Teams are officially past the halfway point in the season with college football rolling out the red carpet with some tough conference games for some Week 7 matchups. It started on a Tuesday, oddly enough, with Appalachian State smothering Arkansas State. 2019 quarterback prospect Justice Hansen of Arkansas State was very underwhelming in the loss, throwing three picks.
This week there are five prospects on my radar. Each are either in a big game, such as Washington and Oregon, or they just need to step up and prove themselves to scouts and fantasy players. This is important because there is no bigger time than when the conference schedules get tougher. Things are starting to spice up as the season inches closer to the end. For now, let us dive into the players to watch and see if they can handle the heat.
Jordan Scarlett, Running Back, Florida
Game: At Vanderbilt, Noon EST, ESPN
Scarlett is coming off a big game in Florida’s biggest win of the year, knocking off LSU this past weekend. If you look at the box score you will see a pedestrian 14 carries for 65 yards; what it doesn’t tell you how important those carries were. Scarlett converted several key third downs for the Gators, without which they don't pull the upset. What they also don't show you is just how physical he was running the ball and dragging defenders on his back through the swamp. Of his 65 yards, nearly 59 of them came after contact. This week the Gators go and visit the Commodores who also flaunt a strong defense, so it will be fun to watch Scarlett again this week.
Daniel Jones, Quarterback, Duke
Game: At Georgia Tech, 12:20 P.M. EST, ACC Network
I have to be honest, I have not watched a whole lot of Jones from Duke this year. As I started to watch him I have said to myself “where do those little pump fakes look familiar from?” I watched some more and ask myself again “Boy he moves his feet a lot, he's never still” then it hit me. Who does the coach at Duke always trains in the offseason, the Mannings? While he isn’t the same caliner of player as Manning it's easy to see where his mechanics come from and pair those skills with his size he has caught my eye. Those are the reasons as to why I am planning on watching his game against Georgia Tech to see how he handles an always tough crowd in what is sure to be a soggy field.
Justin Herbert, Quarterback, Oregon
Game: Vs. Washington, 3:30 P.M. EST, ABC or ESPN 2
I am beating a dead horse here but I always want to watch Herbert. I especially want to watch him against the DBU of the PAC-12 in Washington. They are in the top 25 in passing yards allowed and 6th overall in total points allowed. I just like to see top quarterbacks challenged because it gives you a better feel of how they will transition and what type of throws they can make. It's at a perfect time so you can get all your chores done before kickoff so you can watch the Ducks and Huskies go to war in Eugene.
Collin Johnson, Wide Receiver, Texas
Game: Vs. Baylor, 3:30 P.M. EST, ESPN
Bravo Tom Herman, Texas is back. They have a great quarterback in Sam Ehlinger and have a stud wide receiving corps led by the guy I am watching this week, Collin Johnson. Johnson officially caught everyone's eyes in both the devy world and the NFL world with his clutch game against Oklahoma. He posted a strong 6 catches for 81 yards and a score, bringing his yearly totals up to 30 catches for 431 yards and 4 touchdowns. A big part of his production is how he uses his size, 6’6” and 220 pounds, to beat defenders even when he is covered. Baylor's defense is about as tough and durable as tissue paper, so I expect a big game out of Johnson this week.
Karan Higdon, Running Back, Michigan
Game: Vs. Wisconsin, 7:30 P.M. EST, ABC
Higdon might be the most underrated running back in this upcoming draft class. Higdon has the potential to rush for 200 yards against you any time Michigan gives him the workload. This year he is benefitting from Michigan finally having a quarterback in Shea Patterson. In a big game in primetime against Wisconsin, a good performance against a normally tough Badger defense would go a long way in furthering his draft stock.