The college football Week 3 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 3 Saturday games.
College football Week 3 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, CM for Cam Mellor, IC for Ian Cummings, OH for Oliver Hodgkinson, and JF for James Fragoza.
Daniels showing improvement
9PM- Jayden Daniels has really improved as this game has progressed and he know has LSU ahead of Mississippi State 17-16 and the Tigers are driving again. Daniels is a physically talented signal caller with tremendous upside, though I think he’s a ways away from being NFL ready. That said, if he continues to develop his game Daniels could jump into day two of the draft. TP
Nick Roberts returns
8:45PM- Four years ago in 2018, a redshirt freshman safety at South Florida by the name of Nick Roberts caught my eye as he was constantly making plays against the run (72 tackles that season) and pass (3 INT’s). He was solid the following season but then his game started to fall off in 2019, as did the entire USF program. Roberts transferred to UL Monroe last season and had minimal impact. He reappeared at SMU this year and is off to a solid start posting 4 tackles and 1 INT in the season opener against North Texas. He’s done well this evening as SMU is leading on the road. A sixth year senior, keep an eye on Roberts as we move through 2022. TP
Isaiah Moore- as steady as ever
8:15PM- Linebacker Isaiah Moore is having a heck of a game as the North Carolina State defense is dominating Texas Tech. Moore just made a huge sack on second down for the Wolfpack, making it third and forever for Texas Tech. He’s been a productive four year starter at NCSU, performing well in 2021 until a knee injury cut short his campaign. He’s tough as nails, has a high football IQ and comes with next level measurables. Moore presently carries a 5th round grade on my board. TP
The best offensive lineman you never heard of
7:50PM- Liberty is giving Wake Forest all they can handle as their contest moves down the final stretch. The school Malik Willis helped put on the map presently lines up one of the best offensive lineman you’ve never heard of- X’Zauvea Galdin. An up and coming blocker for Tulsa before transferring to Liberty, he’s big, athletic and versatile. Thus far tonight he’s played left guard and right tackle, looking terrific at both spots. Galdin effortlessly moves about the field and can redirect blocking in motion as well as anchor on the line of scrimmage. Galdin presently lives in anonymity but expect more and more people to start talking about him as we move closer to the draft. TP
A pair of Bulldogs stymieing LSU
7:40 PM- As the clock hits halftime for the Mississippi State-LSU contest, two Bulldog defenders have really stood out to me, Tyrus Wheat and Randy Charlton.
Wheat is a physical freak at 6-foot-2, 270 pounds with a forty time that clocks under 4.8 seconds. He makes plays all over the place for Miss State but never really developed at a single position since they move him around the field. He’s going to be under-drafted next April but if coached and developed properly, Wheat will be a terrific 4-3 defensive end. At halftime he’s already posted 4 tackles with 1 TFL and 1 sack.
Charlton returns for a second senior season and while he has been credited with 3 tackles during the first half, the stats don’t tell the story. Charlton has consistently penetrated the line of scrimmage and caused a lot of problems for LSU. Talk to NFL scouts about Charlton and they shrug their shoulders. I have Charlton graded as a PFA. He’s presently on the Shrine Bowl watch list and I would not be surprised if he ends up in day three of the draft. TP
Ji’Ayir Brown filling void left by Jaquan Brisker
6:15 p.m.: The Penn State Nittany Lions lost a big playmaking presence on defense when Jaquan Brisker went to the NFL to join up with the Chicago Bears. But Ji’Ayir Brown is quickly taking on a premier role in his own way. You could argue he did it already last year alongside Brisker. Brown had six interceptions in 2021, and got another big one today.
