College Football was finally back last week stealing the show from Thursday night through Monday night. There were ranked teams against cupcakes, top 25 matchups, upsets, and much more. As great as it was, we’re hoping that the great matchups are exactly that from now on and not early blowouts. With that being said, here are some of the top performers from last week and what to look forward to later on today.
Week 1 Top Performers
Offense: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
Nobody is going to mistake UTSA for Alabama but what Harry did against them still needs to be acknowledged. He reeled in 6 catches for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns last Saturday which was great, but it was his ability to get yards after the catch that really shined. He scored two touchdowns on plays that easily could have been about five yard stops, but after some working his magic he turned them into 58 yards and 31 yards, respectively. At his 6’3 frame and his playmaking ability, Harry can really rise up boards this season. He’ll look to increase his stock against Michigan State later today.
Defense: EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
Boy was Monday night a bad night of football for the Seminoles, but if there was one player that shined it was Brian Burns. I had him ranked as my 5th best player last week and he did not disappoint on the national stage, notching 1.5 sacks and 6 tackles. He is now almost exclusively playing in a three point stance in this new defense and from there he was consistently creating pressure on both the passer and the runners. Burns was making plays from the backside and was always in pursuit of the ball carrier no matter where they were. I think there is a good chance he stays among my top 5 throughout the season and can’t wait to see more plays like this one all year.
Brian Burns spin move for the sack! pic.twitter.com/TEGi6sb73q
— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) September 4, 2018
Week 2 Players to Watch
OT Dalton Risner, Kansas State (12:00pm vs Mississippi State, ESPN)
The big boys need some love too. It also helps how the Jets could be looking for a couple next offseason. Risner may not be a household name yet but he has a chance to be after this game. Mississippi State has one of the best defensive lines in the country including IDL Jeffery Simmons and last week’s player to watch, EDGE Montez Sweat. Risner’s best ability may be what he does in pass protection. He has a strong punch, the ability to anchor and has the quickness to slide his feet. It will be interesting to see him going against the two names above and possibly put himself up there among the top 15 players.
EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson (7:00pm vs Texas A&M, ESPN)
Another one of the top edge rushers in the class. Ferrell didn’t have to play too much against Furman in the season opener but was able to record one sack and looks for a few more tonight. Not only does he have the physical traits you want coming off the edge at 6’5 260 but he shows tremendous athleticism all starting with his first step. He has a multitude of pass rushing moves which is great to see at this point as well. A&M might not be a great opponent for Clemson but should be good enough to get to see Ferrell on the field all game, pinning his ears back and attacking the quarterback.
HB Bryce Love, Stanford (8:30pm vs USC, FOX)
In what may have just about ruined his Heisman hopes this season, San Diego State held Love to 29 yards on 18 carries, as well as 3 catches for 18 yards. This was not the start Love had envisioned for himself but it doesn’t ruin all of his draft stock. He has had success against the Trojans in the past, running for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns in two games just last year. What I am looking for out of him tonight is to get back to normal showing his great elusiveness and explosiveness. If he can get to the outside look out for a big play as he has tremendous feel for his surroundings and can make defenders miss at the second and third level. While I never thought he would be a first round running back, especially with his lack of targets in the passing game, it would be nice to see him bounce back.
Week 2 Games to Watch
Kansas State vs #18 Mississippi State (12:00pm on ESPN)
I touched on this game a little bit above but this may be one of the more intriguing games this week. Kansas State always seems to be a tough out and playing at home should give them a huge confidence boost throughout the game. On of the top QBs in the class, Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald, will be making his first appearance of the season after being suspended last week for team violations. That will be a topic of discussion for teams come draft season but for now all eyes will be on him as he tries to let his play do the talking. Back to the main matchup of the night though, Montez Sweat is coming off a two sack opener and will face Dalton Risner who is getting round one buzz. Risner is a strong blocker and as mentioned last week, Sweat could stand to put on a few pounds so strength isn’t particularly his strong suit. It will be a fascinating matchup between those two with hopefully IDL Jeffery Simmons getting in the mix as well.
#24 South Carolina vs #3 Georgia (3:30pm on CBS)
The biggest matchup of the weekend is starting off SEC play. We have a ton of NFL prospects to watch in this game, highlighted by the wide receivers on both sides. On South Carolina we have redshirt senior Deebo Samuel, who practically missed all of last season, likely matching up against cornerback DeAndre Baker of Georgia. As big of a name as Samuel is, you can’t forget about Bryan Edwards who will line up opposite Samuel, who has potential to be a top 75 player in his own right. While Baker will have his hands full with those two, it will be the connection between Jake Fromm and Riley Ridley on Georgia’s offense that will catch the eyes of many scouts. Fromm is still a year away from eligibility but Riley, Calvin’s brother, will look to climb up the boards and be the next first rounder in the family. That connection made a name for themselves in the Championship game against Alabama last year but are looking to build that into a top QB/WR hookup this season.
At the beginning of each month I will update my top 10 big board, throughout the weeks in between there will be a top 5 of a different positional group, starting with the quarterbacks this week.
Top 5 QBs (Week 2)
1. QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
2. QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
3. QB Will Grier, West Virginia
4. QB Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
5. QB Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
On the Bubble: Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock