Week 14 of the College Football season featured some incredible rivalry action, including one of the biggest grudge matches in the sport, Michigan versus Ohio State. Other big-time matchups included the Iron Bowl (Alabama/Auburn), the Battle for the Old Oaken Bucket (Purdue/Indiana), the fight for Paul Bunyan’s Axe (Minnesota/Wisconsin), and the Bedlam game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Plenty of excellent prospects littered these games, and once again, we had a few Week 14 NFL Draft underclassmen declarations that made the news.
However, it was the great unknown and uncertainty of two top prospects – Jordan Love of Utah State and Walker Little of Stanford – that created the biggest stir on Saturday. PFN’s own Tony Pauline believes there is a chance each of them could enter the 2020 NFL Draft, but that is not certain. Below, I will take a look at the impact of each of these huge decisions as we inch closer to the College Football Playoff.
Big decisions looming for Love and Little
In Week 14, Tony Pauline reported some potential uncertainty surrounding the future of two underclassmen in Utah State quarterback Jordan Love and Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little. These two PAC-10 rivals have been top prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, and both would be heavily considered in the draft’s first round if they declared. However, it appears that both players are 50/50 at this point, and it could come down to the wire for a potential decision.
Love, the junior gunslinger, has faced heavy scrutiny this season as his team has struggled with inconsistency and compiled a disappointing 7-5 record. The Aggies did finish strong with a 38-25 victory over New Mexico on Saturday. However, the game was a microcosm of the great frustration felt when evaluating Love and the talent around him this season.
Even in victory, Love completed just 18 of 35 passes for only 172 yards with an interception. The good news here is that the potential top pick also threw three touchdowns and made some jaw-dropping throws once again.
During Saturday’s Week 14 Live Blog, Pauline mentioned again that it would “be a surprise if Love did not enter the draft” and even went as far as to say Love may already have “representation lined up.” The caveat to this news is that Pauline also throws out the possibility of a transfer from Utah State if Love decides to return to college next season. Texas Tech is a potential match with Love’s former coach Matt Wells. This news could undoubtedly shake up the entire draft and the first round in particular so that we will wait with bated breath on that looming final decision.
Pauline also reported Stanford OT Little as one of the potential 2020 NFL Draft underclassmen declarations. However, there is uncertainty surrounding Little, who is arguably the top draft-eligible player on the Stanford team. Pauline says that Walker is “50/50 at best” right now, but will begin talks with his people in regards to the draft process following the Week 14 loss to Notre Dame. Walker is a mountain of a man, standing at 6’7” and 315 pounds, but moves extremely well in pass pro and could be one of the first players selected at the left tackle position.
More indecision among additional declarations
Other Week 14 NFL draft underclassmen declarations include Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike, Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey, and Cal’s Camryn Bynum. Madubuike and Humphrey are both first-round talents that have had incredible seasons. However, there are no sure signs that either of them will leave college football and bolt to the NFL after this season.
Pauline mentions Madubuike as a potential early entry solely based on the amount of chatter regarding the prospect recently. If the big A&M nose tackle does declare, he will undoubtedly hear his name called before the end of the second day.
Oklahoma center Humphrey is a player that has emerged for the Sooners in 2019. He is a redshirt sophomore that is eligible for the draft, but he may return for his junior and potentially even senior seasons. There is “very little word” on Humprey’s intentions at this time, according to Pauline. However, he has been imposing and is the driving force behind an Oklahoma offense that looks headed to the College Football Playoff. Humphrey is a budding potential first-rounder whenever he chooses to declare.
California junior cornerback Bynum is also “considering” the leap to the NFL, according to Pauline. Bynum briefly considered entering the draft last season as a redshirt-sophomore before announcing his return, along with star defensive end Evan Weaver. He has decent size at 6’0” and a ton of experience in the starting lineup. Bynum has started each game since his freshman season (36 games). Despite that experience, he has never recorded more than two interceptions in a season, and there are concerns about his long speed. He has the look of a special teams ace and depth piece at the next level and could hear his name called around the 4th-5th round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Dallas ready to jettison Hurricanes
One prospect that went unmentioned among my 2020 NFL Draft declarations piece in Week 13 was Miami running back and sparkplug DeeJay Dallas. Last week, Pauline mentioned Dallas as a potential early entry. Pauline says that he has “heard from a number of sources” that Dallas will bolt to the NFL after this season. Dallas was one of the few bright spots for the Hurricanes this season. The program has struggled this season under first-year head coach Manny Diaz.
Dallas is a sturdy and patient runner that rarely goes down on the first contact. His best football is ahead of him, but he will need to show he is healthy after leaving the FIU game with a dislocated elbow. The junior compiled 693 rushing yards and eight scores in what could be his final season for the Miami Hurricanes. Assuming he recovers quickly, the talented runner will likely hear his name called early on day four, strictly due to the depth at the RB position this year.
Scott Gorman is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft. Find him on Twitter: @sgormanPFN.