Wow. Week 12 of the college football season was a roller coaster. We had No.1 and No. 2 fall and Notre Dame will assume the No. 1 spot in this week’s rankings. USC took one on the chin against their crosstown rivals UCLA and may be without their QB for next week’s grudge match against the new No. 1. There was loads of NFL talent that rose to the top this week and a couple that got left behind, here’s a look.
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia, Senior
Tavon Austin was drawing comparisons to Barry Sanders and Percy Harvin on Twitter. He looked liked a freakish blend of both on his way to 344 yards rushing and 82 receiving. He also added in two rushing TD’s. Austin’s performance had scouts buzzing about the possibilities and should catapault him into the first round of April’s draft.
John Simon, DE, Ohio State, Senior
John Simon was an absolute monster on Saturday as he proved to be the heart and soul of the OSU defense. Simon abused Ricky Wagner to the tune of four sacks, although his QB didn’t help the cause. Simon started the season a little slow but has come on strong. He’s still a man without a position but some team will find a spot for this high-motor, athletic freak inside the top 75 picks.
Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers, Junior
Logan Ryan is quickly rising up draft boards and Saturday’s performance against Cincinnati will have him moving up more. Ryan finished the day with 6 tackles and an interception to give him 68 tackles and 4 INT’s on the season. Ryan has the size and speed to be considered a first round prospect and the junior is rumored to be heading to the NFL after this season.
David Fales, QB, San Jose State, Junior
Outside of a bad pick before half, Fales was near perfect in the upset win over BYU. BYU was known for their stingy defense but Fales carved up the secondary to the tune of 25-34 for 305 yards and 3 TD’s. Fales is unlikely to enter the 2013 NFL Draft with only one year of starting experience under his belt but he is certainly a name to watch for 2014.
Will Davis, CB, Utah State, Senior
It was a nice week for Will Davis as he received his Senior Bowl invite and played spectacular in a win over Louisiana Tech. Davis stopped a La Tech scoring drive before the half with an interception and broke up two other passes in this contest. Davis is rising as fast as any prospect in the draft as he’s notched 52 tackles, 4 INT’s, and broke up 16 passes on the season.
Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State, Senior
Glennon has been on fire in the national media with his solid numbers and the struggles of other 2013 QB’s. Glennon has some talking about Joe Flacco comparisons and have him going early in round one. It’s easy to see why if you watched Saturday’s contest against Clemson. Glennon finished 29-53 for 493 yards and 5 TD’s. Glennon did throw a bad pick and made some throws off his back foot that were near picks. That said, name a skill player on his team. Can’t think of any? Don’t feel bad the only one I knew was Tobias Palmer. Put Glennon with Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey or Robert Woods and Marquise Lee and see what you get. Glennon is a guy that should help himself at the Senior Bowl, Combine, and pre-draft workouts. While he’s not the athlete Joe Flacco is he could experience a similar rise up draft boards.
Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford, Senior
Before Skov’s knee injury he was expected to be a first round pick. Skov has been slow to recover and has looked very mediocre for much of the season. But he’s coming on late and had his coming out party against Oregon Saturday night. Skov finished with 10 tackles, two of which were huge, drive-stopping tackles. If Skov can further knock the rust off his game he could be a solid second day pick.
Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina, Senior
I have been all over Williams in a negative way all season, so I’ll give credit where it’s due. Williams played his best game versus Virginia as he finished with 8 tackles, 2 TFL, and a sack. Williams showed a solid motor throughout the game which was the source for my negative criticism throughout the season. While I don’t see him as a first round pick, he may be moving into the second round for me.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan, Junior
The Iowa defense isn’t up to par with Iowa defenses of the past but Lewan’s domination was flat out impressive. He was a force in the run game as he displayed strength, solid feet, and his signature tenacity. Lewan was equally dominant in pass protection giving Devin Gardner all the time in the world. This tape will help Lewan secure a spot in the top 15 picks of April’s draft, if he declares.
Dri Archer, RB, Kent State, Senior
He’s listed at 5’8″, 164 pounds but he is fast. The senior back has carried Kent State to number 23 in the AP. Archer was electric in Saturday’s big win over Bowling Green. He rushed for 241 yards and 2 TD’s on 17 carries. Archer’s size will limit his draft position but his ability to take it for 6 with each touch will find him in a camp this summer.
Tyler Russell, QB, Mississippi State, Junior
Tyler Russell is very quietly having a spectacular junior season for the Bulldogs. He led the Bulldogs to 38 unanswered points to blow out the Arkansas Razorbacks. Russell finished the game 19-32 for 274 yards and 4 TD’s. Russell has amassed 21 TD’s and only 4 picks on the season. The 6’4″, 220 pound junior is most likely staying at Miss. St. for his senior season but he’s one to watch for 2014.
Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse, Senior
I have gushed over his quarterback (Ryan Nassib) but failed to give the senior receiver enough credit. Lemon torched the Mizzou secondary to the tune of 12 catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns. His final touchdown proved to be the game winner. Lemon has nice size to go with his impressive numbers which should intrigue scouts.
Robert Woods, WR, USC, Junior
Woods made a nice play on a two point conversion but outside of that, he struggled. Woods couldn’t get any separation from UCLA defenders and made a terrible play on a punt return which pinned the Trojans inside their five yard line. Woods is playing on a bad ankle but his struggles were taking place before the injury. I’m just not sure that Woods is worthy of a first round selection.
Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford, Senior
Thomas was a non-factor against Oregon. I can’t remember his name getting called as he was consistently held up by Oregon blockers. Thomas disappears for long stretches too often and it showed against Oregon. He couldn’t apply pressure to Marcus Mariota which has been his calling card at Stanford.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon, Senior
It’s feast or famine for Kenjon Barner. If he can find space to work with, he’s a dangerous weapon. The problem is that he can’t create on his own. Stanford’s fast and physical defense was able to limit the space and Barner’s effectiveness decreased mightily. In the NFL, Barner is a situational back, hence why I can’t see him going before the third day of the draft.