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Build The Team: CFB Standouts Week 3

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Good linebacker prospects, a top RB in San Diego, and other standouts from week 3

Stanford v San Diego State Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Offense

Rashaad Penny, RB
School: San Diego State | Conference: Mountain West
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 220 lbs

Penny is no secret. He is one of the best running backs in college football. This week I finally had the chance to sit down and see why with my own two eyes. I can’t say how impressed I am with his athletic ability his combination of vision, burst, power, and footwork are what make him so dangerous. Yeah, he plays in the Mountain West but the Aztecs have faced two PAC 12 teams this season and Penny has run for nearly 400 yards combined on them. His name is sure to be household by now with a huge upset win over a ranked Stanford team and if he keeps it up I can’t see why his name wouldn't be mentioned alongside all the other high-profile running backs who are draft eligible.

Riley Ferguson, QB
School: Memphis | Conference: AAC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 210 lbs

Riley Ferguson is no secret either and apparently quite a few NFL scouts like what he has to offer. I do too. Ferguson went on a tear against UCLA this past weekend and outperformed future first-round pick, Josh Rosen. Ferguson is a mobile QB with a slightly strange body type but it doesn't matter much because he can sling the football. Ferguson started his collegiate career at Tennessee with Josh Dobbs and Nathan Peterman before he was injured and ultimately left the school. His career was jump-started again with his move to Memphis and his performance Saturday proves why he’s been on the draft radar of scouts across the country.

Anthony Miller, WR
School: Memphis | Conference: AAC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 190lbs

Anthony Miller was on the receiving end of the majority of Fergusons passes and is looking like a legitimate NFL prospect himself. The senior is a former walk-on and last year playing with Paxton Lynch he had 95 receptions for 1,434 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s on pace to come close to those marks again. Miller can stretch the field and go over the middle. I’ll be interested later in the year when the experts break down his route running and success. What’s clear is that Miller is a playmaker and can handle the volume of a WR1. The season is long but I’ll be keeping up with what he’s doing and it will be interesting to see just how high he rises.

Elgton Jenkins, OG/C
School: Mississippi State | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 305 lbs

The entire Bulldogs offensive line was dominant against LSU’s front. Granted LSU had some injuries and then some ejections for targeting but MSU’s line played pure power football all night and it lead to a big night rushing. No player was more impressive than Elgton Jenkins. Jenkins played guard last year but this year the coaches moved him center and I’d say he’s exceeding expectations. Who knows if Jenkins will even declare for the draft this year but whether he decides to or not he’ll be on boards because of his versatility and technique. He is stout in the middle, with his coach praising him as a smart player that gets everyone in position. He plays with great fundamentals regarding his pad level and hand position and can bury guys as a finisher. If you happen to catch a MSU game this year look at the center.

A clip of him at guard as well.

Deontay Burnett, WR
School: USC | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 170 lbs

I’m sure Sam Darnold will make it into one of these articles eventually but this week I wanted to focus on his top receiver Deontay Burnett. Burnett has been spectacular so far this season but was most impressive in the matchup against Texas. I have no idea if his height and weight measurements are correct but regardless he plays bigger than his size. His head coach has this to say about him earlier this year:

"You can’t tell the difference between a practice and a game with that kid. It’s not about the hype, it’s just about playing ball each and every day," Helton said of the 6-foot, 170-pounder. "He might be the smallest horse in the stable, but he makes the biggest impact, and he does it in a workmanlike attitude." - Rotoworld

Burnett is a natural pass catcher that looks like he can run nearly every route on the field. So far he’s dominated his opponents and looks like he’s going to finish the season with a ridiculous stat line if he keeps up the production. If he decides to declare he will be one of the top receivers in the draft.

Defense

Duke Dawson, CB
School: Florida | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 5-10 / 210 lbs

With the departure of Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson (both second-round picks), it’s Duke Dawson’s time to shine at Florida. He is doing just that. Dawson has recorded an interception in every game he’s played thus far including a pick 6 against Michigan. He was a key part of Florida’s defensive performance against Tennessee this past week and produced an impressive series of plays late in the game that culminated in a critical interception in the red zone. Dawson is a player who plays with a chip on his shoulder in in several ways reminds me of our own Bashaud Breeland. He has good ball skills and is a fighter and plays the ball aggressively. What comes with that territory are great plays like the one below but also misses. The big knock on Dawson right now is his tackling consistency. He missed a few against Tennessee but I hope he can straighten that put as the year goes along. He’s a good player with a high ceiling.

Micah Kiser, ILB
School: Virginia | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 240 lbs

Micah Kiser may be a second-day pick but he still is my top inside linebacker so far this year. The Baltimore native has played in three games and already has 36 tackles, 5 for loss, and 5 sacks! He is simply a natural inside linebacker that is addicted to finding the football and making the opposition pay. He can play in space and move sideline to sideline though one of the knocks on him will be that he won’t test well regarding the 40-yard dash. We’ll see about that but I know the tape doesn't lie. Its borderline criminal that Twitter doesn't have clips lined up for this guy but below is a video highlighting his play from last year.

Devante Downs, ILB
School: California | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 245 lbs

Downs has been putting on a clinic for the first three weeks of the season. The highly productive linebacker can get after the QB, play in space, and drop back in coverage. His skill set is just downright impressive. Downs was originally recruited to Cal as a running back which should give you a sense of his athleticism. I will definitely be following him closely this year to see how he works off blocks and if he can keep up this insane pace.

Hercules Mata’afa, EDGE
School: Washington State | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 252 lbs

I’m late to the party. I haven't paid a bit of attention to Washington States defense until this week. I’ve been missing out on an intriguing EDGE prospect with a badass name. He’s explosive off the snap and can exploit gap assignment playing the interior as well as bend off the edge. Though he has obvious talent right now he’s winning with his quicks, I’d like to see him develop his strength more and bring some real power to the table. He is a very interesting player who is a bit under the radar right now.