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Ben 10: College football prospects to watch in Week 5

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Two Bens list their ten prospects to watch in Week 5

Ball State v Notre Dame Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Dakota Allen, LB #40, Texas Tech (v. West Virginia, 12:00 PM EST, ESPN2)

Texas Tech is rarely known for its defensive players, but Dakota Allen is a rare standout for the Red Raiders. The former “Last Chance U” star has changed his fortunes with strong play in Lubbock over the last two years, garnering All Conference honors last season. This Saturday, Allen and the Red Raiders enter into a potential shootout with the West Virginia Mountaineers.

This game has the makings of a very high scoring affair, so every big play on defense will be critical. Allen will be tested by WVU’s air attack, and the coverage specialist could boost his profile by creating some turnovers that swing the game. - Natan

Delvon Randall, S #2, Temple (v. Boston College, 12:00 PM EST, ESPNU)

Okay, so Rodney McLeod being injured sucks bigly. The Eagles were in need of a third safety even before McLeod’s injury, given the shaky play of Corey Graham and Tre Sullivan’s inability to garner significant reps. The answer might just be in the backyard.

Randall’s had a shaky beginning of the year, but he’s widely respected in the Temple program for his leadership and film study. He’s got excellent ball skills and with great explosiveness to close on the catch point — but he needs to improve his mental processing to increase his range and become a true centerfielding safety. - Solak

Juan Thornhill, S #21, Virginia (v. NC State, 12:20 PM EST, ACC Network)

Yeah, another safety — had to be done! Eagles are going to be in the market for sure, and Thornhill is also a player who should be firmly on their radar. Thornhill’s a great player with a strong recruiting background, experience at cornerback, and a strong production profile. His headiness is zone translates really well to Philadelphia’s defensive scheme.

Against NC State, Thornhill faces an NFL-caliber quarterback in Ryan Finley and a strong receiving corps to test him down the field. I’m looking to see him showcase a better tackling profile as a third-level defender, as well as survive in man coverage reps when they arise. - Solak

Hakeem Butler, WR #18, Iowa State (v. TCU, 7:00 PM EST, ESPNU)

Hakeem Butler has been a revelation for the otherwise anemic Cyclone offense. The junior wideout is averaging 21.21 yards per catch despite the rest of the team not even averaging 11 yards. Also, the 6’6” (!!!), 225 pound pass catcher has all three of Iowa State’s receiving touchdowns. He is a big time playmaker who can dominate at the catch point and create offense with the ball in his hands.

Iowa State faces a TCU team coming off two straight big losses. The Horned Frogs will be looking for blood to recoup some national respect. Butler will be a key factor in keeping Iowa State competitive and he will have his hands full with a stingy TCU secondary. If Butler can keep his streak of big plays going against Gary Patterson’s defense, Iowa State could win an upset and Butler will keep rising in the ranks of college football receivers. - Natan

Miles Sanders, RB #24, Penn State (v. Ohio State, 7:30 PM EST, ABC)

No longer in the shadow of the 2018 number two overall pick, Miles Sanders has been Penn State’s catalyst on offense. After only rushing for 191 yards last year, the 5’11”, 215 pound junior is up to 495 yards and five touchdowns this year on only 71 carries. He is a shifty home run hitter and will be a huge factor in Penn State’s huge game against Ohio State.

Ohio State has a few names on their defensive line who could hear their names called early in the NFL Draft over the next few years. Dre’Mont Jones and Chase Young are among the best college football has to offer and Miles Sanders will be tasked with running through them to help Penn State move the ball on Saturday. Running on Ohio State’s defense will do more than cement Sanders’ status as a legit NFL running back prospect. - Natan

Te’von Coney, LB #4, Notre Dame (v. Stanford, 7:30 PM EST, ESPN)

If not for the blockbuster head-to-head between Ohio State and Penn State, no doubt would the Notre Dame/Stanford game be the talk of the week. Stanford is coming off a big win against Oregon while Notre Dame remains undefeated and ranked in the top ten.

Stanford’s ground attack with Bryce Love and Cameron Scarlett remains their identity on offense, even with the emergence of their passing game. Te’von Coney is the man at the head of Notre Dame’s defense. The senior linebacker is a leader and playmaker for the Irish and he will be under the lights against the Cardinal rushing offense. Coney has been having a strong, but under the radar senior season, but it will be hard to keep the hype down with a big performance against Stanford. - Natan

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR #19, Stanford (v. Notre Dame, 7:30 PM EST, ESPN)

As my esteemed colleague remarked, Notre Dame and Stanford is a huge match-up. I’ll be up in the box for the game, and my eyes will go straight to the match-up on the outside between Arcega-Whiteside and Notre Dame corner Julian Love, a strong player in his own right.

Arcega-Whiteside profiles as a downfield specialist who wins with physicality and strength to box out defenders, but has the route-running and athletic prowess to truly threaten all three levels of the field. He’s been rising all season long, and could work his way into Round 1 conversation with a big performance against a top flight defense. - Solak

Ben Burr-Kirven, LB #20, Washington (v. BYU, 8:30 PM EST, FOX)

Yo, BBK played bananas last weekend. The undersized middle linebacker for the Huskies was flying around the field against Arizona State, playing with his characteristic physicality but still finding success despite his smallish frame. 20 tackles — and a ton of them were high-quality, too.

Now, he’s got BYU in a very big game for the Huskies. BYU plays a more physical brand of football than Arizona State, so if this new look Burr-Kirven really can play with the big boys, he’ll have to prove it tonight against the Cougars. - Solak

Greedy Williams, CB #29, LSU (v. Ole Miss, 9:00 PM EST, ESPN)

This is the second time Greedy Williams has been mentioned by me in this series, and for good reason. The 6’3”, 190 pound defensive back remains one of the best players in the country. Despite offenses avoiding the redshirt sophomore in the passing game, Williams has still picked off two passes so far into the season. Williams will have his biggest challenge of the year against Ole Miss and their talented receiving duo of AJ Brown and DK Metcalf. The two receivers are NFL prospects in their own right, so no matter who lines up across from Williams, the match up will be must-see television. - Natan

Shawn Poindexter, WR #19, Arizona (v. USC 10:30 PM EST, ESPN2)

Poindexter is a player I haven’t gotten eyes on yet, but I’ve been told he’s having a strong opening to the season. His 23.1 yards/catch is good for second in the Pac-12 and 10th in all of college football — and at 6-foot-5, 212 pounds, he does have the profile to win as a downfield contested catch player.

Poindexter’s up against Iman Marshall this weekend — he’s a big, physical corner who wins in the press for the Trojans. Being big and tall doesn’t mean much if you can’t get off of the line against NFL talent, so Poindexter has a big box to check in his battle with USC on Saturday night. - Solak