#10 Florida vs. #7 Michigan NOON / 9 AM PST ESPN
Chick Fil-A Peach Bowl
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (home of the MLS Champion Atlanta United, Atlanta Falcons, and Super Bowl 53)
- Congrats, Florida? The Gators enter Mercedes Benz Stadium for the first time ever since it was built. Michigan is missing three key starters as RB Karan Higdon (he of the infamous guarantee), LB Devin Bush, Jr, and EDGE Rashan Gary all have elected to skip the game for draft prep purposes. Florida is coming off a resounding blowout win over rival Florida State while Michigan is coming off a blowout loss to Ohio State.
Score prediction: Florida 30 Michigan 21
Florida prospects to watch
1. Jachai Polite 6’2 260 EDGE Junior
- Polite has been a major surprise for the resurgent Gators defense. He’s rising up the boards rapidly in 2018. Athleticism is a major plus. Fundamentally raw as he is relatively inexperienced as a junior. Improving every week as he gains experience. He has 11 sacks, 43 tackles, 18 tackles for loss.
2. Van Jefferson 6’1 195 WR RS Junior
- Jefferson is a familiar face in the SEC as he transferred from Ole Miss and was given immediate eligibility to play by the NCAA due to scandal. He’s a solid receiver prospect that is likely to go pro. The Gators’ main receiving weapon. Leads the team with 31 catches for 439 yards and six touchdowns.
3. Martez Ivey 6’5 315 OL Senior
- Ivey is finally a senior this season after starting as a freshman. He currently starts as a tackle for Florida but profiles better as a guard at the next level.
4. Jabari Zuniga 6’3 246 EDGE RS Junior
- Zuniga doesn’t get talked about a lot in the deep edge class but he has immense talent. Has a lot of athleticism in a herky jerky way. A pass rush talent that go up the field in a hurry. Lateral agility isn’t the greatest but he hasn’t been asked to do that much. Has 6.5 sacks.
5. Vosean Joseph 6’0 227 LB Junior
- Joseph is a fearsome hitter that has been ejected for targeting several times. Started out as a defensive back but moved up a level to linebacker. Undersized for the role but he makes it work. Look out for him as he will level an offensive player with 0 hesitation. Florida’s leading tackler with 87, nine tackles for loss, and four sacks.
Michigan prospects to watch
1. Chase Winovich 6’3 253 EDGE RS Senior
- He’s one of the better edge rushers that no one talks about. A relentless worker that won’t quit until the echo of the whistle. A load to handle for offensive tackles. He may be limited athletically but he just doesn’t stop working to get the sack. He’s third on the team with 48 tackles and third in sacks with 4. He has accepted his Senior Bowl invite.
South Carolina vs. Virginia NOON / 9 AM ABC
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC (home of the Carolina Panthers)
- The King of Bowl Social Media is back for yet another edition (seriously, they are funny). South Carolina is coming off a win over Akron in which they didn’t even need to get bowl eligible but played anyway due to Hurricane Florence. Virginia are losers of two straight including a loss to rival Virginia Tech. SC receiver Deebo Samuel has elected to skip the game in order to prep for the draft. He has a Senior Bowl invite.
Score prediction: South Carolina 28 UVA 17
South Carolina prospect to watch
1. Bryan Edwards 6’2 205 WR Junior
- One of the best receivers in the SEC that hardly anyone talks about due to his teammate Samuel. He’s a physical force of nature that can go up and get it. A solid athlete that can stretch defenses vertically if needed.
Virginia prospects to watch
1. Juan Thornhill 6’1 195 S Senior
- Thornhill is a good safety without a defined role at the next level. From what I’ve seen of Virginia, he stands out as a well schooled defensive back and fundamentally sound. Leads the team in tackles with 92 and has five interceptions.
#3 Notre Dame vs. #2 Clemson 4 PM / 1 PM PST ESPN
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
- The first semifinal is at the plate first inside Jerry World. Notre Dame hasn’t played a game in nearly a month after defeating USC in late November due to not having a conference. (just join the ACC, already!) Clemson is coming off a blowout victory in the ACC title game over Pittsburgh. Tigers DT Dexter Lawrence will not play in this game due to being suspended for failing a drug test. Both teams are undefeated.
Score prediction: Clemson 35 ND 24
Notre Dame prospects to watch
1. Jerry Tillery 6’5 306 DL Senior
- Tillery has been an impact defender for the resurgent Irish defense. The man in the middle that dominates in the interior offensive linemen. Standout senior. Athleticism is underrated. Won’t be the first guy off the board but will likely have a long career in the league.
2. Te’Von Coney 6’0 240 LB Senior
- He has enough athleticism to be a sideline to sideline defender when needed. A playmaker for the legit Fighting Irish defense. Football IQ and tackling ability are major pluses. He is the leading tackler on the team with 107, nine tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. Has accepted his Senior Bowl invite.
