Good morning 49er Faithful! We continue our Week 1 break down providing highlights and profiles of draft-eligible prospects for the slate of college football games today. I will kick things off showcasing two early games, and then my compadre, Jake Narayan, will showcase a few more games for later on today into this evening. So, let's get things started.
Fooch's update: Jake has provided some thoughts on evening games.
Arizona State @ Texas A&M - 4pm PT
Coach Kevin Sumlin is going to have to have his work cut out for him this year in the SEC. In 2012, Sumlin took over the job as head coach and won 11 games in the same year, with a Heisman trophy winning quarterback in Johnny Manziel. Every since then, the A&M win total has declined every year and now the media are predicting the Aggies are going to finish second to last in the SEC west. I feel it is going to come down to the quarterback play by Kyle Allen. Allen took over Kenny Hill over the last five games of 2014 season. The Aggies had a great offseason by hiring the defensive coordinator from LSU, John Chavis. He will serve as the teams assistant coach, but what can he do for the defense? This was one of the worst defenses in the SEC despite having some young talent in Myles Garret, who finished his freshman season with 11.5 sacks. Wide receiver Speedy Noil should have a blast this year catching passes from Allen, in hopes to surpass his freshman year stats (46 REC, 583 YDS, 5 TD). Allen will have another fantastic target in the junior Josh Reynolds this year who totaled 52 reception for 842 yards and 13 touchdowns the previous season.
Arizona State opens the season as the no. 15 ranked team in the country, and has high expectations that I think they will fulfill with a very talented offense and defense. Arizona state will have the help of its senior quarterback Mike Bercovici who threw for 1,445 yards and 12 touchdowns. D.J Foster is the only player in subdivision football to have 1,500 receiving and rushing yards in his career. In a recent interview, coach Kevin Sumlin said, "This guy is electric, dynamic." This game will played on a neutral field, at NRG stadium, home of the Texans. The stadium is much closer to A&M so I assume the majority of the fans will be from there. ASU defensive line will be led by nose guard Demetrious Cherry, a junior who plays a huge part in run defense.
Kyle Allen, QB, soph
Deashon Hall, DE, jr.
Alonzo Williams, DT, jr.
De'Vonte Harris, CB, sr.
Brandon Williams, CB, sr.
Shaan Washington, LB, jr.
Mike Bercovici, QB, sr.
D.J Foster, WR/RB, sr.
Devin Lucien, WR, sr.
Demetrious Cherry, NT, sr.
Salamo Fiso, LB, jr.
Akron @ Oklahoma - 4pm PT
As I mentioned earlier that most of the games this weekend for the bigger schools are an easy win and to scrape off some of the rust, and that is the case for this game as well. Even though Akron is very unlikely to pull the upset, there are some players from both of the teams that are noteworthy and I would like to share them with you, Starting with Oklahoma's quarterback, Baker Mayfield (transfer from Texas Tech), who took the starting job from Trevor Knight over the summer. Knight at one point was a potential candidate for the Heisman trophy last year. Mayfield has a strong arm and certainly fits into Oklahoma's offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's air raid offense. I don't think Mayfield will have too much trouble finding open receivers, as one of his targets is Sterling Shepard, a total burner. Shepard, who stands 5'10", 195 lbs. has established himself as one of the best (and quickest) receivers in the game. Oklahoma will also have another returning receiver in Dede Westbrook. He was a junior college transfer last year and did not have the greatest production, but I believe he will have a bounce back year and surprise a lot of doubters.
Akron: As for Akron, well I think they are going to have a tough time contending against the 19th ranked football team in the country. The Zips are coached by Terry Bowden, he is in his fourth season at Akron. Coach Bowden said he will announce the starting quarterback job until moments from the game, but it will most likely be the two-year starter Kyle Pohl. The Zips were not the highest scoring offense last year averaging 22 points per contest and this will not suffice against the Sooners this weekend to have any kind of chance. Look for Akron to try to air it out tomorrow as this was a huge weakness for Oklahoma in 2014 (20 yards and more).
Another part of Akron football to take note to is their defensive line. Se'Von Pittman stands 6'3", 270 lbs. and is one of the DE who was a transfer from Ohio State. The DE opposite of Pittman is Jamal Marcus, another transfer from the Buckeyes. The DT is Rodney Coe, who was previously with Iowa State, but had to leave for violating several team rules. Next is Cody Grice, the Zips star nose guard and an All-MAC First Team. It will be interesting to see how the Zips front seven defend the Oklahoma run game with sophomore running back Samaje Perine.
