Despite not having every conference playing football currently, it is great to have college football back on the television. The second week of the season didn’t have any marquee matchups, but a few of the top 2021 Draft prospects had big weeks. Before we take a look at the best Week 2 performances in college football, let’s take a look at a pair of honorable mentions.
Notre Dame’s hybrid phenom Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah flashed game-changing ability in the Fighting Irish’s victory over the Duke Blue Devils. Owusu-Koramoah racked up nine tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack. While he is a bit light, he is a marvelous athlete who produces unparalleled versatility and game-changing potential.
The best offensive performance of the weekend might have come from Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who thrashed the UTEP defense with an astonishing 426 passing yards and five touchdowns. Ehlinger must have a solid 2020 campaign if he hopes to be selected in next April’s draft, and he delivered this week.
Now, let’s take a dive into the best and worst performances from Week 2 of the college football season.
College Football Week 2 Best Performances
Asante Samuel Jr., Cornerback, Florida State (5’10”, 184 pounds)
The season didn’t start as planned for the Florida State Seminoles, as they started the 2020 college football season with a loss to ACC rival Georgia Tech. Florida State, once a national powerhouse, is a shell of what the program was during their glory days. With that said, it wasn’t all bad in Saturday’s loss, as cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. was sensational.
Asante Samuel Jr. finished the day with five tackles, two passes defended, and an impressive two interceptions. Both of Samuel Jr.’s interceptions ended drives in Florida State territory. He was the best player on the field for the Seminoles defense, and that comes as high praise with the likes of Marvin Wilson, Hamsah Nasirildeen, and Joshua Kaindoh wearing the garnet and gold.
Andrew DiCecco likes Samuel Jr.’s skill-set, stating: “Though narrowly built, Samuel is a tremendously fluid athlete with loose hips, eye discipline, and little wasted movement in and out of breaks. His short-area quickness and innate instincts enable him to remain in the hip pocket of his receiver and run stride for stride, and his penchant for getting his hands on the football could lead to more significant plays if he can turn a couple of them into interceptions.”
With top 2021 cornerback prospects such as Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech) and Shaun Wade (Ohio State) opted out for the 2020 season, Asante Samuel Jr. has a chance to elevate his status and develop into a potential top-50 selection in this year’s NFL Draft.
Jackson Carman, Offensive Tackle, Clemson (6’5″, 345 pounds)
Oregon’s Penei Sewell has already cemented his status as “OT1” in the 2021 NFL Draft. With that said, the competition to be the second offensive tackle selected next April is wide open. A lot of eyes are on Clemson’s Jackson Carman, as he has the responsibility of protecting the blindside of Trevor Lawrence, which gives a great deal of attention. Carman took full advantage of that opportunity on Saturday night.
Carman was sensational in Week 2, completely dominating Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham, who is a potential first-round pick in his own right. Carman demonstrated his size, strength, and toughness, as he was a complete monster in the running game, opening holes for the dynamic Travis Etienne for most of the evening. Also, he did his part to keep Trevor Lawrence upright for most of the game.
When I took a deep dive into Clemson’s top 2021 NFL Draft prospects, my initial thoughts were, “NFL scouts will watch a lot of tape on Carman, as he protects the blindside of Trevor Lawrence, who is also known as ”Touchdown Jesus.” Carman, a former five-star recruit, started all 15 games for the Tigers in 2019. He has long arms, plays with power, and has a tremendous punch. He may not be an elite athlete, but his quick feet are impressive.”
If Carman continues to build off his impressive opener, he could skyrocket up draft boards. At this point, all signs point to Carman being a top-25 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, and it’s clearly in the running to be the first offensive tackle selected after Sewell.
Chazz Surratt, Linebacker, UNC (6’3″, 225 pounds)
While names such as Penn State’s Micah Parsons and Alabama’s Dylan Moses rightfully steal the headlines when it comes to 2021 linebackers, don’t you dare sleep on North Carolina’s Chazz Surratt.
The extraordinarily athletic Surratt was a beast Saturday, notching nine tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks. His sideline-to-sideline speed was fully on display, as was his quickness to read and react.
Surratt was initially recruited to the Tar Heels to play quarterback but transitioned to linebacker after his sophomore season. Tony Pauline has high praise for Surratt, exclaiming, “Chazz Surratt, whose brother plays receiver for Wake Forest, is an outstanding off-ball and space linebacker with a three-down game, as he’s terrific in pursuit and shows ability in coverage. Surratt plays tough, instinctive football and nicely projects as a 4-3 weakside linebacker.”
College Football Week 2 Worst Performances
Brock Purdy, Quarterback, Iowa State (6’0″, 203 pounds)
In Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Trey Lance (North Dakota State), and Justin Fields (Ohio State), the top-three quarterback prospects in 2021 are practically set in stone. After those three talented quarterbacks, there is a major drop off of talent. Heading into the 2020 college football season, many in the draft community thought that Iowa State’s Brock Purdy was the next man up, but he was awful in Saturday’s Iowa State loss to the Louisiana Rajun Cajuns.
Purdy was a dismal 16-for-35 on pass attempts, throwing for a mere 145 yards, zero touchdowns, and a brutal interception. His pocket presence was non-existent, he displayed horrendous ball placement, and the poor performance highlighted his average athleticism.
It’s time to end the first-round hype for Purdy until he can demonstrate that type of ability on a consistent basis.
Tony Pauline wasn’t fooled by Purdy, as Pauline states, “Many have graded Purdy as a potential early-round pick, but I went against the grain this summer and stamped Purdy as a sixth-round prospect who plays sandlot football, and that’s exactly what I saw during the Cyclones’ loss to Louisiana.
Purdy completed just 16 of 35 passes for 145 yards and never got the ISU offense moving. And while Purdy can be an electrifying signal-caller on the college field, his talents and lack of arm strength don’t translate well to the next level.”
Chris Rumph II, Edge, Duke (6’3″, 255 pounds)
One pass-rusher who received a great deal of hype heading into the 2020 season was Duke’s Chris Rumph II. In his initial appearance of 2020, Rumph II disappointed, only accumulating five tackles and one QB-hurry in Duke’s 27-13 loss to Notre Dame.
Rumph II was held in check by Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg for most of the game. His two offsides penalties gave him more flags than pressures on Saturday, and one of those penalties negated an interception for his teammate Josh Blackwell.
While his performance in week-two was underwhelming, Rumph II will have many more opportunities to get some steam brewing in his hype train. He is an explosive and productive player, who should be able to get right back on track in the Blue Devils’ matchup with Boston College next Saturday.