Week 3 on the college football schedule looks rather uninspired with few games of national importance. However, there are several NFL prospects to keep an eye on and players who will impact the 2020 NFL Draft. We’ll have you covered from kickoff to midnight with our weekly live blog covering all of the action of Week 3 in college football.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the PFN Draft Insiders Podcast with Tony Pauline and Andy Herman, be sure to do so. Also, check out the latest from the PFN Draft Staff from this past week.
12:05 PM – AJ Schulte
Another pair of unheralded wide receivers caught my eye this week.
Even though they ultimately lost the game, the Kentucky Wildcats had some playmakers on that offense come alive against Florida. Wide receivers Ahmad Wagner and Lynn Bowden combined for 10 catches, 140 yards, and a touchdown, while playing with Kentucky’s backup quarterback. Bowden looks like a really nice playmaker with some enticing athletic ability. I’m interested to see how he plays the rest of the season.
11:59 PM – AJ Schulte
Some of my biggest winners of this week are: Ohio State RB JK Dobbins, Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard, Alabama RB Najee Harris, UCF WR Gabriel Davis, West Virginia OT Colton McKivitz, and Wazzu QB Anthony Gordon.
Each of these prospects enjoyed breakout games on the national stage and helped their teams win big this week. Gabriel Davis caught 4 passes and a touchdown but made highlight reels after blowing by Stanford corner Paulson Adebo, who is one of the nation’s best.
11:46 – AJ Schulte
Iowa-Iowa State lived up to its namesake. I didn’t catch most of the game, but it was a typical slog of bad offenses on both sides. Nathan Stanley surprisingly had a completion percentage over 60% but didn’t have any passing touchdowns. My concerns over Stanley are still what they were coming into the season. His lack of consistency and intriguing talents make me low on his NFL future.
The Big 10 had a relatively poor day. Ohio State naturally cruised to a victory, but Michigan State and Maryland both were upset, Penn State and Minnesota narrowly avoided upsets, and Purdue was blown out by TCU. It’s been a rough out-of-conference sled this week for the conference.
Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson came in clutch for the Golden Gophers. He posted 10 catches for 140 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 10 seconds left. He’s been viewed as a top-5 WR prospect, and this was a statement game for him against Georgia Southern’s Kindle Vildor and Monquavion Brinson.
11:25 – AJ Schulte
Clemson’s offense came off of a rough showing against Syracuse, with a 41-6 final score not really telling the true story. Trevor Lawrence is being challenged by secondaries with teams forcing him to make decisions quicker. Some of his INTs have come off of tipped passes, so they aren’t entirely on him either. The Clemson offense has been accustomed to a trend where they just out-athlete and out-talent every team they play, and luckily, they play in the ACC, so that’ll get them to the playoffs. Just something to monitor in the future toward the playoffs.
11:15 – AJ Schulte
The transformation of Jalen Hurts continues after a walloping of UCLA. He went 15-20 for 289 passing yards and added 150 yards on the ground with 4 total touchdowns.
WR CeeDee Lamb has been relatively quiet statistically, but that isn’t entirely his fault. He’s been drawing double-teams leaving other talented players wide open for OU, and in these 3 games, Lamb has rarely played into the second half.
Speaking of Big 12 WRs, Texas Tech’s TJ Vasher is a deep sleeper prospect. He has raw talent, and is a height/weight/speed freak at 6’6. He just made a phenomenal downfield grab against Arizona. Vasher also plays on special teams as well, increasing his value. I expect his big night to continue, as Arizona’s tallest corner is 5’11.
11:10 – AJ Schulte
One of the most exciting matchups this week was seeing TCU WR Jalen Reagor and Purdue WR Rondale Moore duel it out on the field. Both combined for 6 receptions and 54 yards. Their QBs held them back, but Reagor had some iffy drops, which was a problem coming into this season.
Jalen Reagor has all the athletic gifts to be a first-round pick, but in a loaded class, his problems with the fundamentals of his position could drop him down draft boards.
