This week, I want to take a look at some of college football's players that have caught my attention to start this season. Some are on this list because they've started the season blazing hot and others are players that haven't quite reached their full potential yet, but could see a climb up the draft boards as the season goes on.
If you're interested in watching just one college football game this weekend, it needs to be the Miami/Clemson game. Anyone else really excited for this game? Miami is off to a hot start and will be Clemson's first real test of the season. This game is filled with so much talent and so many names we'll hear called during the NFL draft. It's definitely the game of the week to keep and one to keep an eye on if you're interested in getting a glance at some players that could potentially play for your favorite pro team next season.
Game of the Week (Miami vs Clemson) - Players to Keep an Eye on
OT Jackson Carman - Clemson
Carman is one of the more underrated offensive tackles this year and I expect him to climb draft boards as we get closer to the draft. He allowed just one sack all of last season - even though Clemson faced some of the top pass rushers in the country last season (K'Lavon Chaisson, Chase Young, Carlos Basham Jr.). Miami's strong pass rush, headlined by Quincy Roche, should provide Carman with another test. Carman was ranked as 247Sports second best offensive tackle in the 2018 recruiting class in their composite rankings. This will be his second season starting at left tackle for Clemson.
WR Amari Rodgers - Clemson
Rodgers has taken a big step forward this season as a playmaker for Clemson. The injury to Justyn Ross has left Rodgers as Trevor Lawrence's main receiving weapon to start the season. He has three touchdowns over his last two games and made an incredible hurdle over a Virginia defender for the second touchdown last week. Rodgers is seen mostly as a mid round pick now since he's mostly just a slot receiver, but I can see his stock increasing if he continues to make plays.
CB Derion Kendrick - Clemson
Kendrick played receiver and quarterback in high school and started his career at Clemson as a receiver. He made the switch over to corner and is still learning the position, but has looked good to start of the season. He's graded as the second best defensive back in the ACC through the first five weeks of the season, although he was inactive the first week of the season and didn't start week two for disciplinary reasons. He's only been targeted four times this season and hasn't allowed a reception yet. Kendrick is someone to keep an eye on and is viewed as more of a late round pick currently.
QB D'Eriq King - Miami
There's so much I love about King; he's really one of the funnest players to watch in college football right now. There are so many things he does well. He's a slippery runner and very good at protecting the ball and limiting mistakes. The biggest concerns surrounding King have always been his size and his accuracy down the field. King has flourished so far in his first season in Miami with Rhett Lashlee as their new offensive coordinator. King is already in contention for the Heisman and I can definitely see more scouts start to pay attention to him if he's able to impress in his biggest test of the season against Clemson.
TE Brevin Jordan - Miami
This year's tight end class is really stacked early on with Kyle Pitts, Pat Freiermuth, and Jordan. Unfortunately for Jordan, Pitts has been extremely dominant to start the season and it's looking like he'll be the first tight end off the board. Jordan is no slouch though. He's lined up all over the field for Miami and is averaging 9.3 yards after the catch this season, tops amongst any Power 5 receiver with at least 15 catches, according to @CFBFilmRoom.
CB Al Blades Jr. - Miami
Blades is by far Miami's best corner and he'll get a real test this week against Lawrence. Blades has been targeted in coverage 14 times this season and has allowed eight receptions for 79 yards and one touchdown, according to PFF. He has an interception in each of his last two games and hasn't missed a tackle all season.
Other players to keep an eye on:
OL Cade Mays - Tennessee
Mays will be making his second start as a Vol this week after playing his previous two seasons with Georgia - Tennessee's opponent this week. He allegedly transferred due to a "toxic environment" and "unhealthy situation" at Georgia. Mays' family also has a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Georgia. Kevin Mays, the father of Cade, severed his pinkie finger in a folding chair during a 2017 recruiting visit. There doesn't seem to be any drama amongst the players, according to reports, though. Either way, it should be an interesting game to watch given the history here. Mays played primarily as a guard with Georgia and saw limited time as a right tackle last season. He's made the transition to right tackle this season. He's known more as a strong run blocker and we'll be watching to see how he handles his transition and how he holds up in pass protection.
QB Mac Jones - Alabama
Jones may be playing with elite talent in Alabama's offense, but he's definitely a player to keep an eye on. He's shown so much improvement this season in his first two games. His deep ball has really been impressive. He's completed 7/11 passes more than 20 yards down the field for 366 yards and 4 TDs in his first two games. If Jones continues at this pace he'll definitely improve his stock. Jones was mostly seen as prospect that would go in the later rounds heading into this season.
QB Zach Wilson - BYU
While we're on the subject of improved quarterbacks, I need to mention Wilson here. He ranks second in yards per attempt for the unbeaten Cougars and has an 83.3% completion rate on the season. He's putting up numbers only the few top quarterbacks in this class are putting up. BYU will face a UTSA defense that has a pretty good pass rush. They've put up 11 sacks through their first four games.
WR Kadarius Toney Florida
Florida's offense is off to a very hot start this season. Most of the attention has gone to QB Kyle Trask and TE Kyle Pitts, but Toney also deserves some attention. Toney is electric when it comes to creating yards after the catch and is averaging 9.8 yards after the catch per reception. If you haven't seen it yet, here's him below making five defenders miss last week against South Carolina. Florida will be facing off against Texas A&M, who just got torched by Mac Jones and Alabama last week.
CB Roger McCreary - Auburn
Auburn has only played two games so far, but McCreary has been really impressive. He's allowing a reception once every 33 coverage snaps, which ranks him fifth amongst SEC corners. He had an interception and a forced fumble in the first week of the season. Auburn will play Arkansas this week where he'll face transfer QB Feleipe Franks.
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