During a weekend in which fans were treated to a number of enjoyable games that came down to the wire or required overtime to determine the outcome, college football will see a shuffling in its top ten. As is the case every week individual performances have resulted in a shuffle on draft boards. Here are week three Risers & Sliders.
A little more than two years ago, when I wrote for another outlet, I’m proud to say I was one of the first to make mention of a track athlete turned football player who initially needed assistance putting on his equipment. Truth be told I never envisioned Ezekiel Ansah developing into a top ten draft selection at that point.
Could history be repeating itself? It seems so, though to a lesser extent.
Out west at Oregon State the buzz in the scouting community centers on a track athlete making his mark on the football field. Obum Gwacham, a high jumper with a personal best of just under 7-feet 2-inches is slowly blossoming into a terror on the defensive line. The former receiver moved to defensive end last spring and initially impressed scouts during April practice with his athleticism and pass rushing ability. He’s kept the momentum going in the early part of the season, most recently registering a pair of sacks during the Beavers victory over Hawaii.
Scouts love the upside Gawcham brings and if he continues to develop on the field they believe the former track star could end up as a second or third round pick in next year’s draft.
I’ve given little known offensive lineman Chaz Green positive reviews since his sophomore season and the Gators left tackle performed at an impressive level Saturday night against Kentucky. He’s incredibly athletic displaying terrific footwork and movement skills as well as the ability to adjust to blitzers. The ease which Green gets out to the second level and flows around the field is impressive. He must get stronger as well as play at a consistently high level but Green definitely comes with great upside.
Were they able to play a lick of defense the Toledo Rockets could be undefeated but the team has two losses thus far, giving up 49-points to Missouri then 58-points to Cincinnati last week. Despite the results the efforts of receiver Alonzo Russell have been impressive. Russell has averaged almost six receptions and 100-receiving yards in each of Toledo’s three games this season. He’s a long, sure-handed receiver with deceptive speed. Russell also does the little things well such as blocking downfield or setting legal picks for teammates. Speak to Toledo coaches and they’ll admit the talented junior is a “leave early player”.
Andrew Gallik/C/Boston College: Saturday afternoon on twitter I noted Gallik as a player to watch and felt the match-up against USC would be critical. And though he did not face off against Leonard Williams all that often, Gallik looked impressive handling the Trojans other next level prospect on the defensive line, Antwaun Woods. The senior center played smart, tough football helping Boston College pull off the upset victory. His blocking, both on the line of scrimmage as well as on the second level, was impressive and largely responsible for the 452-yards the Eagles gained on the ground. I believe Gallik is a better version of former Boston College center Tom Nalen, a seventh round pick of the Denver Broncos in 1994 who went on to enjoy multiple All-Pro performances during his 15 year NFL career. Gallik has moved near the top of the center list and will be a top 100 choice if he continues his impressive play this season.
Tayo Fabuluje/T/TCU: Fabuluje was the other offensive lineman I tweeted about on Saturday and the senior left tackle was dominant during the victory over Minnesota. He’s an impressive looking specimen and easily controls defenders at the point of attack. What stood out about his play was how Fabuluje adjusts or contorts then stops speed rushers as well as the way he knocks opponents from the action with violent hand punch. Fabuluje is a bit heavy footed and has some personality quirks teams must look into but when hitting on all cylinders he offers starting potential at the net level.
Dante Fowler Jr./DE-OLB/Florida: The Gators defeated Kentucky in a three overtime thriller and Fowler was the star of the Florida defense. His stats line read 6 tackles, 4 quarterback hurries, 2 tackles for loss as well as 1 sack and 1 forced fumble. On tape Fowler was omnipresent making plays behind the line of scrimmage, out to the sidelines in pursuit and displayed great explosion and suddenness. His hustle and ability to force the action was impressive as the junior was unstoppable. Will Fowler enter the draft? Sources tell me his parents are fully engaged in the process and it will be a wait and see proposition.
