The big news heading into the Week 9 college football schedule is the positive test result for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence publicly stated he’s having minor symptoms, and he will not be on the field today against Boston College. But that aside, there are a number of good prospect match-ups to watch, and we’ll be here from noon till midnight with analysis and news. Information on how and where to watch, which includes kickoff times and the TV schedule, can be found below.
All of the live Week 9 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.[sv slug=”mocksim”]
Week 9 College Football Live Blog with Tony Pauline, Ian Cummings, and Nick Farabaugh
Updates for the Week 9 college football action through midnight ET will be timestamped once we kick off at noon, and each update will be followed by the analyst’s initials. “IC” is Ian Cummings, “NF” is Nick Farabaugh, and if there are no initials, it’s me (Tony Pauline).
Zach Wilson shoving his way into first-round consideration (11:55 PM)
I have seen enough to say that Wilson is officially working his way into the first-round conversation. After another strong first half with four touchdown passes from Wilson, BYU is rolling behind their impressive quarterback. His best play may have been where he rolled around in the pocket and threw a dart down the middle of the field between two defenders for pinpoint accuracy. Wilson did not have his feet set, and even though it was incomplete, he threaded the needle about as well as he could have.
However, it is more impressive to me that he is learning on the fly. On BYU’s last touchdown, they ran two straight fade plays. Wilson put too much air under it on the first attempt, thus putting it outside of the tight end’s catch radius. However, on the second attempt, he took some air off it and worked it to the back pylon where only his tight end could bring it down for the touchdown. It is improving things like that and paying attention to the small details that make me high on Wilson. He has attention to detail. NF
Romeo Doubs rising as one of the best receivers in the Mountain West (11:45 PM)
After a 12-catch, 117-yard showing against Wyoming last week, Nevada wide receiver Romeo Doubs is already over 150 receiving yards this week with two touchdowns. With over 800 receiving yards in his sophomore year, Doubs has already proven to be a dependable and productive receiver. However, with his 6-foot-3 frame, it is clear that Doubs uses his size to impose his will. The physicality that Doubs uses to gain a step of separation on the deep ball is impressive.
Related | Schulte’s 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
Thus far, it has been all about Doubs’ body control and awareness to make some impressive catches. You can tell his impressive body control shows up after the catch, as Doubs is shifty and slippery in the open field. I am impressed with what I have seen from Doubs thus far. He can return kicks, use manufactured touches to create yards, and win deep down the field. Only a junior, Doubs has time to prove his legitimacy more over the course of the season with quarterback Carson Strong. NF
Charles Snowden wrecks the North Carolina offensive line (11:35 PM)
In past weeks, I have commented on the impressive play of Charles Snowden for the Virginia Cavaliers, but this week against North Carolina, he was the ultimate catalyst in the 44-41 upset they pulled off over the Tar Heels. With four sacks and a forced fumble, Snowden was a game wrecker. No one on North Carolina could block Snowden as he used his length and a long arm to win on a few of his reps.
A pass rusher and off-ball linebacker at the same time, Snowden’s 6-foot-7 frame is an anomaly at either position. However, he is surprisingly fluid and has a solid sideline-to-sideline range. Working as a 4-3 SAM could be his best role in the NFL, as Snowden is still more than adept in coverage, too. Still, a team could stick him strictly at edge rusher with his length and first-step explosiveness and he could become a force. The value and upside Snowden brings to a defense is invaluable, and he looks like a high-upside Day 3 prospect who can sneak into Day 2 if he keeps putting up strong games like this. NF
Carson Strong emerging as rising quarterback prospect (11:20 PM)
Nevada has an intriguing team spearheaded by their aerial attack and quarterback Carson Strong. After an impressive start to the season at Wyoming last week, Strong is slinging the ball all around the field this week. Strong throws a really pretty deep ball. There are not a lot of quarterbacks out there right now with the arm talent to switch up velocities and the arm strength to really just drop these throws in the bucket, especially as a true sophomore, but Strong does it consistently. Thus far on the night, he has done it three times already.
Strong’s questions will emerge from the mental side of his game and the pocket presence he has. However, the natural talent is undeniable. As the season continues to progress, it would not be a surprise to see Strong climb up some draft boards, given the fact that some of these throws he is making are NFL-calber throws. NF
Trey Ragas is a talented sleeper (11:10 PM)
A dense runner, Louisiana running back Trey Ragas has run wild tonight on Texas State for 116 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Ragas is the definition of a bowling ball who just bounces off of tacklers with ease. His tough-running style and outstanding contact balance are immediately noticeable to anyone that watches the Ragin’ Cajuns play on Saturdays. While he’s a big guy that likes to dish out punishment as a running back, Ragas has good lateral agility and some wiggle in his frame. The physicality can allow him to thrive in a short-yardage role in the NFL.
