#18 Mississippi State vs. Iowa NOON / 9 AM PST ESPN2
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL (home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and University of South Florida)
- Iowa travels to what is seemingly their second home in Tampa to take on a fierce defensive Bulldogs squad. MSU is led by a pair of defensive standouts in Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat. Iowa will not have the services of TE Noah Fant as he has elected to skip the bowl game for personal reasons. Expect a defensive battle.
Mississippi State prospects to watch
1. Jeffery Simmons 6’3 301 DT Junior
- A beast in the middle that can impact games. A power game. Capable pass rusher with an arsenal of moves. Lateral agility is a plus. Work ethic and character are pluses. The anchor in the middle of the Bulldogs fearsome defensive line. There was a brief time where his eligibility was threatened due to an off field issue involving violence towards women but he has been a model citizen in the time since. MSU’s fourth leading tackler with 55 and has 13.5 tackles for loss. Draft status is unknown at this time.
2. Montez Sweat 6’5 241 EDGE Senior
- A fundamentally sound pass and run defender. Athleticism is a plus. Character and work ethic are a plus as well. He’s one of the best in a strong DL class. Lateral agility is a plus. Possesses a good arsenal of pass rush and counter pass rush moves. Can stand to add some weight to his frame. Leads the team in sacks with 11.5 to go with 51 tackles and 14 tackles for loss. Has accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl.
3. Johnathan Abram 6’0 210 S Senior
- Abram has really come on as a senior during the 2018 campaign. He profiles as a more of a in the box strong safety but can play free safety in small doses without being exposed. Fundamentally sound as a run defender. Pass defense needs some work. Athletically, he’s above average and should test well during the offseason. The Bulldogs leading tackler with 93. Also has two sacks. He has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl.
4. Jamal Peters 6’2 218 CB Senior
- Peters has had a pretty decent senior season. He fits what NFL teams want in their corners with size and athleticism. Can turn and run with faster receivers on a dime. Ball skills are on point. Has missed some time in 2018 due to injury. Has posted 32 tackles and four passes defensed. Has accepted his invite to the East-West Shrine Game.
Iowa prospects to watch
1. T.J. Hockenson 6’5 243 TE RS Sophomore
- He’s a solid pass catcher. It’s rare that a teammate would challenge for position 1 honors but Hockenson is coming around the bend fast on Noah Fant. He’s been that good. Posted 46 catches for 717 yards and six touchdowns. Draft status is unknown at this time.
#14 Kentucky vs. #12 Penn State 1 PM / 10 AM PST ESPN
VRBO Citrus Bowl
Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
- The surprising Wildcats conclude their football related activities and get ready for hoops by finishing up in Orlando. Kentucky finished second place in the SEC East behind Georgia. Penn State finished third in the Big Ten East. Can the Wildcats muster enough offense?
Kentucky prospects to watch
1. Benny Snell 5’10 223 RB Junior
- Snell is probably the most underrated running back in the country due to the depth of the class and the program he plays for. A physical power back that can pound the rock at least 30 times without fatigue. Pass blocking is a plus. Vision and IQ are a plus as well. Rarely has yards for loss on his resume.
2. Josh Allen 6’4 230 EDGE Senior
- He’s a pretty good athlete for the position and should test well. Flashed a ton of potential over the past few weeks. Can set the edge and play the run well. Not the most fundamentally sound but is improving. He needs to bulk up to play on the line in the NFL. He leads the team in tackles and in sacks with 84 and 14 respectively. A monstrous senior season. Has accpted his invite to the Senior Bowl.
3. Mike Edwards 5’11 200 S Senior
- Could be one of the top safety prospects in the country. I haven’t seen him much but when I do watch Kentucky, he really shows up. Football IQ is up there. Instinctive safety that can bait QBs into throwing his direction. A willing run defender who doesn’t shy away from contact as evidenced by his tackling numbers (77, 9.5 for loss).
