The college football Week 12 slate is upon us, and the team of draft evaluators and CFB analysts at Pro Football Network are here with instant takeaways from the weekend slate.
Find our immediate reactions to all the action from start to finish in college football’s Week 12 Saturday games.
College Football Week 12 Live Blog
Taking into account all of the weekend’s slate of action, our CFB/Draft department will all be on hand for their instant reactions as they come in.
For clarity’s sake, each takeaway, reaction, and result will be culminated by the initials of the analyst responsible: TP for Tony Pauline, IC for Ian Cummings, and CM for Cam Mellor.
Can Anyone Stop Xavier Hutchinson?
9:25 p.m. — It’s amazing how little respect Xavier Hutchinson receives. After catching 83 passes for 987 yards a year ago, Hutchinson is now over 100 receptions and approaching 1,200 receiving yards this season. He’s caught no less than eight passes in any single game this year and has had double-digit receptions in six contests.
With 20 minutes left in the game against Texas Tech, Hutchinson has eight receptions for 101 yards. Measuring 6-feet-2, 205 pounds and a 40 time under 4.5 seconds, besides being a great receiver, its’ tough to see how Hutchinson falls out of the top 100 selections next April. TP
Vorhees Looking Good at LG
9:10 p.m. — The USC offense has moved the ball against UCLA all evening but has been unable to finish drives — until just now when they punched it into the end zone. Throughout it all, offensive lineman Andrew Vorhees has been dominant.
Vorhees does a tremendous job bending his knees and blocking with leverage, keeps his head on a swivel, and has controlled Bruin opponents once he gets his hands on them. He shows outstanding vision, awareness, and works extremely well with his linemates. More than anything else, he looks very comfortable at left guard after moving over from tackle.
I don’t believe he’s nimble enough to be used in a zone-blocking scheme, but a team needing a power-gap guard will consider Vorhees as Round 3 begins. TP
Keion White Finally Meeting Expectations
8:50 p.m. — Scouts have been waiting for Keion White to break out for almost three years now, and it may finally be happening. White turned heads in 2020 when he played at Old Dominion before transferring to Georgia Tech a year later, only to miss the first two months of the 2021 season with an ankle injury.
He started hot out of the gate this year with two sacks and two TFLs against Clemson in the season opener. White has been consistently productive since then but really turned the wick up this evening against North Carolina.
With four minutes remaining and the Yellow Jackets up 21-17 on the Tar Heels, White has recorded seven tackles, four TFLs, and three sacks. He’s an athletic pass rusher with a frame that measures 6’4 1/2″ and 285 pounds. White is someone whose name could continue to pop up throughout the pre-draft process next year. TP
Jurgens Picking up Where Zach Tom Left Off
8:30 p.m.- Wake Forest center Michael Jurgens is a lineman I like a lot and someone I believe to be underrated at the position. Jurgens is smart as a whip, agile, and very tough. He blocks with terrific fundamentals and adjusts or redirects to defenders, then out-positions them from plays.
He’s not the strongest or a dominant, drive-you-off-the-ball lineman, but there’s plenty of room for growth on his 6’4 1/2″, 295-pound frame. One year ago, Demon Deacon center Zach Tom played well during the season and then was brilliant at the Shrine Bowl. It ended in Tom being selected in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers. Jurgens won’t be drafted that early, but I firmly believe he’ll be a terrific late-round pick. TP
Harrison Looking Dominant as Usual
8:05 p.m. — At the start of the day, I mentioned the Oklahoma Sooners were trying to entice left tackle Anton Harrison with a large NIL agreement in the hopes he’ll return to Norman in 2023. For those not familiar with Harrison or his game, his dominant play against Oklahoma State this evening shows why the Sooners are desperate for him to return.
Harrison has annihilated everyone and anyone who lines up against him. He’s driving defenders off the line run blocking or controlling all Cowboy opponents in pass protection. The Sooners are up 14-0 and have controlled the Cowboys all evening. TP
It’s Long Past Time To Send Up a Red Flag on Will McDonald IV
7:55 p.m. — Projected as a top-45 prospect entering the season, Will McDonald IV’s production this season has fallen off a cliff. A year ago, he finished with 11 sacks and 14 TFLs after 10.5 sacks in 2020. There was talk McDonald would enter the 2022 draft, but he returned for another season, and it hasn’t worked out.