With Auburn attempting to rally in the second half, Brown found himself dropping into zone. He read the QB’s eyes, flipped to the left boundary to lurk in front of a deep out, and was able to leap and reach for an awe-inspiring interception. Athleticism, instincts, and playmaking ability were all put on display by Brown. IC
Aidan Robbins over 200 yards for the UNLV Rebels
6:05 p.m.: Looking for a small-school performance to watch in awe? Look no further than the performance of UNLV running back Aidan Robbins. Robbins, a 6’3″, 230-pound monolith at the RB position, has 29 carries for 227 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s matchup against North Texas. Robbins isn’t the fastest or the most explosive player, but his sheer size and physicality has been too much for North Texas to account for. He churns through contact with ease, and that’s been the source of quite a few big plays. IC
Christian Gonzalez delivering on natural traits
5:50 p.m.: The arrival of Christian Gonzalez — a transfer from Colorado — was a heavily anticipated one for the Oregon Ducks. The 6’2″ cornerback has an enticing combination of length and athleticism, and was quickly tabbed as one of the more explosive riser candidates in the 2023 NFL Draft. His ascent hasn’t yet taken hold — he had a rough outing against Georgia in Week 1 — but his performance against BYU could be a turning point.
Gonzalez has played a hand in the Ducks holding BYU to just seven points through the third quarter. Just moments ago, on a crucial third and ten, Gonzalez was able to quickly trigger and break on a slant from the boundary. With his closing speed, he quickly smothered the receiver, and he was able to use his length to disrupt the catch process and force an incompletion. Gonzalez’s tools are visible, and he’s delivering with them today. IC
Cameron Latu flashes his potential for Crimson Tide
5:40 p.m.: Alabama is stacked with future NFL talent on both sides of the ball, but not many of their prospects can say they’ve played on both sides. Cameron Latu is an exception. Once an edge rusher, Latu made the switch to tight end earlier in his career, and has emerged as an NFL prospect on offense. Against UL Monroe today, Latu is flashing his potential as a receiving threat.
Latu already has the ankle flexibility to support growth as a route runner. But on one catch late in the second quarter, he was able to get up the seam and extend beyond his frame to snare a high pass against tight coverage. He’s growing more comfortable as a catcher, and that’ll only do good things for his stock. IC
Bo Nix potentially finding his stride for Oregon
5:20 p.m.: With a prospect like Bo Nix, who’s been stagnated on his developmental curve for so long, you have to take every good play with a grain of salt. Even with multiple years as a starter, Nix has still struggled to consistently read the field and show growth as an independent processor. But today has been one of his good days. Nix has completed eight of nine passes for 135 yards and a score, and has another TD on the ground. His Oregon Ducks lead BYU 24-7 at the half.
The key for Nix, if he wants to cement himself as a draftable prospect, is to show growth on the operational side. The talent is evident every week. He’s athletic, he has a great arm with easy velocity generation, and he can throw off-platform with ease. The physical foundation is there, but there remains a need for him to build on it. IC
Kansas relying on draft-worthy talent to keep it close
4:55 p.m.: Kansas, long considered a bottom-dweller in the Big 12, is neck-and-neck with Houston, one of the most prestigious programs at the Group of Five level. A big reason why? Their draft-eligible talent. Jalon Daniels is using his elusiveness and athleticism to make plays on offense. And 6’6″, 310-pound tackle Earl Bostick Jr. has also been an asset on the line, using his foot speed and length to wall off defenders off the line. Meanwhile, on the other side, Kenny Logan Jr. has an interception. The Jayhawks are rallying. IC
Minnesota, Mohamed Ibrahim making short work of Colorado
4:45 p.m.: Midway through the second quarter, Minnesota is up 21-0 on the Colorado Buffaloes. All three of those touchdowns can be attributed to veteran running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who has 16 carries for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Ibrahim looks healthy, and more importantly, hungry. He’s hitting lanes with ruthless tenacity, and driving through arm tackles with leg churn and physicality. It also helps that the line, led by center John Michael Schmitz, is paving open lanes and setting a dominant tone.