Penn State prospect to watch
1. Trace McSorely 6’0 195 QB RS Senior
- A carbon copy of Johnny Football with better passing ability and an attitude to match. Not much of a future at the NFL level as a QB due to size questions, unfortunately but a fun college QB. Had led Penn State to some dramatic victories in 2018. He’s a good college player but not a great NFL prospect. Has accepted his Senior Bowl invite.
#9 Washington vs. #6 Ohio State 5 PM ESPN
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual
- The Granddaddy of Them All plays host to playoff hopefuls that just didn’t get it done for one reason or another. Oregon fans will be decidedly neutral in which team will lose in the worst way possible. Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is coaching his final game for the Buckeyes, citing health concerns but will remain on campus. Lossington is the reigning Pac-12 champion after defeating a game but wounded Utah squad while the Buckeyes are the Big Ten champions.
Washington prospects to watch
1. Myles Gaskin 5’9 191 RB Senior
- Gaskin has been a mainstay for the Huskies’ running game for four years now. He is the only running back in conference history to rush for 1000+ yards every year. Undersized runner that excels catching passes out of the backfield. Football IQ is above average. Knows how to work angles and cutback lanes to his benefit. Tree trunk legs. Plus speed and lateral agility. He’s very instinctive and makes the right cutback when the middle is perfectly clogged up by Utes.
2. Ben Burr-Kiven 6’0 222 LB Senior
- BBK is a stat sheet monster. He leads the entire country in tackles with a whopping 165 to go with one sack and an interception. He’s an athlete at the position. A bowling ball of energy. Ball skills are a plus. Size will limit him to a specialized role at the next level.
3. Myles Bryant 5’8 180 CB Junior
- Size wise, he compares to the Rams’ standout cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. He plays a lot bigger than what he’s listed at. Due to size, he won’t be CB1 but will still play a bit as the third cornerback at the next level. Lateral agility is a plus and instincts are as well. Versatile athlete with great speed.
4. Byron Murphy 6’0 175 CB RS Sophomore
- Washington’s other starter at corner is pretty good in his own right. He’s a solid athlete that will test well should he declare early for the draft. Pops off the screen when I watch him play. Doesn’t get beat often but when he does, he makes up for it.
5. Taylor Rapp 6’0 212 S Junior
- He is the best safety in the Pac-12 and possibly among the best in the nation. His 2018 season is just more evidence of this. He’s simply a play maker that flies around the field with calculative abandon. Versatile stat sheet as Rapp has posted 58 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles.
6. Greg Gaines 6’1 332 DT / NT RS Senior
- The next man up in the Huskies’ recent trend of standout interior defensive linemen. He’s a classic space eating type of 3-4 nose tackle. A monster in the middle when rushing the passer. Lack of athleticism like his predecessors will hurt his stock a bit.
Ohio State prospects to watch
1. Dre’Mont Jones 6’2 295 DL RS Junior
- A disruptive force in the interior of the defensive line. Pass rush ability is a plus. Holds up well at the point of attack. Lateral agility is among the best in the country. Fundamentally sound as most Buckeye DL are under the tutelage of Larry Johnson, Sr.
2. Dwayne Haskins 6’2 214 QB RS Sophomore
- A plus league ready arm talent. He’s a pocket passer that has posted a 70% completion rate, 4,580 yards and 47 touchdowns to go with just eight interceptions. Decent athlete that can move in the pocket but isn’t built to run a bunch like Lamar Jackson. Has improved pocket awareness and instincts immensely from freshman year to this current season.
3. Isaiah Prince 6’6 310 OT Senior
- The man in charge of blocking the blind side for Mr. Haskins. Is one of the better tackle prospects in the country that no one talks about. Shows a remarkable ability in the short areas. Footwork is not a plus nor a negative either. Middle round type that could develop into a starter at the next level.
4. Parris Campbell 6’0 208 WR Senior
- Solid athlete that should test well at the Combine. The Buckeyes’ leader in the relatively untested receiver room. A deep threat that can run some routes pretty well. Developed into a star as a senior thus far. The Buckeyes leading receiver in terms of receptions with 79 for 992 yards and 11 touchdowns.
