The college football regular season has nearly reached the halfway point. Teams are beginning to distance themselves in conference standings and, in turn, placing a target on their back. No. 1 Georgia is one of the teams tasked with defending its home turf this week against No. 11 Kentucky. Last week's Texas A&M win over then No. 1 Alabama has put other elite teams on notice so the Bulldogs should not need any more motivation to come prepared.
Here are the premier NFL Draft prospects to know in this weekend's best games:
Auburn at No. 17 Arkansas
Saturday, Oct. 16 at 12 p.m. ET on CBS
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix did not have enough magic to knock off Georgia last week. Defensive tackle Colby Wooden is playing well this season. As mobile as the linebackers are, most of the Tigers' NFL prospects are found in the secondary. Cornerbacks Nehemiah Pritchett and Roger McCreary are among the best duos in the SEC. Safety Smoke Monday has his share of supporters in the draft community.
For Arkansas, the cream of the crop is wide receiver Treylon Burks, who has been a shooting guard creating opportunities for himself in that Razorbacks offense. Burks is averaging 17.9 yards on 29 receptions. Center Ricky Stromberg has not been as good as he was at times last season but he remains a promising draft prospect. Safety Jalen Catalon is an undersized but explosive player making impact plays. Tackling has been an area of concern for the Texas native. It is important to note that he is just a sophomore and in no need to rush to the league.
No. 12 Oklahoma State at No. 25 Texas
Saturday, Oct. 16 at 12 p.m. ET on FOX
Times have changed for Oklahoma State to be the higher ranked of the two teams entering this game. Quarterback Spencer Sanders provides them with the best chance to win. They have some quality players along the offensive line but boast safety prospect Kolby Harvell-Peel.
Texas has modern day linebacker DeMarvion Overshown to cover sideline to sideline. Offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter has played really well this season building on a good 2020 campaign. Wide receiver Joshua Moore and defensive lineman Alfred Collins are a few players that the Longhorns hope reach their immense potential.
No. 11 Kentucky at No. 1 Georgia
Saturday, Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis has shown his toughness, mobility and strong arm from Day 1. He is able to drive the ball and throw on the run. His raw talent is evident but he needs to improve upon areas of the game that only come with experience: when to throw it away, time allowance to go through progressions, hit avoidance, etc...Those aspects of his game have already shown some improvement but this weekend promises to be the toughest challenge yet. Georgia is able to apply pressure with just four rushers and they will heat Levis up. Decisions must be made quicker. If he performs well in this game, he is going to earn the recognition that few were willing to give him early in the season.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they will be without nose tackle Marquan McCall. Joshua Paschal has been playing physical, yet controlled off the edge. Wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson is a big play threat that can be deployed in a number of ways. Offensive tackle Darian Kinnard has shown improvement in pass protection. Luke Fortner has played well since moving from guard to center.
It sounds as though Georgia safety Tykee Smith is done for the season but the Bulldogs still have Lewis Cine and Derion Kendrick in the secondary. The defense is loaded with talent up front with Adam Anderson, Travon Walker, Devonte Wyatt and Jordan Davis. Linebacker Nakobe Dean is there to clean up the wreckage created by that front.
It remains unclear which quarterback will start for the Bulldogs this week: Stetson Bennett or J.T. Daniels. Wide receiver George Pickens has yet to make his debut since suffering a torn ACL last season. Running back Zamir White leads the team in carries and rushing yards. His path is paved by Jamaree Salyer, who has shown the versatility to play guard and tackle.
No. 19 BYU at Baylor
Saturday, Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
BYU does not have a Zach Wilson on the roster this year. They may not even have a Brady Christensen. It is not to say that the Cougars do not have draft caliber players, however. Offensive tackle Blake Freeland has moved from the right side to the left. Only a sophomore, Freeland has plenty of time for the potential to match the production. Running back Tyler Allgeier, wide receiver Gunner Romney and tight end Isaac Rex have been leaders of that skill position group.
Baylor's defense is led by the speed of safety Jalen Pitre and linebacker Terrel Bernard. The former leads the team in interceptions while the latter is second on the team in sacks.
No. 18 Arizona State at Utah
Saturday, Oct. 16 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN
Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels and running back Rachaad White garner a lot of the attention but the Sun Devils best prospects are likely on defense. Linebacker Merlin Robertson, defensive tackle Jermayne Lole, defensive back Evan Fields and cornerback Jack Jones comprise a talent-laden group that is giving up a substantial amount of points this season.
Along the offensive line, Herm Edwards' team boasts offensive tackle Kellen Diesch and offensive guard Donhovan West, who is just a sophomore. Diesch, a Texas A&M transfer, has put himself in a position to be drafted next spring.
Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd is a bit polarizing at this point in the draft process but he offers great coverage skills, mobility and the ability to get off blocks. The Utes have a lot of other contributing players, such as tight end Brant Kuithe and interior offensive lineman Nick Ford.
The full slate of Week 7 college football games can be found at CBSSports.com!