Baker Mayfield, no. 6, QB (junior)
Dede Westbrook, no. 11, WR (junior)
*Sterling Shepard, no. 3, WR (senior)
*Zack Sanchez, no. 15, CB (junior)
*Eric Striker, no. 19, LB (senior)
Kyle Pohl, no. 16, QB (senior)
Se'Von Pittman, no. 90, DE (junior)
Rodney Coe, no. 91, DT (junior)
Jamal Marcus, no. 34, DE (junior)
Cody Grice, no. 36, NT, (junior)
Alabama A&M @ Cincinnati - 4pm PT, ESPN 3
As we get into the later part of the day on the opening weekend of college football, there are many key players to watch that are notable and eligible to enter in the 2016 draft. We start things off with a4pm game, Cincinnati vs. Alabama A&M. Keep in mind that some of the opponents for the bigger name schools are questionable this weekend (it is always like this the first week of college football), but it is still a good thing to take a look at some of the players and get a perspective on how their seasons are going to turn out. Cincinnati's Gunner Kiel is a top QB prospect standing at 6'4" and 215 pounds. Kiel also has help from Shaq Washington and Mekale McKay, combining to make one of the top receiving duos in the country.
Alabama A&M is not exactly favored to beat Cincinnati, but I think will put up a game against them. They have produced some talent in the past including; John Stallworth and Robert Mathis. The junior Tevin Mckenzie no. 9 is also helping out on the offensive side of the ball. Mckenzie stands 5'10" and 190 lbs. and is a speed demon that gets some major separation from a defensive back.
Gunner Kiel, no. 11, QB
Shaq Washington, no. 19, WR
Mekale McKay, no. 2, WR
Hosey Williams, no. 4, RB
Mouhon Silverberry, no. 92, DE
Tevin Mckenzie, no. 9, WR
No. 21 Stanford Cardinal at Northwestern Wildcats | 9:00 AM PST | ESPN
We start things off with Stanford QB, Kevin Hogan, No. 8. Hogan displays the physical attributes of a NFL calibre quarterback (6'4" - 225 lbs.), but his lackluster arm with a funky delivery, sporadic accuracy, and inconsistency is a problem for the next level; however, he does come from a pro-style offense and has great instincts. WR Devon Cajuste, No. 89, is another big-bodied receiver (6'4" - 229 lbs.) thrown into the mix of a bevy of the 6'2" and above wide receive 2016 Draft Club. Cajuste will not beat you with his speed or explosion, but possesses solid route running skills, great ball control, and strong reliable hands.
The Cardinal's OT Kyle Murphy, No. 78, showcases great size, (6'7" - 298 lbs.), quickness, flexibility, and length (long arms). The left tackle is solid in pass protection with quick movement, and displays power in the run game driving defenders with aggression. He also has experience playing right tackle (cue 49ers interest), which is his likely home in the NFL. ILB Blake Martinez, No. 4, is not overly athletic, but has tremendous instincts and awareness, and has a knack for always being around the ball with his high-motor. Martinez looks like a 3-4 ILB who will bring value on special teams.
Another Stanford Cardinal to keep an eye on: OLB Kevin Anderson, No. 48, (6'4 - 245).
There are not too many draft-eligible prospect for Northwestern, but there is one player to keep an eye on, FB Dan Vitale, No. 40. I know he's a FB, but Vitale is not your ordinary FB, he's a superback (FB/TE hybrid position specific to Northwestern). Vitale is an ideal West Coast offense style of FB, with tremendous explosion, athleticism, agility, speed, and power, as well as being an extremely impressive pass catcher with great ball skills and reliable hands. The dude is versatile, and lines up all over the field as a FB, TE, and H-back. Watch him today and you will be impressed too.
QB Kevin Hogan, No. 8, 6'4 - 225 lbs., 4.86 40 - Stanford (5th)
RB Remound Wright, No. 22, 5'9 - 204 lbs., 4.59 40 - Stanford (UFA)
WR Devon Cajuste, No. 89, 6'4 - 229 lbs., 4.60 40 - Stanford (4th)
OT Kyle Murphy, No. 78, 6'7 - 298 lbs., 5.19 40 - Stanford (3rd)
OG Joshua Garnett, No. 51, 6'5 - 325 lbs., 5.38 40 - Stanford (UFA)
DE Brennan Scarlett, No. 17, 6'4 - 265 lbs., 4.96 40 - Stanford (UFA) Grad transfer from California.
