‘Tis the season for over 40 college bowl games sponsored by some very obscure companies to celebrate the mediocrity of 6-6 teams. Surely there is an angry old man somewhere waving his fist screaming about how “everyone gets a trophy” and “the Millennials are ruining everything.” At TOJ, we love bowl season. Maybe not for the games because watching Western Kentucky against Georgia State is not very appealing, but it gives us a chance to watch some teams that we did not get a chance to watch this season and evaluate some prospects who may not have been regularly exposed to us.
Matchup: Louisiana Tech vs. SMU
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Louisiana Tech’s prospects: N/A
1) WR Courtland Sutton
2017 stats: 62 catches, 1,017 yards, 12 TDs
Career stats: 189 carries, 3,152 yards, 31 TDs
We have not yet seen a first-round prospect suit up in a game through the first seven games of bowl season, but we will get that tonight in Sutton. As a matter of fact, we may be looking at a top-five pick. I view him as the top WR in this class. He has the skillset of a top target as well as the size (6-foot-4, 220-pounds), and he has the numbers to prove it. He might not be as polished of a prospect, but Sutton has a lot of Julio Jones in him and he is going to make a team at the top of the draft very happy.
2) WR Trey Quinn
2017 stats: 106 catches, 1,191 yards, 12 TDs
Career stats: 128 catches, 1,467 yards, 12 TDs
All of the attention is going to Sutton, and rightfully so, but Quinn came out of nowhere this season to provide a true one-two punch at SMU. He ended up with 46 more catches and 174 more yards than Sutton after recording just 22 catches for 276 yards and no touchdowns over the last two seasons. At 6-foot, 200-pounds, Quinn is a much different receiver than Sutton. He goes over the middle more and catches a lot of passes close to the line of scrimmage. He has not yet declared for the draft but reports seem to be trending in the direction of him, and Quinn will probably hear his name called at some point on day three of the draft. Despite his production, I believe he will be a 6th or 7th round pick. A lot of his production this season came as a result of Sutton being double and triple-teamed.
3) CB Jordan Wyatt
2017 stats: 49 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 4 INTs, 8 passes defended
It is not all offense at SMU — they have some defensive talent as well, led by Wyatt. The battles in practice between Wyatt and Sutton were probably fun to watch for the Mustangs’ coaching staff. The 6-foot, 195-pound junior corner has a lot to prove throughout the draft process, but early projections have him penciled in as a 3rd round pick.
4) EDGE Justin Lawler
2017 stats: 74 tackles, 9.5 sacks
Lawler is not a flashy prospect, but the numbers speak for themselves — 74 tackles in 12 games from the edge is production that you might not even see out of the nation’s top prospects. This production comes on the heels of a junior campaign in which he posted 65 tackles and six sacks. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound EDGE rusher will probably be a 6th or 7th round pick, but he has the size, the skillset, and most importantly the motor to be a late round gem.