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Week 3 college football watch list, game thread

Week 3 of the college football season is upon us! We’ve got a game thread for you along with some prospects to keep an eye on.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings 49ers Faithful! Week 2 of the NFL season is right around the corner as the 49ers look to bounce back against a Lions team that just got embarrassed on Monday Night Football (and I mean embarrassed). As you may well know, it’s never too early to set our sights on the 2019 NFL Draft so we shall continue our weekly look at all things college football for week 3.

Each week throughout the college season Josh Eccles, Alex Eisen, and Greg Valerio will break down a few college football games providing highlights and profiles of a few notable draft-eligible prospects you should pay attention to. This will help people build a list of names to know when we get into the offseason.

For this week, Josh, Alex, and Greg each picked two players to talk about. All prospects highlighted are featured today; nonetheless, feel free to drop in the prospects you are watching. All game times listed are PT.

Josh Eccles

Hjalte Froholdt, #51 - Arkansas Height: 6’4” | Weight: 311 | 40 time: 5.31 North Texas at Arkansas | 1:00pm (PT) Saturday, September 15 | SEC Network

First off: what a great name, right? Scouts are going to like what they see from Hjalte Froholdt when they turn on his tape. When he first arrived on campus he was actually listed as a defensive lineman until ineffectiveness and a lack of depth on the offensive line forced coaches to make the decision of switching up his position. He saw early growing pains but eventually helped the Razorback offense average 428.4 yards per game (2016). He’s mobile, strong and tough - not unlike former teammate and 2018 first-round pick Frank Ragnow. He’ll likely be the top interior O-line prospect in next year’s draft - known for his athleticism, brute strength and tenacity, the 6-5, 315-pound blocker looks to live up to the hype at left guard as the season progresses.

As things stand there’s still a bit of a toss-up between guards Joshua Garnett, Jonathan Cooper, and Mike Person so if San Francisco finds themselves in position to add to their offensive line then they shouldn’t think twice about pulling the trigger on Froholdt.

Ty Summers, #42 - TCU Height: 6’2” | Weight: 239 #4 Ohio State vs. #15 TCU (AT&T Stadium) | 5:00pm (PT) Saturday, September 15 | ABC

Reuben Foster is undoubtedly the leader of an up-and-coming linebacker core for the 49ers, which includes the young promising talent that is Fred Warner. Malcolm Smith is a continuous question mark, though, which leaves San Francisco with the opportunity to add to an already-talented group. Enter Ty Summers, whose high motor and strong work ethic should make him a welcome addition to any defense in the NFL.

Summers has shown improvement each and every year in college. He has good athleticism and high intelligence (which can be attributed to his experience of playing quarterback in high school). Ty Summers won't be the first linebacker off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft but he should warrant, at the very least, some serious consideration come the mid-to-late rounds of the draft.

Alex Eisen

David Edwards, OT, No. 79 - Wisconsin
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 315 | 40 Time: 5.30
BYU at #6 Wisconsin | 3:30pm (EST) Saturday, September 15th | ABC

David Edwards is one of the stronger run blockers in the country. His ability to create holes and blocks for the ball handler has been evident thus far. Edwards has a great blend of upper and lower body strength, with clean footwork, and efficient, initial burst off the snap. On tape, Edwards has demonstrated the ability to push defenders backwards, and off the line of scrimmage. Edwards plays well at the point of attack, and has great awareness for the action around him. Plays with bruising and physical tactics, especially in designed runs and packages.