As this season closes out, McDonald has just four sacks and 5.5 TFLs. Worse than the numbers, he’s invisible much of the time.
McDonald has just a single tackle through one quarter against Texas Tech this evening. There’s a question as to where McDonald will line up at the next level, as his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame is too small for defensive end. There’s also a concern McDonald cannot handle a complex defense. Now there are concerns his best football may be behind him. TP
Will the Real Spencer Rattler Pleeeeze Stand Up??
7:45 p.m. — Spencer Rattler looked like he would be a top-three pick in the NFL draft as a freshman at Oklahoma in 2020. Then, he played so poorly the following season, he lost the starting job and ultimately transferred to South Carolina, where he’s been up and down since September.
But while Rattler looks pedestrian at times due to the inability to move the Gamecock offense, he shows flashes of dominance and the promise he once displayed in 2020. Such was the case on the beautiful 60-yard strike Rattler delivered to Josh Vann for a score. If Rattler can consistently play to that level, he’ll jump back on the radar as a top quarterback prospect — but it’s a big ask. TP
Mohamed Ibrahim — WOW!!!
7:30 p.m. — Mohamed Ibrahim keeps on rolling. Despite his team losing by three points, the sixth-year senior was the star of the Iowa-Minnesota matchup.
Ibrahim’s rushing stats included an amazing 263 yards on 39 attempts and the only touchdown scored by the Gophers. He’s now at 1,261 rushing yards for the season and has rushed for 100 yards or more every single game this year.
Ibrahim is an interesting scouting study. He’s not very fast, not very quick, and has an injury history. Yet, he’s a fantastic ball carrier with great vision, heart, and a sense for what’s happening on the field. A prospect such as that will go somewhere on Day 3. TP
Zach Harrison Dominates Final 2 snaps To Win Game for Ohio State
7:20 p.m. — As a 2023 NFL Draft prospect, Zach Harrison‘s story has always been “all the talent, not enough production.” There are flashes, but they’re often few and far between.
Nevertheless, Harrison came up big for Ohio State when they needed him — on Maryland’s final drive, with the Terrapins looking to close the gap in the final 40 seconds.
Maryland started backed up against their own goal line in a must-pass situation. That prompted Harrison to pin his ears back and wreak havoc on the left tackle. On first down, Harrison used his explosiveness and length to bulldoze his blocker and swallow up Taulia Tagovailoa.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
One snap later, Harrison won around the edge with burst and bend, flushed Tagovailoa out of the pocket, and used his length to force a strip-sack in pursuit. The fumble was recovered by Ohio State and resulted in a score.
Harrison’s evaluation will still leave onlookers searching for more consistency. But his two-snap dominance late in the Maryland game is a representation of what his true ceiling can be. IC
Taulia Tagovailoa Keeping Maryland Alive Against Ohio State
6:45 p.m. — Ohio State looks to be in the driver’s seat with nearly half of the fourth quarter completed against Maryland. But the Terrapins aren’t going quietly. They’ve challenged the Buckeyes on defense. On offense, quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is doing everything he can to keep Maryland in the game.
On the night, Tagovailoa has completed 25 of 33 passes for 292 yards and a score, while also adding 27 yards and a second touchdown on the ground. His passing touchdown was as clutch as can be — a masterful display of improvisation on 4th-and-goal, rolling out to the right and hitting a tight window with velocity in the end zone before hitting the sideline.
Tagovailoa has a degree of athleticism and arm talent, and moments today have proven his mettle in high-pressure situations. He can still be a bit volatile at times, but it’s not brash to say he could have a future in the NFL as a quality backup. He has the tools and toughness you want in that role. IC
Barion Brown Penciled in as a Top 2025 NFL Draft WR Prospect
6:25 p.m. — Keeping an eye on the future, it’s hard not to get excited about Kentucky WR Barion Brown. The true freshman has been Levis’ favorite and most reliable target today. Against a talented Georgia defense, he has a career-high nine catches for 141 yards and a score.
