Zach's Draft Corner: Bounce Back Candidates/What to Watch
Welcome to Zach’s Draft Corner, where it’s always amateur hour.
It happens every year. There are guys who come into the season with all of the hope in the world and the expectations to match it. However, whether it be for injury, lack of skill, or lack of opportunity, the luster starts to fade for some of these prospects, and the excitement turns into disappointment. I’m here to tell you to not lose faith. The season isn’t even half over yet, and there are plenty of opportunities for these players to bounce back. Here are my choices for players who have had a down start to 2018, but can still live up to their lofty expectations with a strong second half.
Jake Bentley - Quarterback, University of South Carolina
The story of Jake Bentley is all too common in college football. He has the prototypical size at 6'3" and 220 pounds. He has the prototypical physical traits with plus arm strength, athleticism, and accuracy in a vacuum (meaning that he can put the ball pretty much exactly where he intends to put it). However, his issue has always been with his decision making and with reading defenses. Through four games, Bentley has 6 interceptions (including 3 in South Carolina’s most recent loss to Kentucky), a 2-2 record, and nothing has changed for the quarterback that just can’t seem to put it all together. Playing in the SEC, he still has plenty of time to put up good tape against quality opponents. His traits are enough to earn him the benefit of the doubt for the rest of the year.
Make or Break Games: @Ole Miss (11/3), @Florida (11/10), @Clemson (11/24)
Devin Singletary - Running Back, Florida Atlantic University
Singletary was supposed to be the explosive, stat-stuffing running back for the Owls, but he has started very slow against teams with bad run defenses. Singletary looked to have broken out against Central Florida (25 rushes for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns), but went backwards with only 118 yards on 34 rushing attempts against Middle Tennessee State. For being known as a big play back, averaging only 4.1 yards per attempt against lesser competition is not a good look. He still has plenty of games against porous defenses to rack up the yards, but he'll need to prove he still has the ability to take it to the house on any given play. In a year where no running back is taking the top back title, he still has a chance to do so.
Make or Break Games: @Old Dominion (10/6), vs. Marshall (10/20), @Louisiana Tech (10/26)
Bryce Love - Running Back, Stanford University
Speaking of "no top running back," Bryce Love is part of the reason that's true. He played really well against USC, but was a non-factor against San Diego State, Oregon, and Notre Dame. Ultimately, he is running well on plays where the blocking is perfect, but lacks the evasion, vision, and change of direction quickness to make plays on his own, which will severely limit his value. This wasn’t the case in 2017, so he’ll needs to return to his former self. If he can’t start making plays when the blocking is less than ideal, he may be dropping to the late rounds.
Make or Break Games: @Washington (11/3), @California (11/17)
A.J. Brown - Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
The trouble with A.J. Brown in 2017 was that he would put up his crazy production against the bad teams (8 catches for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns against South Alabama, 8 catches for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns against Vanderbilt, 14 catches for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns against Louisiana, the Ragin' Cajun variety), but disappeared against good teams (1 catch for 6 yards against Alabama, 4 catches for 39 yards against LSU). He has had similar problems in 2018, with 8 catches for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns against Southern Illinois, but only 4 catches for 34 yards against Alabama. With the rise of teammate D.K. Metcalf, the chatter around Brown has been hushed recently. His production rises and falls fully with the opponent. In the NFL, the worst competition will be better than the best competition in college. If he can't get open against the best competition in college, he won't get open in the NFL. There is still plenty of time to put out some tape where he shows that he can get open against the top competition, but he hasn't done so yet.
Make or Break Games: vs. Auburn (10/20), vs. Mississippi State (11/22)
Tyrie Cleveland - Wide Receiver, University of Florida
Hailed as an explosive speedster who could get touchdowns from anywhere on the field, Cleveland, much like the city itself, simply isn't a factor in much of anything. Cleveland was supposed to be Florida’s version of Oklahoma’s “Hollywood” Brown, but instead has been more like Florida’s version of Gawker-era “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan. Cleveland has not had a game this season with more than two catches, and is averaging only 10.7 yards per catch. His largest output in terms of yards was 43. He has managed to stay healthy through 5 games, which is a positive for him, but he just doesn't look right. Maybe injuries from last year are still lingering, but he'll need to get some chunk plays in the next few weeks to remain on the radar, especially with how well other receivers are performing.
