Week Ten saw me watch nine games full of 2023 NFL Draft prospects.
Each week, I will look back at the top prospect performances from the games I watched the previous week.
WEEK TEN PROSPECT REWIND
BUFFALO AT OHIO
Mid-week MACtion is back! I dove into my first watch of any MAC team this season with this game.
Buffalo LB James Patterson is a hardnosed, downhill thumper. He isn’t flashy but he always seems to make the sure tackle. Against Ohio, Patterson recorded 16 tackles (seven solos) with 1.5 TFLs.
Freshly added to the Draft Countdown watch list is Ohio 4th-year QB, Kurtis Rourke. Rourke is the younger brother of Nathan Rourke who is currently dominating the CFL. The younger Rourke throws a catchable ball. He has nice size with above-average arm strength. I do not believe he will factor into the 2023 NFL Draft but he is one to watch for the 2024 cycle. Rourke completed 20/29 passes for 317 yards with five scores against Buffalo. He had one pass intercepted while adding 45 rushing yards.
UTEP AT RICE
Rice has two WR prospects worth talking about. Luke McCaffrey, the former Nebraska QB (and younger brother of Christian McCaffrey) has made the conversion to wide receiver. McCaffrey is a great athlete (as you would expect) but he is still learning the nuances of playing the position. He was targeted 8 times against UTEP, catching four for 42 yards.
Bradley Rozner is 6’5” and 204-pounds. He is playing in his seventh collegiate season. Rozner is a big-play threat for the Owls. He makes difficult catches and can stretch the field. Rozner caught six balls against the Miners for 142 yards and a score.
APPALACHIAN STATE AT COASTAL CAROLINA
Read more about the prospects in this game on Saturday.
DUKE AT BOSTON COLLEGE
After disappointing play in 2022, BC QB Phil Jurkovec missed this game with a knee injury. Once thought to be a potential first-round pick, I seriously doubt if he will be drafted at this point.
The top Boston College receiver, Zay Flowers, should be drafted on day two. Flowers is tremendous after the catch. He is a high-volume pass catcher with top-end speed. Flowers has just been dealing with low-end QB play of late. He caught 6 passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns against Duke.
The Duke defensive front seven had a nice game against BC on Friday. Draftable three-technique DeWayne Carter had five tackles and two sacks. Carter has nice hand usage and a quick inside burst. LB Shaka Heyward has been coming on in recent weeks. The 6’4” 220-pound edge defender recorded 11 stops and a sack against BC.
In the two games I have watched of Duke this season, it has been fun watching QB Riley Leonard. Whenever he is eligible to play in the Senior Bowl, I can almost guarantee you that the Fairhope, Alabama native will be there.
AIR FORCE VS. ARMY (ARLINGTON, TX)
I put on this game to watch two players. One of them was Air Force tight end, Kyle Patterson. Patterson saw zero targets in this game. I know he can block but it would have been nice to see him in some sort of pass-catching role.
The other player I was focusing on was Army edge rusher Andre Carter II. Carter is a potential first-round prospect. He didn’t get to rush the passer much in this game (obviously) but he showed up well in run defense. Carter finished with five tackles (four solos) with two TFLs.
MINNESOTA AT NEBRASKA
Mohamed Ibrahim looks fully recovered after an injury took him out last year. Ibrahim put the Gophers’ offense on his back with 32 carries for 128 yards and two scores. Ibrahim should see his name called on day three.
Speaking of injured Minnesota prospects, wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell announced he will return to Minneapolis for his seventh season in 2023.
I don’t know how much impact Nebraska WR Trey Palmer will make as a pass catcher as a rookie. I do know that he will make an instant impact as a special teams player. Palmer was flying down on coverage units against Minnesota. He also caught five passes for 37 yards (10 targets).
MICHIGAN STATE AT ILLINOIS
Rarely do you see two brothers, on the same team, making a big impact on their squad. At Illinois that is the case. RB Chase Brown gets the hype, and rightfully so. He had 35 touches against the Spartans for 157 yards. His brother, Sydney Brown finished with four solo tackles and an interception from his safety position.
I love the length that you get from Michigan State CB Ameer Speed. The Georgia transfer looked good against the Illini on Saturday, finishing with 12 tackles and a PBU.
TENNESSEE AT GEORGIA
Georgia DL Jalen Carter took over the game at times for the Bulldogs against Tennessee. The potential top-ten selection humbled Hendon Hooker. Carter had four tackles, two TFLs, one sack, and forced two fumbles. Carter is easily the top interior pass rusher in this class at this point in the process. And based on how his former teammates took over the Combine, I expect he will perform similarly.
It was all great news out of Athens this week. It was announced that edge rusher Nolan Smith will miss the remainder of the year with a torn pec. Smith will miss the All-Star circuit and the Combine. The hope is that he will be able to test late in the process but that isn’t a lock.
5th-year WR Cedric Tillman finally returned for the Volunteers. This was my first look at Tillman. He was consistent as one could be against that Georgia defense, finishing seven catches for 68 yards.
SOUTH CAROLINA AT VANDERBILT
After a week of negative press and online brow-beating, it seems South Carolina remembered who they had on their team. TE Jaheim Bell still was oddly used but at least he was played. Against Vandy, Bell caught three passes for 27 yards and carried the ball 16 times for 56.
Josh Vann also rejoined the offensive thought process, catching three passes for 32 yards and a TD.
RB Marshawn Lloyd missed the game with a thigh contusion.
Vanderbilt RB Re’Mahn Davis had a tremendous game against the Gamecocks. Davis touched the ball 21 times for 172 yards and a score.
Check back on Saturday for another edition of Sun Belt/Small School Scouting.