UCF jumped out to a lead earlier this year against Tulane and then hung on for the win. If they want to win the 2022 AAC Championship Game, they must ask their top NFL draft prospects to play at a high level once again. Tulane brings a number of talented players of their own, and we dive into each team’s top prospects playing this weekend.
Top NFL Draft Prospects To Watch in 2022 AAC Championship Game
UCF’s been known for its athletes, and they have a long list of players that will go pro once again, but Tulane’s roster this year is full of them too. We take a look at both teams, and the NFL draft prospects you need to watch on Saturday.
UCF Draft Prospects
UCF has a target on their back heading into the 2022 AAC Championship Game, but the draft prospects on their roster allow them to handle the pressure. We dive into the players you need to watch on the Knights this weekend.
EDGE Tre’Mon Morris-Brash
All Tre’Mon Morris-Brash has done is improve every year. He’s showing his development for NFL scouts, and his senior year has been his best yet. At times, it feels like No. 33 is the one making plays when UCF needs a big one. That’s perfect for the AAC Championship Game.
Morris-Brash brings explosiveness to the edge of the Knights’ defense. With Big Kat Bryant leaving for the NFL, UCF needed someone to command attention out wide. He’s a first-team All-AAC selection for a reason, and his improvement will catch some attention at the next level.
WR Javon Baker
Ryan O’Keefe garners most of the attention in UCF’s passing attack, but it’s actually Javon Baker who leads the team in receiving yards. An acrobatic playmaker that will lay his body on the line for his quarterback, Baker will turn some heads at the next level. The former Alabama transfer was an All-AAC snub, but that might just motivate him for Saturday.
WR Ryan O’Keefe
If Ryan O’Keefe makes an NFL roster, it’s because of his versatility. Gus Malzahn utilizes O’Keefe in many ways. Whether that’s catching passes, running jet sweeps, or returning punts, he gives opponents plenty to worry about every week.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
UCF’s been known for their speed, and O’Keefe is a perfect example of that. He shined last year against Florida in the bowl game and kept that momentum going. His speed will stress Tulane’s defense, and it’s something that could open things up for Baker and the rest of the receivers.
OT Ryan Swoboda
At 6’10”, 325 pounds, Ryan Swoboda has the frame that will make heads turn. Add in a first-team All-AAC selection, and you’ve got a guy that could sneak into the final rounds of the draft. UCF’s a run-first team by nature, and you can’t do that if your offensive linemen aren’t making moves.
OL Samuel Jackson
I mean, do I need to explain this one? If the name doesn’t get you excited about adding him to your NFL team’s roster, then his play will. Jackson is the most versatile offensive lineman in college football. Maybe that we’ve ever seen. Jackson’s started at every position except center, and he’s dominated at each spot.
C Matthew Lee
A wrecking ball when he’s on, Matthew Lee will get some looks at the next level. A starter as a freshman, Lee overcame some horrendous mental lapses and has quickly turned into a reliable and dominant center for the Knights. He’s worked with multiple quarterbacks at this point, too, so he’s showing that he can adapt to any situation.
QB John Rhys Plumlee
John Rhys Plumlee vs. Mikey Keene is UCF’s Jordan vs. Lebron debate. They both do things well, but they’re hard to compare apples to apples. Plumlee’s explosiveness stresses defenses each week, but his struggles throwing the ball will be the reason he moves back to receiver at the next level.
Plumlee has speed. There’s no debating that. There’s just no Malzahn offense in the NFL that will allow him to continue playing quarterback. But the talent is there. If he wants a future at receiver, Plumlee has the natural tools to make it work. You can’t teach speed, and Plumlee has a natural ability to run past anyone.
RB Isaiah Bowser
At 6’1″, 220 pounds, Isaiah Bowser is a bowling ball between the trenches. He won’t be an every-down kind of back in the NFL, but he brings a Matt Asiata kind of vibe to the offense (evidenced by his 3.9 yards per carry and 13 touchdowns).