3. Julian Love 5’11 193 CB Junior
- Love is one of the better corners that not many people are talking about. He’s a very instinctive CB from what I’ve seen of him. Not many passers have targeted him. Draft status has been undecided as of press time.
Clemson prospects to watch
1. Christian Wilkins 6’4 300 DT Senior
- The anchor of the vaunted Tigers defensive line. A former five star recruit that developed nicely. An athletic force at the defensive tackle position. Has experience playing edge rusher at times.
2. Clelin Ferrell 6’5 260 EDGE Junior
- Ferrell could be the best of the bunch. He’s one of the best edge rushers in the entire class, let alone the ACC. Fundamentally sound. Knows what he’s doing with an impressive array of moves. Frame is a major plus. He has 10.5 sacks, which lead the team.
3. Kendall Joseph 6’0 225 LB RS Senior
- Joseph is a talent that had to wait a while before his career got going due to the talent in front of him. He’s an excellent athlete that cover in space. While he gets to benefit from having a monster line to work with, he’s very sharp. Fits what modern defenses look for physically. The team leader in tackles with 65. He has accepted his invite to the East-West Shrine Game.
4. Trayvon Mullen 6’2 190 CB Junior
- A corner that hardly anyone talks about due to the guys ahead of him. He’s an intriguing talent that likely has a a tough draft decision ahead of him. Has the size and athleticism to thrive as a pro.
#4 Oklahoma vs. #1 Alabama 8 PM / 5 PM PST ESPN
Capital One Orange Bowl
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL (home of the Dolphins and Hurricanes)
- Congrats, Oklahoma! You may not have any linebackers or any sort of defense to stop Bama. Alabama will need Tua healthy as he can be in order to have a functional passing game as Jalen Hurts isn’t that but in spurts. Bama’s defense will be tested like never before with presumptive Oakland Athletic Kyler Murray being as talented as he is. The battle will be won in the trenches as OU’s OL is pretty good. Can the Tide keep it rolling or will the Sooners pull off the unexpected miracle upset?
Score prediction: Alabama 42 Oklahoma 31
Oklahoma prospects to watch
1. Bobby Evans 6’5 299 OT RS Junior
- One of the better tackles in the country. Athleticism is a plus. Footwork is solid. Could project as a guard at the next level. If the 299 is accurate, he may have to add on some weight to play tackle.
2. Marquise Brown 5’10 168 WR Junior
- “Hollywood” is having a breakout junior campaign that has a lot of people turning heads. He’s a speed demon. Used all over the place in the offense. Lateral agility and quickness is elite. Frame is questionable however. He needs to put on some weight. Cousin of Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. He’s coming off a foot injury suffered in the Big 12 title game so his effectiveness is unknown.
3. Ben Powers 6’4 314 OL Senior
- One of the best interior offensive linemen in the nation. Can play both guard and center. Limited athleticism. Football IQ is a major plus. Knows how to use his hands to keep the rushers at bay. Footwork is somewhat decent but slow nonetheless. Has accepted his Senior Bowl invite.
Alabama prospects to watch
1. Quinnen Williams 6’3 285 DL RS Sophomore
- Another week, another dominant performance. Q is that dude this year. He’s been making a run at being the best defensive tackle in the country. Has a bevy of pass rush moves in his arsenal. Holds up well in the point of attack. He has replaced Ed Oliver as the best defensive tackle prospect in the country. Draft status is unknown at this time. Now best known for that hilarious clip of him abruptly concluding his thoughts on Kyler Murray.
2. Jonah Williams 6’5 301 OT Junior
- The best tackle prospect in the nation. The franchise at left tackle. Footwork and anchor are elite. Technician. Has the prerequisite size and strength to make it to the next level. Should come out as a junior. Nothing more to see here, folks.
3. Isaiah Buggs 6’4 292 DL Senior
- The next guy up in the defensive trenches. He had an outstanding junior campaign in 2017 and has been impressive this year thus far. Raekwon Davis rightly gets all the attention but Buggs deserves some press as well. He’s seriously talented and should be a first round pick. Has accepted his Senior Bowl invite.
4. Mack Wilson 6’0 231 LB Junior
- There has been 0 drop off in talent replacing current Titan Rashaan Evans. In fact, Wilson could be better. Can play both outside and inside but I see him sticking outside at the next level.
5. Deionte Thompson 6’2 194 S RS Junior
- The “veteran” leader for the inexperienced Tide secondary. The next man up to take his star turn in the vaunted Crimson Tide secondary lore. He’s an athletic marvel at the position despite some growing pains learning on the fly. Instincts are developing but are nearly there. Has had some injury issues, missing a couple of games as a result
6. Joshua Jacobs 5’9 209 RB Junior
- The unsung hero of the Bama offense as he’s been deployed seemingly everywhere from running, catching out of the backfield, and as a blocker in a fullback type role. He’s taken the primary second string duties and has gotten a ton of starters reps as well.