The natural limitations with Ragas are there for most power backs. He is not the fastest guy on the field and the short-area burst is also lacking. In the modern NFL, that will always push down your stock to a degree. But the power back is not dead just yet, and as a rotational, physical punisher, Ragas has a role. His willingness to be physical projects well for a hefty special teams role, too. NF
Shaun Wade struggling on the boundary (11:00 PM)
Making the move to the outside, Shaun Wade’s draft stock would be predicated on if he could thrive on the boundary. Through two weeks here in Big Ten play, that has not been the case. Wade instead has struggled against big Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson. It was not just the acrobatic one-handed catch, but Dotson is cooking Wade on slant routes and various other routes tonight. Wade’s feel in the slot is innate, but it does not seem to be translating to the boundary right now.
Being a great slot cornerback is fine and that position is rising in prominence, but it is hard to be a first-round draft pick by just being a good slot cornerback. Having the flexibility to play inside and outside is more valuable and would raise Wade’s stock much more. As such, if Wade’s struggles continue, he could see his stock slip to Day 2, where teams looking for a slot cornerback will scoop him up sometime in the middle of the second round. NF
Another week, another Zach Wilson dime (10:50 PM)
Here in Week 9 of college football, Zach Wilson has an easy matchup against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The level of competition is going to continue to be a concern for Wilson as the season goes along, but every week, he is adding more spectacular throws to his highlight reel. The inevitable “off-week” has yet to hit the BYU signal-caller.
On his first touchdown of the game, Wilson threw a shot down the right sideline and could not have placed it better. He threw to a spot where only his receiver could have caught it, and it was a gorgeous outside-the-numbers throw. The most impressive thing about Wilson is how consistently he hits throws outside the numbers. The arm talent pops out to you on tape, but the especially impressive ball placement is striking. Wilson is seriously working his way into the first-round conversation. That is not hyperbole. NF
Master Teague is an odd, but solid prospect (10:45 PM)
Watching Master Teague tonight against Penn State, it is clear that he is a player with a unique skill set. Teague has racked up 100 yards today, but most of that is due to pure volume and an explosive 31-yard scamper more than anything. It is undeniable that Teague’s physical skillset is solid. His long speed is extremely good, and the short-area explosiveness he has to get around the corner and gain yards in those short areas is nice to see.
However, Teague is not someone who strikes me as a particularly agile back. The tightness in his ankles does not give him a ton of wiggle. That makes his lateral quickness average at best. Primarily, Teague looks like a guy who should make one cut and explode right through it. He has the toughness and density to shed some tackles and grind out the hard yards, as well as falling forward in tackles more often than not.
More of a slasher, Teague is a guy who will work best in a committee than as a pure bellcow running back. That is compounded more by his uncertain skillset in the passing game and pass protection. While I see the pros and where Teague obviously wins, his limitations can hold back how expansive his role will be at the next level. NF
Thayer Munford showing promise against tough Penn State edge rushers (10:35 PM)
Facing a tough duo of edge rushers in Jayson Oweh and Shaka Toney, Ohio State left tackle Thayer Munford has stood steady thus far. The physical traits of Munford have allowed him to step up against such explosive edge rushers. This is a young man that can really move and get quick depth in his pass sets. The smooth, quick footwork that he displays allows him to get to his spot with ease.
Munford has good punch power and nice length to really disrupt speed rushers and get inside their pads. Even when threatened with power, Munford has anchored down quite nicely thus far on the day. With lots of questions about his technical ability coming into the season, Munford’s hands seem to be more consistent in their placement. The group strength and punch power are still all there. He is a high-upside prospect that can easily be a Day 2 pick, given his physical traits and talent level. NF
Fields’ poise and control are impressive (10:20 PM)
People will talk about the arm strength, accuracy, and athleticism of Justin Fields, which are all part of the equation of why the Ohio State quarterback will be an early first-round pick next April. Yet it’s his intangibles that really stand out for me.
Fields poise, patience and control are equally impressive as any of the physical skills. He’s always in control of the situation, never gets rattled and does a great job leading the Buckeye offense.
Kellen Mond continues to improve (10:05 PM)
You have to like what you see from Kellen Mond as the Texas A&M signal-caller has shown consistent improvement and is slowly turning from thrower to passer. His numbers have not been eye-popping this season, but they have been efficient and solid. Tonight against Arkansas his stats line reads 19-of-22 passing, 244 yards, and 2 TDs. That is now 11 TDs and two interceptions this year, much better than the almost 2-to-1 ratio of the prior two seasons.
I’ve got to believe Mond, who was graded as a top-60 prospect entering the season, receives an invitation to the Senior Bowl. At that point, the sky is the limit for the Aggie passer.
