh has talent.
Georgia Center Sedrick Van Pran is another player to watch on the offensive line besides Jones. He’s another gifted athlete on this offense who can get on the move and remove second-level players from the situation. Van Pran is rather unheralded, but he’s a very fun watch if you like trench play.
While Jones mans the left side of the offensive line, Warren McClendon is the player you want to run behind. McClendon is a powerful man with the ability to generate plenty of run-game movement. How McClendon handles the speed of a Byron Young this weekend will be telling for the underclassman.
Tyler Baron joins Young as the primary pass rushers for the Volunteers. His production is a bit down, but causing disruption against Georgia will be important.
Jeremy Banks is a potential draft selection at linebacker for Tennessee.