Week 15 of the college football season featured some incredible shows by NFL Draft hopefuls. Some expectedly and some out of nowhere. For the top NFL draft prospect performances on Saturday, they came in big upsets for their respective teams.
JAVONTE WILLIAMS and MICHAEL CARTER
UNC was all set for a big show with conference rival Miami on Saturday. The Tar Heels were ranked #17 in the country while Miami was #10. While many, including myself, thought this would be a tight battle, UNC and their talented pair of running backs had other plans.
Javonte Williams, who has been listed here before, and his teammate Michael Carter ran Miami out of the stadium. Williams rushed 23 times for 236 yards and three touchdowns while Carter rushed 24 times for 308 (!!!) yards and two scores. The Miami defensive front is far from untalented, so this is no small feat.
Javonte Williams won in his typical way. He bruised and battered the Miami defense with his aggressive running style and when they were too tired to try and tackle him, he burned them with his long speed. Michael Carter, UNC’s shiftier back, was impossible to lay a hand on for Miami. Evidenced by his nearly 13 yard average on every rushing attempt.
Carter and Williams are both over 1,000 yards rushing this season. Perfect timing considering their draft eligibility. They have been making plays for UNC all year, but this was a highlight tape every NFL team will need to throw on.
Defensively, no performance was as big or as important as Jabril Cox’s game against Florida. The linebacker was all over the place. He covered Florida’s talented pass catchers down the field, looked great against the run game and even created pressure as a blitzer. His big play was crucial in LSU’s upset of the playoff hopeful Gators.
LSU and their defense have been much maligned this year. Between a weird offseason, a new coordinator and a loss of players to the NFL in the spring, the unit has regressed mightily. One bright spot has definitely been Cox in his first year with the Tigers. Cox was one of the best FCS defenders in the country for three years at NDSU before transferring for his last season. The step up from the FCS to the SEC hasn’t been too big for him and Saturday was a great example of that. Cox has a great blend of size, athleticism and versatility at the linebacker position. Perfect for the modern NFL.