Ibrahim and Schmitz, in particular, have NFL futures waiting for them. Ibrahim’s stock may be diluted by his age and injury history, but he’s a well-built runner with decisiveness and a willingness to work through contact. Schmitz, meanwhile, is a mauler with quick athleticism and suffocating strength. IC
Alabama prospects expectedly dominant vs. UL Monroe
4:30 p.m.: In a predictable development, Alabama is obliterating UL Monroe early on in Week 3. It’s not the end of the first quarter yet, and the Crimson Tide already has a 21-0 lead. And Alabama’s talent-laden defense has been a big part of this strong showing. Edge rusher Will Anderson, who’s widely projected as a top-three pick, had a pick-six off a bobbled screen pass. And defensive back Brian Branch — another potential Round 1 pick — used his explosiveness and tenacity to acquire a sack on the blitz. IC
Tavius Robinson disrupting against Georgia Tech’s line
4:25 p.m.: It’s been all Ole Miss so far in Georgia Tech’s clash against the Rebels. On the last third down, defensive end Tavius Robinson was able to surge into the pocket and sack Jeff Sims with a brutal inside swim move. Robinson, a senior who logged 3.5 sacks in 2021, has NFL size and length at 6’6″, 265 pounds. But on that rep, the edge rusher also showed he could acquire leverage, exert power at contact, and use strong hands to deconstruct blocks. He’s one to watch, especially as Ole Miss nears SEC play. IC
Mitchell Tinsley a budding star for Penn State
4:10 p.m.: Already, Mitchell Tinsley has established himself as a very valuable receiving threat for Penn State, after transferring over from Western Kentucky. He’s retaining that impact today. On his most recent drive, he was able to beat Nehemiah Pritchett in coverage with a physical swipe at the stem, then haul in a first-down pass amidst contact. A couple plays later, he stacked a DB from the slot and made a spectacular catch downfield, extending beyond his frame.
Tinsley might not have quite as much athletic talent as Penn State’s previous No. 5 — Jahan Dotson, who went in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see Tinsley leverage this production at the Power Five level into an early-to-mid NFL Draft selection. He has the universal tools to stick around at the NFL level. IC
Owen Pappoe making his presence felt for Auburn
3:50 p.m.: Penn State’s game against Auburn is gearing up, and already, the pads are popping. On the Nittany Lions’ first drive, Auburn linebacker Owen Pappoe was able to track Sean Clifford on the scramble drill and level the QB with a menacing hit. He not only slabbed Clifford in open field and jarred the ball loose, but also stopped Clifford short on third down and forced an ill-fated fourth-down attempt.
Pappoe is an excellent athlete with high-end range and length. Injuries in the past have prevented him from showcasing his physicality and play strength, but nothing is in the way today. Provided that he stays healthy, he has early-round upside. IC
Charlie Jones and Garrett Williams still battling
3:45 p.m.: The clash between Purdue WR Charlie Jones and Syracuse CB Garrett Williams was listed as one of our top 2023 NFL Draft prospect matchups of the week. It’s safe to say this battle didn’t disappoint. Jones and Williams went back and forth all day, with both prospects scoring crucial wins in crucial moments.
If you had to pick a winner, I’d lean Jones. He was able to get displacement and stack consistently, to the tune of 10 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown. But both prospects showed some of what make them NFL-worthy talents. This will be a game that evaluators look back on for both players. IC
Indiana’s Cam Jones playing lights out today
3:10 p.m.: Indiana has clawed their way back into the game against Western Kentucky and the Hoosiers are driving for the game-tying score as the clock ticks towards five minutes remaining. Linebacker Cam Jones has been super impressive, wracking up 11 tackles and just recovering a fumble to keep IU in the game.
Jones is a super-senior and a run and chase linebacker who will slide into the late rounds next April if he workouts well prior to the draft. TP
Boilermaker TE Payne Durham improving his stock
3:00 p.m.: Purdue tight end Payne Durham is another NFL prospect shining in the back-and-forth contest with Syracuse. Durham just caught his sixth pass of the day for a touchdown to put Purdue up by five points with eleven minutes remaining. The senior has made a lot of difficult receptions today – whether they be in the middle of a crowd or athletic catches where Durham had to lay out.
