First, we hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving with their families and loved ones! We now look ahead to the final regular season week of the 2018 college football season. This week is known as rivalry week, and usually delivers plenty of drama, fireworks, and unexpected twists and turns.
We have some exciting matchups to look forward to this weekend that includes the marquee game featuring No. Michigan visiting No. 10 Ohio State with a trip to the BIG10 title game and a date with Northwestern on the line. Other exciting matchups include the Iron Bowl featuring the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide hosting the Auburn Tigers. The No. 2 Clemson Tigers host in-state rival South Carolina Gamecocks in the Palmetto Bowl, and the No. 8 Washington State Cougars hosting the No. 16 Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup. Overall, we have plenty of exciting rivalry games to satisfy our appetite. Let’s take a closer look at some draft eligible prospects who will be part of the action this weekend!
Josh, Greg, and Alex have provided 6 prospects to watch this week. Who are YOU excited to see in action this week? Please share and discuss in the comments below!
Lil’Jordan Humphrey, WR, No. 84 - Texas
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 225 lbs.
#14 Texas at Kansas | 9:00am (PT) Friday, November 23 | Fox Sports 1
Lil’Jordan Humphrey is a name a lot of people outside of the Big 12 probably don’t know but should definitey get acquainted to. Standing at a cool 6’4” he possesses the unique physical presence any possession receiver could benefit from - especially in a Kyle Shanahan-led offense which necessitates the existence of a go-to posesssion receiver. On the year Humphrey has 70 receptions, 1033 receiving yards, and 8 touchdowns. Weighing in at 225 lbs also doesn’t hurt as Humphrey has the ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point - a trait that has been lacking from San Francisco receivers (specifically in the red zone).
If the 49ers want to continue building this offense around Jimmy Garoppolo (which, I mean, should be priority A, B, and C) then getting him a big-bodied receiver that he can rely on down the middle of the field and in the red zone is an important step. Humphrey has the potential to make his mark at the next level and can be had for a cheap price as a mid-to-late round draft pick.
Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, No. 33 - Alabama
Height: 6’2” | Weight 265 lbs.
Auburn at #1 Alabama | 12:30pm (PT) Saturday, November 24 | CBS
This being an SEC matchup guarantees that we here are plenty of prospects to keep an eye on during this content. One player in particular, though, that should pique your interest is linebacker Anfernee Jennings. The guys over at The Draft Network had this to say about Jennings:
Powerfully built edge defender with a bubble butt that will get Mike Mayock off the couch yelling “praise the lord.”
If that alone doesn’t intrigue you enough then take a look at this tape because this linebacker possesses everything you’d want in a pass rusher: quick and powerful hands, strong reliable tackling, quick mental processing during plays, and a high motor. Alabama, as we all know, has a knack for churning out NFL-ready talent on both sides of the ball and Jennings is no different. As things stand, though, the 49ers are slated for the first overall pick so it’d be safe for one to assume that that slot belongs to Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa. If Sam Francisco rattles off a few wins to finish off the year, though, and ruin their chances at getting Bosa then Anfernee Jennings offers nice value anywhere between round 2 and 4.
Troy Dye, LB, No. 35 – Oregon
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 224 lbs.
Oregon at Oregon State | 1:00 p.m. (PT) Friday, November 23 | Fox Sports 1
The speedy linebacker out of Norco, California brings a lot of variety and skillset to his game. So far this season Dye has 101 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, and 5 passes deflected. Dye is a linebacker with speed, who can shift and change direction on a dime to put himself in position to make an impact. I particularly am intrigued by his downhill, straight-line speed. Dye has been productive both against the run and the pass. He has the speed and lateral movement to be effective against the pass. Dye has an impressive tackle radius, and finishes them quickly, wrapping his arms around his opponent and forcing the play dead. Shifts his body well in position to shoot by blockers and finds gaps into the opponents’ backfield. On tape, Dye has demonstrated his ability to defend well in coverage against tight ends and running backs. Rarely have I seen Dye give up yards after the reception.
Dye has good football instincts, and will watch and follow the quarterbacks’ eyes to anticipate where the play is going to occur. On film, and in the Duck’s defensive scheme Dye is often utilized as a cover linebacker, and can be looked at as potential three-down linebacker. I really appreciate Dye’s leadership skills and his ability to communicate and make sure his teammates are in a position to succeed. I am concerned about his frame and size. I feel he will need to bulk up and add some more weight to his frame as he transitions to the next level. Where he makes up for this, as mentioned earlier, is his speed and shiftiness. Dye isn’t the most physical linebacker in this upcoming class, however he often puts himself in a position to make a play, and finishes his tackles, while covering multiple assignments throughout the course of a game. At the moment I would grade Dye as a day two prospect at the beginning of round three-backend of round two.