9:50 – Tony Pauline
It must be notated – Liberty receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden, named as my “Sleeper Prospect of the Week” after Week 2, turned in a dominant performance today against Buffalo.
Gandy-Golden finished the game with 8 receptions, 174 receiving yards and 2 TDs. I would expect to see him on the Senior Bowl roster come January.
9:45 – Tony Pauline
I know there’s a lot of love for Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa and some project him as a top 20 pick – but I don’t see it.
Epenesa is a solid player who put up decent numbers last season, but I don’t see an explosive, game-changing pass rusher off the edge. And too many times, I witness Epenesa controlled by opponents he should beat.
Thus far against Iowa State, he’s collected 1 tackle and 1 QBH.
9:10 – Tony Pauline
Iowa State safety Greg Eisworth was my highest-rated Cyclone coming into the season and he’s playing out of his mind tonight, leading all defenders with 12 tackles with one full quarter left to play.
As I stated during the ISU preview, Eisworth is a tremendous run defender and projects nicely as a strong safety at the next level.
9:00 – Tony Pauline
Earlier, I mentioned the outstanding play of Kentucky guard Logan Stenberg. Wildcats left tackle Landon Young is also having a fine game.
I gave Young solid grades off his sophomore season of 2017, but the big blocker missed all of 2018 with a left knee injury. Thus far, he’s looked good against Florida.
8:45 – Tony Pauline
Many believe Tristan Wirfs will be an early first-round pick if he enters the 2020 draft, so what are the chances he makes himself eligible next April?
Right now (and I stress, right now), people familiar with the situation tell me they believe the odds on Wirfs entering the draft are less than 50/50.
Academics are priority for the talented blocker and receiving his degree is of utmost importance to Wirfs.
7:50 – Tony Pauline
Many, including myself, believe Anchrum is a small area blocker who’ll have to move into guard at the next level. Robinson is a first-step pass rusher who prefers to take wide angles around blockers – the type of defensive end who should have and easy day against Anchrum.
If Anchrum shows the ability to shut Robinson down, he may change the line of thinking about his game.
7:50 – Tony Pauline
If your team needs a big, nasty offensive guard, look to Logan Stenberg, who I stamped as a fourth round prospect before the season.
The senior is large, powerful, and enjoys burying opponents, which he usually does whenever he gets his hands on them.
7:25 – Tony Pauline
I was very impressed with Gabe Davis as UCF thrashed Stanford, but one thing that stood out to me was how much Walker Little means to the Cardinal’s offensive line. UCF’s defensive line, not considered a dominant front four, had Stanford blockers confused and falling over their feet as they were primarily exploited on the left side of the line.
As I reported last week, I’m told Little’s injury is a 3-to-4 month injury and if he decides to enter the draft, he would be ready to go by the combine. No word was given on the specifics of Little’s injury or whether he’s considering the draft at this point.
7:15 – Tony Pauline
The Arizona State-Michigan State contest has been an enjoyable, punch your in the mouth type of contest.
Raequan Williams, graded as a last-day pick by NFL scouts as well as on my board, has had a dominant performance and he’s been unstoppable.
Spartans receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. has also had a terrific game. Scouts grade Stewart a PFA, but I stamped him as a fifth-round prospect. I love the versatility to line him up in the slot, on the flanks or be used as a punt returner. He’ll be an invaluable fourth/fifth receiver at the next level.
6:30 – Matt Valdovinos
The ASU vs MSU game has been all defense. A big second half from MSU QB Brian Lewerke would do a lot for his draft stock. Lewerke had a big game last week, however struggled in Week 1. Today doesn’t bode well for the questions about his consistency game-to-game. To give him a bit of credit, the MSU receiving core has had a case of the drops today.
6:00 – Matt Valdovinos
Speaking of Big Ten EDGE rushers, someone else to watch is Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes. Willekes is a top-50 player on my board and was outright better as an overall player than both Young and Epenesa last year. Willekes entered this week leading the conference in sacks and is also looking to make an impact versus Arizona State.
