The college football Week 5 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 5 Saturday games.
College football Week 5 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.
Wooden continues to impress
9:20PM- Auburn’s Colby Wooden, whom I’ve graded as a 2nd round prospect since his redshirt freshman season, is having a strong game against LSU. With the third quarter underway Wooden has posted 4 tackles, including 2 TFL’s, one sack and one quarterback hurry. Wooden is athletic, explosive and is used all over the field by Auburn. I like him at defensive end in a four man front on Sunday and Wooden is someone who can play in space on zone blitzes. TP
Another SEC underclassman corner on his way to the draft?
8:50PM- Missouri is pulling a surprise against Georgia and they are presently up 13-3 over last year’s title holders with a little over 6 minutes left in the first half. Mizzou corner Kris Abrams-Draine has made several solid plays tonight, including a pass break-up on third down which just killed a Georgia drive. Scouts have been buzzing about the junior the last month as he’s an athletic corner with terrific ball skills. I’m told there’s a very real chance Abrams-Draine enters the 2023 NFL Draft and he’s expected to be a second day selection. TP
Ojulari really developing into an early draft prospect
8:25PM- BJ Ojulari has shown incredible progress in his game this season and he’s rounding into an outstanding pass rusher. He can fly off the edge and shows the ability to flatten or change direction then explode to the quarterback with a great closing burst, as many just saw when he forced a fumble which resulted in an LSU touchdown. He has a thin build and needs to improve his playing strength, yet Ojulari has the ingredients to be a terrific pass rusher in the NFL. TP
Don’t sleep on Bryant
8:15PM- I have been pleasantly surprised by the development of Cincinnati quarterback Ben Bryant. After looking confused and hesitant at the start of the season, Bryant is now in tune with the Bearcat receivers and he’s shown himself to be a solid vertical passer. With all the talk about Will Levis of Kentucky, it’s worth noting there are a lot of scouts who are very high on Bryant and place him slightly below the Wildcat senior. Bryant is 8 of 11 for 100 yards with 1 TD tonight against Tulsa at the start of the second quarter tonight. TPMcFadden vastly underrated
McFadden is vastly underrated
8PM- I am much higher on Clemson left tackle Jordan McFadden than the scouts I’ve spoken with. The senior is a big, nasty mauler who shows power run blocking and solid lateral range in pass protection. McFadden also blocks with proper mechanics as well as fundamentals. Barely 6-feet-2-inches, McFadden will move to guard in the NFL but I like his scheme versatility and next level readiness. TP
Big challenge for Leary
7:50PM- The ability of North Carolina State quarterback Devin Leary to stand up against the pressure of Clemson this evening will be very telling. While Clemson will be without Bryan Bresee and Xavier Thomas they are still loaded up front. First round prospect Myles Murphy, third rounder Tyler Davis, fourth rounder Ruke Orhorhoro as well as linebacker Trenton Simpson, a second round prospect, will be bringing the heat all night. Leary is usually a cool customer under pressure but he won’t have his former left tackle, a first round pick last April, protecting his blind side this evening plus he’s now playing in the hostile confines of Death Valley. TP
Forbes ready to make the jump?
7:35PM- Mississippi State pounded Texas A&M today by a score of 42-24, a game in which Bulldogs cornerback Emmanuel Forbes had a pair of interceptions and broke up a third pass. Sources from the state of Mississippi tell me Forbes, a third year junior, is planning on entering the draft at the end of the season. Forbes has shown a lot of ability the past two years and while scouts like his upside, they are concerned about his thin frame and the fact he does not play in an NFL system at MSU- lining up backed off the line of scrimmage and giving up a lot of underneath receptions. Forbes presently holds a 4th round grade on my board. TP
Beau Brade making plays for Maryland
6:10PM- A breakout star for the Maryland Terrapins in 2022 has been defensive back Beau Brade. He had a pick and three deflections coming into this game, and he continues to impress. The 6’1″, 201-pound coverage man has smooth athleticism in space, and has shown he can read the QB’s eyes, peel off underneath routes, and hawk on passes in intermediate zones. He almost had an interception by cutting in front of a crosser just a moment ago. Brade has size, athleticism, and instincts — a very good combination to have. IC