KJ Costello- from bad to worse (9:50 PM)
I sent up red flags on the poor play of KJ Costello from the get-go. While many gushed over his five-touchdown performance during the season-opening victory against LSU, I warned about his poor ball security. It’s only gotten worse and after tonight you have to wonder if Costello will see the field again this season for Mississippi State.
Costello was pulled early in the game against Alabama, who presently lead 34-0, after completing 4-of-11 passes for just 16 yards. With the departure of Kylin Hill followed by head coach Mike Leach’s comments the MSU roster may need to be purged, it’s anyone’s guess if Costello will be back. One thing is for sure, the quarterbacks draft stock is plummeting.
Welcome back Ronnie Perkins (9:30 PM)
The Oklahoma – Texas Tech game got ugly very quickly, especially if you’re a Red Raider fan. But the contest does mark the return of Oklahoma pass rusher Ronnie Perkins, someone I’ve consistently graded as a first-round pick. Perkins missed the initial six games of the season for assorted reasons but looks good in his return.
Through the first quarter, Perkins only has a single tackle but he looks athletic, smooth, and has been hustling around the field to make plays.
Kadarius Toney- another receiver lost in the shuffle (9:20 PM)
Florida Gator senior Kadarius Toney is another receiver who gets lost in the shuffle, though to a much lesser extent than Chris Olave. Toney takes a back seat to star tight end Kyle Pitts but he’s a big-play wideout with a nose for the end zone.
Coming into this evening’s game against Missouri, Toney had four touchdowns in three games and was averaging 13.2 yards on 18 catches. Thus far tonight he’s caught four passes for 60 yards and two touchdowns as the first half closes out. Toney is like Olave of Ohio State in that he’s a slightly built receiver with big-time speed and terrific pass-catching skills. I presently grade him as a fifth-round prospect.
Baron Browning meeting expectations (8:50 PM)
From his sophomore film of 2018, Browning displayed great skill and potential. His game took a step back last season as Browning struggled to see the field after being left off the starting unit. Despite this, scouts handed Browning high grades entering 2020 (top 45 prospect) and thus far he’s justified scouts faith in his play.
Browning played well last week against Nebraska and he’s playing even better this evening against Penn State. He’s incredibly athletic, as Browning showed covering Pat Freiermuth to break up a pass in the end zone, forceful up the field on the blitz and he’s playing assignment football. He’s developing into a more complete version of former Buckeye Malik Harrison, selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of April’s draft.
Keep Tre Walker on your radar (8:25 PM)
San Jose receiver Tre Walker is someone I graded as a PFA over the summer, and the smallish receiver is off to a fast start. He already has four receptions for 56 yards and one touchdown with nine minutes left in the second quarter of tonight’s contest against New Mexico. A week ago, during the SJSU victory over Air Force, Walker finished with four receptions for 38 yards.
Walker is an explosive pass catcher with next-level speed. Despite measuring just 5-feet-10-inches and 173 pounds, he fights to come away with the difficult grab in a crowd, and he usually wins out. Walker offers potential as a fifth/slot receiver and punt returner at the next level.
Chris Olave will never get his just due (8:10 PM)
Considering he has Justin Fields tossing him passes and a host of talented pass catchers ahead of him on draft boards, it’s unlikely Chris Olave will ever get the credit he deserves. I believe that will be true next April as Olave should get first-round consideration but will end up in the second.
That was a terrific pass by Justin Fields but an even better catch for a touchdown by Olave. The junior is a game-breaking threat and a reliable receiver. The only ill in his game is Olave is slight of size and will struggle in press coverage at the next level.
I’m told Olave’s current plans include the 2021 NFL Draft.
When does Mac Jones enter the conversation? (8:00 PM)
As a potential first-round pick?
I’m going to hedge and say it’s too soon to be committing to this, but you cannot help but be impressed with Jones this season. The Bama quarterback seems to improve almost every game and continues to prove he’s next-level worthy. His poise, patience, leadership ability, accuracy, football IQ, and on and on and on…..
The Mississippi State defense may be a sieve, but after the first quarter, Jones has thrown for 171 yards and two scores.
The Ohio State-Penn State draft board (7:40 PM)
Tonight’s Ohio State – Penn State game is rife with NFL talent. Based on my board, there are a handful of first-round prospects in this contest, with four playing this evening. Micah Parsons previously announced he was opting out to prepare for the draft.
Eleven players grade as potential top 100 picks, and overall there are 25 draftable players in this game.
