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Build The Team: CFB Standouts Week 6

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A WR finally emerges, looking at a couple prolific RBs, highlighting a safety duo and other standouts from week 6

Miami v Florida State Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

Offense

Braxton Berrios, WR
School: Miami | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 5-9 / 186 lbs

Y’all know I would not miss an opportunity to highlight a deserving draft eligible player from Miami and Braxton Berrios gave me that opportunity this past weekend when Miami FINALLY beat Florida State. Largely due to the efforts of Berrios, Miami got its first win over FSU in about 8 years. It’s been a long time coming but Berrios and Sophomore QB Malik Rosier hooked up for a series of impressive and impactful plays. It’s been a long time coming for Berrios individual development as well, in what seems like a lifetime, Miami fans are finally seeing his full potential. Berrios was recruited to Miami back in 2013 and chose the Canes over other top programs including Clemson, Ohio State, and other P5 programs. Miami fans such as myself knew they guy had the talent he just never had his “moment” until now. Berrios is having a career year during his Senior season already setting highs in yards and touchdowns. He may not finish with eye-popping numbers but he is one of those lunch pail guys that will show up and do their job day in and day out. I’d love for him to continue his upward trajectory throughout the season and I hope to see him get a Senior Bowl invite in a few months.

Obligatory

Kerryon Johnson, RB
School: Auburn | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 212 lbs

Prolific would be an understatement in describing Johnson’s effectiveness at scoring touchdowns. He is running for 6 yards a carry, has over 500 rushing yards in just four games, and already has 12 touchdowns on the ground. I’m not sure what the final numbers will be but their gonna be good. Johnson has made the most out of his opportunities with Kamryn Pettaway being injured. Auburn has some sneaky good backs and it's really exciting to watch Johnson play. He can bang between the tackles and he will hurt a defender with a truck move on the outside. His balance is great and the rate in which he’s breaking tackles along with his yards after contact are also impressive. I’m gonna take a closer look at Auburn later in the year to check out receiving and pass pro but if this guy has already boosted his draft stock if he chooses to declare.

Phillip Lindsay, RB
School: Colorado | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 5-8 / 190 lbs

The evaluation of Phillip Lindsay by NFL draftniks is going to be interesting. The tape and numbers speak for themselves. He’s not just one of the best backs in the PAC 12, he’s one of the best backs in college football right now. Having closely watched how the evaluation process goes on for a few years now I think it will be a safe bet that some will knock Lindsay for his size, the scheme he plays in, playing in the PAC 12 and whatever else they can point to. However what I see is a dynamic and complete back that has more talent than limitations. Lindsay put up over 1200 yards rushing and nearly 500 yards receiving last year and is well on pace to break those marks as through 6 games he already has 800 yards and 150 yards receiving. I’ll be interested in his test numbers as something tells me he won't blow people away with those but you can see his quickness, speed, and versatility on the field. Lindsay has the potential to make a great living as a 3rd down back if he chooses to go to the NFL.

Marcell Ateman, WR
School: Oklahoma State | Conference: BIG 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 220 lbs

Oklahoma State actually had a bye week but I wanted to mention Marcell Ateman based on his performance thus far in the season. I think Ateman is the best WR out of Oklahoma States dynamic WR core that also boasts James Washington and Jalen McCleskey. James Washington has gotten a lot of attention because of the big play ability and the vertical threat he poses but I think Ateman is the best of the bunch as far as pure receiving ability, athleticism, and talent. Ateman has gone over 100 yards in the past three games and has 3 TDs on the season if there weren't so many optioned on OKST’s offense he would be featured more often. He’s going to be a prospect on the rise.

Defense

Harold Landry, EDGE
School: Boston College | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 250 lbs

Landry has gotten off to a disappointing start to the season but is still considered the top EDGE prospect in college football by many. He took a step towards redeeming himself with a big performance against Virginia Tech. Landry finished the game with 3 sacks. The big question mark(s) regarding Landry for me is his performance against top competition (he was blanked by Notre Dame’s LT and LG) and his mental state/drive when he gets off to a slow start. They are yellow flags that could turn red if it becomes a habit. There is no question though to how effective he is off the EDGE when things are going right for him. He has quickness and bend like few players in this draft class.

Juan Thornhill, SS/CB
College: Virginia | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 200 lbs

Virginia is boasting a very talented group of safeties the least well known being Juan Thornhill. It’s odd because Thornhill is probably the better safety of the duo when it comes to ball skills and coverage. He is also a versatile player that can play CB and SS which Virginia also calls the SABRE. I think he has the range and ball skills to try his hand at free safety though and am sure some teams are going to be interested if he can play that position if he decides to declare. Thornhill already has 2 interceptions and 6 passes defended on the year and has good instincts that put him in the right position in coverage. He seems to pass the eye test on tape as far as athleticism though I don’t know of any test numbers that have been recorded. He’s one to keep an eye on if you follow local college football.

Quin Blanding, FS
School: Virginia | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 210 lbs

I’ve been watching Quin Blanding play since last year and despite Virginia having him at the FS spot I think he is tailor-made to be a box safety at the next level. Blanding is strong, instinctive, and active all over the field. He has a nose for the football. Since starting as a true freshman Blanding has accumulated 3 consecutive seasons where he’s recording 115 tackles or more and is well on his way this year as he already has 51. He has a few skills in coverage as his pass defense numbers are decent and he has 7 career interceptions including one already this year. It will be interesting to see where this kid goes in the draft. I think he’s a solid day 2 pick and I think he can offer help immediately to teams looking for SS help.

Justin Reid, SS
School: Stanford | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 204 lbs

Justin Reid has been on a tear for the Cardinal to start the season and is in the midst of a breakout year. The Junior safety prospect already has 5 interceptions on the year to go along with his 41 tackles and 3 passes defended. It’s clear Reid has the talent and range to play both safety positions but he comes from some pedigree. He is the younger brother of 49ers safety Eric Reid who was a 1st round draft pick out of LSU in 2013. The younger Reid may not be a first-round draft choice just yet but if he continues his spectacular play he will be. Reid has impressive cover and ball skills and has largely been able to close on and blanket his assignments in coverage leading to some incredible takeaways by him. I think the top safety talent in this draft class has been a bit lackluster to start the season but these second tier guys are making a push and it should excite all who need safety help next year.