Make or Break Games: vs. LSU (10/6), @Georgia (10/27), @Florida State (11/24)
Caleb Wilson - Tight End, University of California Los Angeles
The entire Chip Kelly experience has been a mess so far. It might not be his fault, but Caleb Wilson’s production has certainly taken a hit. He has no touchdowns and only 10 catches so far this season after very strong production last year before his injury. Unfortunately, the change of system from Jim Mora Jr.’s pro-style offense to Chip Kelly’s version of the spread offense might be the swan song for Wilson at UCLA. If he can get a grip on the system and return to his previous production level, then he could see a bounce back, but it's also dependent on him being sent out on routes and Chip Kelly utilizing him correctly. If I had Wilson’s ear, since he still has one year of eligibility left but will graduate in the Spring, I would tell him to use the graduate transfer rule and transfer to another program that will utilize him correctly for his senior season.
Make or Break Games: vs. Washington (10/6), @Oregon (11/3), vs. Stanford (11/24), his decision after the season for where to play in 2019
Trey Adams - Tackle, University of Washington
This is slightly unfair, because he suffered a season-ending back injury earlier in the season. However, he was OT1 before he got hurt, and nobody has taken a stranglehold on the position since. You can make the case for Jonah Williams, but he's a high floor/low ceiling type prospect, whereas Adams has the ceiling to become the next great tackle in the league. Adams could take a medical redshirt and try to put together a healthy season next year,or, if he is healthy, he could try to wow everyone during workouts and make his way back to the top. He's a bounceback candidate because he can still be OT1, either next year or the year after, but needs to prove his health before that comes to fruition.
Make or Break Games: NCAA Headquarters for the medical redshirt, NFL Combine
Ed Oliver - Defensive Tackle, University of Houston
Oliver is only on this list because he needs to bounce back in the eyes of people who put a high value on stats. Oliver hasn't put anything new on tape this year that he hasn't shown before, and the tape itself shouldn't worry people too much. He's consistently being double-and triple-teamed in order to keep him from being his usual disruptive force. He is freeing up the rest of the defense to go crazy (Houston is averaging 1.5 sacks per game and 7.0 tackles for loss per game), but Oliver himself has zero sacks and only 5.0 tackles for loss on the year. Meanwhile, people like Nick Bosa are producing out of their minds due to Ohio State having talent elsewhere on the line. As wrong as it is, people will be wary of drafting Oliver in the top 3 because they will see his lack of production in 2018 and be worried about taking a defensive tackle from a non-power five school who didn’t put up massive numbers. If Oliver can get a few sacks, people will stop being worried that the man previously touted as the first overall pick hasn't put up the numbers you would generally want to see. Until then, just take a breath. Ed Oliver is fine. He might need to make a little noise to be the first overall pick, but the talent is still very present.
Make or Make Games (Ed Oliver should not be broken): @East Carolina (10/13), @Navy (10/20), @Memphis (11/23)
Rashan Gary - Defensive Lineman, University of Michigan
Rashan Gary is kind of a tweener without a true position. If the defensive line class weren’t so strong, this may not be an issue, but there are plenty of other options that Gary is getting overlooked. He has also been injured off and on throughout the beginning of the season with a shoulder injury. With only 2 sacks and 18 tackles in five games, and Michigan's previously vaunted defense looking relatively mediocre so far, the hype around Gary has come back down. This isn’t truly a result of him being bad, but there are so many other options out there who are coming through 2018 with better tape. He needs to make some plays and lead Michigan's defense to the level they were supposed to be if he wants to re-take his position as a first round guy. Otherwise, I see a drop into the middle rounds.
Make or Break Games: @Wisconsin (10/13), @Penn State (11/3), vs. Ohio State (11/24)
T.J. Edwards - Linebacker, University of Wisconsin
Edwards was supposed to be the best linebacker on a defense that was susceptible to the pass but stout against the run. In BYU’s upset over Wisconsin, four different rushers averaged 7 or moreyards per carry, including Squally Canada, who went for 118 yards on 11 rushes. The very next week, the top three rushers for Iowa averaged a combined 6.0 yards per carry. Wisconsin’s run defense has not been good so far this season, and Edwards is part of the reason why. He simply isn’t reading the plays and getting to the ball carrier with his previous effectiveness. There are plenty of opportunities for a comeback, as Wisconsin will face many run heavy teams and talented running backs, including Karan Higdon and Miles Sanders.
