Despite several traditional rivalry games being lost to virus outbreaks in Week 15 of the college football season, there are still several games of national and scouting importance this weekend. Here’s just a smattering of what scouts will be looking for a few days out from championship weekend. Information on how and where to watch, which includes kickoff times and the TV schedule, can be found below.
All of the live Week 15 college football news and live analysis will get underway at noon and wrap up after midnight ET in our College Football Live Game Day Blog. Be sure to also check out the college football TV schedule, which can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the post. And finally, keep up with NFL Draft stories and analysis from the PFN NFL Draft crew by visiting PFN daily.
Week 15 College Football Live Blog with Tony Pauline, Ian Cummings, and Nick Farabaugh
News and updates for the Week 15 college football action through midnight ET will be timestamped once we kick off at noon, and each update will be followed by the initials of the analyst. “IC” is Ian Cummings, “NF” is Nick Farabaugh, and if there are no initials, it’s me (Tony Pauline).
Trevon Grimes is a playmaker (12:00 AM)
Most people look to Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts as the big-time receivers in the Florida wide receiver room. They outshine everyone in that group by a wide margin. It is easy to see why people love them as they do, but it has left the third member of that group neglected. Trevon Grimes, who ripped off a big-time 50-yard catch today, is having the best season of his career and is only getting better. Each week, Grimes is making plays and finding a way to make his presence felt.
Grimes has that lanky, but sturdy build to his resume. There is serious room to add a lot of muscle to his frame, and perhaps work him into a semi-big slot role. But that would waste Grimes’ overall skillset that can allow him to be a great boundary receiver. It is those ball skills, his vice grip hands. body control, and natural ability to make combat catches down field that has allowed Grimes to make inroads this year. His stock is going up by the game. NF
JaCoby Stevens is a fascinating prospect (11:55 PM)
When you as a player get eight tackles, a sack, two pass breakups, and two quarterback hits, it is a good day, especially if you are a safety. JaCoby Stevens had that day against the Florida Gators. He was all over the field and causing chaos. Stevens lines up anywhere from the edge to single-high safety on a given play. He truly is a defensive chess piece and a freak.
Stevens is a guy that can hang in the trenches with the big guys. He drops that shoulder, fights off blocks, and can blow up blocking schemes with his physicality. On the back end, Stevens is fluid, rangy, and has ball skills to make big time plays. He is a player that is not getting enough hype for his worth. Coaches should love his fiery style of play even if it gets him into trouble at times. Stevens has the opportunity to be a sneaky riser that no one is talking about at this time. NF
Tariq Thompson proving his worth (11:45 PM)
One of the key pieces on a dominant San Diego State defense, safety Tariq Thompson is proving he has a lot of value and NFL teams will take notice of it. The Aztecs have cut off Zach Wilson’s deep passing game in large part because of Thompson and what he can do on the back end of the defense. While he is not lighting up the stat sheet, it is Thompson’s football IQ, awareness, and range that are forcing Wilson to check the ball underneath through his progressions rather than push the ball down the field.
It gives the Aztecs a fighting chance to slow down the Cougars offense that has been so explosive and given teams trouble this year. Thompson’s ability to safeguard the top of the defense against big plays will be something NFL teams should love. This is a stock-boosting game for him. NF
Davis Mills has a lot of intriguing traits (11:35 PM)
Stanford is starting to develop itself as a place with a reputation of having at least NFL-viable quarterbacks. From Andrew Luck to even a guy like K.J. Costello, there is usually a pretty solid quarterback under center for the Cardinal. Davis Mills does nothing to change that recent trend.
Mills has a lot of really good tools to work with that NFL teams should like. The most evident of those tools would be Mills’ arm and ability to work out of structure. Mills has the velocity and natural arm strength to push the ball downfield with ease. Prior to the half, Mills rolled out of the pocket and found a wide open receiver down field for a touchdown. Even though it was called back due to holding, it was a great example of pocket awareness by Mills to use his legs out of structure.
I doubt he comes out this year. Mills still is a little bit rough above the shoulders and has to learn how to process defenses at a higher level when they change the pre-snap picture post-snap. But the tools are all there for Mills to be a riser, and he is someone to bookmark. NF
Zach Wilson playing well… again (11:25 PM)
I keep waiting for him to reach the cliff where maybe he dips off, but Zach Wilson has continued to play at a stable, high level this season. Wilson is not getting much help from his skill position players tonight, much like he did not get help from them in the loss to Coastal Carolina. He looks accurate and the out-of-structure ability continues to bear its fruits as Wilson makes multiple plays happen out of nothing with that mobility he possesses.
