Image Credit: University of Hawaii
Welcome to Zach’s Draft Corner, where it’s always amateur hour.
Tired of preseason football? Want to watch some football that actually matters? Then look to college! This Saturday, college football kicks off with what is known as “Week 0,” where a few real college football teams play a few games that actually count towards their regular season records!
Now, don’t get too excited. Week 0 is generally an excuse to give teams that travel a ton throughout the season a chance to play a game earlier than normal so that they get an extra break during the middle of the season. That means you typically get some battles between cupcakes who have to travel all across the country getting their butt whooped, as well as a game for Hawaii. This year is probably just more of the same, right?
WRONG! This year, we get a matchup between the University of Florida and the University of Miami (the real one, not the one in Ohio)! The schedules worked out where Florida and Miami just didn’t line up for their annual rivalry game. Rather than skip the game all together, they moved the game to Week 0. Not only do we get real, meaningful football games, we get a matchup between two of the biggest brands in college football. Without further ado, here is your first TV Guide of the season!
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 zero (all times Eastern, Playoff rankings in parentheses).
University of Miami vs. University of Florida (8) in Orlando, FL, 6:00 PM, ESPN
Tate Martell, Quarterback, Redshirt Sophomore, #18
DeeJay Dallas, Running Back, Junior, #13
Jeff Thomas, Wide Receiver, Junior, #4
K.J. Osborn, Wide Receiver, Senior, #2
Michael Irvin II, Tight End, Junior, #87
Navaughn Donaldson, Guard, Junior, #55
Jonathon Ford, Defensive Tackle, Senior, #96
Pat Bethel, Defensive Tackle, Senior, #93
Trevon Hill, Defensive End, Senior, #94
Jonathan Garvin, Defensive End, Junior, #97
Jaelan Phillips, Defensive End, Redshirt Sophomore, #95
Shaquille Quarterman, Linebacker, Senior, #55
Michael Pinckney, Linebacker, Senior, #56
Zach McCloud, Linebacker, Senior, #53
Trajan Bandy, Cornerback, Junior, #2
Robert Knowles, Safety, Senior, #20
Romeo Finley, Safety, Senior, #30
The names to know here are DeeJay Dallas, Shaquille Quarterman, and Michael Pinckney. Tate Martell was a highly touted transfer from Ohio State, but he lost the battle for the starting job at Miami to Jarren Williams. Dallas, Quarterman, and Pinckney are all likely mid-round picks, as Miami has some good depth but lacks the top-end talent we are used to seeing in the Hurricanes.
Lamical Perine, Running Back, Senior, #2
Josh Hammond, Wide Receiver, Senior, #10
Kadarius Toney, Wide Receiver, Junior, #1
Trevon Grimes, Wide Receiver, Redshirt Sophomore, #8
Van Jefferson, Wide Receiver, Senior, #12
Tyrie Cleveland, Wide Receiver, Senior, #89
Freddie Swain, Wide Receiver, Senior, #16
Lucas Krull, Tight End, Junior, #7
Kemore Gamble, Tight End, Redshirt Sophomore, #88
Stone Forsythe, Tackle, Junior, #72
Jean Delance, Guard, Junior, #56
Nick Buchanan, Center, Senior, #66
Kyree Campbell, Defensive Tackle, Junior, #55
Adam Shuler, Defensive Tackle, Senior, #88
Jabari Zuniga, Defensive End, Senior, #92
Jonathan Greenard, Defensive End, Senior, #58
David Reese, Linebacker, Senior, #4
C.J. Henderson, Cornerback, Junior, #1
Marco Wilson, Cornerback, Redshirt Sophomore, #3
Donovan Stiner, Safety, Junior, #13
Brad Stewart Jr., Safety, Junior, #2
Jaewon Taylor, Safety, Senior, #29
For Florida, the cream of the crop is on defense. Zuniga looks to be one of the top edge defenders in this class, while C.J. Henderson and Donavan Stiner will both compete for first round spots in the secondary. For the rest of these prospects, this season will be all about trying to work their way into the spotlight.
University of Arizona at University of Hawaii, 9:30 PM, CBS Sports Network
Khalil Tate, Quarterback, Senior, #14
J.J. Taylor, Running Back, Senior, #21
Cody Creason, Guard, Senior, #76
Justin Belknap, Defensive End, Senior, #86
Colin Schooler, Linebacker, Junior, #7
Jace Whittaker, Cornerback, Senior, #17
Lorenzo Burns, Cornerback, Junior, #2
Tristan Cooper, Safety, Senior, #31
The talent level at Arizona has really gone downhill. J.J. Taylor is likely the strongest prospect at this school, and even he is going to need a standout season to be drafted. The most exciting name on this list is Khalil Tate, a classic story of an athlete as a quarterback who just doesn’t have the accuracy and nuance as a quarterback to succeed in the NFL.
Cole McDonald, Quarterback, Junior, #13
Dayton Furuta, Running Back, Senior, #7
JoJo Ward, Wide Receiver, Senior, #9
Cedric Byrd II, Wide Receiver, Senior, #6
J.R. Hensley, Guard, Senior, #57
Samiuela Akoteu, Defensive Tackle, Senior, #91
Kaimana Padello, Defensive End, Senior, #34
Soloman Matautia, Linebacker, Senior, #27
Rojesterman Farris II, Cornerback, Senior, #4
Kalen Hicks, Safety, Senior, #3
Ikem Okeke, Safety, Senior, #22
You wouldn’t think that, in a matchup of Arizona and Hawaii, the Rainbow Warriors would bring the most enticing prospect to the table, but here we are. Cole McDonald, who looks more like a guy walking around your local dispensary as opposed to a high-level quarterback, is a cult hero of sorts for this draft class. He actually has the skills to work his way into consideration with other members at the top of this class, so following him this season will be fun. His wide receivers, Ward and Byrd, are also decently strong prospects in their own right. After a few down seasons, it looks like we’re going to have a classic Flyin’ Hawaiian type season out of this school.
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