TWSN College Football Week Four Scouting Watchlist

Iowa State Athletics

TWSN College Football Week Four Scouting Watchlist

2023 NFL Draft

TWSN College Football Week Four Scouting Watchlist

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Iowa State Athletics

We are back and ready for another Saturday of college football and this week, the TWSN Draft Team has a great group of prospects for you guys to keep an eye on. From under-the-radar signal callers, a mid-major star and a potential first-round tackle, gear up for this week’s list. 


Michael Penix Jr., Quarterback, Washington (vs Stanford, September 24, 10:30 p.m.)

It has been quite the turnaround for the Washington Huskies with their 3-0 start. A start that is massively due to how transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has played. Through just three games so far, Penix Jr. has completed 70-of-106 passes for 1,079 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has also thrown zero interceptions and has taken zero sacks. Penix Jr. had some questions coming into this season concerning throwing with anticipation. So far, he has answered that question phenomenally, showcasing he can read defenses and throw passes that lead his receivers open. He has a new sense of confidence in Kalen DeBoer’s offense, and his ability to either stand in the pocket and make great reads or escape pressure and throw off-script makes him an intriguing quarterback prospect. When it comes to passing defense, Stanford will be a test for Penix Jr., as Stanford has the third best passing defense in the Pac-12, allowing only 400 yards. This will be a test for Penix Jr., one that he should pass, but will make for one to watch. (Marissa Myers)

Sam Hartman, Quarterback, Wake Forest (vs. No. 5 Clemson, September 24, 12:00 p.m)

Hartman’s game reminds me so much of Gardner Minshew coming out of Washington State. He’s an energetic quarterback with solid arm talent. He missed the first couple of weeks of the season due to an unspecified medical issue, but he’s back and ready to help Wake Forest rise atop the ACC against Clemson. While Hartman’s college offense won’t translate to the NFL, his skills will. Through just two weeks, Hartman has posted 625 passing yards with seven touchdowns and only two interceptions. With an impressive performance against a tough Clemson defense, he’ll certainly continue to catch the eyes of NFL scouts. (Kyle Smith)

Kris Thornton,  Wide receiver, James Madison (@ Appalachian State, September 24, 3:30 p.m.)

Not many people know who Kris Thornton is, but they should. He currently holds the JMU single-season record for receptions, while being third in yards and touchdowns. He’s a two-time FCS All-American and has amassed 127 receptions, 1,772 yards, and 21 touchdowns in just 24 games after transferring to James Madison. Thornton is one of the most explosive players in the country and a true sleeper at wide receiver in this year’s draft class. He has already tallied 18 receptions, 257 yards, and an FBS-leading 5 touchdowns in only two games. JMU travels to red-hot Appalachian State with a pass defense that features three likely NFL Draft picks in Steven Jones, Dex Lawson, and safety Ryan Huff. It’s easily Thornton’s biggest test of the season, and there will be numerous NFL scouts in attendance. Look to see how he approaches playing a heavy man coverage team and if he can take over this game. (Tristen Kuhn)


Will McDonald IV, Defensive End,  Iowa State (vs Baylor, September 24, 12:00 p.m.)

Will McDonald IV has gone from an unheralded recruit with just two Division One offers to one of the most productive pass rushers in college football history. Since 2020, his 22 sacks are the most in the FBS, and he is just three sacks shy of matching Von Miller for the Big 12 career sack record. McDonald surprised some when he returned for his senior season instead of entering the 2022 NFL Draft. McDonald came back to prove that he is more than just a sack artist. He is a freak athlete (number five on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List for The Athletic) with a 6’10 wingspan and 36 foot vertical leap. In addition to his absurd athleticism, he plays with polish off the edge and has a high motor. The concerns lay with his thin frame of 6’3, 236 pounds and inconsistency in run defense. McDonald will be facing off against Baylor tackle Connor Galvin, a potential top-100 draft selection, and has an opportunity to make a big statement to NFL scouts. The upside with McDonald is undeniable. He needs to continue to perform at a high level and show improvement on early downs to prove that he belongs in the first round. (Andrew Little)


Jaelyn Duncan, Offensive Tackle, Maryland (vs. Michigan, September 24, 12:00 p.m.)

Jaelyn Duncan is now a four-year starter at the University of Maryland and has started 30 games at left tackle. At 6’6, 320 pounds, it is very clear that he has the size to play left tackle at the next level. However, he didn’t start playing football until he was 14 years old. There are a few things that he needs to refine, and that will come with more reps and more time on task. The footwork and the pad level is inconsistent at times. On the bright side, Duncan has shown the ability to pull and play with a mean streak in the run game. He is good in pass protection as well. He will have plenty of opportunities to show what he can do in the Big Ten this season. There is a strong chance that Commissioner Roger Goodell says Duncan’s name on April 27, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri during the first round of the NFL Draft. (Gavin Downard)

Cedric Tillman, Wide Receiver, Tennessee (vs. No. 20 Florida, September 24, 3:30 p.m.)

While he may be battling an injury, should Cedric Tillman be on the field for No. 20 Tennessee on Saturday, expect him to take that offense to another level. With Velus Jones now departed for the NFL, Tillman is equipped with a unique opportunity to showcase himself with an also talented quarterback at the helm. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Tillman looks the part of an NFL receiver and has the talent to go in and produce for an NFL offense as well. SEC defenses beware because Cedric Tillman is legit. (Shaun Chornobroff)


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