After watching seven games during Week Two, I have some thoughts on several 2023 NFL Draft prospects.
Each week, I will look back at the top prospect performances from the games I watched the previous week.
WEEK TWO PROSPECT REWIND
LOUISVILLE AT UCF
The accuracy issues for Louisville QB Malik Cunningham continued in this game. Cunningham completed less than 50% of his passes. However, his open-field athleticism was on display against UCF. There is going to be a team that takes a chance on Cunningham’s raw skill set.
I was impressed by the Cardinals’ safety Kenderick Duncan Jr. The 6th year player recorded 13 tackles (10 solos) in their week two contest against UCF. His size (6’3” 206) and play style leads me to believe that he can be a hybrid LB/S at the NFL level.
In other Louisville prospect news, it was reported by Jody Demling of the ACC network that DL Jermayne Lole is expected to miss the rest of the season with an arm injury. The Arizona State transfer was a fringe draftable prospect.
I didn’t have many takeaways from the UCF side. RB Isaiah Bowser probably has an NFL future as a short-yardage/fullback/special teams guy. He ran for 51 yards and two scores against Louisville. QB John Rhys Plumlee likely will see any NFL future he has at the WR position. Or he can go back to baseball.
ALABAMA AT TEXAS
During the near seismic upset by the Longhorns during week two, Texas had a few guys jump out. Stud RB Bijan Robinson didn’t get much going on the ground (21-57) but he showed nice route running skills against the Tide. I also love the position versatility of LB Demarvion Overshown. He notched five tackles (all solos).
Bryce Young and his heroics pretty much singlehandedly saved the game for Alabama. His Houdini-like act led his team to the game-winning Will Reichard field goal. Young went 27/39 for 213 yards and a TD against Texas.
Heisman 2.0 moment for Bryce Young ???? pic.twitter.com/2Mlmlkyr7G
— Touchdown Alabama (@TDAlabamaMag) September 11, 2022
SOUTH CAROLINA AT ARKANSAS
You would like to have seen Spencer Rattler fix some of his “YOLO” tendencies. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Rattler still takes too many risks. Instead of taking the sure check-down, Rattler will try to thread the needle between three DBs. Still, it is hard to not love his arm talent.
Week Two was the arrival of the Antwane Wells hype train. The James Madison transfer is the leading receiver in the SEC and had eight catches for 185 yards and a TD against Arkansas. Juice has tremendous run-after-catch ability to go along with excellent balance. I would like to see him catch the football a little cleaner.
South Carolina did lose two prospects for the season after Saturday’s game. Both 6th-year edge rusher Jordan Strachan and 3rd-year linebacker Mo Kaba suffered torn ACLs.
Arkansas edge rusher Drew Sanders had an eye-opening performance against the Gamecocks. Sanders showed good instincts and closing speed on his way to 11 tackles (8 solos), two sacks, and two forced fumbles. I also feel the need to shout out all five members of the Razorbacks’ offensive line. Four of them are draft eligible, headlined by center Ricky Stromberg.
SOUTHERN MISS AT MIAMI
It was not a flattering day for Hurricanes’ 3rd-year QB Tyler Van Dyke. TVD was 20/29 for 241 yards. He threw one touchdown and was intercepted once. Van Dyke didn’t look so hot on some of his downfield throws.
I will talk more about the Southern Miss prospects during my Saturday column.
HOUSTON AT TEXAS TECH
I have already spoken at length about why I love Texas Tech QB, Donovan Smith. The 3rd-year passer is still so raw and still needs a ton of work. Smith’s two interceptions were just awful throws. But one can not deny the athleticism and arm talent he has. Smith completed 36/57 passes for 351 yards. He had three total touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime. Smith was also sacked six times. Again, a work in progress.
Someone who is not a work in progress is Houston edge rusher, Derrick Parish. The 6th-year player has played fullback and tight end for the Cougars. Now he is a Maxx Crosby-like player for Houston. Parish has a tremendous burst off of the edge and finishes strong. Against Texas Tech, he had ten tackles (8 solos), FOUR sacks, six TFLs, and a forced fumble. Parish’s lack of height and length will probably keep him out of the first three rounds but that will not stop him from being an impact player in the NFL.
KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA
Kentucky didn’t need star running back Chris Rodriguez to beat up on Florida. In fact, they won’t have him until October 1st. In his stead, they got solid production Kavosiey Smoke (14-80).
After his anointing as the second-coming last week, Anthony Richardson came back down to reality against UK in week two. Richardson couldn’t get anything going against the Wildcats. He looked rattled and his mechanics were awful. Richardson was 14/35 for 143 yards and two picks.
I was a big fan of Brenton Cox Jr. last season. He didn’t show up predominately on the stat sheet (two tackles, two hurries). However, the Kentucky right tackle will never forget him.
Brenton Cox Jr. sacked Will Levis with his own RT pic.twitter.com/1nuqdZYXRL
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) September 10, 2022
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT ARIZONA
This was one of the sloppiest games I have watched this season. But at least it provided us with this gem by Arizona QB Jayden de Laura.
This might be the most chaotic play of the day ???? pic.twitter.com/88obmbKvon
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 11, 2022
**BONUS** UTSA AT ARMY
I added this game with the sole purpose of watching Army edge rusher Andre Carter II. He did not disappoint. The 4th-year player, despite his size (6’7” 260) looks more comfortable standing up than he does with his hand on the ground. Against the Roadrunners, Carter had four solo tackles and two sacks. It is rare to see a service academy player drafted in the Top 100 but I think we are going to see that this year with Carter.
Check back on Saturday for another edition of Sun Belt/Small School Scouting.