Written by Joe Carpenter
Game 1: Fresno State vs Colorado (2PM)
Fresno State: State has a quarterback with the last name that you might have heard of Carr; yes it is David Carr’s brother. Derek Carr is a senior quarterback who has already put up big numbers this year. In his first game this season he threw the ball 73 times for 456 yards with 5 touchdowns. Carr threw for 3,544 yards his sophomore year and 4,104 yards last season, going from 26 touchdowns to 37 touchdowns. Carr is in a great passing system at Fresno but Carr makes the system very successful with his talent. He is a very efficient passer who could slip in to my top five quarterbacks by the end of the year. Carr is very capable of taking this team to a BCS bowl, especially with weapons like Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse. Adams is a redshirt sophomore who is available for this draft and with another big season, I think he should go. Adams busted onto the scene in a big way last season, catching 102 passes for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns. Adams is a wideout that will get you yards after the catch, will battle for extra yards as he proved in week one with two touchdowns. Adams will look to extend his 10 game touchdown streak next week against the Buffaloes. Burse is really known for his punt return skills but also has showed that he has capable hands also. Burse last week against Cal Poly had two punt return touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. Burse last season had 1,477 yards and nine touchdowns last season and I expect him to compare to those stats this season.
Colorado: Colorado’s stud wide receiver Paul Richardson was greatly missed last season when he tore his ACL but his presence has already been felt this season. Week one against Colorado State, Richardson had 10 catches for 208 yards and two touchdowns. In week two Richardson had 11 catches for 209 yards, making it two straight games with over 200 yards receiving. In his first two seasons in Colorado he had 1,069 yards and 11 touchdowns. Richardson is the real deal, he is a top five wide receiver who will make an huge impact for some NFL team next season. The guy throwing the ball to Richardson, Connor Wood is capable of having a big season and make NFL scouts look his way. Wood is a transfer from Texas who was named the starter and has shown he is very talented. Wood threw for 400 yards with three touchdowns in week one and 341 yards with 3 more touchdowns. Wood at 6’2’’, 230 pounds has the right size and if he keeps playing this season the way he has so far, he will be someone to watch in the 2015 draft.
Game 2: TCU vs Texas Tech (9/12, 7:30PM ESPN)
TCU: Brandon Carter is an exciting wide receiver to watch for the Horned Frogs. Carter had 590 yards and six touchdowns last season, second on the team. Carter will be the go to threat this season since Josh Boyce has gone to the NFL. Carter has a ton of speed and showed that with his 16.4 yards per catch, every time that he has the ball in his hands he has the potential to break a big one for a touchdown. Carter only has five receptions on the season for 73 yards. Carter needs to be used more in the offense as he provides wealth of talent. Waymon James is a running back who only played two games last year, since he had a knee injury. In his sophomore year he ran for 875 yards, averaging 7.2 yards per carry, ranking him seventh nationally. Unfortunately for James, TCU likes to use a two man rotation which will hurt his stats, but he is the bigger more powerful back who does have a ton of potential.
Texas Tech: Eric Ward is the big name wide receiver for Tech. Ward isn’t the biggest receiver or the fastest receiver but he is a great route runner who plays the slot to perfection. Ward lead the team last season with 82 receptions for 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ward is a legitimate pro who should have another big season with true freshmen Baker Mayfield playing as such a high level. Another player who will reap the benefit of Mayfield is tight end Jace Amaro. Amaro had to deal with an injury last year, which hurt his stats. Through six games last season he had 394 yards and four touchdowns. Amaro so far this season is right back on track to where he started in 2012, getting 11 receptions for 184 yards and one touchdown. Amaro was Mayfield favorite target in week two and gained his respect and should see the ball a lot more in this game and in the season. Kenny Williams is a running back worth keeping an eye on in this game. He is a runner who is tough to tackle and has some speed to his game. Williams was the leading rushing last season as a sophomore with 824 yards rushing and five touchdowns. He has had a rough start to the season and I would like to see him bounce back in this game, watch and see if he finally shines.
Game 3: Wisconsin vs Arizona State (9/14, 10:30PM, ESPN)
Wisconsin: Jared Abbrederis is a wide receiver who is a little on the small side and may not be as quick as most NFL scouts would like but he has NFL talent. Jared has a great feel for the field, always seems to know exactly where he is on the field. Jared has had to deal with a lot of different quarterbacks at Wisconsin, and still has been very productive through his career. In 2011 he had 933 yards with eight touchdowns and in 2012 837 yards with five touchdowns. This season so far he already has three touchdowns and last week 2 catches for 122 yards, showing he is capable every time he touches the ball, of making something big happen. Jacob Pedersen is the top senior tight end going into this season. Jacob has 65 catches with 14 touchdowns in his career. He is a very dependable receiver who has great body control and soft big hands ready to catch everything thrown his way. James White is another good running back for Wisconsin who has been put into a great running system. White enters this season as the second active leading rusher in the FBS, not even being a full time starter last year. White gets the nod as starter this year, since Montee Ball is off to Denver. Wisconsin has a great system for runners as proven in both games so far this season as three running backs have had over 100 yards rushing. White looks to be a part of a system but lets see if he can break away and be something special.