Edwards will need to improve his play on passing plays. On tape, at times, pass rushers have found their away around Edwards. He needs to develop better overall leverage in pass protection. Has strong hands, but he needs to rely on them more as he transitions to the next level. Right tackle seems to be his most natural and comfortable position along the line. It is yet to be seen if Edwards can transition over to the left. I would imagine most, if not all teams at the next level envision him as a true right tackle. It will be intriguing to see how Edwards plays in pass protection once conference play begins. At the moment Edwards is looking like a day two prospect. With improvements in the pass protection department and against the more athletic pass rushers, his arrow will be pointing up, as well as his draft stock

Collin Johnson, WR, No. 9 - Texas
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 225 | 40 Time: 4.52
#22 USC at Texas | 8:00pm (EST), Saturday, September 15th | FOX

Collin Johnson finished the 2017 season with 54 receptions, for 765 yards and 2 touchdowns. His measurements and frame are what scouts and evaluators seek at the next level. Johnson has the height and weight to out-box and physically dominate corners in one-to-one matchups. Has good speed for the position and can crate separation at all three levels on the field (Short, Intermediate, and Deep Routes). On tape, Johnson has demonstrated his ability to create yards after the catch. Has strong hands, and is a reliable pass catcher. His stats tell us that we would like to him to see the end zone more in 2018.

Johnson is continuing to develop his route tree. A smooth runner, who brings a physical presence along the line of scrimmage, and has the ability to move the chains and advance the series. Has a favorable wingspan, and creates large windows for his quarterback. He should prove to be a red-zone threat at the next level. Adding more speed and agility will benefit Johnson and his draft stock moving forward. Should he declare for next year’s draft he is looking like an early day two prospect at the moment. There is certainly more room for growth and development. As I mentioned earlier, finding the end zone more this season will greatly benefit Johnson. I want to see more of a red-zone presence this season. Johnson’s measurements can make him a nightmare to cover inside the twenty.

Greg Valerio

D’Andre Walker, OLB, No. 15 - Georgia
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 250
Middle Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia | 4:15 p.m. (PT) Saturday, September 15 | ESPN 2

D’Andre Walker is a versatile athlete with excellent first-step explosion. He shows great speed and terrific bend off the edge erupting with burst and active hands at the point of attack. He is quick to transition into his pass rush with great body control, power, balance, and nice change of direction skills flying out of the arc from his bend adjusting with great fluidity. Walker is a force in the run game displaying sound awareness, balance, and the strength setting the edge (shows discipline maintaining containment and great at stacking and shedding). Moreover, he showcases the fluidity and short area quickness in space, where he displays sound instincts and awareness quickly diagnosing and attacking arriving in a hurry finishing with violent tendencies.

Walker also displays impressive coverage skills taking full advantage of his speed, athleticism, and savviness covering a lot of the field occupying passing lanes, and flashes solid skills covering running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers. An ideal three-down SAM backer, Walker offers violent explosion rushing off the edge and inside, a stout run defender, and a disruptive force in coverage.

Noah Fant, TE, No. 87 - Iowa
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 243 | 40 time: 4.64
Northern Iowa at Iowa | 4:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday, September 15 | BTN

After an impressive 2017 campaign leading the nation’s tight ends with 16.5 yards per catch and 11 touchdown receptions, Noah Fant’s expectations are expected to continue to rise. The junior boasts freakish athleticism with a multi-sport background in basketball and track (sprints, high jump, triple jump). Although he spends a good amount of time as an effective blocker in Iowa’s scheme, Fant is an athletic pass catching tight end with a great combination of size, speed, athleticism, and the hops to be a red zone threat (42.1” vertical leap). Moreover, he displays the versatility to be used as an offensive weapon all over the field - a Kyle Shanahan special.

Fant displays his natural athletic gifts as a versatile prospect lining up end of line, detached, in the backfield, and out wide. He shows great explosion off the line, nice suddenness in and out of his breaks, strong hands (extends arms to make the catch), and excellent ball skills. Fant displays a keen ability to block end of line at the point of attack in a three-point stance, the agility to reach the next level and block in space with a sound base, platform, and the ability to swing his hips blocking in space whether end of line, detached, or coming downhill from the backfield. In pass protection, he showcases a solid base, platform, and hand positioning is sound, as well as displaying the ability to slide laterally with good balance. Consistency and increased functional strength will bode well for Fant at the next level.