What’s even more impressive is that Brown’s production is beyond legitimate. He’s shown he can separate with his spry athleticism and twitch at 6’1″. But he’s also bailed out a couple inaccurate downfield passes from Levis with beautiful body control adjustments and steely focus at the catch point.
Looking back to earlier games where Brown won with his RAC ability, and now seeing him eat as a downfield threat against Georgia, you have to give respect to the former four-star recruit. He may be a prospect we wait for impatiently to become eligible. IC
Tommy Eichenberg Converts for Ohio State on a Crucial Down
6:05 p.m. — Ohio State is in the process of withstanding an upset attempt from the Maryland Terrapins. They’re finding their stride in the second half, but they’ve needed stops on defense to sustain that momentum. Luckily, they just got a big one from linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, who showed off translatable NFL skills in the process.
On third down, Maryland ran a read option with Taulia Tagovailoa, who read the pursuit defender and chose to keep the ball. What he didn’t anticipate, however, is that Eichenberg would read the play to perfection in the middle, then surge inside, sidestep a block, and make the tackle with his length and explosiveness.
Eichenberg has been playing fast all year, showing improved instincts from 2021, and he has the physical tools to be an early-round pick at linebacker. IC
Maryland Has 2 Ineligible Underclassmen Who Could Be Future Stars
6 p.m. — Neither player is eligible for the 2023 NFL Draft. One won’t be eligible until 2025. But the Maryland Terrapins have two underclassmen very much worth monitoring in future cycles, one on each side of the ball: Running back Roman Hemby and linebacker Jaishawn Barham.
Barham has star potential on the defensive side of the ball. With a high-end combination of length and explosiveness, he looks like the modern mold of linebacker, with versatility and dynamic ability in multiple phases. And Hemby, though lacking in elite size at 6’0″, 200 pounds, has impressive speed and leg churn, along with receiving utility. IC
Will Levis Will Remain an Interesting Evaluation
5:40 p.m. — If you were counting on this Georgia game to be a source of answers for Will Levis, you’ll be left wanting more. It hasn’t all been bad for Levis today, and he hasn’t gotten much help from his supporting cast, aside from Barion Brown. But at the same time, similar concerns are showing up.
On more than a few drives, Kentucky’s sequencing has been very predictable with Levis — often running or throwing screens on early downs, before being forced to go for the sticks on third.
At some point, you have to wonder if it’s an indictment on Levis, limiting the flexibility of the offense. It also begs the question: Is a common strength for Levis — pro-scheme experience — all that it’s presented to be? Pro schemes themselves are flexible nowadays — often built around their QB and talent.
On one hand, that’s why Levis remains appealing, because he has talent worth building around. But that talent isn’t as insulated by pro-readiness as one would hope for an early first-round pick. IC
Dontay Demus Jr. Reminding Onlookers Who He Is
5:15 p.m. — Dontay Demus Jr.’s production has taken a dip in 2022 after the Maryland WR worked to return from a major leg injury. But today against Ohio State, Demus — in what’s looking like a legitimate potential upset — is playing a big role and reminding evaluators what kind of prospect he can be in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Demus is Maryland’s leading receiver heading into the half, with two catches for 43 yards. Both catches were high-difficulty receptions, on which Demus used his 6’4″, 215-pound size and high-end catching instincts to convert at the point.
Demus has enough burst to threaten vertically, and he’s exceptional at boxing cornerbacks out and extending beyond his frame. That ability to work through contested situations has been very beneficial today, and it’s what should earn some interest for Demus as a late-round prospect or a PFA. IC
Carrington Valentine Enforces Downhill Before the Half
5:05 p.m. — One cornerback who may not declare, but needs to be on the NFL draft radar regardless, is Kentucky’s Carrington Valentine. He’s a long 6’0″, 200-pound coverage defender with a pick and nine deflections this year. He can make plays at the catch point, but his best play today came in support.