Arizona State: Marion Grice is one of my running backs who I think is under the radar that will be a big name at the end of this season. Grice is a powerful back who makes great cuts and has explosive speed when he finds the crease. Grice also had great hands, proving that last year with his 41 receptions for 425 yards and 8 touchdowns. Grice is the leader in rushing yards and receiving yards so far this season, of course its just one game, but he seems to be the main attraction in this offense. Taylor Kelly is a junior quarterback who has enough talent to lead this team to a PAC-12 championship. Last season Kelly had 3,039 yards with 29 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. He was second in the PAC-12 in passer efficiency and set a record last year for State with 18 consecutive completions in a game. Kelly is a dual threat quarterback who I think will fit into the NFL very well. Chris Coyle, a tight end, set a record himself last season for State with 57 receptions by a tight end in a season. Coyle is very athletic and has very reliable hands, maybe a little undersized could play more of wide receiver in the NFL.
Game 4: UCLA vs Nebraska (9/14, NOON, ABC)
UCLA: Brett Hundley is available for this draft if he chooses because of redshirting and with his talent I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes and if he goes it makes this draft class one of the best for quarterbacks. Hundley passed for 3,745 yards with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season. Hundley is a very efficient, smart quarterback who makes great decisions with his passes. Hundley is great at setting his feet in the pocket and throwing the ball so that it hits the wide out in stride, to help him gain yards after the catch. Watch Hundley in this game and you will find out that he is a quarterback that every NFL scout is looking at, to take over their team in need of a quarterback. Hundley has a good receiver named Shaq Evans, who led the Bruins last year in receptions (60) and yards (877) last season. Evans has became Hundley’s go to guy and that just means great things for both of them this season. In the run game, you have Jordan James, who gets to step in for the graduated Jonathan Franklin. James stepped up big in game one going for 155 yards and one touchdown, let’s see how we does against Nebraska.
Nebraska: Taylor Martinez is the starting quarterback and the leader of this team. He will be worth watching because how well he plays the team will play. Martinez threw for 2,871 yards last season with 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, which are average numbers. Martinez most likely will not play quarterback at the next level, but he has the skill set to play a wide receiver or some other position. Ameer Abdullah is a junior who ran for 1,137 yards with eight touchdowns and had 178 yards receiving with two touchdowns. Abdullah is a quick running back with great burst to hit the hole. In two games this season he has 228 yards on the ground with two touchdowns. Abdullah is a smaller running back and might not be a big enough back to play at the NFL level, but with that quickness he does have potential to be a prospect. Kenny Bell is a very talented wide receiver who finished last season with 863 yards, second in the Big Ten, and eight touchdowns. Bell is extremely well at catching the ball in stride and creating space after the catch to cause big plays. I look for Bell to go over 1,000 yards this season and raise his name on a few draft boards.
Game of the week: Tennessee vs Oregon (9/14 3:30PM, ABC)
Tennessee: Rajion Neal has exploded onto the scene this year as the starting running back. In the first game he ran for 104 yards in the first quarter, finishing with 141 yards and a touchdown and then in the second game he finished with 74 yards but had three touchdowns. Neal finished last season with 708 yards rushing with five touchdowns and 149 yards receiving with four touchdowns. Neal is a tough runner who will break tackles and extend plays and gain more yards with his toughness. I look for Neal to have a big season and am excited to see him play vs Oregon. Justin Worley is now the starting quarterback and has looked good so far this season against sub par competition. Worley has thrown for 246 yards with four touchdowns, I don’t expect him to come out this season but this will be his first big game and I am really interested to see how he plays. Watch Worley in this game to see if he does have that big game talent that we and the NFL scouts are looking for.
Oregon: We all know about DeAnthony Thomas, as he is a stud running back. Thomas is so fun to watch, a great running back with a ton of speed and burst through the hole. Thomas averaged 7.6 yards per carry last year, totaling 701 yards with 11 touchdowns on only 92 carries. Thomas is also a great pass catcher, last year getting 445 yards receiving and five touchdowns. In two games this season Thomas has 252 yards rushing with five touchdowns. I expect huge things out of Thomas in this game and in this season, as well as in the NFL. Josh Huff led the Ducks last season in receiving yards with 493 yards and had seven touchdowns. Huff is a big body receiver who uses his body to work off defenders, create space and is a good runner after the catch. Huff leads the team so far this season with 173 yards receiving, and I see him finishing the season as the leader and making an impact in the NFL. Colt Lyerla had 392 yards receiving with six touchdowns as a tight end for the Ducks. Colt hasn’t had great numbers but with his size and athletic ability, when used correctly in the NFL he will be a tough man to cover, l like his chances of doing something special in the NFL.