We’re back! Here is a mid-season (college) primer on our prospects before and who we like now. See our original post here.
*(Projections based on a 12 game season if player keeps up current pace)
Stud: Dalvin Cook, Florida State
5-11 / 213lbs
He is having a great season. He has disappointed in some aspects and hasn’t done all he can to back up my claim that he is the 2nd best RB in college football (McCaffery is still doing very well, Royce Freeman is having a great year too). Still putting together a hell of a season as FSU struggles a bit. As of this writing, he is on pace for 267 carries, 1,570 yards, 14 TDs, 40 rec, 690 yards 2 TDs*.
Dalvin Cook turns a 2 yard loss into a 54 yard gain. https://t.co/nThx1YpMAu— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) October 10, 2016
Sleeper: Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt
5-10 / 202 lbs
Not having the breakout season predicted by some yet but quietly effective for a lowly Vandy team. Projected Stats: 272 carries, 1,364 yards, 10 TDs, 17 rec, 128 yards 0 TDs*.
Ralph Webb leading SEC rusher because he can get yards when none should be had. pic.twitter.com/g1SDtNf6NC— todd greenwell (@GreenwellTodd) October 3, 2016
Sleeper: Joseph Yearby, Miami
5-9 / 200 lbs
He's not having the breakout season I expected. Locked in a time-share and being outperformed by Sophomore Mark Walton Jr. The duo’s production is helping Miami a lot though. Projected Stats: 130 carries, 864 yards, 12 TDs, 14 rec, 130 yards 0 TDs*.
This is why I bring up RB Joseph Yearby to you guys every week: https://t.co/vbAItbj4pc— Kyle (@IgglesNest) October 3, 2016
Stud: Mike Williams, Clemson
6-4 / 220 lbs
No talent drop off here just not getting the ball nearly enough in the Clemson offense. Still, he’s their leading receiver in yards. Projected Stat Line: 54 rec, 864 yards, 6 TDs*.
Sleeper: Jehu Chesson, Michigan
6-3 / 203 lbs
It’s clear if you watch Michigan games that Jake Butt and Amara Darboh have become the favorite targets of the QB. Chesson’s production has slipped. I still think he’s a baller though. Projected Stats: 30 rec, 462 yards, 2 TD, 14 carries, 88 yards, 2 TDs*.
Guard / Center
Stud: Pat Elflein, Ohio State
6-3 / 300 lbs
Not much to update, Elflein may be the first center taken in the draft. Technician.
Elflein quick to work to 2nd level, Mike Weber makes a guy miss & takes off https://t.co/SxAOrpVf9V— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) October 3, 2016
Sleeper: Dan Voltz, Wisconsin
Retired at the beginning of this season due to injuries
Stud: Carlos Watkins, Clemson
6-3 / 300 lbs
If you’ve watched any Clemson games this season you’ve seen Watkins have an impact in one form or another. He’s on pace for a career year and is likely to go in the first couple rounds of the draft. Projected Stats: 34 tackles, 4 for loss, 6 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries*.
Sleeper: Caleb Brantley, Florida
6-2 / 297 lbs
I don’t think he’s a sleeper anymore. Brantley has been one of the top graded DL this college football season. He has great power coming from the end position and is no Johnathan Bullard ;) but he has good size (6-2 / 300lbs) that could make him scheme versatile as a DE or DT. Projected Stats: 24 tackles, 6 for loss, 3 sacks*.
2nd defensive snap of the game, DL Caleb Brantley gets a safety. He could wreck Tennessee https://t.co/6RAGlbTr5z— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) September 20, 2016
Stud: Kendell Beckwith, LSU
6-2 / 252 lbs
Beckwith is still putting up decent numbers but he, like his team are struggling right now. He’s still one of the first players to the ball this season. Projected Stats: 108 tackles, 8 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 passes defended*. He sure can hit though.
Kendell Beckwith doesn't play around. https://t.co/W1WW85INuV— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) October 3, 2016
Sleeper: Taylor Young, Baylor
5-10 / 225 lbs
Baylor’s 3-4 scheme has taken advantage of Young’s skill set. He’s a smaller LB but has good speed, athleticism, and good power. This season he is lining up at both Will (inside) and Jack (outside) LB. Projected Stats: 106 tackles, 13 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 passes defended*.
Stud: Eddie Jackson, Alabama
6-0 / 194 lbs
Jackson is probably one of the more versatile defensive backs in this draft class. In addition to being about to cover deep, he can come up make hits and has return skills. Projected Stats: 28 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 INT, 2 for TDs, 4 passes defended*.
Alabama Safety Eddie Jackson is all over the field https://t.co/O1sE0KjZPZ— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) October 1, 2016
Sleeper: Quin Blanding, Virginia
6-2 / 205 lbs
Blanding is having a decent season. I like defensive backs that play all over the field (which he does an excellent job of in terms of tackling) and can disrupt the pass (aka passes defended on the stat sheet) so I expect more out of him in that regard IF he is a true FS. Projected Stats: 92 tackles, 2 INT, 2 passes defended*.
Stud: Brian Hill, Wyoming
6-1 / 219 lbs
Hill is Wyoming’s all-time leading rusher. A physical player that as of this writing is 6th is rushing yards in the country. I can’t help but think people will compare him to Matt Jones when they watch. Big guy (6-1 / 220 lbs) runs a big upright but can deliver punishment. You gotta watch this run. Projected Stats: 290 carries, 1,442 yards, 16 TDs, 4 rec, 20 yards 0 TDs*.
Sleeper: Matt Dayes, North Carolina State
5-9 / 203 lbs
A smaller back (5-9 / 203lbs) Dayes has a nice combination of shiftiness and power. It’s sort of unreal he isn't in the conversation (yet) with all the other backs who may come out this year. His production at NC state has been on par with theirs. Projected Stats: 235 carries, 1,351 yards, 7 TDs, 31 rec, 230 yards 0 TDs*.
