After an exhilarating opening two weeks of college football, we are slowly but surely heading towards the peak of the season and already many of the nation’s top players are making themselves known to NFL scouts.
With that said, here are some prospects to take a look at this upcoming week.
Blake Freeland, Offensive Tackle, BYU (vs No. 9 Baylor, September 10, 10:15 p.m.)
In what is this week’s only ranked matchup after a wild competitive-filled Week One, BYU will play host to the ninth-ranked Baylor Bears. BYU left tackle Blake Freeland is someone that must be watched this weekend, mainly for his impact in the run game. Baylor doesn’t gather a ton of push from their pass rushers off the edge but Cole Maxwell, Gabe Hall, and potential first-round nose tackle Siaki Ika are some of the best in the country at stopping the run. In 2021 Baylor finished the year with the 17th-ranked run defense. On the contrary, BYU loves to run the ball, they rushed a total of 37 times in their opener against USF. In 2021 they ran the ball 463 times averaging 6.8 yards per carry. This game is going to be a slugfest in the trenches. Freeland will get the opportunity to show NFL scouts that he can really be a mauler in the run game against one of the best fronts in college. Freeland has the measurables, strength, and pass sets to be a dominant left tackle but this game could push him over the edge into a potential first or second-round pick. (Tristen Kuhn)
Henry To’oto’o, Linebacker, Alabama (vs Texas, September 10, 12:00 p.m.)
In 2019, Henry To’oto’o committed to the University of Tennessee. He spent two seasons in Knoxville and was extremely productive, including an SEC All-Freshman team selection in 2019. In 2021, he decided to transfer to Alabama and join the Crimson Tide. Last year, he had his best season yet. He finished the year with 111 tackles, four sacks, two passes defended, and a forced fumble. I chose To’oto’o this week because of his matchup with Texas running back Bijan Robinson. Robinson is the best running back in the country and To’oto’o is going to be keyed on him all day long. To’oto’o doesn’t have the elite size of some inside linebackers, but he makes
up for it in explosiveness. He closes extremely fast and bursts through holes to make tackles like a missile. He does a great job of finishing tackles and driving through the ball carriers. The chess match between Robinson and To’oto’o will be phenomenal, must-watch television this Saturday. (Gavin Downard)
Jaheim Bell, Tight End, South Carolina (vs No. 16 Arkansas, September 10, 12:00 p.m.)
South Carolina promised to utilize Jaheim Bell as a Swiss Army knife weapon in his junior season and they did just that in their opener against Georgia State. Bell lined up at tight end, running back, in the slot, and wide receiver in the win. The Deebo Samuel comparisons are inevitable with one big caveat; Jaheim Bell is 6’3, 230 lbs. Bell impressed as a runner averaging 5.6 yards per carry on his seven rushing attempts and will be counted on even more as a receiver this week against Arkansas. He will match up with several potential NFL Draft picks including linebackers Drew Sanders and Bumper Pool along with defensive backs Jalen Catalon, and Myles Slusher if they play after suffering injuries. Bell has special abilities with the ball in his hands and presents unique versatility from a tight end. Scouts will be closely monitoring how Bell performs in his individual matchups against a talented Razorback defense. (Andrew Little)
DeMarvion Overshown, Linebacker, Texas (vs No. 1 Alabama September 10, 12:00)
This is a huge season for the fifth-year senior, DeMarvion Overshown as he attempts to raise his draft stock even higher before entering the 2023 NFL Draft. Overshown has been a leader for the Longhorns defense that has had its down moments in recent years. Just last season he led the defense in tackles with 74, while also having the second most sacks with two. He did that in his second season as a linebacker as in his first two seasons in 2018 and 2019 he was playing as a safety. His ability to play anywhere makes Overshown extremely versatile for defensive coordinators. This season he will get to add to that even more as the Longhorns are also going to have him line up as an outside linebacker occasionally. He has extremely great length that he uses to disengage blockers or disrupt passing lanes. His explosive speed is going to be critical in this matchup against Alabama’s offense with guys like Jahmyr Gibbs, any of the receivers on underneath routes, or even Bryce Young when he is coming off the edge. If Overshown has an impressive showing against a team like Alabama it will pay dividends for him come draft time. (Marissa Myers)
Bijan Robinson, Running Back, Texas (vs No. 1 Alabama, September 10, 12:00 p.m.)
Used sparingly in Texas’ home opener, Bijan Robinson ran 10 times for 71 yards and a touchdown. 7.1 yards per carry is ridiculous against any competition, but it’s not a surprise for Robinson. Over his three-year career at Texas, he’s averaged 6.5 yards per attempt. Alabama’s defense, on the other hand, allowed five or more yards per carry in only one game in 2021 and allowed only 2.1 yards per carry against Utah State in their opener last week. Robinson has a chance to further solidify his name as the top running back in the 2023 draft class with a dominant performance against one of the top defenses in the country. If Robinson shines, he could even cement his name as an early first-round talent, an unheard-of feat in today’s NFL. (Kyle Smith)
Spencer Rattler, Quarterback, South Carolina (vs No. 16 Arkansas, September 10, 12:00 p.m.)
There’s something about a redemption story that has always grabbed me and if Spencer Rattler, a once potential first overall pick can find success at South Carolina, his re-emergence would be among my favorite stories in modern sports. A former five-star recruit, Rattler’s brash confidence, and talent had him anointed as the future of Oklahoma football under Lincoln Riley. The once prodigious talent was overtaken by Caleb Williams and now neither Riley, Williams, or Rattler are a member of the Sooners program. Now a member of the Gamecocks, Rattler’s talent may have the chance to show once again and while it is unlikely he ends up as the top-pick the media once expected him to be, his journey that may take him back to prominence will be one to watch. (Shaun Chornobroff)