CFB Live Game Day Blog: August 29

As the college football season kicks-off we’ll follow this evenings game and the top prospects playing in all the contests.

As the college football season kicks-off, Tony Pauline will follow this evenings game and the top prospects playing in all the contests.


I continue to be amazed Luke Fickell has not been offered a job with a major college football program- he is such a great coach that gets the most from his players.  Here’s a wild scenario- Michigan fails to meet expectations, fails to beat Ohio State and loses in a bowl game.  The school fires Jim Harbaugh then offers the Wolverine head coaching job to Luke Fickell, a former Buckeye.


Amazing how the college football landscape has changed.  There was a time when the BYU-Utah contest was an annual event which ended the season and the rivalry matched the likes of Texas-Texas A&M (no longer played), USC-UCLA and Michigan-Ohio State.  Now it’s a game on the calendar to start the season.  There’s still plenty of talent to be found, primarily on the Utah side of the field.

Keep close watch on a pair of sleepers.

BYU consistently puts talented tight ends in the league and junior Matt Bushman will be next.  He’s a terrific pass catcher who, despite a lack of athleticism, gets the job done.

Athleticism is not an issue for Utah linebacker Francis Bernard– just watch last year’s Holiday Bowl.

Bernard, who was not rated by scouts entering the season, presently grades as my highest rated Ute from the defensive side of the ball and was stamped as a 4th round prospect.  He struggled seeing playing time last season primarily due to the depth at linebacker on the Utah roster- yet when on the field Bernard made play after play.

He’ll be taking on more responsibilities this season and I envision his draft stock exploding.  Sione Takitaki anyone?

By the way- Bernard is a BYU transfer, so he has a score to settle this evening.


Georgia Tech is over matched in this contest against Clemson and have little in the way of pro-prospects.  In fact their top senior prospect, Parker Braun, transferred to Texas. But watch corner Tre Swilling, son of former Yellow Jacket and NFLer Pat Swilling.  He was the only Yellow Jacket given a draftable grade on my board, and it was a third round grade.


While I understand the competition is small school Florida A&M, receiver Gabe Davis of Central Florida just made an incredible 37 yard touchdown reception.  Davis, a junior, is graded as my top prospect from the AAC and a second round prospect.  He was meeting with agents over the summer, which is allowed, and there is a belief he will enter the draft if he plays well this season and stays healthy.


Most NFL scouts grade tight end Josiah Deguara as camp fodder but I gave him a priority free agent grade.  He just makes a lot of plays, as he did on that touchdown catch.  He’s not spectacular in any single aspect of the game rather solid in all areas as a pass catcher and blocker.  I don’t think Deguara gets drafted unless he runs a very fast 40 time, but I could see him making a depth chart as a third tight end.


Not much on the pro-prospect front in the FCS match-up between Jacksonville and Richmond.  JU safety Marlon Bridges is getting looks from scouts.  Former Richmond receiver Dejon Brissett, whom I graded as a late round pick after the 2017 season, took the graduate transfer route and moved on to Virginia after suffering a season ending injury three games into the 2018 campaign.  He’ll battle Pittsburgh and their talented cornerback Dane Jackson this weekend.


Not a whole lot to get excited about in the UCLA-Cincinnati game, which just kicked off on ESPN.  Presently Bruin guard Michael Alves grades highest on my board for either team with a 5th round grade.  UCLA running back Joshua Kelley follows closely behind on my board, also a fifth rounder.  Scouts grade Kelly anywhere as early as a fourth rounder to as late as the seventh frame.


Welcome to the PFN live game day blog as we kick off the college football season.  It’s a light schedule tonight with just a few top NFL prospects playing- most of the from Clemson, who take on Georgia Tech this evening.

Tony Pauline is the Chief Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Tony’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @TonyPauline.


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