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Prospects To Watch on Saturday

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The college football season is in full swing as we enter the meat and potatoes of the schedule. It is the point in time where NFL scouts and analysts are starting to formulate their evaluation on a player. Nevertheless, there is still time for those players to change the evaluators mind whether it is in the positive or negative direction.

This week is devoid of any real big-time matchups between Top 10 teams; however, there are a few individual matchups that are worth keeping an eye on throughout Saturday. Without further ado, let’s take a look at those matchups that will take place this weekend.

Alex Collins vs. Reggie Ragland

Despite Arkansas’ disappointing start to the season, running back Alex Collins has been a bright spot for the Razorbacks. Through five games, Collins has 656 rushing and six touchdowns, which is extremely impressive on a poor offense. Collins is a grinder who wears down defenses throughout the game with his physical running style. Collins is at his best when he is coming downhill with a full head of steam. He tends to struggle when he has to bounce the ball outside.

The player who will be tasked with stopping Collins will be the physical linebacker Reggie Ragland. On an extremely talented Crimson Tide defense, Ragland has been the most impressive player by far. Ragland is an imposing force in the middle of Alabama’s defense. He has great instincts and he is always around the ball. Once he gets to the ball, he comes with bad intentions.

Because of the other talented players on Alabama’s defense, it is unlikely that Collins will have a dominate performance; however, it will be interesting to see what happens when he meets Ragland in the hole throughout the contest.

Kemoko Turay Vs. Jack Conklin

Coming into this season, Michigan State left tackle Jack Conklin was projected to be one of the top tackles in college football this season; however, he hurt his left knee against Central Michigan and there was some thought that his season may be over. Luckily, it wasn’t a season-ending injury and all reports indicate that Conklin will work his way back into action against the Rutgers.

Conklin is a mauler in the run game who does his best work when he gets to wear on opponents throughout the game. He has great leg drive and a finishes mentality that lends itself well in the Spartan’s offense. On the negative side, Conklin isn’t the most fleet of foot and he can be beaten by the elite speed rushers in college football.

Going against Conklin will be the ultra talented Rutgers defensive end, Kemoko Turay. Just like Randy Gregory last year, Turay is a bendy pass-rusher who uses his elite first step, quickness and flexibility to get around opposing defensive ends. He also flashes an impressive inside move and he is only getting better with more reps.

On paper, this matchup appears to favor Turay in the pass-rush situations and Conklin in the running game. Conklin wasn’t a very quick lineman to begin with; therefore, his knee injury will leave him extremely vulnerable to Turay’s array of pass-rush moves. As a run defender, Turay has a lot to work on as he isn’t very stout at the point of attack, which Conklin should take advantage of.

Tre’Davious White Vs. Pharoah Cooper

The last matchup you should keep your eye pits one of the best cornerbacks in the nation versus one of the elite playmakers in college football.

LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White is quietly one of the best cornerbacks in the nation. He uses his great length to jam opposing receivers and disrupt their routes early in the process. Furthermore, he has good foot quickness and hip flexibility to carry receivers on any route they run.

South Carolina’s Pharoah Cooper is a dynamic offensive weapon that lines up all over the field for the Gamecocks. Cooper isn’t a very polished receiver, but once he gets the ball in his hands, there aren’t many more electrifying players in college football.

Ultimately, this matchup will come down to whether White can get his hands on Cooper early in the play and use his physicality to take him out of the game. The Gamecocks have to scheme ways to get Cooper open so that he can get the ball in his hands and do what he does best.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com