Will he move to fullback? Who knows, but he brings a willingness to compete every game.
CB Davonte Brown
Big corners are the talk of the town thanks to the Legion of Boom, and UCF has their big corner with big NFL potential. Combine Davonte Brown’s 6’2″ frame with his speed, and someone will take a chance on him. He’s not the most polished corner, but we’ve known about his abilities for quite some time.
Brown can run with any receiver, use his body to be physical during the routes, and has the ball skills to knock passes down. Again, there are some tweaks that need to be made to elevate his game, but he’s one of the biggest sleeper NFL draft prospects this year.
S Divaad Wilson
The former Georgia transfer has been dealing with an injury, but Divaad Wilson was the Knights’ most consistent player in the secondary before that happened. Wilson’s a natural ball hawk who can also send a message in the trenches.
Wilson does whatever defensive coordinator Travis Williams asks him to do, and he typically thrives doing it. At worst, he’ll be a monster on special teams in the future.
Tulane’s Draft Prospects
After last year’s 2-10 finish, not many expected Tulane to make the 2022 AAC Championship Game. A group of seniors and a bunch of NFL draft prospects allowed them to make it, and we look at who are the big names to keep your eye on this weekend.
LB Dorian Williams
If you don’t know who the 6’2″, 230-pound soul snatcher is on the Green Wave defense, I’ll inform you. It’s Dorian Williams. The man not only makes Division I football players question if they really want to play the sport with his power, but he’s also developing into a more well-rounded player.
A multi-year starter, Williams continues to find ways to improve. He’s become more of a vocal leader this year, and it’s a big reason why Tulane’s defense has been one of the best all season.
WR Duece Watts
If you haven’t watched Duece Watts’ highlight reel this year, I highly recommend it. Winning 50/50 ball situations is natural to him. When the ball’s in the air, Watts has a special ability to go up and make an insane catch while keeping his defender away from the ball.
That’s what makes him one of the more intriguing draft prospects in this game. Watts has the ability to dominate and make jaws drop, but there are some other aspects of his game that must improve. Drops and separation, to be exact. If he can get going early in the 2022 AAC Championship Game, Tulane’s in business.
C Sincere Haynesworth
Another veteran leader who’s been running the offense with Michael Pratt for years now. At 6’1″, Sincere Haynesworth doesn’t have the size that you might ideally want in a center, but he understands leverage better than most.
Haynesworth can outsmart his opponent, an advantage that he uses quite frequently to get himself in better position to open running lanes for his backs.
EDGE Darius Hodges
Maybe one of the biggest moves Tulane made was convincing Darius Hodges to return to campus instead of entering the transfer portal. With teams focusing so much of their attention on the linebackers and on Patrick Jenkins, Hodges saw many 1-on-1 opportunities.
His quickness and athleticism allow him to bend around the edge and jump from gap to gap. Hodges’ 280-pound frame brings natural power and strength with him, so tackles must be prepared for anything when facing him.
DT Patrick Jenkins
Tulane lost Jeffery Johnson to a Big 12 school, so they added his replacement from another Big 12 program. Jenkins proved to be the missing link on the defensive line. Johnson dominated the trenches in his time with the Green Wave, and Jenkins provided similar play this season.
LB Nick Anderson
All Nick Anderson does is tackle ball carriers. His 270 career tackles are evidence of that, and his opponents know what he’s capable of doing on Saturdays. It’s a big reason why his tackles for loss and sacks have gone down this year. Teams make sure Anderson doesn’t wreak havoc in their backfield, but that opens things up for the guys around him.
DB Macon Clark
Clark loves Macon plays. It’s in his DNA. He’s a heavy hitter in run support but has no problem dropping back to defend the pass, either. Think Kam Chancellor light, if you will. The 2022 AAC Championship Game features a UCF offense that wants to be physical, but Tulane has players like Clark that are ready for that challenge.
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