Here are three games among the many scouts will closely monitor during week eleven of the college season. Included are a pair of match-ups featuring highly rated underclassmen from the offensive side of the ball.
Memphis vs Houston
7PM EST ESPN2
This is a terrific match-up between a pair of top 25 teams from the American Athletic Conference and features the nation’s top quarterback prospect.
Presently Paxton Lynch is everyone’s darling and its understandable. The big armed passer possesses the physical skills NFL teams love and has developed as a passer by leaps and bounds this season. He has the ability to make all the throws, spreads the ball around and does a good job with his reads. He’s not yet shown the ability to carry a team on his back, the way Blake Bortles did as a junior at Central Florida. Still, Lynch justifiably deserves the tag as the number one quarterback prospect in the country.
The Cougars secondary feature a pair of seniors; safety Adrian McDonald (4 ints) and corner William Jackson (3 ints).
McDonald has been very productive the past three years totaling 15 interceptions and 231 tackles but comes up shy in the areas of size and athleticism. On the other hand there are a variety of opinions on Jackson.
Entering the season with late round grades, there is a belief by some area scouts Jackson could end up at the top part of day three. He offers good size (6-feet/190lbs) and solid ball skills facing the action.
This is a huge test for McDonald and Jackson.
Oklahoma vs Baylor
8PM EST ABC
Baylor hopes to stay unbeaten and grab hold of a playoff spot but the Sooners look to play spoiler. Among the many battles in this contest are two highly rated underclassmen facing off in what should be a terrific match-up.
Baylor receiver Corey Coleman is in the midst of a record breaking year, one which many believe deserves Heisman Trophy consideration. The fourth year junior has developed into a true big play threat and has a nose for the end zone. He’s averaging 20.3-yards on 58 receptions this season and has found the end zone 20 times- WOW! As is the case for most underclassmen, Coleman’s true height/weight/speed numbers are the big question. Yes he’s a vertical threat but he looks small and in the day and age of 6-foot corners its tough to decide how early Coleman should be selected if he enters the draft.
Trying to slow Coleman down will be another junior, cornerback Zack Sanchez.
I gave Sanchez high grades entering the season but his play thus far in 2015 has been less than inspired. Several times throughout the year I’ve watched Sanchez, who I initially projected as a top 45 pick, get torched on the field. He’s been beaten on the underneath routes as well as down the field.
Sanchez must be on his game as Coleman has the ability to beat Sanchez across the middle as well as down the flanks.
Utah vs Arizona
10PM EST FS1
Utah hopes to separate from the rest of the field in the southern division of the PAC 12 and ready themselves for an eventual meet-up against Stanford in the conference title game. Arizona needs to notch a win in the hopes of becoming bowl eligible.
Since the summer I’ve spoken about Utah’s highly considered defensive ends, Jason Fanaika (top 75 pick), Dimick Hunter (well regarded junior) and Kylie Fitts (week 10 riser). All are terrific pass rushers with high upside and developing games.
This week it will be the job of Lene Maiava to slow them down.
The Wildcats starting right tackle, Maiava is regarded as a solid last day pick by scouts. There’s some question as to his best position on Sunday. Will he stay at tackle or move inside to guard, which is where I grade him?
The ability to slow down Utah’s defensive ends will go a long way in deciding where Maiva ends up.