I feel like I’m saying it every week, but this season really has gone by in a blur. It’s already week 4, and it feels like Illinois was taking on Nebraska yesterday. However, it’s been an exciting season, and we’re in for a very exciting draft cycle. No the quarterback class isn’t as flashy, but there is still a plethora of talent to go around. So who’s got a big matchup this week, that will (hopefully) bump up their name in the 2022 NFL Draft? We’ve got them all here.
Jack Coan, Notre Dame
Coan came from the Wisconsin Badgers as a graduate transfer early in the spring, and became the starter following Ian Book’s departure in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now he’ll be facing his former teammates in a great game. He’s a reliable passer, and can be counted on in the short game, but needs to develop a more threatening pass game. He needs to prove himself this weekend if he wants to hear his name called in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
While the aforementioned Coan may need to work on his explosiveness, Williams has that set. He has solid vision, and pairs that with nice agility and top end speed. In 246 touches last year, he amounted 1,438 yards and 14 touchdowns. If Notre Dame wants to fight off an upset against Wisconsin, Williams will have to play a big part in the afternoon matchup.
Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Burks has an opportunity to be one of the first receivers selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, and a solid game against No. 7 ranked Texas A&M will help with that. He’s a great athlete with fluid movement, and the size to beat defenders over the top. Facing a defense that’s allowed 77 yards passing per game, he’ll need to be elite if the Razorbacks want to pull off a victory.
Ainias Smith, Texas A&M
The way I format this came back to bite me, as it is almost insulting to call Ainias Smith anything but a versatile weapon. He’s extremely dangerous as a running back or as a wide receiver. He’s an elite threat with the ball in his hands. This season he already has 13 receptions for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns. Last year, he rushed 49 times for 293 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s a matchup nightmare, and could be one of the best players to watch this weekend against Arkansas.
Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin
Ferguson rounds out the extremely talented group of skill players to watch this week. After originally dominating as a redshirt freshman in 2018, he saw a drop in production the next year. He bounced back in 2020, but couldn’t match 2018 due to the shortened season. He is a willing and able blocker on multiple levels and a receiving threat. Now Ferguson and the Wisconsin offense will have to step up to the occasion. this weekend against Notre Dame.
Abraham Lucas (OT), Washington State
Starting at right tackle for the Cougars, Lucas is a sizable force at 6’7” and 319 lbs, but moves that size quickly. He meets defenders at the point of attack and fights back with considerable strength. In a tough matchup against Utah, Lucas will look to improve his stock for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ricky Stromberg (IOL), Arkansas
Stromberg is a veteran with 18 starts in his first two years, including multiple at each interior offensive line position. He’s now solidified himself at center, and looks to have an NFL career there. In the aforementioned Texas A&M matchup with Arkansas, he’ll play a key role, returning from injury last week to keep the pocket clean and running lanes open.
Christopher Hinton, Michigan
The son of 7-time NFL Pro Bowl offensive tackle Chris Hinton, this junior (in both class and name) comes from talented blood. He has a unique ability to take up space while also being explosive. He creates an elite duo with teammate Aidan Hutchinson coming off the edge. While his spot in the 2022 NFL Draft may not match his father’s fourth overall pick, he’s already begun to make a name for himself.
Ali Gaye, LSU
Gaye is an explosive end with length and simply an innate ability to attack. He is able to consistently get in the backfield and disrupt the offense. A former community college player, Gaye has amassed 36 tackles, 10.5 TFL’s, 3 sacks, and an astounding 7 pass breakups off the edge for the Tigers. Now facing Mississippi State, he will continue his story and hope to get called in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Grant Morgan, Arkansas
The fourth player from this week’s top matchup on this list may be the most underrated. Morgan loves to come downfield and get in the mix with linemen, and has the strength to do so. He racked up 111 tackles, 7.5 TFL’s and 2 sacks last year. Off to a nice start in 2021, he looks to continue that against the Aggies, and help the Razorbacks possibly pull off the upset.
Tre’vius Hodges-Tomlinson, TCU
Hodges-Tomlinson has been part of a solid TCU defense that will try to slow down red hot Tanner Mordecai, who has 16 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards in three games. Tre’vius is a corner with very good vision and processing, and has the athleticism to pair with it. In what could be one of the more exciting games of the weekend, look to Hodges-Tomlinson to be a difference-maker. It also helps when your uncle is one of the best ballplayers ever:
Some '22 draft eligible CBs with NFL bloodlines
TCU's Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (LT's nephew)
Marshall's Steven Gilmore (Stephon's brother)
Florida's Kaiir Elam (Matt's nephew/Abram's son)
PSU's Joey Porter Jr. (Joey's son)
Indiana's Tiawan Mullen (Trayvon's brother)
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) July 8, 2021
Daxton Hill, Michigan
Hill possesses’ great athleticism and can explode on the ball. He can be explosive and displays solid range. He tallied 46 tackles in the shortened season last year, and played a large special teams 2019. He’s got the physical tools to do the job, maybe better than anyone, he’s just looking to take the next step in his development this year. With Michigan looking to stop a charging Rutgers team, Hill has an opportunity to show out this week and improve his draft stock.