This week in 7 & 5, I finally got to watch some players I had been waiting to get my eyes on. Unfortunately, one player had to go on my down list due to no fault of his own.
1 – Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Linderbaum is an absolute freak. He has the power you would expect from an Iowa offensive lineman. Linderbaum has nearly flawless technique. He is insane in space. Linderbaum is easily the top center in this class and may challenge to be the highest-rated center I have ever graded. Ironically that was another Hawkeye, James Daniels.
The play below wasn’t from the Maryland game but shows his insane range.
Best center in college football… pic.twitter.com/CLZuhZA4c0
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 28, 2021
2 – Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa
I heard tales of how talented Tyler Goodson was. A confirmation has been achieved. Goodson has tremendous balance and vision. He can make defenders miss in space. Goodson has a nice physical size. And I am a sucker for someone who can run a route as Marshall Faulk did.
Iowa RB Tyler Goodson 67-yard TD catch. Great open field move and easily pulls away pic.twitter.com/XZBTbc0eWa
— Justin (@afc2nfc) October 2, 2021
3 – Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
Hendon Hooker was not on our watchlist before this week but that has now been rectified. He has a good (not great) arm but he is a great athlete. The Tennessee offense exploded with 62 points with Hooker at the helm against Mizzou. Over his career, both at Virginia Tech, and now in Knoxville, he has been a consistently accurate passer. Against the Tigers, Hooker completed 15/19 passing for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball 14 times for 74 yards and a score. Hooker could be a nice developmental quarterback prospect.
4 – Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati
Beavers is a sideline-to-sideline physical maniac. He can be an off-ball linebacker or line up on the edge. Beavers has tremendous size at 6’4” 255-pounds and moves well with it. Against Notre Dame, Beavers recorded six tackles (three solos) and a half-sack.
5 – Dom Peterson, DL, Nevada
Dom Peterson took over in the fourth quarter against Boise State. Peterson flashed his pass rush upside with a slick spin move leading to one of his two sacks. The other came on a quick rush around the guard. At six-foot even and 285 I question whether he has the size to be an every down lineman. However, he can be an excellent sub-package interior lineman. Against the Broncos, Peterson had five solo tackles and two sacks.
6 – Toa Taua, RB, Nevada
Taua was much improved from the last time I watched Nevada. He looked quicker and definitely had more shake in the open field. Taua had 19 offensive touches and 168 yards. And then he decided to commit attempted homicide on a Boise State defender.
TOA TAUA THAT MAN HAS A FAMILY pic.twitter.com/BAXy3T4uhE
— Cory (@realcorykinnan) October 3, 2021
7 – Jaylan Foster, S, South Carolina
Normally I only comment on players who participate in games I officially watch for the week. But as I “unofficially” watch every South Carolina game, I had to make note of the unreal performance that Jaylan Foster had against Troy. The senior safety recorded twelve tackles (ALL SOLO). Foster had a sack that forced a fumble and then forced a second as well. He has great range in the backend and the former walk-on is finally having a true breakout season.
1 – Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland
The normally accurate Terrapins QB was anything but against Iowa. Tagovailoa threw FIVE interceptions and most of them weren’t particularly close. It just snowballed for him all night. Tagovailoa completed 16/29 passes for 157 yards with two touchdowns and the aforementioned five picks.
2 – Dontay Demus, WR, Maryland
Demus was beginning to be one of my favorite players in this class. A size/speed combo wide receiver that could really do it all. Unfortunately, while returning a kick Demus suffered a serious leg injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season. His draft status is almost certainly in flux right now. We likely will not know until after the season if he can return to Maryland or not. Prior to the injury, Demus had four catches for 61 yards on six targets. The offense never looked the same after his exit.
3 – Connor Bazelak, QB, Missouri
Bazelak has a big arm but he has shaky ball placement. He has a lot of mechanical issues to work through before he thinks about declaring for the NFL Draft. Against the Vols, Bazelak was 27/44 for 322 yards with zero TDs and two INTs.
4 – Josh Whyle, TE, Cincinnati
Last season I thought Josh Whyle was a better prospect than his teammate Leonard Taylor. That is no longer the case. Whyle has been plagued by drops this season, including multiple drops against the Irish. I really hope he can get back to that 2020 level. Against Notre Dame, Whyle caught only one of his four targets for five yards.
5 – Jack Coan, QB, Notre Dame
After the Florida State game, I thought jack Coan might have the talent to play at the NFL level. Alas, that was fool’s gold at the end of that rainbow. Coan is now splitting time under center for Notre Dame due to his inconsistent, and at times, poor play. He finished 14/22 for 114 yards and one interception against Cincinnati.