Make or Break Games: vs. Michigan (10/13), vs. Penn State (11/10), vs. Purdue (11/17)
Iman Marshall - Cornerback, University of Southern California
Another guy with prototypical size, but he hasn't been the playmaker he has needed to be to increase his draft stock. It’s hard to be disappointed with Marshall, though, as this was the book on him coming into the season. He would be reliable in coverage, and wouldn’t allow a lot of big plays, but he wouldn’t necessarily make the plays to stop a drive. He would simply limit the damage after the catch. Marshall did decently to limit J.J. Arcega-Whiteside of Stanford and Collin Johnson of Texas, but they both still put up good numbers and had the most receptions for their respective teams. He has no interceptions and only 3 passes defensed in five games this season. Limiting a good receiver to slightly below average performances will not get you picked highly, especially if there are no interceptions to go with that. He will need to start making plays and getting interceptions if he wants to be anything more than a Day 3 pick.
Make or Break Games: vs. Colorado (10/13), vs. Arizona State (10/27), vs. Notre Dame (11/24)
Andrew Wingard - Safety, University of Wyoming
My long-haired hero. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. Wyoming was supposed to have a strong defense this season, anchored by their secondary and Andrew Wingard patrolling the back end. Through five games, though, Wingard has only one interception (against Wofford), and the defense is giving up 255.8 passing yards per game (98th in the country). If you take out the game against a bad Wofford team, then they are averaging 301.5 passing yards allowed per game (would be 121st in the country, or 9th worst). There is plenty of time to put more on tape that he is the playmaking, speedy safety that he was projected as coming into the season, but that defense needs to show vast improvement.
Make or Break Games: @Hawaii (10/6), @Fresno State (10/13), vs. San Jose State (11/3)
The sheer amount of college games on at any given time can be completely overwhelming. Every week, in the TV Guide section of my column, I will choose the top two games at any given time slot and outline the various prospects you can watch in those games. That way, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and hit the “Previous Channel” button on your remote to toggle between games chock full of pro prospects. Here is your guide for week six (all times Eastern).
Friday, October 5
Georgia Tech University at University of Louisville, 7:00 PM, ESPN
This Friday is tough. There are two games that each have one team with some draftable talent, but neither game is a must-see. Maybe this is the Friday night you finally meet up with some friends for a drink? With Georgia Tech, KirVonte Benson (junior running back, #30) had extremely high hopes for a strong junior season, but is out for the season with a knee injury. He is the only member of the team with hopes of being drafted, as the Yellow Jacket squad really doesn’t have much draftable talent. A.J. Gray (senior safety, #5) hoped to get drafted, but a heart condition in the preseason forced a very early retirement for the promising defensive back.
For Louisville, Jaylen Smith (senior wide receiver, #9) and Micky Crum (senior tight end, #83) are strong weapons for the Lamar Jackson-less Louisville, and G.G. Robinson (junior Defensive tackle, #94) will be drafted next April if he decides to declare. These three are worth watching at some point, so if you aren’t into playoff baseball or hockey, give this game a try.
Utah State University at Brigham Young University, 9:00 PM, ESPN2
Unfortunately, nobody on Utah State has legitimate hopes of being drafted this year, so the game should not be very competitive. BYU has all of the talent here, starting with Corbin Kaufusi (senior defensive end, #90), a monstrous 6'9", 285-pound edge rusher. Sione Takitaki (senior outside linebacker, #6) and Khyiris Tonga (redshirt sophomore defensive tackle, #95) finish up a very strong BYU defensive front. Zayne Anderson (senior linebacker, #23) takes over the “flash” linebacker role previously filled by Fred Warner, and is admirably taking his place.Tanner Mangum (senior quarterback, #12) leads the Cougars on offense, throwing to Matt Bushman (redshirt sophomore tight end, #89) when Austin Hoyt (senior tackle, #71) and the rest of the line give him a clean pocket. The surprise of BYU’s season is a member of my all-name team, Squally Canada (senior running back, #22), who has been punishing opposing defenses all season. He got banged up in last week’s matchup against Washington, so here’s to hoping he is able to play on Friday.
