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Top 10 college football prospects to watch in Week 9

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Previewing this week’s NCAA action.

Kansas v TCU Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The three-quarter point of the 2019 college football season is here. The stakes are high across the country for top teams and players. Here is who I will be watching this weekend.

  • Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin v. Ohio State (12 PM on Fox): Zack Baun has been one of the most disruptive defenders in the country this year. The versatile defender does it all for the Badgers; from rush the passer to drop into coverage to being a disruptive run defender. Wisconsin is coming off a disappointing loss but does not have time to lick their wounds against a dominant Ohio State team. Baun will lead the effort to slow down the Buckeyes’ multidimensional offense.
  • The Auburn Defensive Line v. LSU (3:30 on CBS): Derrick Brown, Nick Coe and Marlon Davidson are a dominant group of defenders for the Auburn Tigers. They will have their work cut out for them against LSU’s high flying offense. They will need to turn up the heat on Joe Burrow if Auburn wants a chance to win.
  • Jalen Reagor, Wide Receiver, TCU v. Texas (3:30 on Fox): Jalen Reagor had high expectations coming into 2019 after he eclipsed the thousand yard mark in his sophomore season. Reagor, talented as he may be, has been quiet for the Horned Frogs this season. However, the playmaking wideout has a chance to change that against a porous Texas defense.
  • Alabama’s Wide Receivers v. Arkansas (7 PM on ESPN): The talent at wide receiver for the Crimson Tide is silly. Devonta Smith leads the group in yards, but many would argue that Jerry Jeudy is the best of the bunch and Henry Ruggs III is the most explosive. Meanwhile, Jaylen Waddle is still a hell of a player. That is four NFL caliber wide receivers. This week with Tua Tagovailoa sidelined, the receivers will need to play to elevate the Alabama passing game without him. Arkansas is hardly a crucible for the Alabama offense, but it will be interesting to see how the group fares without their star quarterback.
  • Quincy Roche, Edge, Temple v. UCF (7 PM on ESPN2): Quincy Roche has quietly been a force for the Owls this year. Temple will need his disruption against UCF’s excellent offense. Pressuring Dillon Gabriel will be crucial in beating the Golden Knights.
  • Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver, Clemson v. Boston College (7:30 on ACCN): Boston College is a sneaky good team who could put up a fight against Clemson. Tee Higgins is the leading man in the Tigers passing game and he has been making big plays all season. In what could be a close game, it will be interesting to see Higgins be relied on in clutch moments and how he responds.
  • Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame v. Michigan (7:30 PM on ABC): One of tomorrow’s headlining acts, all eyes will be on the Irish/Wolverines game. This game is likely to be a low scoring, physical game and defense will be key. Notre Dame’s top pass rusher will be making life a living hell for Shea Patterson, but Julian Okwara will also need to stand strong against the Michigan running game.
  • Brandon Aiyuk, Wide Receiver, ASU v. UCLA (7:30 on Pac12 Network): Brandon Aiyuk has quietly been one of the biggest playmakers in the country this year. The senior receiver averages over 20 yards a catch and has scored five times on only 32 catches. ASU heads to UCLA this week and while the Bruins aren’t a good team, they have been playing much better over the last few weeks. As is the case with Pac-12 games, this game could devolve into madness which always tends to benefit offensive players.
  • Brandon Thompson, Wide Receiver, Utah v. California (10 PM on FS1): This game is poised to be a defensive battle, but Brandon Thompson provides a lot of intrigue. The redshirt sophomore has only caught 12 passes this year but averages over 27 yards a catch. He is a pure speed player who will challenge Cal’s talented secondary. Big plays against the Bears could put the 6’2” wideout on the map.
  • Thomas Graham Junior, Cornerback, Oregon v. Washington State (10:30 PM on ESPN): Washington State famously plays spoiler to the Ducks on a year to year basis. Once again, Washington State fields a potent passing game but for the first time in a while, the Ducks have a secondary that could hold them. Thomas Graham Junior is a leader in the Ducks secondary and will most certainly have his work cut out for him against Mike Leach’s squad.