Conference Championship Scouting Guide

It’s hard to believe that the college football regular season is practically over and we are in the prime spot to find out who is going to make the playoff and who is out. Which leads us to this week with so much on the line each one of these games is so vital and a must see. But as always there is a game within the game. On such a big stage prospects are looking to make an impact and showcase their skills to a national audience in a high caliber game.

 

Friday 7:00 CST on ESPN

#12 Stanford Cardinal vs #10 USC Trojans

 

Stanford Prospects
Bryce Love
TE Dalton Schultz
LG David Bright
C Jessee Burkett
NT Harrison Phillips
OLB Peter Kalambayi
CB Quenton Meeks

USC Prospects
QB Sam Darnold
RB Ronald Jones
WR Steven Mitchell
WR Deontay Burnett
C Nico Falah
NT Josh Fatu
OLB Uchenna Nwosu
OLB Porter Gustin
ILB Cameron Smith
CB Iman Marshall
SS Chris Hawkins

With neither team having much of a chance to get to the College Football Playoff, this game lacks the big feel atmosphere. However, if you’re a college football fan or prepping for the draft there is still plenty to see. USC QB Sam Darnold (#2 QB) could easily be the first quarterback taken if he declares and he’ll be facing off against a tough Stanford defense. USC lacks an elite receiver but they do have a couple of late round prospects. It will be interesting to see how Mitchell and Burnett do when they line up from Quenton Meeks.

On the other side of the ball the Cardinal will rely on the legs of Bryce Love (#6 RB) who is one of the most impressive running backs in this class. As always the Stanford offensive line is full of powerful mashers who will go against a young USC defensive line, but talented linebacking core. Uchenna Nwosu has really emerged this year while Cameron Smith is a three-year starter and a player that many have had high hopes for. If USC wants to get a second win over the Cardinal they’ll need to contain Love who did have 160 yards rushing and a TD against them during week 2.

 

 

 

11:00 CST on ABC

#20 Memphis Tigers vs #14 Central Florida Knights

 

Memphis Prospects
QB Riley Furgeson
WR Anthony Miller
WR Phil Mayhue
OLB Genard Avery
FS Jonathan Cook

Central Florida Prospects
DE Jamiyus Pittman
OLB Shaquem Griffin
CB Mike Hughes

While the AAC Title game doesn’t have the same appeal as the Power 5 games that doesn’t mean there isn’t talent here. Memphis has two prospects that are going to be very intriguing names come draft time. QB Riley Furgeson has plenty of fans in the draft media because of his true arm talent and knack for making plays. His receiver Anthony Miller (#3 WR) is another favorite as he taken over games with huge yardage outputs while putting out dynamic catch week in and week out. For the Knights the player to watch is Mike Hughes who has good man to man coverage skills to go along with being a skilled kick returner, as seen in his game winning kickoff return for touchdown over South Florida.

 

11:30 CST on Fox

#11 TCU Horned Frogs vs #3 Oklahoma Sooners

 

TCU Prospects
QB Kenny Hill
RB Kyle Hicks
LT Joseph Noteboom
C Austin Schlottmann
SLB Travin Howard
CB Ranthony Texada
S Nick Orr

Oklahoma Prospects
QB Baker Mayfield
TE Mark Andrews
LT Orlando Brown
OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
ILB Emmanuel Brown
SS Steven Parker

The Sooners are looking to repeat their earlier win over TCU and get back to the College Football Playoff. In that game Oklahoma jumped out to a 24-7 lead behind the play of QB Bake Mayfield (#9 QB). Mayfield has been playing at an extremely high level this year and starting to enter into the first round conversation. His number one weapon is Mark Andrews (#1 TE) who lines up as a WR but will be a TE in the NFL. Looking to cover Andrews will be a combination of Travin Howard and Nick Orr.

While TCU has had success on offense it’s not the same high powered attack we’ve seen in the past from them. The player to watch is RB Kyle Hicks who is a patient runner who can smoothly navigate his way through traffic. The match up to watch is LT Joseph Noteboom (#7 OT) going against OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Noteboom is criminally underrated and does well quick setting and using his lateral agility to attack pass rushers. Okoronkwo is an undersized pass rusher but has 8 sacks on the season and 20 total in his career.

