Week 4 college football prospects and matchups to watch

What are some of the best prospect matchups to watch in Week 4 of the 2021 college football season? Here's a closer look at the action.

Week 3 was filled to the brim with exciting prospect matchups to watch. Week 4 of the college football season won’t be quite as matchup dense, as some notable teams are on bye weeks. Nevertheless, there are still many college football prospects to watch in Week 4. Here’s a look at the list, with a few college football premier battles on top!

Top college football Week 4 matchups

What are the top college football prospect matchups to watch in Week 4?

Texas A&M at Arkansas

Alabama and Georgia are the household names in the SEC, but Texas A&M and Arkansas are both ascending programs. The Aggies, under Jimbo Fisher, are coming off a 2020 season that saw them finish in the top five. The Razorbacks, meanwhile, are ranked for the first time in five years following a 3-0 start to the 2021 campaign. Who are the prospects to watch in this Week 4 game?

Texas A&M DL DeMarvin Leal vs. Arkansas C Ricky Stromberg

DeMarvin Leal is widely considered the best interior defensive line prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. With an exciting mix of length, athleticism, and power, Leal can be a mismatch nightmare for opposing offensive lines. He lines up on the edge a lot as a pass rusher and thus may see more of Arkansas left tackle Myron Cunningham. But when he’s on the interior, Ricky Stromberg will be an even tougher test. Stromberg is an ascending center prospect with solid mobility and strong leverage, and a finisher mentality.

Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith vs. Arkansas S Jalen Catalon

The Aggies have a few weapons that Arkansas safety Jalen Catalon will need to keep an eye on as the Razorbacks’ chief defensive playmaker. Jalen Wydermyer could be a problem, and running back Isaiah Spiller could also cause trouble.

But one underrated player in the Aggies’ offense is hybrid RB/WR Ainias Smith. Like Catalon, Smith isn’t the biggest player at his position. But he’s a crisp route runner with great lateral burst and agility. Catalon has range, instincts, and short-area burst to contend with Smith, but the Aggies can use Smith in deceptive ways.

UCLA at Stanford

While Stanford may be underwhelming as a team overall, it does still have NFL Draft-worthy talent. Particularly on the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinal could pose a threat to a UCLA team that’s trying to rebound after a loss to the upstart Fresno State Bulldogs. How do these two units match up?

UCLA OG Paul Grattan vs. Stanford DT Thomas Booker

UCLA’s hot start to the 2021 season was largely predicated on the team’s stellar offensive line play. Sean Rhyan is the best prospect on the line, but guard Paul Grattan also has NFL potential. His upside is considerably lower than Rhyan’s, but with his density, aggressiveness, and natural leverage, he could potentially be drafted. If he can beat Thomas Booker, it’ll help his odds. Booker is an extreme mismatch for Grattan with his length and explosive athleticism, and it’ll take precise hand usage to lock him down.

UCLA WR Kyle Philips vs. Stanford CB Kyu Blu Kelly

If Booker holds strong, UCLA may need to rely on its passing game this week. But even that plan of attack could have roadblocks. Bruins receiver Kyle Philips will have his hands full with Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford’s budding star at cornerback.

In just three games this year, Kelly has 2 interceptions, a pick-six, and 4 pass deflections. He’s long and athletic with excellent ball skills, but how he mirrors Philips will be a matchup to watch. Philips is a smaller receiver with good route-running ability, and he’s also fairly agile. If Kelly displays the necessary hip fluidity to match Philips, his stock could keep shooting upward.

West Virginia at Oklahoma

Our final matchup preview features a West Virginia team that’s riding high after a victory over Virginia Tech and the Hokies’ vaunted defense. The Mountaineers will certainly be upset-minded for a second straight week, but the Oklahoma Sooners are a different beast — especially if they can play to their full potential. Which prospects demand your attention in this Week 4 college football clash?

West Virginia OG Doug Nester vs. Oklahoma DT Perrion Winfrey

A big reason behind West Virginia’s win against Virginia Tech was its rushing attack. Starting running back Leddie Brown amassed 161 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Many of Brown’s running lanes were paved open by Doug Nester — a large, reasonably athletic guard who showed good grip strength and moved well to the second level.

Nester did well against a talented VT unit, and the Sooners won’t be any easier. Perrion Winfrey is an incredibly twitchy defensive tackle who’s off to a hot start, with 2.5 sacks and 3 tackles for loss in his first three games.

West Virginia S Alonzo Addae vs. Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler

The Mountaineers lost a legitimate NFL Draft prospect in their secondary when Tykee Smith transferred to Georgia. But they might have gained one back in Alonzo Addae. Addae is a bit older and a bit smaller than preferred. Thus, he’s probably a late-round pick at best.

But Addae has good burst and instincts, and he’s off to a productive start, with 3 tackles for loss, a sack, and 2 pass deflections in three games. Addae could give Spencer Rattler some trouble in coverage. It’ll be up to Rattler to maintain eye discipline and recognize safer options when he has them. That’s a sticking point for his draft stock right now.

More college football matchups to watch in Week 4

  • Iowa State QB Brock Purdy vs. Baylor DBs Jalen Pitre, JT Woods
  • Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz vs. Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton
  • Colorado State TE Trey McBride vs. Iowa LB Jack Campbell
  • Rutgers WR Bo Melton vs. Michigan DB Daxton Hill
  • NC State OL Ikem Ekwonu vs. Clemson DT Tyler Davis
  • NC State WR Emeka Emezie vs. Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr.
  • Nebraska WR Samori Toure vs. Michigan State S Xavier Henderson
  • Oregon CB Mykael Wright vs. Arizona WR Stanley Berryhill III
  • Alabama OG Emil Ekiyor vs. Southern Miss DL Eriq Kitchen
  • North Carolina QB Sam Howell vs. Georgia Tech DBs Tre Swilling, Juanyeh Thomas

  • Auburn WR Demetris Robertson vs. Georgia State CB Jaylon Jones
  • Tennessee OL Cade Mays vs. Florida DL Zachary Carter
  • Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker vs. Florida CB Kaiir Elam
  • Kansas State WR Malik Knowles vs. Oklahoma State S Kolby Harvell-Peel
  • Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong vs. Wake Forest CB Ja’Sir Taylor
  • Liberty QB Malik Willis vs. Syracuse CB Garrett Williams
  • LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr. vs. Mississippi State WR Makai Polk
  • SMU WR Reggie Roberson vs. TCU CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson
  • Boston College WR Zay Flowers vs. Missouri CBs Allie Green IV, Akayleb Evans
  • Texas Tech WR Erik Ezukanma vs. Texas CB Josh Thompson

 

Matchups to watch in Week 4

  • San Jose State QB Nick Starkel vs. Western Michigan LB/S A.J. Thomas
  • Memphis WR Calvin Austin III vs. UTSA CB Tariq Woolen, S Rashad Wisdom
  • Louisville QB Malik Cunningham vs. Florida State LB Amari Gainer
  • Illinois OT Vederian Lowe vs. Purdue EDGE George Karlaftis
  • Kentucky OT Darian Kinnard vs. South Carolina EDGE Kingsley Enagbare
  • Kentucky OT Dare Rosenthal vs. South Carolina EDGE Jordan Strachan
  • Ohio State TE Luke Farrell vs. Akron LB Michael Scott
  • Western Kentucky QB Bailey Zappe vs. Indiana CBs Jaylin Williams, Tiawan Mullen
  • California WR Nikko Remigio vs. Washington CB Trent McDuffie
  • Arizona State OG Dohnovan West vs. Colorado DT Na’im Rodman

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.

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