Ohio State-Penn State Prospects
|1st||Justin Fields||Ohio State||QB||3Jr||1|
|1st||Micah Parsons||Penn State||OLB||3Jr||11|
|1st||Rasheed Walker||Penn State||T||3So||53|
|1st||Shaun Wade||Ohio State||CB||4Jr||24|
|1-2||Wyatt Davis||Ohio State||G||4Jr||52|
|2nd||Pete Werner||Ohio State||OLB||4Sr||20|
|2nd||Chris Olave||Ohio State||WR||3Jr||19|
|2nd||Pat Freiermuth||Penn State||TE||3Jr||87|
|3rd||Baron Browning||Ohio State||ILB||4Sr||5|
|3rd||Josh Myers||Ohio State||C||4Jr||71|
|3rd||Tommy Togiai||Ohio State||DT||3Jr||71|
|4th||Tyreke Smith||Ohio State||DE||3Jr||11|
|4th||Journey Brown||Penn State||RB||4Jr||4|
|4th||Shaka Toney||Penn State||OLB||5Sr||18|
|3rd||Tuf Borland||Ohio State||ILB||5Sr||32|
|4th||Michal Menet||Penn State||C||5Sr||62|
|5th||Thayer Munford||Ohio State||T||4Sr||75|
|5th||Master Teague III||Ohio State||RB||3So||33|
|5th||Tariq Castro-Fields||Penn State||CB||4Sr||5|
|5th||Jahan Dotson||Penn State||WR||3Jr||5|
|5th||Trey Sermon||Ohio State||RB||5Sr||4|
|6th||Jonathan Sutherland||Penn State||S||4Jr||26|
|6th||Nicholas Petit-Frere||Ohio State||T||3So||78|
|6th||Jeremy Ruckert||Ohio State||TE||3Jr||88|
|6th||Luke Farrell||Ohio State||TE||5Sr||89|
|6-7||Drue Chrisman||Ohio State||P||5Sr||91|
|FA||Lamont Wade||Penn State||S||4Sr||38|
|FA||Jonathon Cooper||Ohio State||DE||4Sr||18|
|FA||William Fries||Penn State||T||5Sr||71|
|FA||Jaquan Brisker||Penn State||S||4Sr||7|
|FA||Mike Miranda||Penn State||G||4Jr||73|
|FA||Blake Haubeil||Ohio State||K||4Sr||95|
|FA||Sean Clifford||Penn State||QB||4Jr||14|
|FA||Antonio Shelton||Penn State||DT||5Sr||55|
|FA||PJ Mustipher||Penn State||DT||3Jr||97|
|FA||Shane Simmons||Penn State||DE||5Sr||34|
America’s team loving UAB prospect? (7:35 PM)
Let’s start the evening’s activities with a bit of news.
I’ve gushed about Jordan Smith, the UAB linebacker, since grading him as a second-day pick over the summer. He continues to climb draft boards, and the chatter on Smith is getting louder in the scouting community.
I’m told more than two dozen teams were on hand in Ruston, Louisiana, for the UAB-Louisiana Tech contest, presently in overtime. Almost all are present to watch Smith. The Dallas Cowboys alone had four scouts in attendance to scout Smith, a linebacker/edge rusher they are very high on.
Texas QB Sam Ehlinger an underwhelming draft prospect but a true competitor (7:25 PM)
Sam Ehlinger isn’t a very promising draft prospect. He’s inconsistent with his accuracy and in-play processing, and his overall volatility can hamper the Longhorns’ offense for long stretches. But at the very least, Ehlinger deserves some respect for the sheer grit he displays in situations where clutch performance is needed.
A few minutes ago, Ehlinger rolled away from interior pressure and delivered a dart to the end zone to put Texas up over the Oklahoma State Cowboys. He’s a much-maligned passer in the draft community. Still, his athleticism, toughness, and competitive fire are legitimate traits that could help him earn a lucrative future as an NFL backup. Starter? Probably not. But he has some of the mental characteristics that NFL coaches will crave in their locker room. IC
Spencer Sanders, Tylan Wallace buoying Oklahoma State offense vs. Texas (7:20 PM)
Let’s check in on Oklahoma State’s offense. Spencer Sanders is 22-of-32 for 333 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception and is officially certified to have been born to play in the Big 12. Tylan Wallace, meanwhile, has 10 receptions for 167 yards and two scores and has added a couple more mind-blowing contested catches to his resume.
Oklahoma State is a lot of fun, not just from a viewer’s perspective but also from a scouting perspective. We’ve already touched on Wallace, but Spencer Sanders is also one of the most exciting quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. As we noted last week, he’s clearly volatile, but he’s exceptionally athletic and agile, and he plays with unmistakable energy. He has to clean up his turnovers if he wants a chance at the NFL level, but he has the dynamic ability and arm talent to have confidence as a legitimate developmental option. IC
Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore is #Good, and he’s only getting better (7:05 PM)
I know we’ve been talking a lot about wide receivers today, but there’s a reason for that: The 2021 NFL Draft’s wide receiver class is insanely talented, and every week, new prospects continue to unearth themselves. One of the best examples of this process is Ole Miss wideout, Elijah Moore.
