Fooch’s update: This post has been updated with the
The San Francisco 49ers are in the midst of their cutdown to 53 players, but even with the NFL a week away from getting started, there is a whole lot of football this weekend. The 2018 college football season got underway last weekend, but this weekend is the big opening week. Every top 25 team is in action this week, with No. 21 UCF getting things started with a 56-17 win over Connecticut on Thursday.
Josh Eccles, Alex Eisen, and Greg Valerio are back to get you ready for the 2019 NFL Draft by way of the 2018 college football season. Each week we’ll have a look at some notable prospects to watch, and open the floor for discussion of prospects.
Saturday is normally the big day for college football, but this big opening week brings us eight Friday games, including three ranked teams in action. No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 11 Michigan State, and No. 13 Stanford get things going Friday evening. Here’s the full Friday schedule, followed by prospects to watch all weekend long. This week, Josh, Alex, and Greg each picked two players to talk about. None are playing Friday evening, but feel free to drop in the prospects you’re watching.
Syracuse @ Western Michigan — 3 p.m. CBS Sports Network
Montmouth @ Eastern Michigan — 3:30 p.m. ESPN+
Utah State @ No. 11 Michigan State — 4 p.m. Big Ten Network
Army @ Duke — 4 p.m. ESPNU/WatchESPN
Western Kentucky @ No. 4 Wisconsin — 6 p.m. ESPN/WatchESPN
San Diego State @ No. 13 Stanford — 6 p.m. FS1
Portland State @ Nevada — 6 p.m.
Colorado vs. Colorado State — 6:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network
Joe Jackson, Edge, No. 99 - Miami
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 255
No. 8 Miami (FL) vs. No. 25 LSU | 4:30 p.m. | Sunday, September 2nd | ABC/ESPN
The 49ers desperately need someone who will be able to consistently set the edge on defense and, well, they should look no further than Miami Hurricane Joe Jackson. Jackson is a commanding presence on the defensive line and is looking to have a breakout campaign in 2018 - he had 7.5 sacks in 2016 and 6.5 in 2017. The man is a beast and (as you can see from the highlights above) and will look to showcase his abilities as Miami makes a run at a playoff berth.
He has been able to showcase athleticism, strength, and power. There’s a lot to like about Jackson’s game, his length, motor, and active hands when attempting to dispatch blockers against the run. If he showcases a more refined skill set getting after the quarterback in 2018, he’ll get plenty of first-round consideration.
Devin Singletary, RB, No. 5 - FAU
Height: 5’8 | Weight: 200
FAU @ No. 7 Oklahoma | 9 a.m. | Saturday, September 1st | FOX
We've seen what Kyle Shanahan can do with two highly effective running backs in his offense - Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are evidence of just that - so adding Devin Singletary to a backfield already featuring Jerick McKinnon would be quite exciting.
Singletary is the first AP All-American in FAU history and the key to any chance that the Owls have at knocking off the Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma. The one thing that he will have to fight against all season is the narrative that he is “too small” to be a starter at the next level. In 2017 he scored a total of 27 touchdowns and ran for 1,632 yards, which was good enough to rank 4th in all of college football. Head coach Lane Kiffin will rely heavily on Singletary all season long and it all starts with a premiere matchup against one of the best teams in the country on Saturday.
Ed Oliver, DT, No. 10 - Houston
Height: 6’3” | 290 lbs.
Houston @ Rice | 9 a.m. | Saturday, September 1st, CBS Sports Network
My early favorite to go number one overall in next year’s draft. Ed Oliver is the complete, elite package that will instantly upgrade any team’s defensive line. His speed off the line, power, and constant disruption in the opponent’s backfield make him a lethal force that will give offensive lineman fits all game long. He has a natural blend of upper and lower body power, with a high powered motor that is relentless. In 2017 Oliver had 73 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He constantly caused teams to double up on him, allowing his teammates along the line to make plays and have an impact.
His technique to push off and evade blockers is second to none, and his speed and jump off the snap make him a misery to defend for blockers along the line. Watching his tape, more often than not, you are going to find Oliver in the opponents backfield. He makes his presence known and has an impact on many plays he’s on the field for. A number one overall pick should be a no doubt, plug-and-play, day one starter. Of all the draft eligible prospects, Oliver is the closest to that at the moment.
David Sills, WR, No. 15 - West Virginia
Weight: 6’4” | 203 lbs.
No. 17 West Virginia @ Tennessee | 12:30 p.m. | Saturday, September 1st | CBS
When it comes to big target receivers, David Sills is perhaps one of the most intriguing draft eligible prospects to watch this upcoming season. In 2017 Sills recored 60 receptions, for 980 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is a physical mismatch for most defenders in the country and his catch radius and wingspan are any quarterback’s best friend. My concern for Sills is his speed and his ability to break away from defenders and create open space for himself. Where Sills makes up for this is his size, strong reliable hands, and his ability to beat defenders often in one-to-one matchups for jump balls.
Sills is one of the best red-zone threats in the country. His big-window appeal inside the twenty has had a positive impact on the Mountaineer offense. He has the ability to run the short, intermediate, and deep routes, and can be plugged along various points on the offensive line. At the moment, Sills is looking like a day two selection, with his arrow pointing up. If Sills can continue to to be an elite redzone and big-target threat, many teams at the pro level will be interested in his services.