The consistency of Wilson’s play is going to be a big part of why NFL teams should really like him. He is not a two-game sensation. In fact, Wilson’s mental game continues to improve over most games as well. He is starting to use his eyes to move defenders and open up zones as a result. I have no concerns about what Wilson will be able to do in the NFL given his consistent high-level play. He deserves the hype he gets. NF
Tyler Vaughns deserves his respect (11:15 PM)
Tyler Vaughns just took one of those punches I mentioned previously right to the Bruins. One of the star USC receivers, Vaughns was double-covered and skied over both defenders to haul in a combatted catch far down the sideline with strong hands and great catch technique. He made sure not to invite any defenders into his frame and it was the hand and grip strength he possesses that allowed him to hang on even as the Bruins defenders were punching at the football.
Vaughns feels like the disrespected member of this group that includes Drake London and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Vaughns has the makings of a reliable target, especially over the middle of the field. With strong hands, great body control, and elite ball skills, Vaughns is more a contested-catch type that can separate ever so slightly with physicality by using his big frame. Vaughns is going to be a solid NFL player because he does the baseline well at every level for a receiver. NF
Alijah Vera-Tucker is earning some money tonight (11:10 PM)
First off, what a phenomenal game this is between UCLA and USC. There are multiple NFL players on both teams and they are going punch-for-punch right now. It is truly a joy to watch and these teams are fighting for every inch in this game. It is the way rivalry football games are supposed to go.
A catalyst in the efforts on the Trojans side of the ball is former guard-turned-left tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker. With a spotless resume thus far tonight, Tucker is protecting Kedon Slovis and clearing lanes for the Trojans’ running backs. Vera-Tucker cleared a wide lane on the Trojans’ first rushing touchdown of the game, as he kicked out the defensive end. He has been as steady as can be in pass protection as well. With versatility, athleticism, a nasty mentality, and great intangibles, Vera-Tucker is working his way into the fringe first-round conversation with games like this one. NF
Jermar Jefferson is just solid (11:00 PM)
Jermar Jefferson missed last week thanks to COVID protocols, but it is easy to see why there is so much buzz around Jefferson. While he does not have great size, Jefferson’s repertoire of moves and abilities is vast and expansive. The most notable is that Jefferson has outstanding explosiveness in short areas. That, combined with textbook vision and an ability to just fall forward, gives Jefferson some fantastic traits that NFL teams will adore. His 46 rushing yards in just the first 20 minutes of this game are proving the fact that he knows how to create yardage in many different ways, and works off his offensive line. Jefferson could be a very nice change-of-pace back at the next level. NF
Demetric Felton is a dynamic weapon (10:55 PM)
Few things are stable in 2020, but in college football Week 15, Demetric Felton is proving that his ability to consistently play at a high level is very stable. A hybrid receiver and running back in the Bruins scheme, Felton is a special talent that is both tough to bring down and yet extremely tough. The Trojans have already found that out tonight, as Felton has over 100 total yards and two touchdowns through the air.
His explosiveness and burst created enough room for a 21-yard scamper to the house. Even the physicality aspect of his game is on display, as Felton’s terrific stiff arm in the open field created hard-earned yards. Felton is crafty, versatile, and dynamic. With a Senior Bowl invite already in his pocket, it is hard to see Felton not getting his name called within the Top-150 picks in April. He is just too good and gives too many options for offensive coordinators when he is on the field. NF
Jabril Cox is all over the field tonight (10:45 PM)
In any scenario where LSU limits Trask, they would need a big time game from their star linebacker Jabril Cox. He is far from a certainty after transferring up from North Dakota State over the Summer. Cox’s draft stock feels like it is right where it needs to be for a guy with a lot of upside who lacks the polish around the edges. He has the athleticism to fly sideline-to-sideline, but it is not like Cox is some otherworldly athlete.
Tonight against Florida, Cox has been used in coverage, in the slot, and as a blitzer on top of his normal linebacker duties. With three QB Hits, two pass breakups, and an additional tackle for loss, Cox is doing every thing he can to make his presence felt on the field. His stock is steadily making him a Top-100 player as he solidifies his versatility all over the field. You simply do not find guys that can do all of what Cox does for the Tigers, and that makes him a very valuable prospect. NF
Despite Kyle Trask’s numbers, his draft stock is anything but certain (10:40 PM)
Kyle Trask just set the Florida program record for touchdown passes in a season, breaking the previous record held by Danny Wuerffel. While his college numbers are off-the-charts insane, Trask’s projection into the NFL is not that of someone who will go in the Top-10. It is for good reason, as Trask lacks great physical tools. He has an average arm at best and can fail to push the ball sufficiently down the field.
However, his arm is not the main concern. Trask has the accuracy and precision to make up for some of those arm talent concerns. There is no way for him to overcome his lack of mobility. Trask has very little ability to do anything out of structure if the play breaks down. It is almost like he is a statue in the pocket with very little movement. Those two traits knock down Trask’s ceiling, and he should be a high IQ backup for an NFL team. Rather than a first-round pick, Trask may just be a solid backup picked on mid-Day 2. NF
What’s next for Anthony Schwartz? (10:25 PM)
Mississippi State and Auburn are battling in what is quite possibly the most boring game of the season. The two teams, led by coaches who pride themselves on quarterback play and high scoring offenses, are locked in a droll battle with Auburn leading 9-3 at the start of the fourth quarter. Speedy Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz has 5 receptions thus far, albeit for just 32 yards.
