2020 NFL Draft prospects to watch: Utah State-LSU features big QB battle, defenders in spotlight in Auburn-Florida
Potential first round quarterbacks get some challenges in this week's college football slate
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert are essentially the only unanimous quarterbacks to be taken in the first round right now. The next group has expanded to include four and potentially five quarterbacks. College football and NFL fans, alike, will be able to witness and assess the race for themselves this weekend.
Utah State's Jordan Love, LSU's Joe Burrow and Washington's Jacob Eason are all highlighted in this week's preview of prospects to watch this weekend. Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts and Georgia's Jake Fromm would be the other two names to note.
Here is a guide when watching this weekend's college football games:
Utah State at No. 5 LSU
Saturday, noon ET on SEC Network
There are two potential first round quarterback selections in this matchup. Utah State's junior signal-caller Jordan Love has all of the athletic traits but he makes some terrible decisions. Senior running back Gerold Bright has displayed some potential over the past few years. Senior edge rusher Tipa Galeai and junior linebacker David Woodward are a few difference-makers on the defense. They get a chance to prove their worth at a higher level against a team that recruited none of them.
LSU senior quarterback Joe Burrow has played really well to start the season and some are including him in the first round conversation. The Tigers have a lot of other talent. Junior safety Grant Delpit, senior cornerback Kristian Fulton and junior outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson are likely locks for the first round. Junior linebacker Jacob Phillips and senior defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence could crack the first round as well. Chaisson and Lawrence are all dealing with injuries right now but that has not slowed the Tigers down this season. They are headed for a clash with Alabama to decide the SEC West.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS (stream on CBS All Access)
Auburn senior defensive tackle Derrick Brown is a likely first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Junior defensive lineman Nick Coe, junior pass rusher Big Kat Bryant, senior defensive end Marlon Davidson could all be taken on the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft. Senior offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho has scouts buzzing with his potential. No. 7 overall would be Auburn's best finish in polls since losing the 2014 BCS National Championship game to Florida State.
Florida's strength is their receiving unit featuring senior wide receivers Tyrie Cleveland, Josh Hammond and Van Jefferson. Cornerback C.J. Henderson is a first-round pick and edge rusher Jabari Zuniga could join him. Junior quarterback Kyle Trask has been very efficient in that system since Feleipe Franks went down with his injury. The Gators are attempting to keep pace with Georgia in the SEC East.
No. 25 Michigan State at No. 4 Ohio State
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC
The Spartans entered the top 25 this week after laying defeat at the feet of Indiana last weekend. Michigan State has not defeated the Buckeyes since 2015. Mark Dantonio's team has senior edge rusher Kenny Willekes, who could slip into the first round with his sack production. Senior wide receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. has also played good football this season.
Ohio State is loaded. A loss would likely derail their chances at a playoff berth. The Buckeyes have produced more first-round defensive talent than any other program lately. Junior edge rusher Chase Young may be the best prospect at his position since Myles Garrett. He is a probable top-five selection. Junior cornerback Jeff Okudah has made a strong case to be the first cornerback taken. Junior running back J.K. Dobbins has been productive. Sophomore quarterback Justin Fields is off to a Heisman level start and could threaten Trevor Lawrence's claim to the 2021 No. 1 overall selection.
California at No. 13 Oregon
Saturday, 8 p.m. ET on FOX (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
California senior safety Ashtyn Davis was listed in the first round of a recent mock draft from CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Chris Trapasso. Senior inside linebacker Evan Weaver is a volume tackler while senior safety Jaylynn Hawkins has been stuffing the stat sheet. The Golden Bears are 4-1 and looking to get off to their best start since 2015 when they opened 5-0 before dropping their next four games.
Everyone is familiar with Oregon senior quarterback Justin Herbert. He has talent evaluators salivating over his physical tools but he makes some poor decisions and has been inconsistent with his footwork. The Ducks may have the best offensive line in the country and they boast multiple draft prospects. Senior wide receiver Juwan Johnson -- a Penn State transfer -- has 25 receptions for 352 yards and a touchdown this season. Oregon has won the the Pac-12 twice since the conference expanded most recently. They are a part of the equation this year as well.
No. 15 Washington at Stanford
Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Junior quarterback Jacob Eason gets a chance to prove himself against David Shaw and the Stanford defense. The Georgia transfer has 1,243 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. He has been mentioned as a player that could enter the first round with his play. Senior left tackle Trey Adams could be a first-round pick at a position of need across the NFL. Adams suffered a torn ACL and had a bulging disk in his back in the past two years, which is terrifying, but he is back at full strength. Senior center Nick Harris is an intriguing prospect. Senior cornerback Myles Bryant, senior wide receiver Aaron Fuller and junior tight end Hunter Bryant have all contributed to the Huskies' 4-1 start. Washington is firmly in the mix for the Pac-12 North title and can ill afford to surrender any ground in that chase. They have not won at Stanford since Nov. 3, 2003.
Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello does not possess the traits of the elite quarterback prospects but he has a good football IQ. Junior tight end Colby Parkinson is a big target for the Cardinal. Junior cornerback Paulson Adebo has been a prominent name in first round projections lately. Junior offensive tackle Walker Little suffered a dislocated knee cap early in September. He was expected to miss about a month, which means he should be returning any week. It does not sound like it will happen Saturday against Washington though. He is a potential first-round pick based on his athleticism.
FCS Game of the Week
Tennessee State at Jacksonville State
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+
Tennessee State is led by edge rusher Mekhi Brown, who transferred in from Alabama. Brown was the No. 88 rated player overall in the 2015 high school recruiting class according to 247Sports. He has yet to record a sack this season.
Jacksonville State has become home for talented Power Five transfers as well. They are led by Clemson junior quarterback transfer Zerrick Cooper. Safety Marlon Bridges is the team's third-leading tackler. He also has a sack and an interception this season. Wide receiver Josh Pearson has 26 receptions for 438 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
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