In 2019, Moore produced a modest stat line of 67 catches, 850 yards, and six touchdowns. In just six games thus far in 2020, Moore has 61 catches for 829 yards and six touchdowns. This week, he has 14 catches for 238 yards and three scores, and he’s officially broken the Ole Miss record for receiving yards in a single game.
Moore is a bit undersized at 5-foot-9, 185, but he’s a supremely dynamic player with the change-of-direction skills, route running nuance, run-after-catch ability, and long speed to make an impact in all phases. He’s only a true junior, and the 2021 WR class may dilute some of his hype, but if he carries on this pace, he has a chance become one of the headliners. IC
Ossai meeting resistance in the form of Cowboys tackle Teven Jenkins (6:55 PM)
Make no mistake: Joseph Ossai has had a monster game for the Texas Longhorns, but he hasn’t been exclusively victorious in his line matchup. Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins has given him a fight and has won decisively on a number of reps.
Jenkins doesn’t have the name recognition that other offensive tackles have in the 2021 NFL Draft, but there are some in the scouting community who are big fans of his get-off, anchor, and power at the point of attack. Today, however, what’s been especially apparent is Jenkins’ situational awareness and mauler mentality. If he can keep improving his consistency, he could rise up the draft board at the tackle position. IC
Indiana’s rise catalyzed by an impressive defensive unit with several sleepers (6:35 PM)
The 17th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers now lead Rutgers comfortably by a score of 37-16. Much of their strong performance can be attributed to their stingy defense, which has picked off Scarlet Knights quarterback Noah Vedral three times. Indiana’s defense made Sean Clifford uncomfortable in their upset win last week, and this week, they’re picking up where they left off, with the help of a few potential NFL Draft sleepers.
Junior defensive back Jaylin Williams, who logged a pick against Penn State, got another in today’s contest. Most recently, junior linebacker Micah McFadden intercepted Vedral on an ill-fated rollout pass. McFadden, who led the team with 11 tackles in their season opener, showed decent range for his 6-foot-2, 235-pound frame, covering the out-breaking receiver every step of the way. These players may not be on the NFL’s radar yet, but if Indiana keeps playing as they have been, there will be more opportunities to gain rep. IC
Anthony Schwartz gives a preview of his game-breaking speed in a blowout (6:25 PM)
Not that Auburn needed a long touchdown from Anthony Schwartz, now up 48-3 over the LSU Tigers, but they got it. Backed inside his own 10-yard line, Bo Nix delivered an admittedly pretty deep ball to Schwartz, who used his sub-4.3 speed to blow by the entirety of the LSU secondary and roll effortlessly into the end zone.
Schwartz can gear up quicker than most players, and his rare speed and explosiveness allow him to organically create windows in the deep third of the field. Regardless of his polish, Schwartz’s sheer speed will make him a dangerous threat up the seam for NFL offenses, and his natural traits make him an NFL Draft prospect in a similar range to Seth Williams. IC
Joseph Ossai wreaking havoc in new role with Longhorns defense (5:55 PM)
It remains a subjective exercise to name a prospect as EDGE1 in the 2021 NFL Draft, and while Texas edge rusher Joseph Ossai likely won’t make it that far, he’s clearly ascending in his new role. In the 2020 offseason, I pinpointed Ossai as a potential riser, given his move to the JACK linebacker position in 2020, and he’s paying dividends for that switch. At the half against Oklahoma State, he has two sacks and a forced fumble.
Ossai was used in more of an off-ball linebacker role last year, but he looked a bit out of place. In that role, Ossai proved that he had exceptional open-field athleticism, regardless of his position. Still, in his new JACK role, which prioritizes his ability as a pass rusher, he’s able to maximize his 6-foot-4, 253-pound frame fully, and he’s been a matchup nightmare for the Cowboys’ tackles early on. With a relentless motor and extraordinary explosiveness for his size, Ossai may not be a sleeper much longer. IC
LSU’s talent-laden defense struggles to contain Auburn’s Bo Nix (5:45 PM)
I didn’t expect to write that header today, but you never know what you’ll get with college football. Five minutes into the third quarter, the Auburn Tigers lead LSU 28-3, and sophomore quarterback Bo Nix has over 220 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns.
As Tony mentioned earlier, LSU’s defense has talent, particularly in the secondary, but they haven’t been able to put things together this year. That was evident in K.J. Costello’s 600-yard explosion earlier in the season, and it’s especially evident now, as one of the SEC’s more inconsistent passers continues to produce against them. JaCoby Stevens is one player who may see his 2021 draft stock fall as a result; he’s looked out of place in coverage and surprisingly tentative up in the box. IC
Brennan Eagles an underrated, high-upside option at wide receiver in 2021 (5:20 PM)
Do you want to talk about scary on Halloween? Go check out Brennan Eagles’ touchdown reception against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. At 6-foot-4, 229, Eagles didn’t use his size or his physicality to win. Eagles instead used his straight-line speed to blow by every defender on the map.