Eli Harold/DE-OLB/Virginia: Harold and the pressure he applied against Louisville helped Virginia snap their ACC winless streak which lasted almost two years. The junior pass rush specialist posted two sacks and a pair of tackles for loss. Late in the fourth quarter Harold registered his second sack of the game that put Louisville in a third and 20 situation which eventually forced the Cardinals to punt the ball, sealing victory for UVA. Harold is a natural pass rusher whose game has been moving north the past two seasons. On film he shows the necessary athleticism to get consideration at both defensive end and outside linebacker.
Hau’Oli Kikaha/DE/Washington: Entering the season scouts handed Kikaha solid grades and the senior has lived up to expectations in the early going. During the blowout victory over Illinois, he led Washington in all tackling categories with 6 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. And while the Fighting Illini are shy on talent their left tackle Simon Cvijanovic has been given late round grades in some scouting circles. Kikaha has a history of knee injuries and many are concerned with his athleticism yet no one questions his ability to disrupt the action and consistently make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Mark Glowinski/G/West Virginia: Prior to the season many pundits, including myself, lauded the Maryland defense and many of its underrated prospects. West Virginia made us look foolish on Saturday as they rolled up 694-yards against the Terps and Glowinski’s blocking played a large part in the teams success. The wide-bodied guard was dominant at the point of attack and he looked terrific in pass protection. Glowinski is an underrated athlete with a large degree of upside and has been pegged for tackle at the next level by a number of scouts.
Cam Worthy/WR/East Carolina: Last week we heralded the exploits of James Hardy, East Carolina’s top next level receiver. During the victory over Virginia Tech it was Worthy, a prospect we graded as a free agent prospect, who made scouts take notice with 6 receptions for 224 yards (37.3-yard average). Worthy comes with terrific size (6-feet/2-inches, 210-pounds) and has shown great development in his game this season.
Sleeper of the Week: Terry Williams/NT/East Carolina: People may wonder if I’m on the ECU payroll but I assure you I’m not. Williams is a player I’ve rated since watching him in 2012 as he’s a big, powerful interior tackle with the ability to hold the point and occupy blockers. He gets a bit sloppy at times and has not shown much in the way of off field conditioning but if the light goes on Williams will be playing on Sunday’s.
Small School Prospect of the Week: Jermaine Barton/T/Illinois State: The Miami Hurricane transfer continues to impress with his improved play and next level body. Barton, who lines up at right tackle for Illinois State, is an athletic 6-feet, 6-inch, 315-pound blocker who easily moves around the field. He uses his length and strength to control opponents, blocking down on defenders to smother them from the action. Barton needs to improve the details of his game as his blocking balance is awful and he’s often lazy with his hands but the senior possesses the physical tools to make a roster as a developmental prospect.
Jamon Brown/OL/Louisville: The past two seasons I’ve ranked Brown as a potential third round pick with one caveat; while NFL scouts view him as a tackle I feel his body type and style are better inside at guard. That was never more prominent then on Saturday as Virginia’s speed rushers exploited Brown and his inability to slide out or adjust to protect the blindside. In my opinion Brown looks poorly conditioned and unable to handle left tackle duties, intangibles which will negatively affect his draft stock.
Nick Harwell/WR/Kansas: There was a point in time when Harwell was spoken about as a potential middle round choice. That was three years ago when he played at Miami-Ohio but since then Harwell’s game has regressed. He’s totaled 6 receptions for 55 yards in two games this season and one of the contests was against a IAA opponent. Despite receiving late round grades from a number of scouts Harwell has average size/speed numbers and shows no dominant trait to his game.
Sam Eguavoen/LB/Texas Tech: On paper Eguavoen has the size/speed numbers and skill set to line-up at weakside linebacker at the next level. To his credit he plays to those numbers on occasion but his instincts or lack thereof are disconcerting. He posted 9 tackles in the loss to Arkansas but many of those were after the fact. Watching Eguavoen guess wrong or move left as the ball carrier runs right is a red flag on film.