Week Six saw me watch eight games full of 2023 NFL Draft prospects. This included shootouts in the Big 12, SEC, and Pac 12.
Each week, I will look back at the top prospect performances from the games I watched the previous week.
WEEK SIX PROSPECT REWIND
COLORADO STATE AT NEVADA
This was a rough and boring game to watch. A game that was bereft of a single player that is likely to be drafted. That especially rings true when Nevada offensive tackle Aaron Frost didn’t play. Frost suffered an injury in fall practice and he may not be able to play at all this season.
After coaching changes, most of the draftable talent checked out of both programs.
UNLV AT SAN JOSE STATE
UNLV, not unlike Colorado State and Nevada, is lacking that surefire draftable prospect. However, LB Austin Ajiake was a standout against SJSU. Against the Spartans, Ajiake recorded 13 tackles (six solos) and two sacks. On the season he is up to 60 tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions.
San Jose State has a handful of players jump out to me on Friday night. QB Chevan Cordeiro (Hawaii transfer) accounted for 339 yards of total offense and four scores. Cordeiro has a really long wind-up on his throws but he puts a nice touch on them.
4th-year running back Kairee Robinson is not an explosive player but he looks like a bowling ball running the football. Robinson is built low to the ground (5’8” 200-pounds). He carried the ball for 61 yards and a score against UNLV.
Another standout was 4th-year TE Dominick Mazzotti. He normally isn’t the starter but you could have fooled me. Mazzotti is a solid blocker, with nice hands, and does a great job of making himself available for his quarterback. Against the Rebels, he caught seven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.
LOUISVILLE AT VIRGINIA
For the first time in 40 games, Louisville QB Malik Cunningham did not start. Cunningham reportedly missed the game because of a concussion. Louisville got the win thanks to the performance of their defense. Especially corners Jarvis Brownlee (6 tackles, 1 INT) and Kei’Trel Clark (5 tackles, 1 PBU).
Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong entered the season with a mild amount of hype. That has all but died off. Armstrong has struggled for most of the season and threw two interceptions in this game.
I still love 6th-year WR Keytaon Thompson. Thompson has nice size (6’4” 218). He catches the ball well and runs nicely after the catch. I wish the former QB at Mississippi State was a better route runner.
TCU AT KANSAS
We can take TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston’s picture off of the side of the milk carton. Coming into the Kansas game, Johnston only had 12 catches for a little over 100 yards. Against the Jayhawks, he showed that big play ability normally reserved for receivers that aren’t 6’4” and 212-pounds. We got to see the explosiveness in the open field and the highpoint skills that he displayed before this season. Against KU, Johnston caught 14 balls for 206 yards and a TD.
His fellow wide receiver, Derius Davis, is a speed demon. Davis is only 5’9” and 162-pounds. But if gets his hands on the ball in the open field…look out!
Kansas lost 3rd-year QB, Jalon Daniels, late in the 2nd quarter. Daniels had been having a tremendous season before that. The standout offensive player for the Jayhawks for me was TE Mason Fairchild. The 4th-year player showed rare adjustment skills on a ball down the sea. Fairchild finished with three catches for 80 yards and a score.
TENNESSEE AT LSU
The corner duo of Greg Brooks Jr and Jerrick Bernard-Converse were tested often in this game and well it didn’t go all that well. But hey, they made a lot of tackles. Brooks had ten stops and a forced fumble. JBC had 11 tackles.
LSU WR Kayshon Boutte has not played up to the hype bestowed upon him before coming into the year. Likely it is the poor-ish QB play he has gotten but there could be more there. Against Tennessee, Boutte caught six passes for 33 yards and a score.
Speaking of WRs that were on the milk carton, welcome to the conversation Bru McCoy. The former five-star recruit, who has bounced around several schools, finally seems to be getting it. McCoy had seven receptions for 140 yards. Jalin Hyatt added four receptions for 63 yards and two TDs.
Hendon Hooker continues to play otherworldly this year. The 6th-year passer completed 17/27 passes for 239 yards and two scores. More importantly, Hooker has not thrown an interception this season. When Cedric Tillman returns from injury, the Volunteers’ offense could be even better.
UTAH AT UCLA
UCLA smartly didn’t challenge Utah CB Clark Phillips III very often. However, Dorian Thompson-Robinson was trying to pick a first down late in the game to kill the clock. Phillips jumped the short route and returned it for a TD. It was Phillips’ 5th interception of the season (8th in his career) and 4th career TD (2nd in 2022).
Other than the interception, DTR had another great game. Against the Utes, he completed 18/23 passes for 299 yards. DTR had five total offensive touchdowns. RB Zach Charbonnet continues to be a top-5 RB in this class. He rushed 22 times for 198 yards and a score.
LB Darius Muasau (Hawaii transfer) played a great game and showed off nice skills playing deep zone coverage. Muasau picked off a Cam Rising pass down the middle. He also had eight tackles and a forced fumble.
JAMES MADISON AT ARKANSAS STATE
Read more about the prospects in this game on Saturday.
ARMY AT WAKE FOREST
Army edge rusher Andre Carter II did not disappoint despite the lopsided score. Carter was disruptive when given the chance and came inches away from a strip sack (ruled incomplete). He finished with six tackles (four solos) and a PBU.
Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman is a tremendous touch passer. He doesn’t have a huge arm but he always seems to put the ball where his receiver can catch it. His #1 target, AT Perry, caught five balls for 118 yards and one score.
Check back on Saturday for another edition of Sun Belt/Small School Scouting.