College football is winding down but the games just keep on getting better. This weekend provides another excellent slate of conference match ups that will feature tons of top tier players facing off against each other!
- Landon Turner, Guard, UNC: Quietly, Landon Turner has been one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the country this season. He has paved the way for a reborn UNC offense, providing impactful blocking in the passing and running game. This week he will face a stiff test in a strong Virginia Tech front (Saturday, 12 PM on ESPN). This is a great opportunity for him to bully a strong opponent and strengthen his stock.
- Carl Nassib, Defensive Lineman, Penn State: Carl Nassib may lead the league in sacks, but I do not think he is a natural NFL edge defender. His size and skill set seem more appropriate to play 5-tech defensive end. Against Michigan's power running game (Saturday, 12 PM on ABC), Nassib can show off how good his lower body strength can be. Michigan's offense is a great litmus test for defender's ability to work through traffic to defend the run, so Nassib has a good opportunity here.
- Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis: My favorite quarterback in this year's class has an incredible test this weekend against the Temple Owls (!!!!!!!!) (Saturday, 12 PM on ESPNU). Temple has a tremendous defense with the ability to disrupt passing games in the trenches but also with sound coverage. Lynch will be forced to create beyond what his offense gives him and the Owls will probably make him throw under pressure quite a bit. Lynch has been strong for a great part of the season and he can continue to tear it up.
- Ohio State v. Michigan State, 3:30 on ABC: It would be insanely difficult to put one or two prospects from this game because both teams have such an incredible amount of talent. But here's to keep an eye on; JT Barrett, Connor Cook (QBs), Ezekiel Elliot (RB), Michael Thomas, Aaron Burbridge, Braxton Miller (WRs), Jack Conklin, Jack Allen, Taylor Decker, Pat Elflein (OL), Joey Bosa, Aldophus Washington, Shilique Calhoun (DL), Joshua Perry, Darron Lee (LB), Eli Apple (CB), Ty Powell and Vonn Bell (S)... That is so many prospects at quite literally every level of both of these teams. The scary part is a majority of these players could very easily go in the top 40 of the NFL draft... Do not be a dummy. Watch this game.
- Ethan Pocic, Center, LSU: Another one of my favorite players in the class; Pocic is an incredibly physical center who keys LSU's outstanding running game. Pocic will have a tall order in pushing through Ole Miss' talented defense (Saturday, 3:30 on CBS). LSU has lost its footing in recent weeks, but Pocic having a strong game could jumpstart their offense.
- Tyler Johnstone, Offensive Tackle, Orgeon: Johnstone has flown under the radar this season, but he is a very solid player still. He and Oregon will face a stout USC defense (Saturday, 3:30 on ESPN). Oregon is experiencing a slight late season resurgence and Johnstone will need to keep his solid play up to keep the offense humming.
- Jordan Payton, Wide Receiver, UCLA: UCLA has had an outstanding season with their freshman quarterback; and senior wide receiver, Jordan Payton has been a big part of Josh Rosen's breakout freshman year. Payton has a strong frame at 6-1, 212 and is an excellent deep threat due to his ball tracking skills and size. Payton will have a to show out against a physical Utah team (Saturday, 3:30 on Fox) to help UCLA take a big conference win.
- Keyarris Garrett, Wide Receiver, Tulsa: Another big bodied senior wide receiver, the 6-4, 220 pound Keyarris Garrett has been tremendous this season. He can dominate the catch point and play at any level of the field. This weekend, Navy's defense (Saturday, 7 PM on CBS) will be a stiff test for the senior. He has already propelled his name into national conversation, but this is his chance to dominate a tough opponent.
- Kevin Peterson, Cornerback, Oklahoma State: Kevin Peterson's strong play this season is a big reason the OSU defense has been so stout and the team is winning football games. The 6-1, wiry, athletic corner will have his biggest test in the season, covering Corey "The Human Touchdown" Coleman (I made that name up) and the rest of Baylor's explosive offense ( Saturday, 7:30 on Fox). Peterson will need to be on the top of his game and a strong game against the best receiver in the country will force people to take notice.
- Kolby Listenbee, Wide Receiver, TCU: With Josh Doctson on the shelf for the rest of the season, TCU must turn to its other senior wide receiver to key the strong passing game that has helped TCU all season. 6-1 and 183 pounds, Listenbee is an absolute burner to can take the top off of any defense with his incredible speed. Listenbee will need to step up in a big way against an Oklahoma team (Saturday, 8 PM on ABC) that stymied the great Baylor offense last weekend. After playing in Doctson's shadow for much of the season, this is Listenbee's chance to shoot himself up the draft boards.
Enjoy these last few weeks of college football as conferences come down to wire and stakes raise with the minute. This is great football.