Just before the half, Georgia was driving to try and score more points. It came to third down, and the Bulldogs ran a concept that saw Brock Bowers flow to the right on a quick out. The pass was completed, but Bowers was drilled as soon as he caught it by Valentine, who knocked Bowers out of bounds, prevented the first, and helped hold Georgia to a field goal.
Valentine dropped back in zone off the snap, but was able to quickly recognize the out, sink and flip his hips with efficiency, and explode into Bowers at contact. It was an impressive play, peeling out of coverage and enforcing downhill. It’s a reminder that Valentine is a sleeper to keep an eye on. IC
Bijan Robinson Again Distinguishing Himself as RB1
4:50 p.m. — Bijan Robinson came into the 2022 campaign as the near-consensus RB1 in the 2023 NFL Draft, and he’s only solidified his standing through 11 games. Nearly halfway through Texas’ game against Kansas, Robinson continues to run strong. The Longhorns are up 24-0, and Robinson — with 13 carries for 120 yards and two scores — is a key reason why.
Some big plays look far too easy for Robinson. It’s a product of an uncommonly complete pallet of traits, molded together by hyper-elite creative instincts in short spaces. Robinson has the agility and high-level processing at 6’0″, 220 pounds to maximize any quantity of field he can get his hands on. That special ability makes him a first-round caliber RB. IC
Will Levis Riding the Waves Early on vs. Georgia
4:25 p.m. — As has become the case with his 2023 NFL Draft evaluation as a whole, Will Levis has been a mixed bag against Georgia in the early stages. There are positives to take away. His deep back-shoulder throw early on to Barion Brown was excellent — well mixed with velocity and touch. And already, he’s shown his toughness, running for a couple first downs and charging for a tackle after an interception.
Therein lies the negatives, however. Levis is still showing volatility as a passer. His interception was on an ill-advised throw bred by arm arrogance, trying and failing to fit a pass to a vertical receiver over 6’2″ Kelee Ringo.
Levis still relies on his tools to a fault and will try to force the issue when things aren’t clicking. That’s something he’ll have to kick if he wants to keep his team in this game. IC
Myles Murphy Continues To Wreak Havoc With Rare Power Element
4:20 p.m. — The Clemson Tigers are cleaning up early on against Miami. A lot of the credit thus far goes to what remains a stalwart defensive unit. Clemson shut out Miami through the first quarter and generated constant pressure — courtesy of first-round edge rusher Myles Murphy.
Murphy hasn’t always been the one sacking the QB, but his ability to collapse the pocket and create lanes for other rushers is invaluable. This was especially evident on a sack by linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. Trotter got the sack by looping around the left as a delayed blitzer, but it was Murphy who paved open the path with a brutal long arm.
Murphy can single-handedly bull-doze tackles with his power. Not only is he long and well-leveraged, but he can also load up power through his base and recoil into contact with devastating explosive twitch. It’s a blue-chip combination that shows up every week. IC
C.J. Stroud Showing Off His Arm Strength Against Maryland
4:05 p.m. — C.J. Stroud is a supremely poised, accurate passer with great processing ability. He’s considered the high-floor QB of the 2023 NFL Draft class, but sometimes, his physical tools go overlooked. He’s not the elite creator Bryce Young is, and he doesn’t quite have the rocket arm that Anthony Richardson boasts — but his arm is very strong in its own right.
It’s a quality of Stroud’s that doesn’t always get enough press. His arm strength is a definite plus, and today against Maryland, it’s been on display with Stroud’s willingness to test tight windows in the deep range. He hasn’t connected on all of them, but they’ve all reached their mark because of Stroud’s ability to generate velocity and push the ball past tight coverage.
You love to see a QB willing to take risks and use their tools, and that’s what Stroud has been doing today. Sooner or later, as long as he stays on target, they’re going to connect more often. IC
Deonte Banks Being Tested Early Against Ohio State
3:50 p.m. — Playing against Ohio State is a gauntlet for any defensive back, but Maryland CB Deonte Banks has been tested with particular prejudice today. On the first drive, he was lined up against Marvin Harrison Jr. early and found himself against Emeka Egbuka as well.
