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NFL Draft Prospects of The Week: Ja’Tavion Sanders and Solomon Byrd

Texas v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Week 2 of the college football season featured some truly exciting games and excellent performances from the country’s top players. Standing out above the rest were Texas Tight End Ja’Tavion Sanders and USC edge defender Solomon Byrd, whose big time play helped their teams to crucial wins.

Ja’Tavion Sanders

Texas was looking for payback against Alabama after a heartbreaking loss in 2022 and they got it. The Longhorns ran up 34 points on the Crimson Tide in Alabama to upset the #3 team in the country. Their offensive explosion would not have been possible without Ja’Tavion Sanders’ contributions. The athletic junior tight end caught five passes for 114 yards, including a huge 50 yard catch. His size and speed combination was simply too much for Alabama’s defense. Despite being a “smaller” tight end at 6’4” and 243 pounds, Sanders also threw some impressive blocks in the running game, showing his versatility.

Sanders was one of the nation’s top tight ends in 2022, catching 54 passes for 613 yards and five scores. Coming into this season, he was a favorite to be the draft’s next best tight end behind Brock Bowers. His position as 2024’s “TE2” is all but guaranteed if he keeps playing at this level.

Solomon Byrd

Defensively, few players helped their teams more than Solomon Byrd helped USC on Saturday. The Trojans walloped Stanford 56-10 on Saturday, getting a key win in conference play. Byrd’s contributed on defense by notching a sack, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble while being an overall disruptive presence when he was on the field.

In three games, Byrd has two and a half sacks, two more tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles. The fifth year senior transferred from Wyoming after the 2021 season and looks to finally be making a serious impact. USC’s defense was a massive liability in 2022 and a major reason they missed the college football playoff. If Byrd can keep playing at this high a level, the Trojans defense could help USC be unbeatable.

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