I’ve previously mentioned Schwartz is giving serious consideration to entering the draft. As of last week I’m told the junior is still on the fence and 50/50 right now as to what he’ll do next. While I have Schwartz graded as a fourth round prospect, several people I’ve spoken with tell me he could end up in day two if he enters the draft.
Deablo: Another impressive looking safety (10 PM)
Virginia Tech is taking it to Virginia and lead their rival by 23 points as the second half has begun. Junior tight end James Mitchell, mentioned earlier, continues to impress and has 67 receiving yards on 3 receptions. Senior safety Divine Deablo is also having a terrific game to finish off what’s been a terrific season.
Deablo has four tackles this evening and has broken up 2 passes. Coming into the game Deable had 3 INT’s, 2 PBU’s and 49 tackles in eight games. He’s another linebacker sized safety though Deablo has defensive back speed. If he doesn’t slide into the late part of day two expect Deablo to be swiped off the board early on day three.
Is this LSU’s bowl game? (9:25 PM)
Last week LSU conveniently announced a self-imposed bowl ban this season despite the fact they held a 3-5 record with one game left. That game against Florida is presently taking place and the Tigers are playing as this is their bowl game. They’ve made life miserable for the seemingly unflappable Kyle Trask, intercepting 2 passes, breaking up 6 more and sacking the quarterback twice. More than anything else, they have likely ended the Heisman candidacy of Trask.
Senior safety JaCoby Stevens, presently graded as a fifth round prospect on my board, is having a terrific game. He leads all Tigers with 6 defenders and has broken up 2 passes. Stevens bring linebacker size, and speed, to the safety position. He’s more of a traditional strong safety but will also get consideration at linebacker by a number of NFL teams.
Two Impressive Safeties in tonight’s USC-UCLA game (9:15 PM)
The intercity rivalry between the Trojans and Bruins is the usual chippy affair this evening as UCLA is up 21-10 at halftime. Two safeties have looked good in the first half, one from each side.
For the Trojans, junior Talanoa Hufanga has been very active and physical all evening. He’s been flying around the ball and leads the game with 8 tackles. Several weeks ago I reported Hufanga is expected to enter the draft.
Quentin Lake of UCLA has also been impressive with 5 tackles, 1 PBU and 1 INT. The son of NFL great Carnell Lake, Quentin has been rated as an NFL prospect on my board for two years and has done a great job returning from the wrist injury which limited him to just four games a season ago.
Another sleeper on the Va Tech offense getting a lot of chatter (9 PM)
Throughout the season I’ve mentioned Hokie running back Khalil Herbert several times in the game blog. The grad transfer from Kansas is having a career season and has gone from draft afterthought to potential top 125 selection.
The other Hokie from the scoring side of the ball building a name for himself is junior tight end James Mitchell who has two receptions to his credit this evening. Playing second fiddle to Dalton Keene last season, Mitchell has elevated his game this year and has 23 receptions for 368 and 4 TD’s. He’s an athletic prospect who projects as a move tight end with many of the same features of Keene.
Wallow is healthy again (8:25 PM)
It’s been a mismatch in Fort Worth as TCU is shutting out Louisiana Tech by a score of 24-0 with seven minutes left in the half. One reason the Horned Frogs have blanked La Tech is the play of linebacker Garret Wallow.
Since his sophomore season, I’ve had the senior graded, and league scouts stamped him as a fourth-round prospect before the season, but he was slow and sluggish early in the campaign, in large part due to injuries. Tonight Wallow looks back to his prior form as he’s faster and covering much more area on the field. Presently he leads all defenders in the game with seven tackles.
What’s the latest on Christian Darrisaw? (8:05 PM)
With Virginia-Virginia Tech getting ready to kick-off the second interstate rivalry of the evening, what’s the latest on Christian Darrisaw? In the lead-up to this weekend’s contest, I was told it’s about 80% the left tackle enters the draft. Earlier today, a source close to the situation told me Darrisaw will enter the draft and has chosen an agent.
I gave the junior a day two grade in my Virginia Tech preview over the summer, and Darrisaw has shown steady improvement in his game this season. I presently have a second-round grade on Darrisaw, yet he may end up as a very late first-round selection.
Vera-Tucker drawing rave reviews from West Coast scouts (7:55 PM)
Alijah Vera-Tucker is the tale of a player who really benefited from reversing course and playing in 2020.
Initially announcing he was opting out of the season to prepare for the draft, Vera-Tucker decided to play when the PAC 12 announced it would play in 2020 with a delayed start. He has since moved to left tackle and has played incredibly well. The junior has improved almost every aspect of his game, and though he won’t line up at left tackle on Sundays, he’s done enough to solidify himself as a second-day guard.