Banks let a big play by, but all things considered, he showed good things on the drive. At 6’1″, 200 pounds, he has the size to contest with Harrison, and his first rep — which drew an iffy pass interference call — featured solid technique and physicality. It ultimately came down to Harrison making a phenomenal play. Against Egbuka, Banks was able to use that physicality to force an incompletion.
Banks has a pick and six deflections this year, and has the tools to generate interest at the next level. This game is far from over, and while it may be up and down, a few more respectable reps could help him turn more heads. IC
Devon Witherspoon Makes a Case To Rise — With a Few Lumps
3:35 p.m. — Devon Witherspoon has been one of the most productive, most impactful defensive backs in the nation — let alone the Big Ten — this season. Today’s game against Michigan was largely a strong showing for him, although there is a caveat.
Witherspoon provided sticky coverage for most of the day and shot out of a cannon in run support more than once. He’s an athletic, tenacious, and physical defender with ball skills and a competitive edge. But his own physicality came back to bite him late, when a pass interference penalty put Michigan in field-goal range for a crucial score.
At times, Witherspoon will need to learn when to dial it back and not grab too much. That’s bitten him a few times this year. At the same time, however, his combination of natural coverage ability, playmaking, and physicality has to be enticing at the next level. IC
Richardson Proving He’s Not Ready for Prime Time
3:10 p.m. — The Florida Gators are about to lose to the Vanderbilt Commodores, as the clock winds down with UF short by 14 points. It was another game that proved Gator quarterback Anthony Richardson is not ready for the NFL.
His numbers were not atrocious as he completed 18 of 29 passes for 283 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The problem for Richardson is he struggles to make easy passes and misses several opportunities. Such was the case on the last Gator drive when Richardson had Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman wide open on a 4th-and-12 but missed the target.
Just a few weeks ago, I reported sources in Gainesville were telling me they expect Richardson to enter the draft. Yet, everyone believes the athletic quarterback is not ready for the next level and must return to UF and hone his skills. TP
Some Bright Spots in a Terrible ASU Campaign
3 p.m. — Arizona State is another school who cut loose their head coach early in the season and has played terribly in 2022. Despite this, a few next-level prospects have played well.
Several weeks ago, I mentioned running back Xazavian Valladay, who’s having a terrific campaign and will get a lot of looks in the lead-up to the draft. The other Sun Devil playing well is linebacker Kyle Soelle, who leads the Pac-12 in tackles with 98 coming into today’s contest against Oregon State.
The senior has nice size (6’3 1/2″ and 230 pounds) as well as speed (low 4.7s in the 40). I gave Soelle a sixth-round grade entering the season, and he’s playing above expectations. He offers potential at both middle and inside linebacker and shows enough upside to develop into a three-down defender. TP
Ika Looking Dominant Against TCU
2:40 p.m. — While TCU was getting the better of Siaki Ika early in the game, the massive defensive tackle from Baylor has acquitted himself well, and his team is holding on to a one-point lead.
Ika does a great job occupying blockers, which allows his teammates to make plays on the ball. He has a solid closing burst and though not a great pass rusher, Ika ably gets pressure up the field. His intensity and leadership is infectious. Ika is a natural 0-technique/nose tackle that won’t be a fit for every defense, yet the senior has starting potential on Sunday. TP
Fighting Illini Defense Holding Firm
2:15 p.m. — The Illinois defense has held tough against Michigan after the Wolverines drove the length of the field and put the ball in the end zone on their first drive. The third-rated Wolverines are up just 10-3 in the third quarter, but Illinois is moving the ball through Michigan territory.
Junior defensive linemen Keith Randolph Jr. and Jer’Zhan Newton are having strong games. Both presently grade as middle-round picks on my board, and scouts love the upside Randolph brings. He has Day 2 potential but would be best served returning to Illinois for another season. TP
Nelson Looks Every Bit the Next Dominant Badger Lineman
2 p.m. — It’s been a bad season for Wisconsin, another program who fired their head coach in the middle of the campaign. Yet, the Badgers possess several dominant next-level offensive linemen, and Jack Nelson has been impressive today.
