It’s like Christmas morning for college football and NFL Draft fanatics. Week 0 of the college football season is upon us. It’s not a star-studded first weekend slate by any means, but it’s real football and there are plenty of interesting 2023 NFL Draft prospects on which to lay eyes. A Big Ten bout between Nebraska and Northwestern will break out in Ireland for one of the early games of the day in the noon hour. A couple of intriguing ACC teams are also set to kickoff, and Florida State and North Carolina have a lot to prove early on with plenty of storylines swirling around both programs. One of the more impactful storylines of the week comes from North Carolina’s opponent where Florida A&M University is set to be without 20 players due to eligibility issues. FCS All-American and sacks leader Isaiah Land is among the group who will not play. With a small week, we can cover every prospect you need to know for Week 0. Ditch the Week 3 NFL preseason games and let’s watch some real football together.
Seminoles Studs — Jammie Robinson, Fabien Lovett, Akeem Dent, Jared Verse, Robert Scott
Florida State is the most talented team at the top of the roster this week. The program is looking to turn the tide of recent disappointing years. The ‘Noles are led by reigning first-team All ACC safety Jammie Robinson. The 5’11” 205-lb fourth-year junior is a stat-sheet stuffer who does it all for FSU. Keep an eye for number 10 on Saturday evening.
Interior defensive lineman Fabien Lovett is a 6’4” 315-lb fifth-year junior. He’s a havoc player and a huge presence in the trenches for Florida State. He should stick out against Duquesne—a significantly lower level of competition.
Robinson’s partner on the cap of the defense is another fourth-year junior in 6’1” 200-lb Akeem Dent. He’s a bit of an unknown at this point with plenty of potential shown at the end of the 2021 campaign.
Jared Verse, a transfer from Albany, is another name to keep on at edge rusher for FSU. He’s a chiseled up 6’4” 250-lb athlete.
Offensive tackle Robert Scott is likely to suit up at left tackle for the Seminoles on Saturday evening.
Tar Heel Trio — Josh Downs, Storm Duck, Spencer Rolland
You might only get to see the talented North Carolina Tar Heels prospects for one half on Saturday as FAMU deals with ineligibility issues. But that doesn’t make the return of a player like wide receiver Josh Downs exciting. The third-year junior was amongst the best in college football last season with over 1,300 yards receiving and eight touchdowns in 2021. The twitchy and athletic Downs should flash plenty on Saturday even with new quarterback play.
Storm Duck is a name you surely cannot forget once you hear it. But he’s been unavailable in recent seasons due to injury. The talented fourth-year junior corner has missed 17 games the past two seasons with injury. When healthy, he has the best name in the country, and he also looks like one of the best corners in the nation.
Spencer Rolland is an offensive tackle transfer from Harvard who is likely to man the right tackle spot for the Tar Heels against FAMU on Saturday. He’s someone to keep an eye on.
A Heavyweight Fight Brewing in Ireland — Peter Skoronski v. Ochaun Mathis
Offensive tackle Peter Skoronski might be the best in the country at his position. He’s looked at by many in the NFL Draft community as the best 2023 offensive tackle prospect. He’s only 6’4” and 315 lbs, but the true junior has impressed at left tackle since he was a true freshman when he replaced Rashawn Slater. He’s not overly long or large for the position, but he is athletic and refined.
Nebraska edge rusher Ochaun Mathis is likely to put a sturdy test to Skoronski on Saturday. The TCU transfer is long and athletic at 6’5” and 260 lbs, which should provide a challenge for Skoronski. Mathis only had two sacks last season, but has proven to be an effective rusher. He will wear the number 32 for the Cornhuskers this season.
Other names to know
CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
The 6’0” 180-lb corner had nine pass breakups in 2021 to go along with 52 tackles. He has long arms with a skinny frame, but he retains an aggressive nature despite his size.
RB Chase Brown, Illinois
Brown is a short and stocky runner with a low center of gravity. He has more juice than you’d expect at first glance. He was a 1,000-yard rusher in 2021 with nearly six yards per carry.
LB Easton Gibbs, Wyoming
Had 90 tackles playing alongside day two 2022 draft selection Chad Muma as a redshirt freshman in 2021. He’s likely to have a monstrous statistical season for the Cowboys.
IOL Aaron Frost, Nevada
Frost has appeared in 42 games over his career and is a cornerstone for the Wolfpack in 2022.
Game of the Week
Northwestern vs. Nebraska
Saturday, 12:30 P.M. Eastern
It’s the only Power 5 matchup of the week which, by default, qualifies this as game of the week. That doesn’t mean this game won’t be dreadfully boring. Northwestern has one of the worst offenses in Power 5 and Nebraska isn’t looking like a team that’s going to offer a ton on the offensive end either.
The battle between Skoronski and Mathis is an awesome early season battle to watch.