Adetomiwa Adebawore giving Olumyiwa Fashanu trouble
6:00PM- The battle between Penn State and Northwestern pitted two quality line prospects against one another in Olumuyiwa Fashanu and Adetomiwa Adebawore. Fashanu has been fantastic so far this year, and he’s been good today for the most part. But especially in the running game, Adebawore has been a handful for Fashanu. We already know Adebawore is athletic — he was a Feldman Freak this offseason — but his raw strength and ability to hold blocks on the edge has stifled more than one outside run. IC
Jakorian Bennett making plays in all phases
5:15PM- Jakorian Bennett was one of the most productive cornerbacks in the Big Ten last year, and he has fans in NFL Draft circles for his playmaking ability at the catch point. But Bennett’s playmaking isn’t reserved to the defensive phase. Just before the half against Michigan State, Bennett swerved around the edge and rushed in for a crucial field goal block. Bennett’s willingness to play special teams — and more importantly, his ability to convert on special teams — will only sweeten his 2023 NFL Draft stock. IC
Jahmyr Gibbs continues to distinguish himself with his talent
5:10PM- Hopefully, Bryce Young’s injury isn’t too serious. But no matter who the quarterback is for Alabama, running back Jahmyr Gibbs is going to make plays. Each week this season, he’s elevated himself as a truly elite receiving threat out of the backfield, and this week is no different. He’s incredibly quick to reset his feet, hyperactive with his agility and cuts in space, and he can use his searing explosiveness to blast through open lanes. He’s exactly the kind of X-factor out of the backfield that NFL teams are looking for. IC
Rod Heard adds to Northwestern’s DB talent
5:05PM- Cameron Mitchell is the most well-known Northwestern defensive back with draftable talent, but he’s not the only one. Junior Rod Heard II is another who’s made his presence felt today against Penn State. Heard is athletic and versatile with decent size, but his physicality is what’s made him stand out today. Just moments ago, Heard exploded downhill in run support on an outside zone run, slabbed the running back in open field with a ferocious tackle, and forced a fumble that the Wildcats then recovered. For a natural athlete who’s already promising in coverage, that support utility just adds appeal. IC
Jaelyn Duncan locking down Jacoby Windmon
5:00PM- Michigan State edge rusher Jacoby Windmon has, at times, preyed on less athletic tackles. He notched four sacks in a season-opening slugfest against Western Michigan, using his wicked ghost move to send his opponent lurching on multiple occasions. But today, reps have passed by rather uneventfully for the 6’2″, 250 pass rusher. He’s been locked down by Maryland left tackle Jaelyn Duncan, who has some early-round hype as a prospect. Duncan has both the size at 6’6″, 320, and the short-area athleticism to match Windmon and block him off. Windmon must work in more counters to succeed. IC
Al Walcott growing comfortable in hybrid STAR role
4:50PM- After the loss of Pitre, the Baylor Bears moved cornerback Al Walcott Jr. into their hybrid STAR role. And this week, it looks like he’s really getting comfortable in that realm. Walcott had 3.5 tackles for loss, two pass deflections, and a forced fumble heading into this game. You can add another TFL to his stat sheet. On the latest drive, Walcott perfectly diagnosed a screen and exploded downhill, demolishing two blockers with his 6’2″, 211-pound frame. He’s a missile coming downhill, and has a ton of upside with his size and athleticism. IC
Michigan State making heavy use of draft-eligible running backs
4:40PM- None of them will go off the board nearly as high as Kenneth Walker III did in the 2022 NFL Draft, but the Michigan State Spartans do have a deep, versatile rotation of running backs. Jalen Berger has made himself available as a smooth pass catching weapon in check-down situations, while Jarek Broussard has displayed very impressive fluidity and instincts as a runner when following his blocks upfield. The man with a touchdown, however, is veteran Elijah Collins. Of the three, Collins has the biggest frame, and he’s also flashed surprising lateral quickness on his inside runs. IC
Drew Sanders showing off rare ability against Alabama
4:25PM- The modern NFL, especially on defense, rewards versatility. You’ll find few who offer more of it in the 2023 NFL Draft class than Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders. Sanders is 6’5″, 230 pounds, and has played both in space and off the edge for the Razorbacks. He’s a freak athlete who stresses players in both phases with his speed and explosiveness.