Durham is well built at 6-feet-5.5 and 265 pounds but the lack of pure speed (his forty time is estimated in the 4.85s range) will push him deep in the draft. Regardless, Durham has enough ability to make an NFL roster as a pass-catching and blocking tight end. TP
Another Orange defender standing out
2:30 p.m.: Syracuse and Purdue are locked in a tight battle as the Boilermakers presently hold a 6-point lead, 9-3. Orange linebacker Mikel Jones has been very impressive all afternoon in every facet of the game. He presently leads SU with 8 tackles, 1 sack, and has made several solid plays in coverage. Jones’ play grades high but his 5-foot-11.5, 225-pound frame and speed, which is somewhere in the mid-4.7’s, will push him into the third day of the draft. TP
Rattler’s year-long struggles continue
2:15 p.m.: South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler has looked very ordinary today and is playing uninspired football as the Gamecocks are getting smoked by Georgia 31-0. He tossed a costly pick early in the game, has never gotten into a rhythm, and Rattler can’t move the offense. Just a year ago, we were talking about Rattler being a potential top-five pick yet his 2019 campaign at Oklahoma looks like the exception to the rule rather than the shape of things to come. TP
Under-the-radar center helping lead WKU to an upset
1:30 p.m.: WKU center Rusty Staats is having a good outing as Western Kentucky leads Indiana on the road as the first half closes out. Staats is a tall (6-foot-4) athletic blocker on the pivot who plays with great fundamentals and mechanics. He does a great job sliding his feet in pass protection and Staats shows outstanding football intelligence quarterbacking the offensive line. He needs only to improve his strength and finish blocks but Staats has a lot of upside. TP
Williams battling against the Boilermakers
1:15 p.m.: I mentioned SU corner Garrett Williams in the opening and the junior is having a heck of a battle thus far against Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell and receiver Charlie Jones, a transfer from Buffalo. Thus far Williams has won more than he’s lost- or at least he’s not getting beat. Williams is a bit slow flipping his hips off the line which results in his playing catch-up downfield. Yet he’s battling and making some solid plays. TP
Sooners tackle improving on his terrific ’21 campaign
1:00 p.m.: Another offensive lineman standing out today is Sooners left tackle Anton Harrison. The junior is a mobile big man that’s looked terrific in pass protection as well as on the move. He’s done a terrific job in all areas as Oklahoma is starting to distance themselves from Nebraska. TP
O’Connell looking good
12:45 p.m.: Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell has looked impressive in the early going against Syracuse, despite the fact the Boilermakers are playing from behind. What stands out about O’Connell is his patience, poise under the rush, and decision-making. You can see O’Connell does a terrific job diagnosing opposing defenses and making proper decisions. TP
Yet another UGA blocker showing NFL potential
12:30 p.m.: For all the talk about defensive players, running backs, and receivers coming from the Georgia program, many forget the Bulldogs put a large number of talented offensive linemen into the league and junior right tackle Warren McClendon will be next. Graded as a third-round prospect on my board, McClendon is big, powerful, and athletic. He just helped the Bulldogs push the Gamecocks down the field and into the end zone during Georgia’s initial possession. TP
DBs vs. WRs rule the noon games
The Georgia-South Carolina game offers one of the better next-level match-ups few are talking about. The draft internet world is abuzz over Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo, who flashed brilliance at times in 2021. Some feel Ringo is a top 15 prospect, but I stamped him with a second-round grade mostly because I want to see improvement in his game.
The Gamecocks will put receiver Josh Vann on the field to challenge Ringo. Vann is slightly smaller than Ringo, measuring under 6-feet tall, but he’s faster and very explosive. Vann, whom I grade as an early 4th round prospect, is a terrific vertical threat and will give Ringo all he can handle.
The Purdue-Syracuse game will also include a terrific match-up between NFL prospects. While I gave Boilermaker quarterback Aidan O’Connell a fifth-round grade over the summer, there are a lot of NFL scouts who believe he’s Day 2 material.
Similarly, I gave Syracuse cornerback Garrett Williams a Day 3 grade yet mentioned during my Orange preview over the summer I believe the junior has a tremendous upside – which he’s meeting this season. Williams has totaled 16 tackles during SU’s initial two games and looked dominant during the victory over Louisville.
Cincinnati doesn’t have to travel far for today’s game against Miami, Ohio as it’s just a few miles north of their campus. And from the lens of pro prospects on the field there’s not a whole lot here.
Yet one of the better stories centers on linebacker Ivan Pace Jr., who presently holds a fifth-round grade on my board. Pace was the leading tackler for the Miami Redhawks in 2021 before transferring to the Bearcats in 2022, where he now leads the defense with 23 tackles after two games.