Saturday, September 29
University of Texas vs. University of Oklahoma in Dallas, TX, 12:00 PM, FOX
The Red River Rivalry. One of the better rivalries in college football. Not a bad way to start your college football Saturday. Texas keeps getting strong opponents, and they continue to knock them down, adding a road win against Kansas State last week. This will be the true test, though, of whether Texas is “back”. On defense, Texas boasts a talented secondary with potential first round pick Kris Boyd (senior cornerback, #2) on one side, Davante Davis (senior cornerback, #18) on the other, and P.J. Locke III (senior safety, #11) roaming the back end. They will be tested throughout this game, and could make themselves a lot of money with a strong game.Anthony Wheeler (senior linebacker, #45), Charles Omenihu (senior defensive end, #90) and Breckyn Hager (senior defensive end, #44) round out the talented defense. On offense, Texas is led by Collin Johnson (junior wide receiver, #9), a receiver with consistency issues but has been physically compared to Calvin Johnson. John Burt (senior wide receiver, #1) is physically gifted but has generally underperformed on the field. Calvin Anderson (senior tackle, #66) and Tre Watson (senior running back, #5) also have some potential. Sam Ehlinger (sophomore quarterback, #11) has been much improved this season, and could be a top quarterback prospect in 2020.
With Rodney Anderson (junior running back, #24) being out for the season with a knee injury, “Hollywood” Marquise Brown (junior wide receiver, #5) has stepped up and is proving his worth as a big-play receiver. Kyler Murray (junior quarterback, #1) is a Heisman candidate, but has already been drafted. By the Oakland Athletics. This means that his football career will be limited to this season, so just enjoy him while you can. Ben Powers (senior guard, #72), Bobby Evans (junior tackle, #71), and Dru Samia (senior tackle, #75) have been exceptional along the line thus far, and look to continue that dominance against a strong Texas team. While the Big 12 isn’t known for its defense, Prentice McKinney (senior safety, #29) and Caleb Kelly (junior linebacker, #19) are both talented enough to hear their names called next April.
University of Missouri at University of South Carolina, 12:00 PM, SEC Network/WatchESPN
For Missouri, Drew Lock (senior quarterback, #3) is impressing a lot of scouts. South Carolina doesn’t boast a typically strong SEC defense, so he should flourish in what will amount to a shootout. Albert Okwuegbunam (redshirt sophomore tight end, #81) and Kendall Blanton (senior tight end, #11) are dynamic receivers, but it’s Emmanuel Hall (senior wide receiver, #84) who has emerged in 2018 as the best weapon for the Tigers. Paul Adams (senior tackle, #77) will look to keep Lock upright and Corey Fatony (senior punter, #26) off the field. On defense, Terez Hall (senior linebacker, #24) has the athletic profile of an SEC linebacker, but has had difficulty having the production of a star linebacker with the lack of a supporting cast. However, his traits are good enough that he should be drafted next April.
South Carolina also boasts a strong offense, including A.J. Turner (junior running back, #25),Zack Bailey (senior guard, #78), and Jake Bentley (junior quarterback, #19). The real stars of the Gamecock offense are their stud receivers, Deebo Samuel (senior wide receiver, #1) and Bryan Edwards (junior wide receiver, #89). Both of these receivers could be top-10 at their position in April, and make the conundrum that is Jake Bentley all the more frustrating. While South Carolina doesn’t boast a super strong defense, Javon Kinlaw (junior defensive tackle, #3), Bryson Allen-Williams (senior linebacker, #4), and Rashad Fenton (senior cornerback, #16) are all talented enough to get drafted in 2019.
Louisiana State University at University of Florida, 3:30 PM, CBS
For LSU, as has become their tradition, a defense with uber-talented individuals is the name of the game. Greedy Williams (redshirt sophomore cornerback, #29) is CB1, Devin White (junior linebacker, #40) is working his way up to LB1, and Rashard Lawrence (junior defensive tackle, #90) has shown first round talent. Breiden Fehoko (junior defensive end, #91) and Edwin Alexander (junior nose tackle, #99) are likely mid-round selections, making that defense even stronger. Garrett Brumfield (senior guard, #78) is one of the better guards in the class, and Foster Moreau (senior tight end, #18) could be an interesting late round pick. Joe Burrow (junior quarterback, #9), a transfer from Ohio State, has been solid but unimpressive thus far. Luckily, Nick Brossette (junior running back, #4) has stepped up and filled right in for Derrius Guice, leading LSU’s offense to success.
