Greetings 49ers Faithful! Week 2 of the college football season is upon us, and with the start of the 49ers regular season just a day away, we are back with our breakdown of college football’s weekly action - keeping our sights set on the 2019 NFL Draft.
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.
Deebo Samuel, WR, No. 1 - South Carolina
Height: 6’0” | Weight: 210
#3 Georgia at #24 South Carolina | 12:30pm | Saturday, September 8 | CBS
Here’s a prospect who most assuredly going to be one of the top receivers in the 2019 class so any opportunity for San Francisco to draft him may be slim-to-none but, hey, anything can happen. With Pierre Garçon getting up there in age and loads of unproven talent, the 49ers’ receiving corps may be due for an upgrade of sorts come April. Deebo Samuel led the Gamecocks in receiving touchdowns (6) in 2017 despite only playing in 3 games due to a broken leg suffered against Kentucky.
This matchup between Georgia and South Carolina will provide us with a chance to see Samuel go up against a top-flight defense. He possesses just about everything you'd want in a receiver: big playmaking ability, minimal dropped balls, good size, speed, aggressiveness, and tenacity. The real question is whether or not he can stay healthy for an entire season and, it being his redshirt senior year, he has come upon his last chance to make it known that he can be a significant contributor at the next level.
Amani Oruwariye, CB, No. - Penn State
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 203
#13 Penn State at Pittsburgh | 5:00pm | Saturday, September 8 | ABC/WatchESPN
If you’ve paid any attention to college football over the last few years then you’d know that the Pitt Panthers are usually good for one upset per season and, thus, I present to you the game in which it could happen. Penn St has lost a lot of talent from last year’s team so the timing seems right for the Panthers to pounce on an opponent coming into town who also seem to be trying to find their identity.
Enter Nittany Lions corner Amani Oruwariye, who will do everything he can to prevent that from happening. Oruwariye is a big corner who has some quickness, and if he shows the speed to run with receivers, he could rise over the course of the 2018 season and in the lead up to the 2019 NFL Draft. Suffice to say, though, the guy has the makings to be a lockdown corner in the NFL. In 2017 he was able to accumulate 28 tackles, 8 passes broken up, and 4 interceptions. Look for him to continue producing this season and, hopefully, for years to come in the pros.
Austin Bryant, DE, No. 7 - Clemson
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 265
#2 Clemson at Texas A&M | 4:00pm | Saturday, September 8 | ESPN
One of the four elite prospects along Clemson’s defensive line, Austin Bryant enters this season as a talented and highly anticipated defensive end and pass rusher. Last season, Bryant totaled 8.5 sacks, 50 tackles, and 15.5 for a loss, one interception and two forced fumbles. Bryant displays quick burst off the line of scrimmage, and comes of swiftly along the edge, often creating disruption in the opponents backfield. Uses his hands to fight off and evade blocks. Has strong instincts against the run, and will defend the line against runners along the edge. Bryant has a good size and measureables for the position. Has a blend of lower and upper body strength, and has a physical presence along the line of scrimmage.
There is an injury history with Bryant, including missing eight games during the 2016 season. A healthy senior season will do him and his draft stock some good. Has good ball instincts and anticipation where the play is going to occur. Has improved his play in pass protection. What is intriguing to me about Bryant is his ability to be a three down defensive end, who seems to play stronger as the game carries on. With all that said, I still believe there are areas for Bryant to grow. He is currently a fringe, first round prospect.
N’Keal Harry, WR, No. 1 - Arizona State
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 213
#15 Michigan State at Arizona State | 7:45pm | Saturday, September 8 | ESPN
Might be one of the most polished and yet, lesser known draft-eligible prospects. Harry uses his speed and size, playing an aggressive style of football. Last season Harry recored 82 receptions for 1,142 yards and 8 touchdowns. He is successful in high-pointing the football. Has the ability to run short, intermediate, and deep routes. Has a wide wingspan, with a big-window appeal for quarterbacks. Often bails out his quarterback, making acrobatic catches. Harry is a mismatch against most defensive backs, and can physically overpower them in contested plays for the ball. Harry is a nightmare for defensive backs to contend with in one-to-one matchups. Often times, Harry will use his frame to outbox defenders. Great instincts and anticipation, tracking down the ball, especially on the intermediate and deep routes.
Harry can be lined up all along the line of scrimmage. However, where he seems to shine his best is on the outside. Something Harry will need to improve upon this season is his ability to run more fluidity through his hips. He needs to be able to display more abilities to create separation and open space. It will take Harry time to get too full straight-line speed. At this moment Harris is looking like a round two prospect. Should he be able to improve his speed and ability to create separation, he will be knocking on the door of the first round. Still, there is a lot to like about Harry who still has great value on day two of the draft.
Tyler Biadasz, C, No. 61 - Wisconsin
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 307
New Mexico at No. 4 Wisconsin | 9:00 a.m. | Saturday, September 8 | BTN
One concern amongst some NFL talent evaluators/coaches is the lack of quality depth at the offensive lineman position. A theory, frequently mentioned, behind the decline of talent is due to the poor development of the position at the college and/or high school level. Whatever the reasons are, when there is a school with a history of churning out NFL quality talent, eyes are drawn like flies to - well, you know. Wisconsin is one of those schools to keep an eye on, especially this year where five Badger offensive linemen could be available for the 2019 NFL Draft (three of them likely in the top 45).
All five are talented, well coached, and will likely find their way on to an NFL roster someday soon, but one prospect outside of the top 45 has caught my eye with his impressive play and development. Although he is a redshirt sophomore, Tyler Biadasz is an athletic intellectual mauler at center who continues to improve his game. A former three sport (football, baseball, basketball) high school athlete, Biadasz is a leader on the field displaying smooth athleticism and quickness off the ball with excellent foot agility easily capable of snapping the football and firing off the ball moving laterally fluidly outmaneuvering defenders with speed and sealing with hip flexibility, leverage, and power. He showcases great change of direction skills maintaining balance and is an effective blocker in space reaching the second level with quickness and solid power behind his pads jolting defenders with heavy hands. A true Wisconsin offensive lineman bestowing the smarts, toughness, technique, and discipline the school is known for.
Bryce Love, RB, No. 20 - Stanford
Height: 5’10” | Weight: 196
No. 17 USC at No. 10 Stanford | 5:30 p.m. | Saturday, September 8 | FOX
Bryce Love is a tremendous explosive athlete showcasing elite speed, quickness, and suddenness making him a dynamic threat to hit a home run whenever he touches the ball. The former high school track star’s speed is overwhelming to defenders and his amazing change of direction skills and incredible patience allows him to weave through defenders with nice tackle-breaking slippery skills. Although Love is a bit undersized, he bestows a compact frame running low and is not afraid of contact running physical behind his pads.
Love displays sound vision and instincts with a great feel to sense and step through traffic utilizing his patience to follow his blockers and explode to daylight with his impressive short-area burst ability. He shows the ability to run inside making consecutive moves in a short area getting low and wiggling through the cracks with great pad level hitting the hole. There are some injury concerns that plagued Love during the last half of the 2017 college football season; nevertheless, Love has shown incredible toughness playing through his injuries, but durability poses some questions. Moreover, I would like to see more opportunities showcasing his pass catching abilities, but without question, his exciting big-play capability is undeniable. He just needs to recover from his paltry 29 yards rushing on 18 carries he posted last week against San Diego State.