Week One provided us with a slate of games that spanned five days. And what a great collection of games it was. I watched eight games from week one.
Each week, I will look back at the top prospect performances from the games I watched the previous week.
WEEK ONE PROSPECT REWIND
CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT OKLAHOMA STATE
The best performance I saw this week may just belong to Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders. The 5th-year passer has made huge strides since the last time I saw him play. Sanders completed 28/41 passes for 406 yards and 4 TDs against the Chippewas. He has a quick (albeit funky) release and throws a nice, accurate ball with touch. Sanders is also a tremendous athlete in space. He ran for 57 yards and two scores as well.
A pair of Cowboy wide receivers also caught my eye. 3rd-year pass catcher Brennan Pressley showed impressive moves in the open field and great speed. He also is a special teams ace. Pressley finished with 140 all-purpose yards. 6th-year WR Braydon Johnson was Sanders’ primary target. He caught six passes for 133 yards and a score.
The Okie State defense also had an impressive showing. DL Tyler Lacy has a game-taking over ability on the inside. He had a beautiful swim move that led to a safety. Lacy had five tackles (2.5 for loss) and one sack.
The only CMU player that really elevated himself in my eyes was edge rusher Thomas Incoom. Incoom has a nice bend around the edge. He holds up well in the run game and always hustles to the finish of the play. Incoom finished with four tackles and a sack.
PENN STATE AT PURDUE
It will not take 6th-year WR Charlie Jones very long to eclipse his career receptions mark at Purdue. The double-transfer (Buffalo, Iowa) only had 39 catches during his first five collegiate seasons. Jones caught 12 passes for 153 yards and a score against Penn State on Thursday night. He was targeted 19 times!
6th-year Boilermakers QB Aidan O’Connell gives you the flashes with his nice arm at times. But by the end of the game, he became flustered by the moment and his accuracy suffered.
Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. may just be a future stud at the position. I expected him to be excellent as a tackler. JPJ showed off incredible ball skills and man-cover abilities. He finished with eight tackles (all solos), 3 PBUs, and a fumble recovery.
I loved seeing the run-after-catch ability of Western Kentucky transfer WR Mitchell Tinsley. He caught seven passes for 84 yards and a score against Purdue.
VIRGINIA TECH AT OLD DOMINION
Virginia Tech safety prospect Nasir Peoples was a heat-seeking missile against the Monarchs’ offense on Friday night. He is definitely more of an in-the-box safety. Against ODU, Peoples notched 10 tackles (five solos) and 1.5 TFLs.
Another standout member of the Hokies’ secondary was CB Chamarri Conner. The 5th-year player locked down the biggest Old Dominion offensive weapon (more on that later) for most of the game. Conner had seven tackles and one TFL.
Also, Virginia Tech QB (Marshall transfer) Grant Wells ain’t it. A completely dreadful four INT performance and the main reason the Hokies suffered an upset loss.
I will speak more about the prospects from Old Dominion later this week during my Sun Belt Saturday column.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE AT IOWA
Speaking of QBs who ain’t it? Iowa 5th-year passer Spencer Petras is also wholly abysmal. Petras was 11/25 passing for 109 yards with an interception. Iowa managed to beat the Jackrabbits with great defensive play (holding SDSU to a FG and recording two safeties).
One player who moved up my board a bit this week was LB Jack Campbell. The 4th-year player had 11 tackles and a hurry.
I will talk more about the South Dakota State products on Saturday in the Small School Scouting section.
OREGON VS. GEORGIA (ATLANTA, GA)
My local ABC affiliate apparently had a huge issue all weekend and I was unable to watch the Georgia/Oregon game the usual way on Saturday. However, the internet is a beautiful thing ladies and gentlemen.
Georgia saw firsthand for three years that Bo Nix was an erratic passer. One doesn’t wash away his inability to be a good quarterback by traveling west 2,620 miles. This is like Doc Holliday going west to rid himself of tuberculosis. That’s not how this works. Nix was harassed into mistakes to the point where he started forcing into more issues. He finished 21/37 with 173 yards passing and two picks.
One player for the Ducks that did look great was LB Justin Flowe. Fellow 3rd-year LB Noah Sewell gets most of the pub but Flowe can play. He finished with ten stops and a TFL.
In a 49-3 romp it may be hard to pick out just a few of the playmakers for the Georgia Bulldogs. This is especially true of their TE room. 2nd-year stud Brock Bowers gets the most hype and 3rd-year player Arik Gilbert has been the most hyped since high school. However, today we are looking at a 6’7” 265-pound freak in Darnell Washington. You shouldn’t be able to do this at that size.
— ESPN (@espn) September 4, 2022
On the defensive side of the ball, perseverance is king. That is especially true of 5th-year safety Chris Smith II. After biding his time, he is ready to impact the Georgia defense as they try to earn back-to-back championships. Against Oregon, Smith finished with six tackles and an interception.
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 5, 2022
BYU AT SOUTH FLORIDA
I have spoken despairingly about a handful of passers already but I will not do that about BYU’s Jaren Hall. The 5th-year player looked solid against USF and made several NFL-type throws. Hall finished the game against the Bulls by completing 25/32 passes for 261 yards and two TDs. He also threw an interception.
It appears the Cougars have replaced Tyler Allgeier with Christopher Brooks. The transition looks seamless. Brooks ran for 135 yards and a TD. I would like to see him factor more in the passing game going forward though.
Washington transfer WR Puka Nacua was on his way to having a day to remember before succumbing to an injury. He had three carries for 76 yards and two TDs. This includes a scamper for 75 yards on the game’s opening play. Nacua also had 22 yards receiving. It seems he will be ok going forward.
BOISE STATE AT OREGON STATE
Boise State safety JL Skinner came as advertised. The 4th-year player was a few and far between bright spot for the Broncos on Saturday night. Skinner finished with 12 tackles (six solos) and an interception.
Oregon State CB Rezjohn Wright has tremendous length (6’2” 193) and ball skills. Based off of his play speed, I will assume he runs a sub 4.4 forty. I also believe Wright is a top-ten-level corner in this class.
I also moved his teammate, CB Alex Austin, up in my rankings. Austin is getting picked on as teams throw away from Wright and he is answering the call.
FLORIDA A&M VS. JACKSON STATE
More from this game is in Saturday’s Week One column.
**BONUS** LOUISVILLE AT SYRACUSE
Because of my DVR’s Week One shenanigans, I decided to watch an extra game. I am glad I did just to see the brilliance of Syracuse RB Sean Tucker. Tucker may have the quickest feet I have ever seen from a back. He wastes no time getting from 0-60. And I love some RBs that catch the ball. Tucker finished the game against Louisville with 183 yards on 27 touches with two touchdowns. This is after missing the second quarter with an injury. I can’t wait to see more.
Speaking of studs, the Orange have a pair of linebackers that bear monitoring as the process gets rolling. 4th-year player Mikel Jones talked a lot of trash about Louisville during the offseason and backed it up with nine tackles and a forced fumble. His teammate Marlowe Wax had 10 stops and 2.5 TFLs.
It was not a good night for the Malik Cunningham stans out there. Cunningham made two poor reads on both of his interceptions and struggled inside the pocket. His left tackle, Trevor Reid, also had one of the most blatant holding penalties I have ever seen. It would have been a nice throw inside of the octagon.
Check back on Saturday for another edition of Sun Belt/Small School Scouting.