Last weekend, some excellent games went down in a series of conference championships. With such hotly contested football, a lot of the country’s best players were at their best. It was hard to pick who stood out the most, so I would much rather give you who stood out in each of the biggest games from last weekend.
- Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama: In the Crimson Tide’s dismantling of the hapless Florida defense, no defender stood out like Reuben Foster. Not only was his range and recognition on display defending the run and pass, but his incredible speed made him a destructive blitzer. Foster is arguably the most complete player in the 2017 NFL draft and his skill set was on full display against Florida.
- Cordrea Tankersly, Cornerback, Clemson: One of the weekend’s most exciting games was the shoot out for the ACC championship. In a shoot out, every defensive play can swing a game and Cordrea Tankersly’s two interceptions and pass break up made the difference in a one score game. Tankersly, despite playing on one of the best defenses in the country, has not gotten his due on a national level in a stacked class of cornerbacks. However, his length and athletic ability are tremendous and his performance against Virginia Tech shows why he deserves consideration as a top cornerback in this class.
- John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington: I guarantee Eagles fans are going to be talking about John Ross right up until the draft. The Washington speedster has spellbinding athletic ability that are obviously enticing for fans of a receiver hungry team. Ross didn’t light up the stat sheet, but he had an incredible one handed catch and run for a touchdown against Colorado and was largely limited by a poor performance by his quarterback. Ross is a lot more than *just* a deep threat and is one of many skill players the Eagles should have their eyes on.
- Samaje Perine, Running Back, Oklahoma: One of my favorite backs in the 2017 class is going to be Oklahoma’s 240 pound power back. While he doesn’t have the flash of his running mate, Joe Mixon, Perine is more consistent, powerful and doesn’t have the scary off the field issues. Against Oklahoma State, Perine showed his bell cow abilities, toting the rock for 37 carries and almost 240 yards. Perine has to prove his health over the next few months, but he is an exciting power back in a class full of talented runners.
- Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan: Another tight championship was the MACtion between WMU and Ohio that came down to the last drive. In a six point game, it is hard to ignore the 140 yards and a touchdown that Corey Davis posted despite a poor overall performance from his quarterback. His long touchdown was an awesome example of his ability to make tough catches with defenders around him and accelerate away from them after the catch. Davis has star potential and he continues to prove his abilities in big moments for WMU.
- Marcus Allen, Safety, Penn State: PSU’s Cinderella season was in danger in a tight game against Wisconsin, but great players made plays when they mattered most. Marcus Allen, a junior safety, had a solid night in coverage but was excellent defending the run all night, making key stops that would ultimately prove the difference in the game.
- Philip Walker, QB, Temple: Temple did not have much trouble handling Navy and they took care of them in an impressive fashion. What stood out most was how good Philip Walker looked leading the offense. Walker’s career numbers have never popped off the page, but his physical tools and accuracy down the field were very evident in the AAC championship game. Walker will not get hype as a top quarterback, but his physical talents absolutely warrant consideration as a later round developmental pick.
- Taywan Taylor, Wide Receiver, Western Kentucky: I refuse to let Taywan Taylor get lost in this deep wide receiver class. The athletic pass catcher had another huge day in the C-USA championship game against LaTech. Nearly 200 yards on only seven catches, scoring two touchdowns in the process to put the Bulldogs away… Taylor has been a weapon his whole career at WKU and his name should climb in the coming months as a potential top forty pick.
- Damontae Kazee, Cornerback, San Diego State: While the MWC championship between Wyoming and SDSU was lookin like it may be a shootout, Damontae Kazee was a key component in holding the explosive Cowboys offense to only 24 points. His two interceptions and four total passes defended were the cherry on top of an excellent season for the 5-11, senior. For Eagles fans looking for a mid round cornerback that could make an early impact, keep an eye on Kazee in the coming months.