Justin Herron, OT, No. 75 - Wake Forest
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 290
Wake Forest at Tulane | 5:00 p.m. (PT) Thursday, August 30 | CBSSN
Justin Herron may likely end up as an offensive guard prospect at the next level, but he displays the versatility and athleticism to handle his own on the bookends. A former basketball and baseball athlete, Herron is an athletically gifted guard/tackle prospect with great explosion, power, fluidity, and quickness to be a force in a zone blocking scheme at the next level. Moreover, per Pro Football Focus, Herron has the most pass-blocking snaps (469) without a sack allowed for all returning offensive tackles.
Herron showcases good functional athleticism and light feet for a man his size with the foot speed to slide laterally and adjust to movement displaying nice technique and active hands with a pop. In the run game, he bestows great toughness and decent strength (needs to gain more functional strength) finishing blocks all the way to the whistle. Consistency in technique and maintaining leverage is key for Herron moving on to the next level.
Rashad Gary, DT, No. 3 - Michigan
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 281
No. 14 Michigan @ No. 12 Notre Dame | 4:30 p.m. Saturday, September 1 | NBC
There is some concern amongst Michigan fans that their top defensive player in Rashan Gary is injured. He has been limited at practice and from observers on the ground, it appears there is a potential nagging injury Gary is dealing with; moreover, with Jim Harbaugh at the helm, getting clarification on anything is like an obstacle of futility. Nevertheless, a healthy Gary, is a freakishly athletic machine wreaking havoc all over the field.
Gary is a thick athletic long-limbed explosive defender with a great first-step quickness and strength. A tenacious disrupter in the backfield, Gary displays a nose for the ball off the edge with great speed to power conversion, decent bend, good technique, and burst with closing speed finishing hitting with explosion. He shows the versatility to win inside and on either side of the edge and displaying solid change of direction skills with impressive fluidity, nice agility, and high motoring speed when stunting. Gary also displays nice discipline on the edge with solid skills stacking and shedding taking on front-side blocks with strength and the athletic ability to win against back-side blocks with balance, foot quickness, and closing speed.
Week 1 Saturday college TV schedule
|Oregon State at #5 Ohio State||9:00 AM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida Atlantic at #7 Oklahoma||9:00 AM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Southern at #16 TCU||9:00 AM||FSN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#23 Texas vs Maryland||9:00 AM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Kent State at Illinois||9:00 AM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Texas State at Rutgers||9:00 AM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Coastal Carolina at South Carolina||9:00 AM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Ole Miss vs Texas Tech||9:00 AM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|James Madison at NC State||9:00 AM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Villanova at Temple||9:00 AM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Houston at Rice||9:00 AM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Furman at #2 Clemson||9:20 AM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Alcorn State at Georgia Tech||9:30 AM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UMass at Boston College||10:00 AM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Stony Brook at Air Force||11:00 AM||None|
|Howard at Ohio||11:00 AM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Austin Peay at #3 Georgia||12:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#6 Washington vs #9 Auburn||12:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Appalachian State at #10 Penn State||12:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Tennessee vs #17 West Virginia||12:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|Albany at Pittsburgh||12:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Marshall at Miami (OH)||12:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Central Michigan at Kentucky||12:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Northern Illinois at Iowa||12:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Washington State at Wyoming||12:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|UNLV at #15 USC||1:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|North Carolina at California||1:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|UT Martin at Missouri||1:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Eastern Illinois at Arkansas||1:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#22 Boise State at Troy||3:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Old Dominion at Liberty||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Fordham at Charlotte||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|North Carolina A&T at East Carolina||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Elon at South Florida||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Richmond at Virginia||3:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Delaware State at Buffalo||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|South Carolina State at Georgia Southern||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Grambling at Louisiana||4:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|VMI at Toledo||4:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Southeast Missouri State at Arkansas State||4:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Mercer at Memphis||4:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Central Arkansas at Tulsa||4:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Louisiana Tech at South Alabama||4:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Jackson State at Southern Mississippi||4:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Cincinnati at UCLA||4:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Indiana at Florida Intl||4:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Nicholls at Kansas||4:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|South Dakota at Kansas State||4:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|#14 Michigan at #12 Notre Dame||4:30 PM||NBC||NBCSports.com|
|Stephen F. Austin at #18 Mississippi State||4:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Charleston Southern at Florida||4:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt||4:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|SMU at North Texas||4:30 PM||Stadium TV||WatchStadium.com|
|Northern Arizona at UTEP||4:30 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Louisville at #1 Alabama||5:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Bowling Green at #24 Oregon||5:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Akron at Nebraska||5:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Abilene Christian at Baylor||5:00 PM||FSN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|South Dakota State at Iowa State||5:00 PM||None||Cyclones.tv|
|Incarnate Word at New Mexico||5:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Idaho at Fresno State||7:00 PM||None|
|UTSA at Arizona State||7:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|BYU at Arizona||7:45 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Navy at Hawai'i||8:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|