 

3:00 CST on CBS

#6 Georgia Bulldogs vs #2 Auburn Tigers

 

Georgia Prospects
RB Nick Chubb
RB Sony Michel
TE Jeb Blazevich
DT Trenton Thompson
NT John Atkins
OLB Lorenzo Carter
OLB Davin Bellamy
ILB Roquan Smith
CB Malkom Parrish
S Dominick Sanders

Auburn Prospects
QB Jarrett Stidham
RB Kerryon Johnson
LT Austin Golson
RT Darius James
RG Braden Smith
DT Dontavious Russell
WLB Tre’ Williams
CB Carlton Davis
SS Stephen Roberts
FS Tray Matthews

 

While many were hoping for an undefeated Alabama vs Georgia SEC Title Game that doesn’t/shouldn’t take away from these two teams. Both Georgia and Auburn rely heavily on their rushing attacks a big reason for that is the play of those backs. For Georgia they have the duo of Nick Chubb (#3 RB) and Sony Michel while Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson has really exploded this year.

The winner of this game could come down to which quarterback can step up and make plays when they need to. Georgia relies on true freshman Jake Frohm while Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham (#8 QB) has shown the ability to win games with his arm.

Defensively both units are tremendous and loaded with talent. Georgia’s strength is in their front seven that boosts a deep talented linebackering core lead by pass rushers Lorenzo Carter and David Bellamy and the athletic sideline to sideline Roquan Smith. Auburn’s best defender is CB Carlton Davis (#8 CB) who has the makings of a shutdown man to man corner. Inside the player to watch is Dontavious Russell (#6 DL) who is a power player using leverage to take on guards and shed their blocks to make plays.

7:00 CST on ABC

#7 Miami Hurricanes vs #1 Clemson Tigers

Miami Prospects
WR Braxton Berrios
LT KC McDermott
LG Trevor Darling
DE Chad Thomas
DT Kendrick Norton
SS Jaquan Johnson

Clemson Prospects
WR Deon Cain
WR Hunter Renfrow
WR Ray Ray McCloud
LT Mitch Hyatt
RG Tyrone Crowder
DE Clelin Ferrell
DE Austin Bryant
DT Christian Wilkins
LB Dorian O’Daniel
CB Ryan Carter

Much like the SEC Championship Game, the winner here is all but guaranteed to be a part of the College Football Playoff. This should be an exciting game between a Clemson team loaded with 2018 NFL Draft prospects and a Miami team whose top players are all most underclassmen. Miami’s offense has improved this year but isn’t a highly scoring unit. They’ll have to deal with a talented Clemson defensive line that has DE’s Clelin Ferrell (#4 Edge) and Austin Bryant while tackles Christian Wilkins (#1 DL) and Dexter Lawrence are even better.

When Clemson has the ball they are going to test the young Miami defensive backfield with their deep group of receivers. Deon Cain (#4 WR), Hunter Renfrow (#11 WR) and Ray Ray McCloud are a handful to deal with but it will give us a chance to see how this Miami group responds to their talent and could give us a good look at SS Jaquan Johnson who is the best draft eligible player in their group.

7:00 CST on Fox

#8 Ohio State Buckeyes vs #4 Wisconsin Badgers

 

Ohio State Prospects
TE Marcus Baugh
LT Jamarco Jones
C Billy Price
DE Sam Hubbard
DE Jayln Homes
DE Tyquan Lewis
DT Dre’Mont Jones
DT Tracy Sprinkle
WLB Jerome Baker
MLB Chris Worley
CB Denzel Ward
S Damon Webb

Wisconsin Prospects
TE Troy Fumagalli
DE Alec James
DE Conor Sheehy
OLB Garrett Dooley
OLB Leon Jacobs
CB Derrick Tindal
SS D’Cota Dixon

As most Ohio State teams have been lately the Buckeyes are loaded with NFL Draft talent, especially on the defensive side. This should make of a fun match up against a Wisconsin offense that wants pound the ball down opponent’s throats. Wisconsin had talent up front on their offensive line but they are a young unit with no senior starters. The Badgers will have their hands full blocking a defensive line that goes four deep at DE and has two talented DT’s that are quick off the ball. This should be a fun match up of power vs quickness. The one weapon to keep an eye on for the Badgers is TE Troy Fumagalli (#4 TE) who has the speed to run open and the nuances in his routes to create separation. Whether it’s WLB Jerome Baker (#6 LB) or Damon Webb, the Badgers are sure to mix up their coverages on him.

Ohio State’s offense is at its best when they are able to get the ball downfield, but JT Barrett is not a skilled passer and the Buckeyes really lack much for weapons at receiver. The big match up to watch here is between LT Jamarco Jones (#6 OT) and OLB Garrett Dooley. Jones is an above average athlete who is at his best locking onto defenders and sliding with them. Dooley is a power pass rusher and will look to win with his hands. If Dooley can get Jones off balance, he could have lots of success.

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