It’s hard to get maximum recognition when you’re catching passes from Sam Ehlinger, but Eagles at least deserves a little more buzz on the draft circuit. He has plus size, and yet, he also has the speed necessary to stretch the field. That combination alone will get him looks at the NFL level. IC
Notre Dame continually benefitting from Liam Eichenberg’s presence (5:05 PM)
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish haven’t always been able to get things going on offense this year. Still, today against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, they have a healthy 17 points through two quarters, and a big reason is their ability to generate movement upfront.
Offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg headlines Notre Dame’s blocking unit; the 6-foot-6, 302-pound bookend blocker was named the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week after Notre Dame dominated Pittsburgh, and today, he’s continuing his strong 2020 play. Our own A.J. Schulte compared Eichenberg to Lions starter Taylor Decker back in July, and if Eichenberg lives up to that projection, he’ll have plenty of suitors on day two of the 2021 NFL Draft, with a chance to sneak into round one. IC
Tylan Wallace proving his utility early in the battle against Texas (4:45 PM)
There will always be a market for smart, slippery wide receivers in the NFL, and those are two critical foundational boxes that Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace most definitely checks. As the Cowboys look to stay undefeated against the Texas Longhorns, Wallace is providing a positive impact early.
Wallace has three catches for 54 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, and a few of his trademark staples have been easily noticeable. At one point, Wallace used his smarts to track back on a broken play and find an open zone, and on his touchdown grab, he used his suddenness as a route runner to gain separation and fought through congestion to haul in a contested catch. His slight frame limits his upside somewhat, but in the middle rounds, one NFL team will be thrilled to take Wallace. IC
TCU’s secondary potentially loaded with NFL Draft prospects (4:25 PM)
You’ll most often hear about Ar’Darius Washington and Trevon Moehrig when asking about draft prospects in TCU’s secondary, and with good reason. Washington is an aggressive, insanely athletic defensive back who compensates for his lacking size with razor-sharp instincts, while Trevon Moehrig excels in single high with his athleticism and range.
However, even beyond these two headliners, there’s another potential breakout player this year: La’Kendrick Van Zandt. The redshirt junior, who’s already logged career highs in just about every statistical category, just intercepted Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer to set up the Horned Frogs to extend their lead. In addition to being an immediate captain of the all-name team, Van Zandt has solid size and closing speed, and he could be a riser as the season continues. IC
A potential glimpse into the future at QB in Clemson vs. Boston College? (4:05 PM)
The Clemson Tigers appeared vulnerable without bonafide top-three pick Trevor Lawrence leading them against the Boston College Eagles. However, they still managed to pull out the victory after falling behind 28-13 at the half. Despite the loss for Boston College, it was a competitive outing, and it might’ve provided viewers with a glimpse into the future at QB, on both sides.
The Eagles’ signal-caller, redshirt sophomore Phil Jurkovec, is a former top prospect who originally committed to Notre Dame. He’s been intriguing this year, showing above-average feel and mobility for his 6-foot-5, 228-pound frame, as well as boasting a live arm. His Clemson showing did also feature some startling inconsistency in clutch moments, and he likely won’t hit the draft this year, but in 2022, he’s a name to watch.
Additionally, Clemson backup D.J. Uiagalelei, the number one quarterback of the 2020 class, showcased his upside as well. In a few years, we could be talking about him as a first-round quarterback. IC
A pair of NFL-caliber receivers under the spotlight in LSU-Auburn battle (3:45 PM)
Among today’s 3:30 PM games, Auburn and LSU are set to go head-to-head in a key SEC tilt for both squads. Tony mentioned Auburn Tigers wide receiver Seth Williams earlier, but there’s also a receiver on the other sideline that deserves more attention: LSU wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. IC
I recently updated my draft profile of Marshall Jr., after a performance against South Carolina that saw him showcase a vast pallet of traits on the national stage. Marshall Jr. has a ton of upside, and after a torrid start to 2020 that’s seen him score at least two touchdowns in every game, it’s not out of the question that he’ll be in the Round 1 conversation by year’s end. IC
Antjuan Simmons – Underrated in every aspect (3:05 PM)
Antjuan Simmons is one of my favorite linebackers in the nation and a player I believe is underrated. The Michigan State defender has safety size and speed but plays with a killer instinct. Simmons is excellent in pursuit and sells out to make plays all over the field. He presently has six tackles and two PBU’s as the Spartans are clinging to a three-point lead.
