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2023 NFL Draft: College Football Recap, Week 3

Two receivers earn their flowers in Week 3

Week 3 of the college football season didn’t bring too many surprises to the table in terms of upsets. The most exciting game of the weekend was a toss-up between ESPN’s College Gameday location where Appalachian State beat Troy on a Hail Mary buzzer beater and Syracuse’s thrilling win over Purdue with time ticking down in the game. Tenth-ranked Arkansas had to mount a comeback against a Bobby Petrino-coached Missouri State squad; and No. 18 Florida got a scare from USF that the Bulls ended up botching at the end of the game. There’s plenty to discuss regarding big prospect performances and more from the past weekend.

WR Rashee Rice Runs Wild for SMU

Rice looked like the best player on the field in a matchup of premier receivers on Saturday when SMU took on Maryland in Washington D.C. The Mustangs didn’t win the game, but Rice made sure the game was in reach all night—and he finished with 11 receptions for 193 yards. Rice’s explosion as a player was already a known commidity coming into the season with plenty of yards-after-catch ability, but the showcase of his body control is a special trait that he’s flashing in 2022. It’s still early in the season, but Rice deserves legitimate Biletnikoff Award consideration for his performance thus far. Rice should be firmly in the mix as a first-round prospect with the season rolling.

One Playmaker Surprises in Syracuse — WR Charlie Jones (Purdue)

Syracuse quietly has multiple NFL defensive prospects on their squad, including cornerback Garrett Williams. The Orange defense elected to have Williams line up on Iowa transfer Charlie Jones in man coverage most of the afternoon.

In somewhat surprising fashion, Jones won the battle with Williams on the day. Williams got his, but Jones looked like the faster, more explosive prospect in that matchup on Saturday afternoon. Jones got his start at the University at Buffalo where he emerged as a big-play threat in 2018 for the Bulls as a redshirt freshman. After that season, he moved on to Iowa where his role never materialized in a very stagnant style of offense for the Hawkeyes. One last transfer for the sixth-year senior has proven worthwhile as he’s stockpiled his most yards and touchdowns in a single season through just three games.

Jones is living proof why the transfer portal can work in college football—he found the opportunity he was looking for in an offense that works for him. Jones has legitimate explosiveness and ball tracking at the position. Jones went from an unknown to firmly on the map in a hurry.

RB Achane Keeping A&M Alive — Devon Achane (Texas A&M)

Devon Achane is one of the best running backs in the country. He may not be the best rusher in this class (that title belongs to Texas’ Bijan Robinson), but Achane is definitely the fastest back in the 2023 NFL Draft class.

It’s no secret in the college football world that Texas A&M’s offense has looked lifeless to start the 2022 season. It was more of the same in their primetime matchup against Miami on Saturday night, with virtually no passing game of which to speak. The Aggies only put up 264 yards of total offense on the night with Achane accounting for 130 of those yards (88 rushing, 42 receiving). Devon Achane is the featured back for the first time in his college career and it’s paying major dividends.

BONUS: LB Pappoe Pops Penn State QB — Owen Pappoe (Auburn)

Auburn didn’t have a great performance for their program on the field against Penn State, but one play circled national highlight reels on Saturday afternoon when Auburn linebacker Owen Pappoe smoked Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford on the first drive of the game.

Pappoe only played in five games in 2021, but he’s a tackling machine for the Tigers with requisite athleticism in addition to the power you see burst off the screen with his hit this weekend. He’s a fourth-year junior who could be Senior Bowl eligible with a full healthy season in 2022.