Which games, and players, are you watching this week?
Happy Saturday everyone, and welcome to Week 2 of the college football season!
We have a nice slate of games today, including some early season match-ups between ranked opponents, as well as one game that we know the New York Giants will be scouting. So without further ado, let’s get to the games!
UCLA at (6) Oklahoma
FOX, 1 p.m.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the NFL talent in this game will be on the Oklahoma side of things. First and foremost is running back Rodney Anderson. The Giants likely won’t be interested in drafting a running back highly, but Anderson is a lot of fun to watch. Blocking for him will be tackle Bobby Evans and guard Ben Powers.
In contrast to the massively massive Orlando Brown Jr., Evans is a relatively svelte offensive tackle at 6-foot-5, 300 pounds. But despite being “undersized,” Evans plays with surprising power, good leverage, and a nasty streak, routinely putting defenders on skates in the run game.
Evans is a powerfully built center at 6-4, 310 pounds, but shows good movement skills as a pulling Lineman. He needs to improve his power at the point of contact when pulling, but he has the tools to do so.
Finally we get to wide Receiver Marquise Brown. If a skill position player is nicknamed “Hollywood,” you know they bring something special on the field, and “Hollywood” Brown might be the scariest big-play threat in the nation. Slightly built at 5-10, 160 pounds, Brown has an elite blend of lateral agility, explosive acceleration, and long speed. He isn’t going to scare anyone stepping off the bus, but defensive coordinators dread seeing him with the ball in his hands and a sliver of daylight.
(3) Georgia at (24) South Carolina
CBS, 3:30 p.m.
Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker is probably the top prospect in this game, and is one of the top prospects in the nation. Consistently Listed in early big boards as a one of the top cornerback prospects, Baker isn’t a physical specimen at 5-11, 185 pounds. Instead of physically overwhelming receivers, Baker already shows polished technique and a physical game which belies his average frame. He also has the versatility to be moved all around the secondary, from the outside to the slot, and even to safety.
On the other side of the ball is Georgia WR Terry Godwin. Godwin has been a steady presence for QB Jake Fromm, with a few highlight reel catches. He will be expected to build on those big moments and step up for a Georgia offense that lost its two biggest threats in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to the 2018 draft.
South Carolina also features a pair of wideouts which have scouts’ attention. First up is Deebo Sameul who lost most of his 2017 campaign to a broken leg, but is expected to do big things in 2018. He is already being considered one of the top receiving prospects in the upcoming draft. Like former Giants’ receiver Hakeem Nicks, Samuel has “good, but not great” size, but fights through coverage and uses strong hands to play bigger than his listed 6-feet, 210 pounds. He will need to polish his route running and hone his craft as a receiver, and scouts are looking forward to seeing if he can take the next step.
Bryan Edwards, on the other hand is a big receiver (6’-3 220), and plays like it. Edwards hearkens back to former USC receiver Alshon Jeffery with the size, strength, and body control to be a true “X” receiver in the NFL and routinely reel in spectacular catches. Like many big receivers, Edwards doesn’t have “explosive” speed, but rather “build up” speed down the field. It might make separating from athletic defensive backs in press-man coverage difficult, but his size and body control will be assets in being open even when he is covered.
Pittsburgh vs. (13) Penn State
ABC, 8 p.m.
This isn’t the game fans will likely be watching unless they have a rooting interest. However, I bring it up because Chase Goodbread of the NFL Network is reporting that the Giants are one of five teams confirmed to be scouting it. In all likelihood, the team is scouting a pair of Penn State players.
The first is center Connor McGovern, who has been a starter since joining the team as a true freshman. McGovern isn’t a particularly massive or athletic lineman, but he has a high football IQ and good short-area quickness. He carries his weight well, listed at 6-4, 310 pounds (though he looks lighter than that). His frame is versatile and if he might have a future as either a guard or a center at the next level.
They could also have their eye on wide receiver Juwan Johnson, who Penn State is expecting to step up and replace the talent lost to the 2018 NFL draft. Johnson is a massive receiver, listed at roughly 6-4, 230 pounds, and if he is able to take a step forward and consistently use his size and massive catch radius to their fullest potential, he could hear his name called early in the draft.
(17) USC at (10) Stanford
FOX, 8:30 p.m.
There will be a number of future NFL players on the field in this game, as you should expect from these schools.
From the Giants’ perspective, we should be watching EDGE Porter Gustin on the USC side of things. The 6-5, 260-pound outside linebacker is a still developing as a player and coming off of an injury, but he is renowned for his work ethic. He uses his length well, is an active hand fighter, shows good awareness, and a great motor.
The Giants could also be interested in safety Marvell Tell III and cornerback Iman Marshall. Both DBs are long and well built, fitting in to the physical mold that James Bettcher has preferred in the past.
On the Stanford side of things, all eyes will be on RB Bryce Love. Love was surprisingly quiet in their season opener, but he remains an exciting player and high on many Heisman watch lists. For the Giants’ purposes, keep an eye on the offensive line in front of him. Stanford uses “Pro” concepts in their offense, which helps to cut down the learning curve at the next level. Nate Herbig, nicknamed “Big Island” by his teammates, is a wide-bodied lineman at 6-3, 330 pounds but shows impressive feet for a big lineman. He will likely be a guard at the next level, but his strength and movement skills should give him scheme versatility.
Next is center Jesse Burkett. Like McGovern, Burkett isn’t a massive lineman, listed at 6-4, 300 pounds. He gets the job done with good athleticism and football IQ to understand and establish leverage when opening holes or to get to the second level and pick on linebackers.