Simmons may not get drafted despite the fact I’ve handed him a seventh-round grade, but he’ll be a great addition to a depth chart as a one-gap linebacker/special teams player. TP
Elijah Ponder = Deserving of love in the scouting community (2:45 PM)
Over the summer, I wrote of my affection for Cincinnati defensive tackle Elijah Ponder despite the fact scouts chose not to grade him off the 2019 film. Ponder is similar to Carlo Kemp, whom I mentioned earlier today; smallish but explosive and very quick. Cincinnati is presently manhandling Memphis 35-10 at the start of the fourth quarter, and Ponder has four tackles, including one TFL and .5 sack to his credit.
He has better size than the aforementioned Kemp but is equally explosive and agile. Ponder is another who will battle for a spot on a depth chart as a three-technique tackle next summer. TP
Isaiah McDuffie: Matt Milano part deux? (2:25 PM)
Boston College is really taking it to Clemson today. The Eagles defense has handled the Clemson offense who has just 51 yards rushing today, 32 of them coming from Travis Etienne. Isaiah McDuffie, the teams leading tackler coming into the game, is again at the top of the charts with seven tackles.
McDuffie is a smallish, run and chase linebacker who plays tough, fast football. He’s excellent in pursuit and shows terrific instincts. He reminds me of former BC linebacker Matt Milano, now cleaning up for the Buffalo Bills. Entering the season, I stamped McDuffie with a sixth-round grade, but his plays this season will improve his draft stock. TP
Landon Young/Kentucky: Intriguing OLine prospect (2:15 PM)
Landon Young has been a solid left tackle for Kentucky three years running, and he’s an intriguing prospect for the next level. He’s not the niftiest or the most athletic, but Young is efficient and gets the most from his ability. He’s a solid position blocker that’s done a decent job against Georgia and their rising star Azeez Ojulari in a low scoring affair today.
I presently grade Young as a fifth-round prospect and believe he’ll be a solid swing tackle for the next level. TP
Hunter Long having another strong performance (1:25 PM)
A bit of a stunner is taking place in Clemson, as Boston College is up by 11 points and driving to increase that lead as the half closes out. The Eagles offense has pretty much handled Clemson’s defense, and tight end Hunter Long is lending a helping hand. Featured in this morning’s preview, Long has just one reception for 13 yards, though it was a crucial catch to move the chains. His blocking has really impressed me thus far, a skill that will only enhance his draft stock. TP
Keep an eye on Carlo Kemp (1:05 PM)
Scouts ignored Carlo Kemp entering the season and did not grade the Michigan Wolverine defensive tackle, while I stamped him as a UDFA. Kemp is undersized, measuring 6-feet-2-inches and not even 270 pounds, but he’s quick, slippery, and mobile. Kemp explodes off the snap with great first-step quickness, penetrates the gaps, and easily changes direction. He won’t be drafted, but I expect Kemp to compete for a spot as a three-technique lineman on a depth chart next summer. TP
McGrone continues to impress (12:55 PM)
I mentioned Cam McGrone a week ago, the redshirt sophomore linebacker from Michigan who’s drawing a lot of praise in scouting circles. With his team in the middle of a tight scrum against inter-state rival Michigan State, McGrone has again looked good in spots. He’s incredibly explosive and plays with an all-out attitude, sacrificing his body to make plays on the blitz or against the run.
Despite the fact I hear there’s a good chance McGrone could enter the draft, he’s not there yet and needs a bit more work on his game. McGrone takes bad angles on occasion and gets caught up in crowds, and needs to show a bit more patience in his game. TP
Is Jackson Carman a left tackle prospect? (12:40 PM)
There is a lot of love for Jackson Carman in many quarters, and I have the true junior graded as a Day 2 pick. But is the Clemson left tackle really a blindside blocking prospect for the next level? At this point in time, I have my doubts, something affirmed on that recent third down play. Carman was bull-rushed into the pocket by Max Roberts of Boston College, a Maine transfer and college defensive end with linebacker (250 pounds) size.
My greater point is Carman is a much better run blocker at this point and would be a liability in pass protection at the next level. TP
Desmond Ridder continues to flash (12:25 PM)
Last week, I mentioned the love in the scouting community developing for Desmond Ridder, the Cincinnati Bearcats’ quarterback. Today, during an all-important conference match-up against Memphis, Ridder is off to a hot start, with 5 of 7 passing for 75 yards, including a 43-yard scoring toss. Ridder has the size, athleticism, and arm strength to play at the next level. If he improves his consistency and pass placement, Ridder will move up draft boards. TP
Boston College O-lineman woefully out of position (12:15 PM)
Zion Johnson was graded as early as the fourth round by scouts coming into the season, a full round earlier than I have him on my board. But those projections were based on Johnson lining up at guard. This season, he’s been asked to hold down the left tackle position, and he has struggled. He’s a nimble blocker with decent size but an inconsistent game, and at 6-feet-2.5-inches, he won’t be playing tackle on Sundays next season. TP
Boston College TE Hunter Long to test Clemson’s defense today
We’ll start off with the aforementioned Clemson-Boston College contest and look at a match-up between two really good football players with questionable athleticism.