Florida’s strength also lies in their defense. Specifically, they have a very talented set of pass rushers in Jachai Polite (junior defensive end, #99), Cece Jefferson (senior defensive end, #96), and Jabari Zuniga (junior defensive end, #92).Khairi Clark (senior defensive tackle, #54) and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (junior safety, #23) are also strong defenders for the Gators. On offense, Martez Ivey (senior interior offensive line, #73), Jawaan Taylor (junior tackle, #65),T.J. McCoy (junior interior offensive line, #59), and Fredrick Johnson (senior guard, #74) are leading Florida to success this season in the trenches.Tyrie Cleveland (junior wide receiver, #89) has disappointed, but Van Jefferson (junior wide receiver, #12) and Jordan Scarlett (junior running back, #25) have produced plenty in Gainesville.
Florida State University at University of Miami, 3:30 PM, ABC
Florida State is the rare occasion where the whole is way, way less than the sum of their parts.They are very talented on paper, meaning their games are still a must-watch for draft scouts, but the team is just not good as a whole. Demarcus Christmas (senior defensive tackle, #90) and Brian Burns (junior defensive end, #99) have proven to be a dangerous duo on the defensive line, and Levonta Taylor (junior cornerback, #1) and A.J. Westbrook (senior safety, #19) form a strong secondary. These four have needed to be strong, as the offensive talent has been lacking. Derrick Kelly II (senior guard, #74) and Alec Eberle (senior center, #54) seem to have regressed, and Deondre Francois (redshirt sophomore quarterback, #12) has looked terrible against real football teams. These three really need to step up if Florida State wants to challenge anyone in the ACC.
Miami has perhaps the best defense in the ACC, led by Joe Jackson (junior defensive end, #99), Jaquan Johnson (senior safety, #4), Shaquille Quarterman (junior linebacker, #55), and Michael Jackson (senior cornerback, #28). Gerald Willis III (senior defensive Lineman, #9) has been a huge surprise for the Hurricanes, and has moved all of the way up to the mid-second round in the eyes of some scouts with his strong play. Michael Pinckney (junior linebacker, #56)and Tito Odenigbo (senior defensive tackle, #94) both could garner late round grades with strong 2018 campaigns. On offense, Ahmmon Richards (junior wide receiver, #82) has caught the injury bug yet again, but is as electric a receiver as there is in college football when healthy.Travis Homer (junior running back, #24) is another explosive playmaker, and Tyree St. Louis (senior tackle, #78) is working his way up the offensive tackle rankings with his consistent and strong play. Malik Rosier (senior quarterback, #12) has a chance to be a late round selection if he can learn to protect the football.
Auburn University at Mississippi State University, 7:30 PM, ESPN 2
For Auburn, Jarrett Stidham (junior quarterback, #8) and Darius Slayton (junior wide receiver, #81) face yet another tough challenge. While their previous challenges were due to strong secondaries, this time they will see if they can operate on a reduced clock with the strong Bulldog defensive line bearing down on Stidham. Prince Teno Wanagho (junior tackle, #76) will look to give Stidham enough time to deliver the ball, but he will have his hands full. Though they are largely a lost breed in today’s NFL, Chandler Cox (senior fullback, #27) is one of the top fullbacks in college football, providing a valuable blocking and receiving weapon out of the backfield. While Dontavius Russell (senior defensive tackle, #95) and Derrick Brown (junior defensive tackle, #5) are the true strength of the Auburn defensive line on the interior, Marlon Davidson (junior defensive end, #3) and Nick Coe (redshirt sophomore defensive end, #91) are hoping to get their names on draft boards, and a strong performance against the run-oriented Bulldogs could do just that.
Again, Mississippi State’s true talent is on their defensive line, with Jeffrey Simmons (junior defensive tackle, #94) and Montez Sweat (senior defensive end, #9) both garnering first round looks, while Gerri Green (senior defensive end, #4) is working his way into the Day 2 conversation. Johnathan Abram (senior safety, #38), Mark McLaurin (senior safety, #41), and Jamal Peters (senior cornerback, #2) are the beneficiaries of the strong defensive line, as they usually don’t have to maintain coverage for very long.Nick Fitzgerald (senior quarterback, #7) was heralded as a possible breakout quarterback this year, but he continues to prove he is more running back than thrower.Elgton Jenkins (senior interior offensive line, #74) and Darryl Williams (junior interior offensive line, #73) are good linemen to have on a strong running team, and will look to continue their exceptional run blocking against a tough Auburn defense.
