The college football season has been filled with surprises and, unfortunately, COVID-19 related cancellations. Last week, three games were removed from the initial slate of games to watch. As of now, Marshall-Florida International and Wisconsin-Nebraska are the only two games to be struck down by leadership. Fear not, draftnicks, for I have provided a road map that will enable you to watch future NFL stars from the early morning (if on the west coast) to the late hours of night (if on the east coast).
Here are the 2021 NFL Draft prospects to watch this weekend:
Boston College at No. 1 Clemson
Saturday, Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. ET on ABC (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
Through six games, Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec has the sixth-most passing yards in college football. The Notre Dame transfer is averaging 278.5 passing yards per game behind one of the best offensive lines in the ACC. Offensive tackles Tyler Vrabel -- son of Titans head coach Mike Vrabel -- and Ben Petrula serve as the book end protection with the likes of offensive guards Zion Johnson, Alec Lindstrom providing interior protection. An extension of the line, tight end Hunter Long is the team's second leading receiver and has been a popular target in critical moments. According to truMedia Stats, 31.5% of Long's targets have come on out routes. His usage on Go routes is 23%.
Clemson will be without quarterback Trevor Lawrence. While it is too soon to learn the name of his backup from a draft perspective, true freshman D.J. Uiagalelei is a really talented player leading an offense that boasts star talent at every position. Wide receiver Justyn Ross was lost for the season but running back Travis Etienne remains a key cog to the offensive machine.
Tigers cornerback Derion Kendrick has first round capabilities and benefits from the pressure supplied by a deep, talented defensive front.
Memphis at No. 7 Cincinnati
Saturday, Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
New Memphis head coach Ryan Silverfield was likely excited about the possibility of his offensive nucleus -- quarterback Brady White, wide receiver Damonte Coxie and running back Kenneth Gainwell -- returning in 2020 but COVID-19 impacted that plan. Gainwell opted out prior to the season and Coxie recently declared that he is done playing for the Tigers and will enter the 2021 NFL Draft. White is a fun quarterback to watch but the talent around him has suddenly dissipated. Cornerback T.J. Chase is a name to know on the opposite side of the ball.
Cincinnati edge rusher Myjai Sanders has accounted for 3.5 sacks this season, which is 26th most in the country. With good size, he has improved his stock. His success is the secondary's gain. Cornerback Coby Bryant, safety Darrick Forrest and safety James Wiggins are a sample of the talent in Luke Fickell's defensive backfield.
Michigan State at No. 13 Michigan
Saturday, Oct 31 at 12 p.m. ET on FOX (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
First-year Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker has a lot of good talent on the roster but there aren't any expected to be taken early in the draft. It is a solid offensive line unit but they all likely fall outside of the draft-able range right now.
Michigan right tackle Jalen Mayfield is a gifted player on the mind of teams in search of edge protection. The mysterious circumstances surrounding wide receiver Nico Collins' absence has led to a greater emphasis on Ronnie Bell. The junior receiver from Missouri operated in the shadows just a few years ago when the Wolverines had a logjam at the position with Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black and Collins. In 2020, he is the featured player on offense.
Michigan has an abundance of talent on defense despite cornerback Ambry Thomas announcing that he will not return this season. From an athletic standpoint, defensive tackle Carlo Kemp is one of the best on the team. He was responsible for one of the team's five sacks in a victory over No. 21 Minnesota. Edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson is a likely Day 2 prospect. Edge rusher Kwity Paye absolutely took over in the fourth quarter against the Gopher. He finished the game with two sacks and has the buzz surrounding his play rolling downhill to open his season.
Texas at No. 6 Oklahoma State
Saturday, Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. ET on FOX (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
Studying Texas last season, I wrote that Joseph Ossai was playing more of an off-ball role and was better suited on the edge. The Longhorns must have come to the same conclusion because that has been more on display this season. His two forced fumbles are the sixth-most in college football and his stock is rising. The 2021 NFL Draft edge rusher class has seemingly grown stronger each week. Safety Caden Sterns has a good chance of hearing his name called on Day 2.
On the offensive side of the ball, it is quarterback Sam Ehlinger and offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi. Ehlinger's draft ceiling more closely resembles a mud room compared to Cosmi's vaulted draft ceiling.
Oklahoma State has had some close encounters this season but remains unscathed. The offense is a big reason for their success. Running backs Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown are averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season. Wide receiver Tylan Wallace is on the edge recording 16.7 yards per reception. It is a lethal combination of weapons despite some instability at the quarterback position this fall. Offensive tackles Josh Sills, a West Virginia transfer, and Teven Jenkins are solid offensive linemen.
On the defensive side of the ball, safety Kolby Harvell-Peel has been a ballhawk nabbing two interceptions. The rangy junior from College Station, Texas is on pace to surpass the five interception total recorded in 2019.
No. 3 Ohio State at No. 18 Penn State
Saturday, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
If you need me Saturday night, I'll be on my soap box championing Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning. He is a really athletic player that has a lot more to show. Cornerback Shaun Wade is one to watch as the potential first-round pick makes his transition from the field corner role to the boundary. Quarterback Justin Fields (you might have heard of him by now) will challenge to be one of the first quarterback's off the board in April. The Buckeyes might be facing a Class A misdemeanor for littering because there is talent everywhere. The running back, tight end and wide receiver groups are all deep. Wide receiver Chris Olave is a polished route-runner and that has been an easy transition to the NFL in recent years. Offensive guard Wyatt Davis and center Josh Myers are large human-beings that move people for free.
Penn State running back Journey Brown was in contention to be the first running back off the board but a medical condition could cost him the rest of the season. Tight end Pat Freiermuth is regarded as one of the top tight end talents. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Micah Parsons is one of a handful of blue-chip players available. However, opted out of opting back in to the season. In his absence, edge rushers Jayson Oweh and Shaka Toney have humbly agreed to split all hype that Parsons would have received. Toney registered two sacks in the Nittany Lions opening loss to Indiana. Oweh was shut out but that should take care of itself over the course of the season.
The full slate of Week 9 college football games can be found at CBSSports.com!