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Ben 10: College football prospects to watch in Week 4

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Two Bens list their ten prospects to watch in Week 4

North Carolina State v Boston College Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Andre Dillard, OT #60, Washington State (v. USC, Friday, 10:30 EST, ESPN)

Washington State is known for having a prolific passing game and that would not be possible with Andre Dillard holding down the left side of their line. The redshirt senior will make his 30th straight start against USC today, and he will face his greatest test of the season. USC may be reeling after a 1-2 start, but they have athletes on defense that will certainly test Wazzu. Dillard, an athletic 6’5”, 300 pounder, will get to show off his skills on national TV. The key will be us folks on the east coast staying up to watch - Natan

Emanuel Hall, WR #84, Missouri (v. Georgia, Saturday, 12:00 EST, ESPN)

Mizzou is off to a 3-0 start, thanks in part to their senior wide receiver Emanuel Hall. The 6’3”, 190-pound receiver is averaging an explosive 23.9 yards per catch and has scored three touchdowns on only 18 catches. Hall’s ability to take the top off a defense will certainly be needed this Saturday against Georgia. Hall will face the Bulldogs’ CB Deandre Baker and company — a stingy group of defenders, no doubt. If Mizzou wants a chance at upsetting the Bulldogs, Hall will need to show the same explosiveness he’s shown to start the season. - Natan

Lukas Denis, S #21, Boston College (v. Purdue, Saturday, 12:00 EST, ESPN2)

Lukas Denis is coming off a tremendous 2017 where he had seven interceptions, two forced fumbles and 10 PBUs. This season, the 185 pound safety has already notched a pick-six. It is clear Denis is a playmaker and his knack for the ball will be needed against Purdue. Purdue might be off to an 0-3 start but that doesn’t tell the story of how dangerous their offense has been. The Boilermaker passing game has kept them competitive week to week and Luke Denis will be tested as Purdue pursues big play after big play. No doubt, their intention to push the ball down the field will give the senior defender plenty of chances to snag another interception for his collection. - Natan

Oshane Ximines, EDGE #7, Old Dominion (v. Virginia Tech, Saturday, 3:30 EST, CBS)

It’s a big day for Ximines, who will square off against only his third Power-5 opponent in the past two years on Saturday. He played Virginia Tech and UNC last year, widely acquitting himself well in those games. I was impressed by the strength in his hands, his awareness of rush angles, and the lateral quickness he modeled went slanting into interior gaps.

Likely the next small-school EDGE to threaten the early rounds, Ximines needs to put on a show against Virginia Tech — by far his stiffest competition in 2018 — to assuage some Group of 5 concerns that will inevitablely come with his evaluation. I think he has a technical advantage over the Hokies’ RT Yosuah Nijman, and I expect him to have a good day. - Solak

Tanner Muse, S #19, Clemson (v. Georgia Tech, Saturday, 3:30 EST, ABC)

On a defense full of stars, Tanner Muse flies somewhat under the radar for the Tigers. The 6’1”, 230 pound redshirt junior plays the important role of a primarily overhang defender who functions to cover the intermediate level of the field and make plays against the run. Few offenses will test the discipline of a defense like Georgia Tech and the Ramblin’ Wreck will be lining up against the #3 Tigers this Saturday. Muse will need to play fundamentally strong football to make sure the Yellowjackets’ offense doesn’t break off big plays. Muse is hardly a national name, so a strong performance in a game that will test him heavily could draw a few more eyes. - Natan

Max Scharping, OT #73, Northern Illinois (v. Florida State, Saturday 3:30 EST, ESPN U)

To be frank, I don’t know much about Scharping — he’s a player I’ve heard people are interested in, but I haven’t seem much film on him. (Despite living in Chicago, I’m not exactly tripping over myself to get to Northern Illinois.) He is a PFF darling , in that he allowed 5 pressures on 425 pass-blocking snaps last season — that’s very, very good — and teams will love the fact that he’s started every single game in his college football career.

Scharping’s biggest test will undoubtedly come when he squares off with Florida State’s bendy defensive end Brian Burns on Saturday afternoon. Scharping saw good defenders in Anthony Nelson (Iowa) and Bradlee Anae (Utah) this season, but Burns is head and shoulders above both. Not unlike Ximines, this tape is huge for a small-school prospect. - Solak

Jeffrey Simmons, DT #94, Mississippi State (v. Kentucky, Saturday, 7:00 EST, ESPN2)

The Saturday night match-up between Mississippi State and Kentucky features far too many fun players. The Bulldogs and Wildcats both have quite a few NFL prospects to keep an eye on, but Mississippi State’s Jeffrey Simmons is most intriguing to me this week.

The 6’4”, 300 pound junior defensive tackle had five sacks and 12 TFLs last season. This year he has kicked the year off with an impressive five and a half TFLs, but has not yet contributed so much as a pass rusher. Simmons is an absolute problem inside a defensive line and Kentucky will put Simmons through the gauntlet with their impressive running game. Simmons has been disrupting offenses all season, so far, and helping shutter the Kentucky offense to help the Bulldogs win will definitely benefit Simmons’ hype as a draft prospect. - Natan

Benny Snell, RB #21, Kentucky (v. Mississippi State, Saturday, 7:00 EST, ESPN2)

As my compatriot said above, this Mississippi State/Kentucky game is more loaded than you’d expect. Simmons is the best prospect in the ball game — and his running mate EDGE Montez Sweat is likely #2 — but don’t sleep on Benny Snell, the Kentucky running back who has ratcheted up an already impressive production profile early in 2018.

Snell is a banger between the tackles with nice vision and enough explosiveness to threaten the second level. His game against Flordia highlighted his ability to make wise decisions and even illustrate some lateral agility to cross face against penetration. He faces a tougher defense this week, and must bring the thunder accordingly. - Solak

Ugo Amadi, S #7, Oregon (v. Stanford, Saturday, 8:00 EST, ESPN)

Amadi is a very interesting, unheralded prospect who has a huge opportunity on Saturday. It doesn’t really get much bigger than this.

Only a ‘safety’ by name and more so a nickelback/overhang/do-it-all by trade, Amadi is wicked quick and fluid in man coverage. He typically aligns over the #2 receiver to a side — frequently smaller slot players — when he’s not handling deep responsibilities for the Ducks. But against Stanford, those players won’t be shifty slot machines; they’ll be Kaden Smith or Colby Parkinson or J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, big-bodied bullies with still run with plus athleticism. If Amadi is to be considered an upper-echelon safety prospect — and I think he can be — some high-quality reps on tight ends in man coverage is a must. - Solak

Taylor Rapp, S #7, Washington (v. Arizona State, Saturday, 10:30 EST, ESPN)

There’s an interesting match-up almost everywhere on the field when the Sun Devils visit Washington tomorrow night. ASU’s WR duo in N’Keal Harry and Kyle Williams do battle with Husky CBs Byron Murphy III and Myles Bryant; UW RB Myles Gaskin and iOL Nick Harris have to deal with ASU’s iDL Renell Wren and LB Koron Crump.

But I’m going to highlight Taylor Rapp, because my big question about Rapp is his range as a deep defender. Arizona State is gonna test that in a big way, as they love those deep boundary shots with Manny Wilkins at QB. Rapp profiles nicely as a box safety at the NFL level, but will offer more value to teams if he displays improved range in 2018. Arizona State is a big test. - Solak