Week five of the college season saw more than its fair share of amazing finishes and last second buzzer beaters. And many of these finales will impact the national rankings. It was also a good week for several highly rated underclassmen prospects and a few lesser known next level players from the senior class. Here are the Risers and Sliders from week five.
Derek Barnett/DE/Tennessee: On the 15th anniversary of Larry Munson’s famous Hobnail Boot call (google it) the Volunteers turned the tables on Georgia. This game will be remembered for the Hail Mary reception as time ran out on the clock but it was another stellar performance from defensive end Derek Barnett. Coming off the Florida game when he posted 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks, Barnett finished Saturday’s contest with 2 more sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1 forced fumble which resulted in a Volunteers touchdown. Despite the fact the Bulldogs focused on Barnett and kept a tight end on the line of scrimmage to assist in stopping the menacing pass rusher, the junior was a disruptive force all game. Tennessee people I speak with believe Barnett will enter the draft once the season is complete.
Azeem Victor/LB/Washington: There were several Husky defenders who stood out during the victory over Stanford, a win in which the Washington defense held Christian McCaffrey to 79-yards total offense. But for the purposes of rising up draft boards I’m going with Victor. The linebacker displayed his patented athleticism making plays sideline-to-sideline and leading all defenders with 11 tackles. Victor explodes to the play, displaying speed in every direction and stands out in pursuit. I graded the junior as a third round prospect in August but now believe he could make a move into the top 45 if he enters the draft.
Malik Hooker/S/Ohio State: Hooker was a reserve last season behind Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell but has made the most of his opportunity since moving into the starting line-up this year and presently rates as one of the hottest safety prospects in the nation. In four games this season Hooker has intercepted 3 passes and broke up 2 more. Scouts have applauded Hooker’s instincts and ability to be in the right place at the right time. Hooker offers next level size and if he continues to play at this level then enters the draft he could end up in the first round.
Gerald Everett/TE/South Alabama: Everett was graded as a top five tight end from the senior class by scouts, not far behind the likes of Jake Butt or O J Howard, and he continues to justify that opinion. During the Jaguars dominant victory over San Diego State he caught 5 passes for 103-yards with 1 touchdown. The Aztec defense, known for its complex system, lines-up as many as four next level players. This is the second time this season Everett stepped up against top competition. During the opening victory over Mississippi State he recorded 8 receptions for 95 yards. Everett is a tremendous athlete and plays the tight end position like an oversized receiver. I expect him to receive an invitation to the Senior Bowl and Everett could very well hear his name called during the second day of the draft.
Jimmie Gilbert/OLB/Colorado: The Colorado program is having a renaissance of sorts after being the doormat of the PAC 12 for the longest time and Gilbert is leading the way on defense. Entering the season stamped as a street free agent, Gilbert has been a destructive force from the first game of the year. His latest effort included a team leading 7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks as well as 2 forced fumbles during the Buffs victory over Oregon State. The senior comes with impressive computer numbers measuring 6-feet/5-inches and 230lbs while timing 4.75s in the forty. He’s finally transitioning his athletic skill into football production and now has a real chance to slide into the latter rounds for a team wanting a designated pass rusher.
Ifeadi Odenigbo/DL/Northwestern: Another prospect coming of age, Odenigbo has been a dominant force this season since stepping into the starting unit. He was unstoppable during the Wildcats upset victory over Iowa, totaling 4 sacks, 4 tackles for loss and 1 forced fumble. The season totals now stand at 5 sacks in five games for Odenigbo to go along with 4 QBH’s. Most impressive against Iowa was the variety he showed beating Hawkeyes blockers with spin moves, inside moves and edge speed. Odenigbo is not a great athlete but a good football player that’s showing he can get to the quarterback and disrupt the action.
Sleeper Prospect: Adam Butler/DL/Vanderbilt: Scouts stamped Butler as a menial UDFA entering the season, something I was also guilty of, yet the senior defensive lineman continues to disrupt opponents game plans during crucial moments. Against Florida he posted 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss, helping to keep the Gators passing game in check. Butler lacks next level athleticism but is skilled in all areas of the game which could help him latch on as a 7th or 8th lineman in the NFL.
Small School Prospect: Tanoh Kpassagnon/DE/Villanova: Looking for a highly rated small school prospect no one is talking about? Then look no further than Kpassagnon. Stamped as a potential second day pick by scouts, the senior is meeting expectations this season and has posted 11 tackles for loss and 5 sacks during the first month of the season. Kpassagnon is sized well (6-feet/6.5-inches and 280lbs), athletic and has tremendous potential. He can be a one man wrecking crew making plays behind the line of scrimmage or just as easily a defensive lineman who occupies blockers which allows teammates to make plays on the ball. Expect Kpassagnon to show up at either Shrine or Senior week then receive and invitation to the combine.
Jamar Summers/CB/UConn: The junior corner was considered a lock second day pick off his tremendous 2015 campaign but his game has taken a step back this year. He’s been burnt badly in consecutive weeks against Syracuse then Houston and has played more like a late round prospect. I’m told Summers has spoken with agents about exploring his next level options but unless he quickly turns it around his best course of action is returning to UConn.
Cole Croston/T/Iowa: Croston was graded as a fringe last round pick entering the season but those hopes have been given a big setback. The senior tackle was mercilessly beaten by previously mentioned Ifeadi Odenigbo throughout the game. Odenigbo ran around, over and past Croston for at least three sacks.