Notre Dame University at Virginia Tech University, 8:00 PM, ABC
While Virginia Tech is likely out of playoff contention, this is the toughest game remaining on an undefeated Notre Dame’s schedule. If they pull off a victory here, their road to the Playoffs is relatively simple. Notre Dame’s talent starts with a stifling defense, led by a trio of first-round hopefuls in Jerry Tillery (senior defensive tackle, #99), Julian Love (junior cornerback, #27), and Te'Von Coney (senior linebacker, #4). Drue Tranquill (senior linebacker, #23), Nick Coleman (senior safety, #24), and Shaun Crawford (senior cornerback, #20) all provide valuable support for the Fighting Irish, and are late round prospects. On offense, Notre Dame does have some talent, with Alex Bars (senior tackle, #71), Sam Mustipher (senior guard, #53), Nic Weishar (senior tight end, #82), Alize Mack (senior tight end, #86), and Dexter Williams (senior running back, #2) all hoping to have a strong 2018 and work their way into draft consideration. Chase Claypool (junior wide receiver, #83) has opened eyes recently with his strong route running, speed, and size, and gives Notre Dame a much needed playmaker on the outside. Notre Dame also boasts one of the strongest pairs of specialists in the country, with Tyler Newsome (senior punter, #85) and Justin Yoon (senior kicker, #19) each competing for the top spot at their respective positions.
Virginia Tech does not have the level of talent that they are used to, but still have some prospects worth watching in Ricky Walker (senior defensive tackle, #8), Yosuah Nijman (senior tackle, #69), and Divine Deablo (redshirt sophomore safety, #17).
University of California at University of Arizona, 10:00 PM, FS1
Cal has been the surprise of the season, and they are led by one of the PAC-12’s strongest defenses, despite the tough loss to Oregon last week. Jordan Kunaszyk (senior linebacker, #59) has been very strong in run support, with Jaylinn Hawkins (junior safety, #6) and Ashtyn Davis (junior safety, #27) sealing the back end of the defense and creating turnovers in excess. Addison Ooms (senior interior offensive lineman, #57) is as reliable as they come on offense, and Cal’s best playmaker Vic Wharton III (senior wide receiver, #17) will look to start producing at a level commensurate to his talent. When Cal can’t move the ball, Steven Coutts (senior punter, #37) will step in and try to pin the Arizona offense back deep in their own territory to give Cal’s defense plenty of room to operate.
Arizona has had a rough go of it lately and does not much talent even though they are in a Power 5 conference. Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (senior safety, #6) is really the only draftable prospect in 2019, but the Wildcats are still worth watching for Khalil Tate (true sophomore quarterback, #14). Tate is one of the most exciting players in the country as a dual threat quarterback who routinely makes you think of peak Colin Kaepernick. That alone will make this game worth watching as a nightcap.
University of Utah at Stanford University, 10:30 PM, ESPN
Utah seems to be the opposite of Florida State. They don’t have a ton of talent, but they are always really tough for opposing teams. Chase Hansen (senior linebacker, #22), Bradlee Anae (junior defensive end, #6), and Julian Blackmon (junior cornerback, #23) are draftable talents on defense, but are all likely late-round prospects.Zack Moss (junior running back, #2) is the strongest prospect for Utah, but is still a mid-round pick at best.Jackson Barton (senior tackle, #70) is another late-round guy on the offense. Matt Gay (senior kicker, #97) is one of the best kickers in the country, but his position will devalue him to being a late-round guy. Although, plenty of NFL teams have had kicking woes this season, so maybe some team will reach for him in the third round.
Stanford’s Bryce Love (senior running back, #20) came into the season with such high hopes, but has been inconsistent and banged up through the beginning part of the season. Meanwhile, my favorite receiver sleeper, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (junior wide receiver, #19), is looking to maintain his dominating season and get into second-round consideration. Kaden Smith (junior tight end, #82), Nate Herbig (junior guard, #63), Jesse Burkett (senior center, #73), A.T. Hall (senior tackle, #75), Brandon Fanaika (senior guard, #71), and Trenton Irwin (senior wide receiver, #2) all hope to continue their strong seasons. On defense, Bobby Okereke (senior linebacker, #20) and Alijah Holder (senior cornerback, #13) will look to stop Utah’s offense to help the Cardinal come away with a win. Jake Bailey (senior punter, #14) is one of the best punting prospects in the nation, but Stanford hopes that he remains on the sideline throughout the contest.
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