5. K.J. Hill 6’0 198 WR RS Junior
- The Buckeyes’ leading receiver in terms of yardage with 831 on 67 receptions. Possibly the best athlete in the receiver room in Columbus. Lateral agility is a major plus as he can cut on a dime. Growing route runner but still not there yet.
6. Terry McLaurin 6’0 205 WR Senior
- He’s a big play specialist that Haskins uses to get the chunk plays. Averaging a whopping 19.7 per catch on just 34 receptions and nine touchdowns. A plus athlete that can go up and get when necessary.
#15 Texas vs. #5 Georgia 8:45 PM / 5:45 PST ESPN
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
- A battle in New Orleans featuring two of the country’s most preeminent blue blood programs. Texas came bitterly close to winning the Big 12 but fell short to eternal rival Oklahoma. Georgia would have won the SEC title had it not been for the heroics of one Jalen Hurts and the most blatantly egregiously terrible fake punt call this side of the Mississippi (at least Oregon won their game). Will Georgia be interested in playing this one after witnessing the destruction that was the playoff they were so close getting into?
Texas prospects to watch
1. Kris Boyd 6’0 195 CB Senior
- The leader of a resurgent Horns secondary. A dominant playmaker. Size and speed are a plus. Has been excellent thus far into the 2018 season. One of the best corners in the nation. Boyd has a case for being a top five corner prospect.
2. Collin Johnson 6’6 215 WR Junior
- The Horns’ jump ball specialist. Route running is just average but he uses his size well to box out defenders to make a tough catch. The main target for the QB but QB issues have prevented him from being the true dominant threat he could become. A willing blocker most of the time. He has made the spectacular catch routine.
3. Brandon Jones 6’0 205 S Junior
- Jones is a safety prospect that no one talks about nationally. He’s an intriguing talent that had to grow up in a hurry due to various reasons. Had some growing pains due to being on the field so early into his career but has matured. A ball hawk.
4. Gary Johnson 6’0 225 LB Senior
- A player that is always around the ball it seems. He’s risen up the boards rapidly during his senior season. A bit undersized for the linebacker position. Football IQ is a plus and is very fundamentally sound. Outstanding as a junior but has elevated his play as a senior.
5. Lil’Jordan Humphrey 6’4 220 WR Junior
- The Horns’ space specialist. he’s been primarily used as a big body screen type of guy but can play outside receiver. He’s a solid athlete that can go vertical or short with ease. Draft status is unknown at this time.
6. Charles Omenihu 6’6 275 DL Senior
- CO is an impact defender on the interior. He has improved a lot since his freshman season fundamentally. Lateral agility is a plus when rushing the passer. Projects as a 4-3 defensive tackle at the next level. Has accepted his Senior Bowl invite.
Georgia prospects to watch
1. D’Andre Walker 6’2 240 EDGE Senior
- Walker has been a revelation this season as he’s the leading force off the edge for the Dogs. Work ethic is a plus. Frame is another. He’s very well coached. Finally showing out as a senior after sitting behind major NFL talent. Georgia’s leader in sacks.
3. Terry Godwin 5’11 185 WR Senior
- The go to weapon for QB Jake Fromm. Has a habit of making incredible catches out of nowhere. Excellent blocker when asked to do it. Technically sound as a route runner. Not the best athlete at receiver but has just enough speed.
4. Mecole Hardman 5’10 183 WR Junior
- He’s arguably one of the fastest receivers in the country. A big play specialist for the Dogs offense. Could be something special as a slot receiver at the next level. Elite speed.
5. Riley Ridley 6’2 200 WR Junior
- The younger brother of current Falcons rookie stud and former Bama standout receiver Calvin Ridley. He’s no slouch himself as a prospect. Tends to get lost in the hype of the other UGA receivers but I think he’s the best of the trio. Like Calvin, he’s an efficient route runner and the most “toolsy” of the group.