On Alabama’s recent drive, Sanders made a crucial third-down sack in pursuit on Bryce Young — after first dropping into coverage and getting ten-plus yards of depth. His closing range is absolutely insane. It’s hard to think he won’t be coveted when he enters the draft. IC
Lorando Johnson filling void left by Jalen Pitre
4:15PM- Jalen Pitre was a big loss for the Baylor defense. But in Pitre’s own words, in an interview with PFN last spring, he said they’d be in good hands with now-redshirt sophomore Lorando Johnson. His words ring true today, as Johnson has been an early standout in Baylor’s game against Oklahoma State. On the Cowboys’ latest drive, the versatile defensive back trailed a receiver along the boundary, got his head around and tracked the ball, and nearly came down with the interception. The young DB’s natural playmaking ability is very visible. IC
Mason Cobb an underrated breakout star for Oklahoma State
4:10PM- We were wondering who would step up for Oklahoma State after the departures of Devin Harper and Malcolm Rodriguez in the linebacker room. We can now effusively say that it’s been true junior Mason Cobb. Cobb has six tackles for loss and two sacks in three games, and he’s already been a menace in the backfield today against Baylor. The 6’0″, 230-pound defender is explosive and tenacious coming downhill. If he doesn’t make the tackle himself, you can bet he’s going to encumber a blocker and destroy running lanes. IC
Curtis Jacobs showing promise at LB for Penn State
4:05PM- The Nittany Lions have produced a host of NFL linebackers over the past couple decades. While he might not come out this year, it’s easy to identify Curtis Jacobs as the next one in the pipeline. Standing at 6’1″ and weighing in the 220-plus range, he’s not the largest linebacker. But he has easy athleticism and plays with high energy in the box. He’s not one to shy away from contact, both as a run support defender and a blitzer, and he’s given Northwestern trouble at times so far with his motor and agility. IC
Xavier Hutchinson off to a hot start against Kansas
3:45PM- It’s only the first drive of the game for Iowa State, but Xavier Hutchinson already has two receptions. He’s now caught a reception in 30 consecutive games for the Cyclones, and is second all-time in team history in career receptions behind Green Bay Packers starter Allen Lazard. Hutchinson is showing early why he’s an underrated receiver prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. He has the size and contested catch ability at 6’3″ and over 200 pounds. But he also has the foot speed and lateral agility to be a separator in the short and intermediate ranges. IC
The coming of age for Mike Morris
3:15PM- Last year it was David Ojubo and Aiden Hutchinson. Next year it will be Mike Morris and possibly Eyabi Anoma as both have come to age today. Morris especially, who was on my watch list as a PFA this summer, has watched a meteoric rise in his game this season. He harassed Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras all game today, posting 2 sacks, 2 TFL’s and a pair of quarterback hurries. Morris had a sack and hurry on back-to-back plays as Iowa was attempting to get back in the game. Morris is long, athletic and has incredible upside. Today may just be his coming out party. TP
O’Connell keeping Purdue in the game
3:05PM- You’ve got to love the resiliency of Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell. Despite the fact he struggled during parts of the game today, O’Connell kept the Boilermakers in the contest and just led the offense into the red zone which resulted in a field goal as Purdue takes the lead with five minutes left. There is a lot of love for O’Connell in the scouting community as he has next level size, a decent arm and makes the most of his available talent. TP
Brown carrying the Illini offense, again
2:45PM- Illinois is pounding Wisconsin and leading their conference rivals by three touchdowns as the Fighting Illini is poised to go 4-1 this season. And once again running back Chase Brown is carrying the offense. The senior ball carrier has 118 yards on 19 carries with 1 TD as the third quarter closes out. The prior three games Brown totaled 151 yards against Wyoming, 199 yards against Indiana and 146 yards against Virginia. He’s a smallish but quick and creative ball carrier who runs incredibly hard. If he tests well before the 2023 NFL Draft, Brown could slide into the late rounds, but I expect a coach to fall in love with his style and tenacity if he signs as a free agent. TP
Broeker struggling at his new spot
2:30PM- Ole Miss offensive lineman Nick Broeker was a prospect I consistently graded as a third round prospect the past two years when he lined up at left tackle. All along I mentioned Broeker’s best next level position would be offensive guard and when he was pushed inside to that spot this season I believed it would be to his benefit. Too date it seems I was incorrect as Broeker has looked lethargic and uncomfortable in confined quarters today. TP
Pottebaum- the nations best lead blocker
2:15PM- In the day and age of the aerial attack in the NFL, fullbacks who excel as lead blockers are a lost art. That doesn’t matter to Monte Pottebaum of Iowa, who’s one of the best lead blockers in all of major college football. Pottebaum plays like an offensive lineman in the backfield but he’s faster and more explosive. The Hawkeyes offense has been dreadful today against Michigan yet Pottebaum, whose name presently sits on the Shrine Bowl list, has had several productive plays. TP
Rodriguez returns with a vengeance