How under-appreciated is NC State's Matt Dayes? Check his numbers vs. some of nation's elite RBs... pic.twitter.com/Zyl5p9nPFl— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) October 10, 2016
Stud: Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse
6-2 / 202 lbs
He is leading the nation in receiving yards (876 yards in 6 games). The former Maryland WR is crushing ACC opponents and seems to be uncoverable. His technique and footwork are insane. Projected Stats: 102 rec, 1,752 yards, 12 TDs*.
Sleeper: Aaron Peck, Fresno State
6-3 / 225lbs
Huge body (6-3 / 225 lbs), athletic, strong hands and tough to bring down. He was lost for all of the 2015 season due to a foot injury in camp. I haven’t seen him on any major outlets draft list yet so consider him a deep sleeper right now. Watch him, if he stays healthy he’s going to rise. Projected Stats: 56 rec, 958 yards, 6 TDs.
Stud: Jake Butt, Michigan
6-6 / 250 lbs
Butt, (obligatory hehe) is probably the most well-rounded of this year’s TE group. If you have watched any Michigan games this year you know that he is a money target in the red zone and on 3rd downs. He also isn't bad in pass protection and plays with more technique than just a body to go around. He very well may be a first rounder if he keeps up his receiving production. Projected Stats: 46 rec, 540 yards , 6 TDs*.
Sleeper: Cole Hikutini, Louisville
6-5 / 248 lbs
I’ll be honest, I knew nothing about Cole Hikutini until two weeks ago. I was watching the Louisville vs. Clemson game in my hotel room in Nashville and Hikutini kept jumping out with the plays he was making. It’s hard to jump out when you play with an explosive talent like Lamar Jackson. Hikutini makes Jackson look good and is a well-rounded player. Projected Stats: 46 rec, 626 yards, 7 TDs*
Cole Hikutini has my vote for the Mackey. Did I spell his name right? Anyway, he cuts Boulware, Lamar does Lamar things and UL extends. pic.twitter.com/8rz73YoY3K— Dave Lackford (@Rivals_DLack) October 5, 2016
Guard / Center
Stud: Mason Cole, Michigan
6-5 / 305 lbs
This is Cole’s first season playing center and he is simply excelling at the position. The former LT was moved to center this season after the departure of Graham Glasgow (drafted by the Lions in the 3rd round). Michigan’s offensive line coach called Cole a smart, physical, and versatile player. Look at the push then look at the finish.
Sleeper: Austin Stephens, Utah State
6-3 / 305 lbs
Stephens was a player I considered writing a profile on last year. When he didn’t declare as a junior I knew if he kept up his level of play the Redskins could potentially have a mid round center prospect to look at in 2017. Stephens was named to the Rimington watch list before the beginning of the season. It's rare for me to talk stats with an o-lineman (in part because they are difficult to find) but in Stephen’s junior year he recorded 42 knockdowns (aka “pancakes”). I think that's impressive by any measure and speaks to the leverage and power he plays with. Look at him take out two blockers here:
Stud: Elijah Qualls, Washington
6-1 / 321 lbs
Qualls is a big man. At 6-1 321lbs he’s like a wall in Washington’s front 4. He definitely is a talent when stopping the run but he isn't bad when getting after the QB either. What's great about Qualls is his combination of size and athleticism. He is likely to draw interest from a whole lot of NFL teams as I believe he can play DT in a 4-3 or NT/DE in a 3-4.
Elijah Qualls wrecking Johnny Caspers w/ good hand usage. https://t.co/6kQIPjDAmn— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) October 4, 2016
Sleeper: Jake Replogle, Purdue
6-5 / 289 lbs
Replogle has the potential to be one of Purdue’s highest draft picks in a few years. Somewhat quietly the Senior has put together solid Sophomore and Junior seasons with his Senior year looking like it could be the best yet. According to PFF, Replogle currently leads all FBS DT’s with 22 QB pressures. He get’s more than QB presures though, he has the ability to wreak a play Projected Stats: 75 tackles, 6 for loss, 4.5 sacks, 3 FR*.
Purdue DT Jake Replogle had 5 QB pressures in 34-31 win over Illinois, bringing his 2016 total to 27.— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 9, 2016
That ranks No. 1 among all DTs. pic.twitter.com/9HRYmDc4G5
Stud: Azeem Victor, Washington
6-3 / 230 lbs
Victor is an athletic linebacker that has insanely good instincts. He is always around the ball. He is a large reason why Washington is having the success they are this season. His leadership and contributions are evident on defense. He can diagnose plays instantly and make a sure decision to bring down the ball carrier. Projected Stats: 92 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 passes defended, 2FF, 2 FR*.
Azeem Victor stuffing the run. He's so good. https://t.co/dSQRXTZcQC— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) September 12, 2016
Sleeper: Hardy Nickerson Jr., Illinois
6-0 / 230 lbs
It’s hard to not like Hardy Nickerson Jr. I wondered if he would declare last year when he was at Cal. Nickerson Jr. transferred to Illinois once former NFL coach Lovie Smith was hired as the head coach there. Smith hired Hardy Nickerson (Hardy Jr’s dad) as defensive coordinator. Nickerson Sr. spent 16 years in the NFL as a linebacker and Nickerson Jr. knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to play for his dad. Nickerson is instinctive and can defend running lanes and drop into coverage. He’s the leader of the Illini defense and is extremely smart. Projected Stats: 113 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 INT*.
That was a big update. I will revisit this list once more around Bowl Season. Let me know if you guys (and gals) have any questions, if you hated this list, or if you think I snubbed someone. Thanks for reading!