CFB Prospects to Watch: Conference Championship Weekby Charlie Parent December 1, 2021 0 comments
Well, the regular season has finally come to an end. We’ve gone through 12 weeks of prospects to watch all throughout the FBS, and even FCS ranks and we now end up here with 10 matchups where NFL talent is abundant. Some of the smaller school guys will get their first chance of the season to be seen on a more widescale stage and we will be taking notice. Now, without further adieu, we give you 10 prospects from each matchup to keep an eye on this week.
SEC- Alabama vs Georgia
Prospect: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Since transferring to Alabama from Ohio State in the offseason, Williams has fit into Nick Saban’s offense with ease. He’s put up 1,261 yards and 13 touchdowns all on 61 catches this season in an offense with tons of other weapons to spread the ball to. A big reason the Tide struggled with Auburn last week was that Williams was ejected for targeting early on and the offense was poor from that point. It’ll be very interesting to see how Georgia goes about shutting down Williams as he is probably the biggest X-factor to beating the Bulldogs.
Big 10- Iowa vs Michigan
Prospect: Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
We used Haskins back in Week 11 but it would be criminal not to feature him again here. Haskins was the story of the week (besides Aidan Hutchinson) because of his massive performance against Ohio State where he collected 5 touchdowns and 169 yards all on 26 carries. This game instantly raised his draft stock as Haskins continues to wrack up the carries with Michigan’s Blake Corum still a little banged up. A big performance against Iowa this week to back up the Ohio State game could potentially vault him into the top 5 running back conversation.
Big 12- Oklahoma State vs Baylor
Prospect: Kolby Harvell-Peel, SAF, Oklahoma State
One of the most underrated players in the country, Harvell-Peel has done it all for Oklahoma State this season. The safety has shown excellent run supportability and range, wracking up 36 solo tackles for the Cowboys. He’s also shown an innate ability in coverage where he has a total of five plays on the ball this season. Harvell-Peel could be the most necessary piece to the puzzle when talking about how complete this Oklahoma State defense is and what they’ll be able to do against Baylor on Saturday.
PAC 12- Oregon vs Utah
Prospect: Verone McKinley III, SAF, Oregon
No one is talking about how good the redshirt-sophomore McKinley has been for the Ducks this year. He’s tied for first in the nation with five interceptions and adds a nice six passes defended to his tally as well. We’ve also seen him fly to the ball, evident by his 40 solo tackles. McKinley is a player that should be getting first-round talk but really is not so far for whatever reason. If he plays as well as he has been this season on Friday, we’ll certainly start hearing the calls for first-round chatter.
ACC- Wake Forest vs Pittsburgh
Prospect: Lucas Krull, TE, Pittsburgh
Wake Forest verse Pitt is looking like an offensive shootout that will come down to the wire. If this is the case, others will need to come in clutch for both sides that aren’t the stars like Sam Hartman, Kenny Pickett, A.T. Perry, and Jordan Addison. Krull is the perfect candidate to have a big game and it would help his stock tremendously. In one of the weakest tight end classes in recent memory, guys like Krull are trying to jump up towards the top so this game is obviously a huge opportunity for him as there will certainly be numerous scouts in attendance.
American- Houston vs Cincinnati
Prospect: Logan Hall, DT, Houston
Houston is the underdog in this game. The first order of business for the Cougars, defensively at least, has to be making Cincinnatti one-dimensional. Good thing Houston’s interior line has players like Hall who can set the tone for their defense. He brings a great balance of pass-rush and run-stuff ability. Hall will most likely be tasked with focusing on one of those abilities in Houston’s game plan, whether the Cougars decide to focus on stopping the run or pass is something we’ll later find out about.
Conference USA- Western Kentucky vs UTSA
Prospect: Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
Arguably the most interesting quarterback prospect in this draft. No matter what happens, Zappe won’t be a first-round selection later on but he could be a very valuable mid-round quarterback, and for good reason. Zappe leads the country with an astonishing 4,968 passing yards, more than the next quarterback by over 500. On top of this, Zappe has thrown 52 touchdowns and only nine interceptions throughout his 580 attempts. He’s a clear air-raid workhorse but we still have yet to hear too much about him because of the small school environment he’s in. This weekend will give him a great opportunity to shine with his team clearing being the underdog.
Mountain West- San Diego State vs Utah State
Prospect: Zachary Thomas, OT, San Diego State
At the beginning of the season, Thomas made the Senior Bowl’s watch list and he has not disappointed. The 6’5″, 300-pound tackle has dominated the MWC ranks and is key in the Aztecs’ offense. He shouldn’t have too much trouble against Utah State on Saturday because their pass-rush is absolutely horrendous. That being said, we should be able to see him dominate guys and display his talent.
Sun Belt- Appalachian State vs Louisiana
Prospect: Mekhi Garner, CB, Louisiana
Louisiana is an uber-talented team that has preached coaching development throughout former head coach Billy Napier’s tenure. Garner is a perfect representation of that. He has eight plays on the ball this season and is one of the best corners in the Sun Belt. Scouts will be intrigued by Garners 6’3″ frame as well as long corners are the new wave in the NFL. If Garner can shut down the talented receivers of Appalachian State, giving Chase Brice nowhere to throw, then the Ragin’ Cajuns should find themselves champions of the Sun Belt.
MAC- Northern Illinois vs Kent State
Prospect Marques Cox, OT, Northern Illinois
On a super young team, it’s hard to find anyone who will be declaring for the draft on a surprising Northern Illinois team. Cox, however, has been a staple at tackle for the Huskies all season. Cox brings in a 6’6″ frame and weighs in at 310 pounds. He uses his raw strength to dominate opposing edge rushers and has drawn the eyes of NFL scouts towards him. Look out for Cox to keep it rolling on Saturday.
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