It’s been a while since I’ve told you who you need to watch in college football, and this week we’ve got some great games. We’re less than six months from the 2022 NFL Draft (I know, crazy), so it’s crunch time for many prospects. Let’s take a look at who you need to watch.
Kedon Slovis, USC
Slovis came into the season as a top 5 quarterback prospect for many (including myself). However, he has plummeted in quarterback rankings, and is now out fighting to stay in the top ten. He’s thrown 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and is completing the fewest passes of his career. Last week, his top receiver, Drake London, tragically suffered a season-ending injury. This week, Slovis will have to prove that he can play without his best weapon, and bounce back from his slow start. The Trojans take on rival Arizona State on Saturday night, and will require Kedon to return to the highly productive form of his freshman year to pull off the upset, which will mean a lot when it comes to the 2022 NFL Draft.
Breece Hall, Iowa State
During the matchup of Texas and Iowa State, we may have the best possible matchup of running backs in the nation. Bijan Robinson of the Longhorns takes on Hall and the Cyclones. Both could be the first running back selected in their class, and Robinson may be one of the first players overall. Hall has already racked up 12 touchdowns and 985 yards this year. Last year, he led the country in rushing yards and was a Unanimous All-American. Favored by 6.5, the Cyclones and Hall will play their best football to stave off the Longhorns.
Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest
Roberson and the Demon Deacons have shattered all expectations this season, and we’re ranked 9th in the first College Football Playoff Rankings. They’ve shattered all expectations, but have maybe their toughest test yet this week. They are actually the underdog against rival UNC. Roberson, this season, has 43 receptions, 737 yards, and 6 touchdowns. So far, he and quarterback Sam Hartman have been a dominant duo against ACC defenses. If they can win this week, Roberson will improve his draft stock, and really start to turn heads towards Wake Forest.
Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
Some prospects are just incredibly fun to watch and Ekwonu is one of them. He’s a physical monster, and an incredibly capable blocker. He can play either tackle or guard with ease. This week, the Wolfpack heads to Florida State to face the Seminoles. It will be a battle, and Ekwonu will be tasked with keeping quarterback Devin Leary, who is off to a great season, clean. Doing so could earn him a high spot in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
So who will Ikem Ekwonu be facing? Jermaine Johsnon, the Seminoles top prospect and dominant edge defender. He’s in his first season in Florida, after spending the first two years of his career as a Georgia Bulldog. He’s proved himself extremely well in Florida, posting some great numbers. He has 49 tackles (39 solo), an ACC leading 7.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. This week he’ll be in a great battle with Ekwonu and the rest of the NC State offensive line.
Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Not everyone on this list is in for a great and close matchup. Dean and the Bulldogs should be on the winning end of a great blowout. They’re favored by 40 points over the Missouri Tigers. Dean has jumped up draft boards this season, and is now seen by many as the top linebacker option in the 2022 NFL Draft (Although Alexis Kraft covered two other excellent linebackers that Rams could look at). Ranked 1st, the Bulldogs have been extremely dominant on defense, which Dean showed last week with a pick six to make it a four score game over Florida. There’s a chance that Dean doesn’t even get a lot of playing time this week, but when he does, you’ll be able to see the incredible athletic and football talent he has.
Akayleb Evans, Missouri
On the other end of that likely blowout is Akayleb Evans. Despite and incredible defense, Georgia’s offense is far from number one. Evans and the Tigers defense will try limit the damage done by Stetson Bennett and Co. I can say with almost certainty that there will not be an upset, but if Evans (and the rest of the team), are on top of their game, they may be able to not lose by 40. This season, the Tulsa transfer has 22 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and a pick. This game, against good competition, will mean a lot for teams looking at him in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Demani Richardson, Texas A&M
Surprisingly, we haven’t had anyone from this highly awaited #13 Auburn vs #14 Texas A&M. There’s a lot of talent, on all sides, and Demani Richardson is no exception. He’s started since he joined the Aggies, and put up impressive numbers. This season, he’s got 39 tackles and an interception, the third of his career. He’s a good reactionary safety, and is highly aware of what’s going on around him. Back to back rankings are always fun, and this game will be no exception. It’s bound to be a battle, and Richardson will be at the center of the Aggies defense.