Not all Gators are Watching their draft stock improve (7:45 PM)
Kyle Pitts, Kyle Trask, and Kadarius Toney are three Florida Gators whose play this season has enhanced their draft stock- in the case of the Kyle’s, Pitts and Trask; it will result in a significant bump in draft stock. The same cannot be said for a few players on the Gators’ defense.
Safety Shawn Davis came into the season with second-round grades but has not met expectations and will drop into the late rounds. Donovan Stiner has also watched his draft stock retreat, and the bottom has fallen out for Brad Stewart.
In memoriam: The Miami Turnover Chain – 2017-2020 (7:25 PM)
There wasn’t much to celebrate on the defensive side of the ball for the Hurricanes today. Not only were they obliterated in a ranked matchup against the Tar Heels by a score of 62-26, but their defense had no answer for the running back tandem of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams.
Carter and Williams finished the game with a combined 47 carries, 544 yards, and five touchdowns. Hurricanes’ defensive standouts like Jaelen Phillips and Bubba Bolden failed to move the needle consistently, and for two running backs both looking to up their draft stock, today’s contest was a massive win. IC
Trevon Moehrig in action against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (7:15 PM)
TCU safety Trevon Moehrig had a big week in Week 14, and he’ll have another opportunity to produce today against Louisiana Tech. In a weak safety class, Moehrig has a chance to end up being the top safety on the board. He has very good size and athleticism, which he pairs with impressive range, instincts, and physicality.
Moehrig is the premier prospect in this evening matchup, but there are also a few more prospects to watch. Linebacker Garrett Wallow is another defensive player with a draftable grade. He’s already made a defensive stop as the first quarter gets underway. IC
Florida vs. LSU kicking off without one critical offensive player (7:10 PM)
It’s about that time. The No. 6 Florida Gators are kicking off against the LSU Tigers. Florida has been of the year’s best stories, dominating on the offensive side of the ball. With that being said, they’ll be without tight end Kyle Pitts tonight, as Pitts has a lingering leg injury. Pitts’ absence will undoubtedly be a blow for the Gators. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound threat is a genuine game-changing weapon, whose length and athleticism frequently bails out quarterback Kyle Trask.
While Pitts will be unavailable, this game still deserves the watchful eye of draft junkies. Trask’s pro projection remains an enigma as he continues to put up record-breaking numbers, and wide receiver Kadarius Toney has developed quickly into one of the league’s most dynamic players. IC
Hamsah Nasirildeen slowly gaining momentum heading into 2021 (7:00 PM)
It’s been a rough year for Florida State safety Hamsah Nasirildeen. After suffering a torn ACL in his redshirt junior season, the defensive standout struggled to return to the field. Today marked Nasirildeen’s second game of the season. The return hasn’t been without its challenges, but Nasirildeen earned a victory today, using his concentration to pick off a deflected pass.
Nasirildeen has a very imposing frame at 6-foot-4, 220. But his struggles with injury will leave him heading to the NFL with a note of uncertainty. With that being said, he accepted a Senior Bowl invite earlier this week, so he’ll have a chance to prove he’s back to one-hundred percent at that event. IC
Wisconsin offense struggling with basic execution against Hawkeyes (6:50 PM)
Upstart quarterback Graham Mertz provided a quick boost to the Wisconsin offense earlier in the year. However, since then, he’s been inconsistent, and against the Hawkeyes, he’s been unable to execute on a fundamental level. Mertz is completing just over 50% of his passes and recently threw an end zone interception, failing to recognize the linebacker in coverage.
Mertz was a top quarterback recruit out of high school, and he’s viewed as a prospect to watch for 2022 and beyond. But he has a lot of work to do with his mechanics and processing if he wants to improve in the years to come. Consequently, junior tight end Jake Ferguson has also had a quiet day. The 6-foot-5, 246-pound target has just 14 yards on three catches, and while he has some intrigue as a draft prospect, Iowa’s defense has negated his presence today. IC
Carlton Martial standing out as Troy takes Coastal to the final minute (6:35 PM)
The Troy Trojans are doing everything they can to try and upset the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. What was once a two-possession game is now a high-octane pressure cooker, as Troy trails Coastal 42-38 with less than a minute to go. One of the key catalysts for Troy has been junior linebacker, Carlton Martial.
Martial has been a tackling machine today. He’s been flying around the field, and he also gave the Trojans life with a late interception. He did an excellent job reading the quarterback’s eyes and jumped up for a pick on the far side of the field. Martial’s 5-foot-9 frame will hurt him on the NFL Draft circuit, but his production and all-out motor will earn him fans, regardless. IC
Chauncey Golston and Daviyon Nixon wrecking the Wisconsin line (6:30 PM)
We covered Golston earlier, but it deserves reiteration: Golston and Daviyon Nixon are playing at a high level against Wisconsin. Golston recently beat offensive tackle Cole Van Lanen one-on-one, using a twitch-and-rip combo to bat Van Lanen aside. He then closed in on Graham Mertz and threw him to the ground.