On film, Clemson linebacker James Skalski grades as a second-day pick, but he’s under 6-feet tall and times close to 4.8 seconds in the forty, which will depress his draft stock. Likewise, Boston College tight end Hunter Long is moving up draft boards in circles outside the scouting community, as he’s a terrific pass catcher who lacks next-level speed.
Slaski and Long will be good players on NFL depth charts, yet I expect them to be drafted later than most presently predict. Their face-off starting at noon should be an interesting one to watch.
Auburn WR Seth Williams with an opportunity to impress scouts against talented LSU secondary
Auburn was gifted wins against Arkansas and Mississippi by the officials. Yet despite the turmoil within the program, receiver Seth Williams is having a terrific year and establishing himself as a second-day selection. But in Week 9 of the college football season, the competition Williams faces increases dramatically as he goes up against LSU today — the toughest defense he will face all season, and that includes Alabama.
True sophomore Derek Stingley Jr. already grades as one of the best cornerback prospects in the nation despite the fact he’s not draft eligible. It’s not outrageous to make the claim Stingley would be the first cornerback selected in 2021 were he part of the draft. Then there’s JaCoby Stevens, a hard-hitting college safety with linebacker size.
This will be another opportunity for Auburn’s Williams to impress scouts.
Florida TE Kyle Pitts and Missouri LB Nick Bolton highlight primetime SEC tilt
We’ll stay in the SEC for the nightcap, as it’s another tight end versus linebacker match up. Florida tight end Kyle Pitts and Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton have both made the risers list this season. Pitts is on the verge of being a first-round pick with Bolton landing a frame later.
This match-up features two athletic, fast next level prospects with starting potential in the NFL going head to head.
Week 9 College Football TV Schedule: How and Where to Watch
See below for all of the Week 9 college football games today. Find out what time each game kicks off along with the channel they will be broadcast on.
Week 9 College Football Early Afternoon Schedule
- Boston College at #1 Clemson – 12 PM ET | ABC
- #5 Georgia at Kentucky – 12 PM ET | SECN
- Memphis at #7 Cincinnati – 12 PM ET | ESPN
- Michigan St. at #13 Michigan – 12 PM ET | FOX
- #16 Kansas St. at West Virginia – 12 PM ET | ESPN2
- #20 Coastal Carolina at Georgia St. – 12 PM ET | ESPNU
- #23 Iowa St. at Kansas – 12 PM ET | FS1
- UTSA at Florida Atlantic – 12 PM ET
- Temple at Tulane – 12 PM ET | ESPN+
- Purdue at Illinois – 12 PM ET | BTN
- Wake Forest at Syracuse – 12 PM ET | ACCN
- UCF at Houston – 2 PM ET | ESPN+
Week 9 College Football Mid- and Late Afternoon Schedule
- Rice at Southern Mississippi – 3 PM ET | ESPN3
- Troy at Arkansas St. – 3 PM ET | ESPN3
- #4 Notre Dame at Georgia Tech – 3:30 PM ET | ABC
- #17 Indiana at Rutgers – 3:30 PM ET | BTN
- UAB at Louisiana Tech – 3:30 PM ET
- TCU at Baylor – 3:30 PM ET | ESPN2
- LSU at Auburn – 3:30 PM ET | CBS
- Northwestern at Iowa 3:30 PM ET | ESPN
- Texas at #6 Oklahoma St. – 4 PM ET | FOX
- Ole Miss at Vanderbilt – 4 PM ET | SECN
- Appalachian St. at UL Monroe – 4 PM ET | ESPNU
- #25 Boise St. at Air Force – 6 PM ET | CBSSN
Week 9 College Football Primetime Schedule
- Mississippi St. at #2 Alabama – 7 PM ET | ESPN
- New Mexico at San Jose St. – 7 PM ET | FS1
- Charlotte at Duke – 7 PM ET | ESPN3
- #3 Ohio St. at #18 Penn St. – 7:30 PM ET | ABC
- Arkansas at #8 Texas A&M – 7:30 PM ET | SECN
- Missouri at #10 Florida – 7:30 PM ET | SECN ALT
- Navy at #22 SMU – 7:30 PM ET | ESPN2
- #15 North Carolina at Virginia – 8 PM ET | ACCN
- #24 Oklahoma at Texas Tech – 8 PM ET | FOX
- Louisiana at Texas St. – 8 PM ET | ESPNU
Week 9 College Football Late Night Schedule
- San Diego St. at Utah St. – 9:30 PM ET | CBSSN
- Western Kentucky at #11 BYU – 10:15 PM ET | ESPN
- Nevada at UNLV – 10:30 PM ET | FS1