2PM- Kentucky has had their struggles offensively against Mississippi today but running back Chris Rodriguez Jr looks to be in mid-season form, despite this being the first games he’s dressed for. After his DUI arrest in May, Rodriguez was suspended the first four games this season but returned with a vengeance today. He’s carried the ball 11 times for 53 yards with 1 TD as the third quarter moves towards the 10-minute mark. Weighing in at almost 230-pounds, Rodriguez is a workhorse back who’ll be a terrific short yardage/goal line ball carrier on Sunday. TP
Barber- Too fast to catch
1:35PM- With all the love thrown in the direction of TCU receiver Quentin Johnston, his teammate Taye Barber is all too often left out of the conversation. Barber is vertically challenged at 5-feet-9.5-inches but checks every other box. Barber is quick, fast and a terrific pass catcher. He has the speed for the vertical game, as Oklahoma is finding out today. Barber has 3 catches for 107 yards including one catch which went 73 yards for a score. He projects as a slot receiver that can also double as a return specialist and run an occasional reverse. Barber could slide into the late rounds next April but more than likely, will be signed as a PFA. Despite that, look for Barber to compete for a roster spot thanks to his speed and versatility. TP
Robinson leading the Rebels stifling defense
1:05PM- Apologies to Tavius Robinson as, while I mentioned the Ole Miss secondary during today’s preview, I left out the Rebel defensive lineman. Graded as a 6th round prospect on my board this summer, Robinson is a tall, athletic front line defender who flashes power, as he just displayed on his way to sacking Will Levis for a safety. Robinson has huge upside but must fill out his thin frame of 6-feet-7-inches and 262 pounds, as well as develop a complete game. Based on his play today, Robinson is well on his way. TP
Stop making excuses for Spencer Petras
12:50PM- Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras is starting to hear it from the Hawkeye fans, and it’s understandable. Graded as a UDFA on my board coming into the season, Petras was a week one slider in my column and has not looked good despite the 3-1 record posted by Iowa. The Hawkeyes are losing to Michigan by a score of 7-0 despite being outgained by the Wolverines almost 3 to 1. Petras completed just two passes in the first quarter, missing almost twice as many throws trying to get the ball to wide open receivers. And despite the FOX announcers making excuses for Petras the fact is he’s not NFL material. TP
Another Michigan O-lineman on the rise
12:35PM- While everyone is fawning over Michigan running back Blake Corum, who has posted 9 TD’s in four games this season, the Wolverine offensive line does not get enough credit. I have been impressed with the improvement in left tackle Ryan Hayes. The senior is a tall and strong position blocker who plays with solid fundamentals. I’m not sure Hayes stays at left tackle in the NFL due to short arms and underwhelming footwork, but I do feel he’ll end up a day three pick who’ll compete for a guard spot on a Sunday roster. TP
Duggan moving up draft boards
12:20PM- TCU quarterback Max Duggan came into the season drawing a wide variety of opinions. I graded him as a 5th round prospect, a round earlier than most of the scouts I spoke with. And it seems I’ve underestimated Duggan. An athletic signal caller previously known for his ball carrying as much as his passing, Duggan has really taken to the Sonny Dykes offense and is improving as a passer. He’ll challenge the vertical game, as he just did during that first drive against Oklahoma, and he protects the football. Entering the game Duggan had 8 TD’s and no INT’s. Its now 9 TD’s. The chatter around Duggan is about to get louder. TD
Battles through the air kick-off Week 5
Week 5 on the college schedule includes a lot of important conference matchups which have next-level prospects going head to head. The fun begins with the noon kickoffs. Here’s what to watch for.
Kentucky travels to Oxford for an SEC West showdown against Ole Miss. These are two high-powered offenses which include much debated UK signal-caller Will Levis, a player many feel will be a first-round pick, present company not included at this time. The Rebels have a secondary loaded with NFL talent, albeit of the late-round/undrafted variety. Cornerbacks Miles Battle and Deantre Prince grade as sixth-round prospects as does safety AJ Finley. The team’s other safety, Otis Reese, is likely a preferred free agent. Expect the trio to give Levis a tough challenge today.
Oklahoma suffered a loss at the hands of Kansas State last week and now travels to Fort Worth for another Big 12 contest, this time against TCU. This game offers another battle through the air, yet it’s underclassmen with a world of next-level potential to keep an eye on. OU safety Key Lawrence plays like a Day 2 pick at times yet then disappears for stretches. Corner Woodi Washington has flashed brilliance the past two seasons but shows little consistency. They’ll be facing Quentin Johnston, the big-bodied and athletic pass catcher from TCU. All three of these prospects have Day 2 potential.
The big news out of the PAC 12 this week was Utah senior tight end Brant Kuithe suffering a season-ending ACL tear. And while many on the internet opined how this may affect the tight end position in the 2023 NFL draft, the player the Utes face today is graded much higher in the scouting community. Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave is taller, bigger, and much faster than Kuithe. He’s also a much more natural fit at the tight end position. Even if Kuithe had not been injured, Musgrave would likely have been selected at least two rounds sooner next April.