Golston is a powerful edge rusher with some inside-outside versatility at his size, and Nixon, standing at 6-foot-3, 305, has the innate leverage and explosiveness to be a key contributor at the NFL level. Both of these players have the feel of mid-round picks to me, although Nixon could easily go Day 2, given his ascent and the IDL class’s general weakness. IC
The Spencer Sanders roller coaster continues for Oklahoma State (6:25 PM)
Spencer Sanders is a quarterback you want to like because he has a lot of the tools. He can cover a lot of distance with his arm and generate velocity. He’s also an outstanding athlete at the position. However, he’s just so inconsistent; it’s hard to commit to him as a prospect. While the Cowboys lead by a significant margin today, Sanders has three touchdowns and two picks. One of those interceptions occurred in the end zone.
Sanders has the upside you want in a developmental quarterback. But he’s still incredibly volatile, and some of the decisions he makes are head-scratching. Earlier in the season, you might have been able to pass him off as a potential Day 2 pick, but Day 3 is likely set in stone as his range now. IC
Ihmir Smith-Marsette has a sensational drive in the second half (5:50 PM)
The Iowa-Wisconsin matchup has been very defensive thus far. However, two of the game’s biggest offensive plays just occurred, both courtesy of senior wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette. In the first big play, Smith-Marsette used a smooth double move to gain separation. Then he corralled the under-thrown pass while being contacted. He finished off the drive with a touchdown catch, using good body control to flip around and haul in an attempt from Spencer Petras.
Smith-Marsette’s production has taken a massive dip from last season. He’s not an overwhelming athlete for his undersized frame (6-foot-1, 179), but his performance down the stretch in this game indicates where he can win. He might not ever be a premier weapon at the NFL level, but as wide receiver depth and a rotational contributor, he has a good shot. IC
Checking in on North Carolina’s running backs at halftime (5:35 PM)
Earlier, we went over the Tar Heels’ running back duo of Javonte Williams and Michael Carter. Now at the half, it’s time to take a look back and see how those backs fared in the first two quarters against the Miami Hurricanes. Carter logged 120 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries, while Williams put up 112 yards and two scores on ten carries. For those of you getting the calculators out, that’s over thirteen yards per carry. That qualifies for reasonably good efficiency.
What’s more impressive is that, while the offensive linemen have done an excellent job today, a lot of those yards have been generated by Carter and Williams. Carter’s elusiveness and dynamism remain near the top of his class, and Williams’ combination of explosiveness and contact balance can be brutal for teams. Both running backs are putting up numbers today, and with a big lead, that may continue in the second half. IC
Tennessee DB Bryce Thompson puts himself on the map with interception (5:25 PM)
This week provided us with a rare event: Tennessee football made the highlight reel. Of course, Vanderbilt doesn’t give the volunteers a very tough test, but they do lead 28-10 at the half, and much of that point differential can be attributed to a pick-six by Volunteers defensive back Bryce Thompson. In an impressive athletic display, Thompson used his body control to reach back and intercept a pass from Ken Seals with one hand. He then broke a couple of tackles en route to a scoring return.
A true junior, Thompson is draft-eligible, but it’s more likely that he stays in school for his senior season. Thompson only has average size at 5-foot-11, 190, but he has intriguing athletic traits and good ball production in past seasons. He achieved three interceptions in both 2018 and 2019, and he has 11 total deflections to pair with that. IC
Iowa defense benefitting from Chauncey Golston’s presence on the edge (5:05 PM)
Each year, the Iowa defense is a haven for underrated NFL Draft prospects, and that’s especially true this season. Players like Daviyon Nixon and Jack Koerner have shown out in previous weeks, but today, the star on defense for the Hawkeyes is edge rusher, Chauncey Golston.
Golston has been incredibly active today, both as a pass rusher and a run defender. Golston has used his 6-foot-5, 270-pound frame to generate penetration and obstruct the passing lane, and he’s also shown good hustle and range to the sideline. Most recently, however, Golston instead streaked inside, stopping a late-down run by Wisconsin with surprising fluidity and quickness. Despite his play speed, Golston isn’t an elite athlete, but he still has good tools, and his continued production bodes well for him and his stock.
In addition to the aforementioned players, also keep an eye on Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell. Campbell is only a true sophomore, but he’s 6-foot-5, 243, and just snuffed out a fourth-down conversion attempt with impressive instincts and pursuit speed. IC
Buffalo making short work of Akron behind potent rushing attack (4:55 PM)
39 carries, 348 total rushing yards, and five rushing touchdowns. That’s the stat line for the Buffalo Bulls’ ground game as they lead the Akron Zips 49-0 in the third quarter. It’s been another banner day for Jarret Patterson, a running back who’s starting to make a name for himself as a legitimate 2021 NFL Draft prospect.
Patterson has 16 attempts for 105 yards and two scores thus far and has again put himself on the map with his production. Patterson is undersized at the position, but he has good toughness and contact balance and runs with an attitude. It also helps that he’s running behind a line with some potential NFL talent.