DE Luke Kaumatule, No. 99, 6'6 - 276 lbs., 5.06 40 - Stanford (UFA)
OLB Kevin Anderson, No. 48, 6'4 - 245 lbs., 4.84 40 - Stanford (7th)
ILB Blake Martinez, No. 4, 6'2 - 247 lbs., 4.79 40 - Stanford (3rd-4th)
SS Kodi Whitfield, No. 5, 6'2 - 204 lbs., 4.58 40 - Stanford (UFA)
LS Reed Miller, No. 67, 6'2 - 220 lbs., 5.14 40 - Stanford (UFA)
FB Dan Vitale, No. 40, 6'1 - 235 lbs., 4.76 40 - Northwestern (6th)
WR Christian Jones , No. 14, 6'3 - 230 lbs., 4.72 40 - Northwestern (UFA)
DE Dean Lowry, No. 94, 6'6 - 280 lbs., 4.97 40 - Northwestern (UFA)
DE Deonte Gibson, No. 13, 6'3 - 270 lbs., 4.89 40 - Northwestern (UFA)
Virginia Cavaliers at No. 13 UCLA Bruins | 12:30 PM PST | FOX
Virginia is showcasing one noticeable draft-eligible talent in this game in CB Maurice Canady, No. 26. The 6'2" - 195 pound senior brings nice size and strength to the position, where CBs with the bigger size are still hot commodities at the next level. The long-armed tall CB displays great athleticism, solid speed, and tenacious aggression always attacking the ball. His best fit is in Press-Man coverage, but he's also good in Off-Man and Zone coverage.
UCLA is touting two very talented first round prospects in OLB *Myles Jack, No. 30 and DT *Kenny Clark, No. 97. When one talks about versatility, the first name that pops up should be Myles Jack. The junior OLB's athleticism and skills are insane, and he could easily be a high round draft prospect as a RB as well. Focusing on his defensive side, Jack is automatic as a tackler and has superb instincts that makes him an ideal disruptive force any team would covet, although his likely position at the next level is as a 4-3 OLB. Kenny Clark is a beast of a man clogging up the middle as a powerful immovable run stuffer with great explosion. Clark, a junior, easily takes on multiple blockers freeing up his LBs to roam freely in order to chase down ball carriers. He also shows versatility to play nose guard and the five-technique.
Keep an eye out for another junior, in DT *Eddie Vanderdoes, No. 47. Vanderdoes is a powerful run stuffer in the middle that eats up blockers. He could stay another year to polish his game, but if he turns heads this season, he is likely an early entry declaring for the draft.
Two other Bruins to keep an eye on: WR Jordan Payton, No. 9, and CB Fabian Moreau, No. 10.
WR T.J. Thorpe, No. 8, 6'0 - 210 lbs., 4.52 40 - Virginia (UFA) Out for 10 weeks after breaking bone in right shoulder (clavicle).
TE Rob Burns, No. 89, 6'6 - 260 lbs., 4.96 40 - Virginia (UFA)
DT David Dean, No. 55, 6'1 - 295 lbs., 5.07 40 - Virginia (UFA)
DT Kwontie Moore, No. 34, 6'2 - 290 lbs., 5.06 40 - Virginia (UFA)
DE Mike Moore, No. 32, 6'3 - 275 lbs., 4.92 40 - Virginia (UFA)
CB Maurice Canady, No. 26, 6'2 - 195 lbs., 4.54 40 - Virginia (3rd-4th)
CB Demetrious Nicholson, No. 1, 5'10 - 185 lbs., 4.49 40 - Virginia (UFA)
K Ian Frye, No. 14, 6'5 - 215 lbs., 5.12 40 - Virginia (UFA)
WR Jordan Payton, No. 9, 6'0 - 213 lbs., 4.54 40 - UCLA (5th-6th)
WR Devin Fuller, No. 7, 5'11 - 195 lbs., 4.52 40 - UCLA (UFA)
C Jake Brendel, No. 54, 6'3 - 290 lbs., 5.16 40 - UCLA (UFA)
DT *Kenny Clark, No. 97, 6'3 - 308 lbs., 5.22 40 - UCLA (1st)
DT *Eddie Vanderdoes, No. 47, 6'3 - 305 lbs., 5.17 40 - UCLA (2017?) Transfer from Notre Dame.
OLB *Myles Jack, No. 30, 6'1 - 232 lbs., 4.56 40 - UCLA (1st)
OLB Aaron Wallace, No. 51, 6'2 - 243 lbs., 4.78 40 - UCLA (UFA)
CB Fabian Moreau, No. 10, 5'11 - 195 lbs., 4.52 40 - UCLA (4th)