Anthony Johnson, WR, No. 83 – Buffalo
Height: 6’2” | Weight: 207 lbs.
Buffalo at Bowling Green 9:00 a.m. | (PT) Friday, November 23 | ESPNU
Anthony Johnson offers a great blend of speed and height at a position of need. So far this season Johnson has 41 receptions for 794 yards, averaging 19.4 yards per reception with 9 touchdowns. Last season Johnson recorded 76 receptions for 1,356 yards with 14 touchdowns. Johnson has been developing and improving his route tree with each passing season. What is even more impressive is how quickly he has elevated himself to higher competition. Johnson is a deep threat who has demonstrated his ability to take the top of a defense. His presence on the field forces safeties to be honest and in check. Don’t let the small school shy you away. Johnson had an explosive performance against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, a member of the BIG10. In that game Johnson had 11 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown. He was and has been the focal point of Buffalo’s offense. Dare I say, Johnson just might be the best deep threat in this upcoming receiving class.
In addition to his elite speed, Johnson has strong, reliable hands. On tape, he has demonstrated the ability to catch the football over his shoulders and contest against defensive backs for jump balls in man to man coverage. He has good strength for his position, and plays physical against corners and safeties. Johnson has made growth and progress with intermediate and shorter routes. When catching shorter passes, Johnson has demonstrated the ability to gain yards after the reception. Johnson has a great football story, first playing at two community colleges, before transferring to the University of Buffalo. After taking a redshirt in his first season, he completely dominated a Power-Five, division-one opponent in Minnesota. Don’t let the small school make-up fool you…Johnson is by far one of the most intriguing wide receiver prospects in this upcoming draft class. At the moment I have Johnson going at the very end of day two, in the backend of round three, with his arrow pointing up.
JD Spielman, WR, No. 10 - Nebraska
Height: 5’9” | Weight: 185 | 40 time: 4.45
Nebraska vs. Iowa | 9:00 a.m. (PT) Friday, November 23 | FOX
JD Spielman is the son of Minnesota Vikings’ General Manager Rick Spielman and the nephew of former NFL great Chris Spielman (current NFL analyst for FOX). There is no question JD’s passion for football runs deep and once he made the switch from an all-star lacrosse player to football, his commitment to the sport has flourished. The redshirt sophomore is a nightmare match-up for defenders with his amazing suddenness in and out of his breaks and his fast quick feet darting across the field like a jitter-bug making defenders miss. He is a fluid and sharp route runner with a clean technique and smoothness to his game. JD displays great bend on breaks popping out quickly with terrific athleticism, outstanding footwork, quickness, and erupting burst breaking away with impressive speed.
JD is a natural pass catcher with very strong soft reliable hands (terrific hand-eye coordination) extending arms to make the catch and excellent ball skills and is tough as nails (not afraid to take a hit or deliver one). He is a dynamic explosive playmaker with excellent quickness and great speed. Although JD is only 5’9” (plays bigger than size indicates), he showcases superb ball skills, strong reliable hands, and a toughness to his game. Moreover, he is a great route runner, shows explosion off the line of scrimmage, excellent change of direction skills, smooth fluidity, the straight line speed to take the top off coverages, and the short area quickness (can make a defender miss in a phone booth) and terrific balance to gain separation selling routes with his impressive foot speed. Also, he has value in the return game.
Irv Smith Jr., TE, No. 82 - Alabama
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 241 | 40 time: 4.5
Auburn vs. No. 1 Alabama | 12:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday, November 24 | CBS
Irv Smith Jr. is a mismatch in the middle of the field and on the perimeter displaying an impressive combination of size, speed, explosion, and athleticism. A dangerous receiving weapon in the middle of the field, Smith can easily take advantage of defenses with his speed up the seam, the suddenness to separate and get away from man coverage taking advantage of his impressive length and athleticism, finds holes in zone and squares up presenting a large target and catching radius for the quarterback, and extends hands away from the body to make the catch. Along with good catching and great YAC ability, his blocking has been steadily improving as well (a work in progress but shown the capacity to improve).
Smith is a high effort tenacious football player with NFL bloodlines (father and uncle both played in the NFL). He is well coached and embraces the opportunities to improve his game always hungry to succeed. The 49ers are in desperate need of a playmaker wide receiver; however, a dual threat at tight end, along with George Kittle, could be an additional force Kyle Shanahan can take advantage of.