In particular, Kayode Awosika is an intriguing blocker who could have an NFL future, either at tackle or guard. Awosika has good size and length, awe-inspiring grip strength, and also has some promising athletic traits. IC
Payton Turner producing in return to field for Houston Cougars (4:45 PM)
Payton Turner didn’t see the field for the Houston Cougars in November, and he reportedly dealt with COVID-19 symptoms in his extended absence from the field. But he’s back now, and he already has a sack today against the Memphis Tigers, bringing his season total to five.
Turner isn’t one of the most well-known interior defensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft, but the senior has a good pallet of traits and a fair amount of upside at the NFL level. At 6-foot-6, 270, he often plays from the edge position, but he’s a decent athlete for his size, and with his length and power, he can shift inside and also rush from the three-technique spot. Given the present traits, Turner could be molded into a versatile, impactful player by the right coaching staff. IC
Chazz Surratt makes a big fourth-down stop against the Hurricanes (4:30 PM)
Former quarterback and current linebacker Chazz Surratt has some of the highest upside in the 2021 NFL Draft, as Neal Driscoll can attest. A consistent issue for him has been tackling, but he’s been excellent in that department today, in North Carolina’s game against the Miami Hurricanes.
Just a few minutes ago, the Hurricanes attempted to convert a short fourth down. They ran the ball down the middle, but before the ball carrier could get past the line of scrimmage, Surratt used his short-range burst to fill the gap and sized up the runner, stopping him in his tracks. If Surratt can impose his will and his 6-foot-3, 225-pound size more consistently, he could eventually be an impactful starter at the NFL level. IC
Brevin Jordan making sure no one forgets him in TE conversation (4:25 PM)
Kyle Pitts has comfortably locked down the TE1 spot with his 2020 season, but Brevin Jordan can cement himself as TE2 if he keeps playing the way he has been. Pat Freiermuth has more name recognition, but Jordan also has considerable NFL upside, as he’s proving today against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Jordan isn’t as big as Pitts or Freiermuth, but he’s still able to extend for high catches, and he has some of the best run-after-catch traits among tight ends in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jordan’s elusiveness and contact balance will be a deciding factor for teams who favor run-after-catch propensity in their weapons, and today, he’s reaffirming his strengths there. IC
Dillon Stoner playing well for Cowboys in relief of Tylan Wallace (4:15 PM)
For the Oklahoma State Cowboys, offensive performance this season has been almost solely contingent on Tylan Wallace’s presence. When he’s out, there’s a noticeable drop in consistency for the unit. Of course, that hasn’t been the case today. Wallace didn’t suit up for the Cowboys’ contest against the Baylor Bears, but senior wideout Dillon Stoner has played well in his absence.
In last week’s live blog, Tony mentioned Stoner, describing the fourth-year player as a smart, sure-handed receiver, even if he lacks top-end athletic tools. And today, Stoner is living up to that billing. Thus far, he has four receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns. On one touchdown, he showed good ball tracking ability downfield and used some excellent angle awareness to cover the remaining ground against faster defensive backs. On the other touchdown, he used his toughness to come up on top in a contested situation.
Stoner likely isn’t more than a Day 3 prospect, but he can earn himself a spot on the draft board if he closes out the season on a strong note. IC
Michael Carter and Javonte Williams a dynamic duo at RB for Tar Heels (4:00 PM)
The running back position is an intriguing one to scout every year. There are always value deals that can be had on late Day 2 and Day 3, and even in the undrafted pool. There’s a vast pool of opportunity at this position each season, and in 2021, two North Carolina players will contribute to the talent present. Michael Carter and Javonte Williams constitute a dynamic, high-upside duo, and they’re picking up where they left off against Miami.
Williams has a safer projection as a potential workhorse back; he’s 5-foot-10, 220, with good power and explosiveness, and he’s also a very smart player, as he showed on his 17th touchdown just a few minutes ago, extending the ball to the goal line just before hitting the ground. Carter is smaller, measuring in at only 5-foot-8, 199, but he’s also fairly explosive, and he has good contact balance for his size. Both of these guys should have NFL roles in the future. IC
Some late-round appeal with Miami QB D’Eriq King (3:55 PM)
D’Eriq King has had a bit of a whirlwind career at the college football level. He started at Houston, had an excellent season in 2018, then opted to transfer just a year later. Now, he’s closing out his tenure on a strong note, with 20 touchdowns to only four interceptions so far this season for the Miami Hurricanes.
King won’t get much consideration before Day 3, but he has some good tools for a developmental quarterback. His arm has its moments of easy velocity generation, and he’s also a fast, agile player. At 5-foot-11, 202, he won’t meet some teams’ size requirements, but he’s a player with some upside in an NFL that places more and more value on mobility and creation at quarterback. IC
Tanner Morgan just does not impress me (2:40 PM)
I’ve seen places on the net where Morgan has been graded as a first-round pick. I’ve spoken with people who believe Morgan is a second-day prospect. Me? I grade the Gopher junior as a UDFA. He’s a solid college passer who efficiently manages the game but has no tremendous physical skill that translates to the next level. Morgan is small, lacks the big arm, and not a true RPO signal-caller.