The redshirt sophomore is a large and relatively athletic left tackle that’s been dominant run blocking. His strength at the point is impressive, and Nelson also shows a lot of ability in pass protection. He presently grades as a third-round prospect on my board. TP
Palmer Keeping Things Interesting at Nebraska
1:10 p.m. — Receiver Trey Palmer of Nebraska just caught his sixth TD of the season as the Cornhuskers move ahead of Wisconsin by a score of 7-0. It’s been a dreary season for Nebraska, who fired head coach Scott Frost in the middle of September after a terrible loss to Georgia Southern.
But Palmer has been one of the few bright spots. The transfer from LSU has turned into a big-play wideout at Nebraska with a nose for the end zone. Entering today’s game, Palmer had 831 receiving yards on 58 receptions and has shown a lot of development in his game.
He projects as a Day 3 prospect but comes with an upside. More than a month ago, people in his camp asked me about his next-level potential, so it’s safe to say, Palmer, who’s a junior, is at least thinking about the NFL. TP
Barker’s Game Has Leveled Off
12:55 p.m. — After losing four of five games in the middle of the season, Michigan State rebounded nicely and are poised to become bowl eligible with a win over Indiana today.
One of the bigger disappointments for the Spartans this season has been tight end Daniel Barker, the transfer from Illinois. Despite being a potential late-round prospect for the 2022 draft, Barker surprised many by spurning the NFL and transferring to MSU.
It hasn’t worked out, as Barker has 18 receptions for 209 yards this season, numbers which are almost identical to the prior three seasons. Barker has the size, speed, and pass-catching ability to be used in a variety of schemes, as well as the talent to be a No. 2 tight end on a Sunday depth chart. Yet, the inability to improve at any point in the past four years is a red flag. TP
Ika vs. Avila = The Definition of Big Against Big
12:30 p.m. — There’s a lot on the line today for undefeated TCU, who is presently down to Baylor by a score of 7-0. The best matchup in this game has 355-pound Baylor defensive tackle Siaki Ika going up against 334-pound TCU offensive guard Steve Avila.
While TCU did not score on the opening drive, the early advantage in this contest goes to Avila. Both grade as Day 2 prospects. TP
Olusegun Oluwatimi: Super-Sleeper Center
12:20 p.m. – I continue to be impressed with Wolverine center Olusegun Oluwatimi, the transfer from Virginia. He’s a tough, slug-it-out blocker on the pivot who gets the most from his ability. Oluwatimi was ignored by scouts entering the season, and I doubt he gets selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Yet, he’s one of those prospects who signs as a UDFA, then turns heads in camp and makes an NFL roster as a backup interior offensive lineman. TP
OU Using NIL To Bring Back Star Players?
While there are few games of national importance this weekend, several noon kickoffs offer solid next-level matchups.
After a terrific start to the season, the Illinois Fighting Illini find themselves amid a two-game losing streak, and they play Michigan today. Their defense has almost a half dozen next-level prospects we’ll be watching.
The Pac-12 gives us an early start to rivalry weekend as USC takes on UCLA and Stanford meets Cal in the Big Game.
People out west tell me the feeling is USC receiver Jordan Addison and Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell are likely headed into the 2023 NFL Draft. I must stress there has been no final decision, and I expect both programs to use the power of the NIL to lure these players back
Another big rivalry game occurs today as Oklahoma State and Oklahoma face off this evening. The Sooners must win to have a chance of finishing above .500, and several of their underclassmen have decisions to make, including left tackle Anton Harrison. The junior is the highest-rated Sooner on my big board and presently holds a second-round grade. So will Harrison enter the draft?
Not if Oklahoma has its way, as I’m told the program has offered Harrison a huge NIL package to bypass the draft and return to Norman for another season.
Week 11 riser Tyjae Spears of Tulane turned in another massive performance on Thursday night. Against SMU, the redshirt sophomore running back totaled 121 rushing yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns. He is developing into an outstanding third-down back/rotational ball carrier for the next level. TP