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Hold the Line: Offensive and Defensive Linemen are the draft prospects of the week

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Highlighting two college players.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Lions and Tigers, oh my! Dominant performances in the trenches highlighted an impressive weekend of college football. Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell and Penn State’s Ryan Bates are this week’s defensive and offensive prospects of the week, respectively.

Clemson had a tough match up with Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday, but a stingy performance from their 6’5”, 260 pound defensive end helped hold the Aggies offense back and help #2 Clemson pull out a tough win. Ferrell notched two sacks, another tackle for a loss and forced a pivotal goal line fumble that was ultimately the difference in a tight game. Ferrell played with a nonstop motor against a high-powered Aggies offense and took advantage of the one-on-one match ups he was faced with. Ferrell might be the third best player on that line with Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins grabbing headlines, but the attention offensive pay to them is just more opportunities for Ferrell to fill up the stat sheet and boost his profile leading up to the draft. Ferrell is incredibly talented in his own right and his ability to maximize chances to make plays will be huge for him this season.

On the other side of the trenches, Ryan Bates played a key part in Penn State’s massive win over Pitt on Saturday. The Nittany Lions pummeled the Pitt Panthers to the tune of 51-6. The Lions amassed 211 yards on the ground at an efficient 6.4 yards per carry and Pitt only got one sack all day. Bates, a redshirt junior, absolutely mauled Pitt on the ground and looked fluid and consistent pass blocking. The former freshman All-American has started at guard and tackle for Penn State, but his home looks like it is on the edge. At 6’4” and 302 pounds, Bates has solid size for the tackle position and teams will like his nastiness from whistle to whistle. Bates missed a few games last season due to injury, so health will be pivotal, but he has asserted himself as one of the top tackles in college football this season.