5:30 – Matt Valdovinos
Ohio State EDGE rusher Chase Young had a dominate performance earlier today against Indiana. Many believe the best edge rusher in this years draft is either Young or Iowa’s AJ Epenesa. I currently have Epenesa as my highest ranked EDGE rusher but both are top-5 players in this class.
Today, Epenesa will look to put together a big game so that Young doesn’t pull away in this race with his dominate performance. He’s already done a good job pressuring Iowa State QB Brock Purdy, but he must get home and produce some sacks this game.
5:20 – Matt Valdovinos
The South Carolina Gamecocks have done a really good job neutralizing WR Jerry Juedy; unfortunately, they’ve struggled to slow down the rest of Alabama’s receiving corps. Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith both have over 75 receiving yards in this first half.
Ruggs has otherworldly speed, and with some refinement, he could eventually reach his ceiling, which has a bid as best in this 2020 class.
Smith is the other way around. His upside is a bit limited, but he’s already a very good route runner with sure hands. He’s the type of receiver that every team needs. While Smith may never be a star, he’ll be an excellent complimentary piece to any receiver room.
5:00 – Tony Pauline
I’ve written about UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers on several occasions as he’s a big-armed thrower and very athletic. I also mentioned last week there’s a chance he enters the 2020 draft if he has a good season this year. Rogers issues include inconsistent accuracy and not playing within the system.
Thus far he’s doing a good job of both against Northwestern as the Rebels are keeping it close as the first half finishes out.
4:55 – Tony Pauline
I’ve read some believe Najee Harris does not project well to the next level, which boggles my mind. He is a terrific combination of size, speed, and strength. He has enough short-area quickness to make defenders miss or break tackles.
He can also catch the ball out of the backfield.
4:35 – Tony Pauline
There are several scouts who believe Shyheim Carter of Alabama is a middle-round prospect, but I don’t buy it. I see another overrated Crimson Tide safety who stands out in Saban’s system but has marginal measurables for the next level.
4:15 – Tony Pauline
Two things stand out to me in the early part of the Stanford-Central Florida game-
1) Gabe Davis is probably going to run faster in the forty than is suspect. He’s a terrific vertical receiver, and he owns Paulson Adebo in the early going.
2) The defensive game plan is focused on tight end Colby Parkinson, and it’s working in the early going. Some people believe Parkinson will be the first tight end selected if he enters the draft. I am concerned about Parkinson’s speed, but some tell me he will time no slower than 4.65s in the forty.
3:40 – Tony Pauline
The pace of the schedule on this college football Saturday picks up with the late afternoon games.
South Carolina receiver Bryan Edwards is graded anywhere from the early second round to a mid-third round pick by scouts.
My grade on Edwards reflects the latter.
He’s a solid pass catcher but is off to a slow start. Edwards best pick it up quickly today against Alabama, who line up two next-level prospects.
One incredibly underrated match-up takes place in Orlando, and it pits another receiver against a highly rated corner.
I’ve mentioned my fondness for Central Florida receiver Gabe Davis on several occasions. I believe he’s second day talent and I’m hearing there’s a good chance he enters the draft.
While Davis will face several solid corners, this season none are as talented as Paulson Adebo of Stanford, who he’ll battle today.
This is the first of two huge tests for Adebo as he’ll face Laviska Shenault Jr. in early November.
A third match-up between cornerbacks and receivers can be found when Georgia Southern takes on Minnesota.
3:25 – AJ Schulte
What a weird day for college football, with Furman, The Citadel, Pitt, Temple, and Air Force threatening to pull off upsets today.
Kansas State dominated upfront on the offensive line. Their OL has well over 100 combined starts, led by Scott Frantz and Adam Holtorf. Scott Frantz is my highest graded Kansas State player, but he isn’t as good as former teammate Dalton Risner and projects as a Day 3 player.
Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill had a good showing with over 100 yards rushing on the day. He showed power, elusiveness, and some nice burst to pick up some good yards.
Switching gears, West Virginia has rebounded and put up a great game against NC State. Colton McKivitz has had a good day in keeping QB Austin Kendall upright and opening up holes in the running game. I’m with Tony Pauline on McKivitz; I think he can go anywhere from rounds 3-5. His demeanor and technical skills will appeal to many coaches.