Today’s contest against Nebraska is a perfect example- Morgan has completed 14 of 25 passes for 143 yards with one TD and no interceptions. He’s also had seven passes broken up as the fourth quarter begins. Maybe a team selects Morgan late in the draft, but I struggle to see him as anything other than a third quarterback at the next level.
Ben Cleveland could be another late-round sleeper (2:20 PM)
Running back, Zamir White just took it 43 yards for his first TD of the day. Midway through the third quarter, White has 126 rushing yards on 12 carriers as Georgia is up on Missouri 35-14, and much of the credit goes to his offensive line. Despite the loss of three starters from last year’s unit, two of who ended up in the first round of April’s draft, the UGA offensive line has come together after some early-season woes.
Massive guard Ben Cleveland has looked good at times and is playing well today.
Cleveland is hard to miss as he measures 6-feet-6.5-inches and 340 pounds. The senior plays to his size and blocks with a nasty attitude, annihilating opponents once he gets his hands on them. Cleveland is best in a small area and would not be effective in a zone-blocking scheme but would be a terrific utility lineman for a conventional offense.
The center position expected to get an injection of talent from underclassmen (1:50 PM)
The senior crop of centers is led by Penn State’s Michael Menet, who I mentioned earlier today and Landon Dickerson of Alabama. Both are graded as fringe day two prospects, and the position would benefit from an injection of underclassmen. I’m told that’s precisely what will happen.
To the surprise of no one in the scouting community is Creed Humphrey of Oklahoma will enter the draft. Humphrey came close to entering the 2020 draft before deciding to return to the Sooners for another season. Sources also tell me Josh Myers of Ohio State will also enter the draft. Humphrey and Myers were graded neck and neck by scouts entering the season. Both were stamped as top 45 prospects.
Sources say there’s a good chance both players could be junior invites to the Senior Bowl depending on the timing of their announcement.
Advisory Committee Grades expected to go out next week (1:25 PM)
I’m told juniors who requested draft grades from the NFL Advisory Committee should expect to receive them beginning next week. In recent years, the advisory committee gave three grades: First-round grade, second-round grade, go back to school.
Michal Menet having another strong game (1:05 PM)
If teams are looking for a tough, durable, and smart center as Day 2 of the draft closes out, they should look to Michal Menet of Penn State. New York Jets, are you listening?
Menet may not be the most athletic or prettiest blocker in the middle of the line. Rather, he’s a fundamentally sound lineman who plays intelligent, consistent football. Menet has had several nice battles against Naquan Jones today, despite giving away 25 pounds to the Michigan State defender. He just threw the critical block to spring quarterback Sean Clifford free for a 30-yard TD run to put Penn State up 10-7.
Is entering the draft the best course of action for Christian Barmore? (12:55 PM)
Two weeks ago during the December 2nd edition of The Draft Insiders podcast, I reported that word in scouting circles has Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore entering the draft. But after watching the redshirt sophomore much of the season, I wonder if that’s his best course of action.
Barmore has shown flashes of dominance and possesses tremendous upside. But there are too many times Barmore is easily washed from the action by a single blocker. He’s easily knocked from his angle of attack and washed from the action.
The curve at the next level will be steep for Barmore, as his former teammate Quinnen Williams found out, and Williams was a much higher-rated prospect. Barmore would be best served returning for another season at Alabama, physically maturing and getting stronger, as well as improving his game on the college level rather than struggling in the NFL.
William Sherman is another college LT/projected NFL guard (12:40 PM)
William Sherman of Colorado is someone who I graded as draftable since the end of his freshman season. The redshirt junior is a mobile blocker that’s slightly undersized but agile and effective in motion. He does a good job protecting his quarterback’s blind side but needs to get a bit bigger and stronger before he’s ready for the next level.
Vederian Lowe = Crazy Underrated (12:30)
Keep an eye on Illinois left tackle Vederian Lowe, whom I mentioned during today’s intro. He’s a stout, fundamentally sound blocker who controls defenders at the point of attack. Lowe will likely move inside to guard in the NFL, but he has the body type, power, and style to be a late-round pick who eventually starts on Sunday.
He’s made several crushing blocks in the early going as Illinois is moving the ball downfield against Northwestern.
Underclassmen Updates (12:15)
With the season coming to an end for so many schools, will there be a rash of underclassmen announcing they are entering the draft? My belief is yes, though it won’t be without serious pushback from their college coaches.
