I got back into the full swing of things during Week Five with seven games.
Each week, I will look back at the top prospect performances from the games I watched the previous week.
WEEK FIVE PROSPECT REWIND
UTAH STATE AT BYU
I believe the consensus will have CJ Stroud and Bryce Young as QB 1 & 2 (in some order) by the end of the process. The biggest question now is who will go after them. BYU QB Jaren Hall ultimately may not be that guy. However, he is stating his case. Hall is a playmaker and has the requisite arm strength. He has put together a nice body of work so far in 2022. Against Utah State, Hall was 17/27 throwing the ball. He had 274 yards and three TD passes.
RB Christopher Brooks is a late-round prospect at his position. The 5th-year player had 11 carries for 90 yards and a score against the Aggies.
BYU has three linebackers worth talking about and all three made an impact against Utah State. Payton Wilgar gets most of the chatter. He had nine tackles in this game. Ben Bywater (9 tackles) and Max Tooley (3 tackles, 1 sack) both had interceptions. Tooley returned his for a score.
I don’t believe any Utah State player will be drafted at this point. However, if anyone of them does, it will probably be LB/EDGE Byron Vaughns. His impact against BYU was minimal in the week five game. Vaughns can make plays on defense. He recorded five tackles and two hurries.
TULANE AT HOUSTON
The two players I most wanted to see in this game did not play. Houston edge rusher Derek Parish and Tulane QB Michael Pratt were missing on Friday night.
One player who wasn’t missing for Houston was WR Nathaniel Dell. While his frame is slight (5’10” 155 pounds) his game is not. Dell is a quick twitch receiver with nice hands. He caught eight passes against the Green Wave for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
Tulane RB Tyjae Spears is moving up my RB rankings after this week. Spears is a hard runner between the tackles. But his greatest value is as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Spears caught six passes for 85 yards and the game-winning TD in overtime. He added 54 yards on 14 carries.
We talked about the BYU linebackers earlier. Now we have to talk about the Tulane LBs. Nick Anderson is undersized (5’10”) but he is a fast, downhill attacker. He notched 14 tackles (8 solos). Dorian Williams has better size (6’2” 225) and is more well-rounded. Both are great players and should be drafted. Williams finished the Houston game with eleven tackles and a sack.
WASHINGTON AT UCLA
I have been watching UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson for a few seasons now and I would be hard-pressed to find a better game he played than this one. DTR threw for 315 yards, ran for 53 more, and accounted for four touchdowns. Like Jaren Hall above, he has a chance to elevate himself into that Top 100 area. This hurdle rates at about 7.5 on the Marshawn Lloyd scale.
AIR DORIAN ✈️ pic.twitter.com/n3Yd3IPtWy
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) October 1, 2022
UCLA corner Stephen Blaylock is one of the better nickel defenders in this class. Blaylock showed those cover skills (and tackling ability) against Washington. He finished with seven stops (five solos) and an interception.
Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr continued his resurgence for the most part. The Indiana transfer completed 33/48 passes for 345 yards and four TDs. It was the two interceptions that weighed down his performance. Both throws were quite poor.
A WR I am looking forward to studying more is 3rd-year pass catcher Rome Odunze. The 6’3” 201-pound player snatched 8 receptions for 116 yards and two scores on ten targets.
Washington safety Alex Cook had a great game with ten solo stops. The 6th-year defender is moving up my board.
MICHIGAN AT IOWA
We talked him up on last week’s Draft Countdown podcast. Michigan RB Blake Corum could be the next Wolverine RB to make it to the NFL. Corum runs hard. He finished the Iowa game with 31 offensive touches for 142 yards and a score.
The most talked about prospect for Iowa (other than LB Jack Campbell) appears to be their punter, Tory Taylor. Their offense is so terrible that Taylor gets ample opportunities to show off his leg. He punted five times against Michigan for a 48.2-yard average.
SOUTH ALABAMA AT LOUISIANA
Read more about this game during my week five Sun Belt Saturday column.
NC STATE AT CLEMSON
The last two weeks have been kind to the draft image of Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei. Uiagalelei was seemingly left for dead but has put together multiple outings of competency. He completed 21/30 passes for 209 yards and rushed for 73 yards. DJU had three total touchdowns.
I can see why people like the potential of NC State passer Devin Leary. The 5th-year player has a nice arm and can throw it with tremendous touch. The knock that I can see is that when the chips are down, Leary gets a tad frazzled. Against Clemson, he threw for 245 yards, accounted for two TDs, and threw one interception.
STANFORD AT OREGON
Every once in a while, you see a comet. Or you see an eclipse. Or you see a game where Bo Nix shines without doing anything incredibly frustrating. Against Stanford, this was one of those nights. Nix threw for 161 yards, ran for 141 yards, and accounted for four touchdowns. One of his rush TDs went for 70+ yards.
The best prospect performance in this game came from Oregon DL Brandon Dorlus. Dorlus is going to end up being one of those tweeners I fall in love with. The 6’3” 284-pound defender showed a nice bend around the edge on one of his sacks. Dorlus also flashed some power moves as well. He finished the Stanford game with five tackles (four solos) and two sacks.
Check back on Saturday for another edition of Sun Belt/Small School Scouting.