3:00 – Tony Pauline
In the game against Kansas State, Cole has accounted for six tackles, two for a loss, one sack, and just forced a fumble which K-State recovered.
2:55 – Tony Pauline
Hell of a game going on in Philadelphia right now between Maryland and Temple. The Terps are leading 15-13 as the fourth quarter begins.
Temple linebacker Shaun Bradley has totaled five tackles.
2:15 – Tony Pauline
Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay was one of seven Bulldogs suspended for violations of team rules which reportedly stem from academic improprieties. The suspensions are believed to be seven to eight weeks long.
Sources tell me despite the suspension, Gay is very likely to enter the draft or at least heavily considering making the jump at this point.
Only a junior, Gay is another underclassman who was stamped as a fourth-round prospect by scouts who graded him before the college football season began.
2:00 – Tony Pauline
Granted its just the first half, but a rather inexperienced Pittsburgh Panther offensive line has done a terrific job stopping Yetur Gross-Matos.
Despite being graded as a legitimate top 45 draft pick, Gross-Matos has been blanked thus far by the Panthers. In the first two games against Idaho and Buffalo, the junior pass rusher accounted for 3.5 tackles for a loss and another 3.5 sacks.
1:25 – Tony Pauline
I continue to be impressed by offensive tackle Colton McKivitz of West Virginia.
He moved to the left side after playing right tackle last season. His use of angles and body positioning in pass protection is superb. McKivitz displays terrific jolt and explosion as a run blocker while showing the ability to get out on the second level and block in motion.
I grade him as a third-round prospect, a full round earlier than scouts, as McKivitz is a guy that won’t wow anyone with athletic workouts at the combine. I ultimately believe he’s going to be under-drafted and could start at left or right tackle and even guard on Sunday.
1:05 – Tony Pauline
North Carolina State receiver Emeka Emezie has come up with several big plays. Three minutes into the second quarter he’s already totaled five receptions for 37 yards.
Despite being a true junior, several scouts have already stamped Emezie with a fourth-round grade. That is a definite sign they believe he is a next-level prospect to keep an eye on.
12:55 – Tony Pauline
Kansas State has done a great job in the early going and is beating up on Mississippi State in Starkville. One player in this game that has been a bit of a disappointment and has failed to meet expectations is MSU safety Jaquarius Landrews.
A junior college transfer graded as a fourth-round prospect by scouts coming into the season, Landrews saw limited action in 2018 due to the depth at safety on the Bulldogs roster.
Watching Landrews today, it seems he takes poor angles, reacts slowly to the action, and shows questionable instincts. I see a good athlete running around the field and getting to the action after the fact rather than a potential fourth-round prospect. He’s a size/speed prospect with average ball skills.
12:20 – Tony Pauline
Last night, I mentioned on twitter how impressed I was with the development of Kansas left tackle Hakeem Adeniji, who helped paved the way as the Jayhawks upset Boston College 48-24.
Another offensive lineman that has impressed me with his development in the early going today is North Carolina State right tackle Justin Witt. I graded the junior as a PFA off his 2018 film, but he’s shown growth both fundamentally and physically on the field.
11:30 AM – Tony Pauline
The best noon kick-off game has North Carolina State taking on West Virginia in Morgantown.
McKivitz is a terrific football player who gets the most out of his ability and stands out as a run-blocker and in pass protection. Smith-Williams is a solid pass-rusher out of a three-point stance but has linebacker size and speed. At 6-foot-4 inches and 255 pounds, he reportedly registered a 4.55-second forty before the season.
Starting his college football career at Oregon in 2015, he later transferred to Texas A&M only to be dismissed in 2017 after several off-field incidents. Merritt then moved onto East Mississippi Community College and finally ended up with Arkansas State in 2018. He earned first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors last season with a team-leading 83 receptions, 1,005 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns.
Merritt was stamped as a potential late-round pick by scouts entering the season.