Boston College announced this week they will opt-out of the bowl season, so what can we expect from tight end Hunter Long? I’m told while its about 90% Long ultimately enters the draft, I was also told the Boston College coaches are making the hard push for Long as well as his teammates to return for another season. This would include all seniors who are eligible for a fifth or sixth year on the field per NCAA waiver, including offensive lineman Zion Johnson, graded as a middle-round pick.
The situation is the same in Mississippi, where Lane Kiffin is not only attempting to retain junior receiver Elijah Moore, but is hoping to get fifth-year senior Kenny Yeboah to return for another season. Yeboah elevated his draft stock this season and now grades as a Day 2 tight end.
Georgia coaches are telling edge rusher Azeez Ojulari that he received a fifth-round grade from scouts. Truth be told, Ojulari did receive a few fifth-round grades from scouts, but that was before the season began. It was a terribly low grade and it’s disingenuous to try and make Ojulari believe he’s a fifth-round prospect.
Vederian Lowe vs. Earnest Brown will have scouts attention when Northwestern and Illinois battle
As Northwestern prepares for the Big Ten title game against Ohio State next weekend, their matchup against Illinois in Week 15 offers two late-round prospects going head to head.
Vederian Lowe has been a consistent three-year starter for the Fighting Illini at left tackle and comes with next-level size and strength. He’ll likely move inside to guard on Sundays, but his matchup against Earnest Brown is one that scouts will key in on.
Brown is athletic and explosive, and he comes with upside both physically and on the field. He’s a terrific pass rusher who also makes plays in space. Brown’s career at Northwestern, and his development as a player, have been hampered by injury; he has mid-round talent but late-round durability. How Brown handles the strength and size of Lowe will be of interest to NFL scouts.
Can Miami’s Bubba Bolden prove he’s a versatile safety?
As I’ve been reporting, Miami safety Bubba Bolden is expected to declare for the draft and head to the NFL after the college football season. He’s a hard-hitting defensive back with terrific size and instincts, but he lacks great speed and range.
His battle against North Carolina in Week 15 will be telling, and it could have a major impact on his draft grade.
The Tar Heels have two outstanding receiver prospects in deep threat Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome, their dependable underneath wideout. Throwing the ball to the duo is a future franchise quarterback, true sophomore Sam Howell.
Bolden’s ability to guard against Brown’s speed, as well as the route running and separation skills of Newsome, will help determine whether he’s simply a one-dimensional downhill safety or has the versatility to be used in center field.
Week 15 College Football TV Schedule: How and Where to Watch
See below for all of the Week 15 college football games today. Find out what time each game kicks off along with the channel they will be broadcast on.
Week 15 College Football Early Afternoon Schedule
- #1 Alabama at Arkansas – 12 PM ET | ESPN
- #9 Georgia at #25 Missouri – 12 PM ET | SECN
- Illinois at #14 Northwestern – 12 PM ET | ESPN2
- Utah at #21 Colorado – 12 PM ET | FOX
- Rutgers at Maryland – 12 PM ET | BTN
- Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan – 12 PM ET | ESPN3
- Western Michigan at Ball State – 12 PM ET | ESPN+
- Wake Forest at Louisville – 12 PM ET | ACCN
- UAB at Rice – 1 PM ET | ESPN3
- Akron at Buffalo – 2:30 PM ET | CBSSN
Week 15 College Football Late Afternoon Schedule
- #13 Coastal Carolina at Troy – 3 PM ET | ESPN+
- Central Michigan at Toledo – 3 PM ET | ESPN3
- Navy at Army – 3 PM ET | CBS
- #17 North Carolina at #10 Miami – 3:30 PM ET | ABC
- Wisconsin at #16 Iowa – 3:30 PM ET | FS1
- Houston at Memphis – 3:30 PM ET | ESPNU
- Michigan State at Penn State – 3:30 PM ET | ESPN
- #20 Texas at Kansas – 4 PM ET | ESPN2
- Washington at Oregon – 4 PM ET | FOX
- Tennessee at Vanderbilt – 4 PM ET | SECN
- Duke at Florida State – 4 PM ET | ACCN
- Boise State at Wyoming – 6 PM ET | CBSSN
- Appalachian State at Georgia Southern – 6 PM ET | ESPN3
Week 15 College Football Primetime Schedule
- LSU at #6 Florida – 7 PM ET | ESPN
- #22 Oklahoma State at Baylor – 7 PM ET | ESPNU
- Louisiana Tech at TCU – 7 PM ET | FS1
- #15 USC at UCLA – 7:30 PM ET | ABC
- Auburn at Mississippi – 7:30 PM ET | SECN
- Virginia at Virginia Tech – 8 PM ET | ACCN
- Utah State at Colorado State – 9:30 PM ET | CBSSN
Week 15 College Football Late Night Schedule
- San Diego State at #18 BYU – 10 PM ET | ESPN2
- Stanford at Oregon State – 10:30 PM ET | ESPNU
- California at Washington State – 10:30 PM ET | FS1
- Fresno State at New Mexico – 10:30 PM ET | FS2
- UNLV at Hawai’i – 11 PM ET