NCAA

Top NCAA Football Prospects To Watch During Bowl Season

on

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

The college football bowl season is upon us and that means we get to witness colossal match-ups between teams and individuals that are bound to impress. The best of the best will be pitted against each other in an attempt to find out who the best teams and players are in the country.

For a large group of players, this will be their last opportunity to dawn a uniform and play college football. These players have one last shot to showcase their skill set on a football field to NFL coaches, executives and scouts. It can’t be understated how important this last game is to college football resumes.

The bowl landscape is filled with impressive individual matchups that will be extremely important in the evaluation of each player. Therefore, let’s take a look at three matchups that are the most important during the college football bowl season.

Joey Bosa vs. Ronnie Stanley

The top match-up of the college football bowl season pits two titans, who are both expected to be top-10 picks against in each other when Ohio State takes on Notre Dame in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl. Joey Bosa may be the best prospect in this entire draft class and Ronnie Stanley is the top offensive tackle on some analysts’ boards, which means you can expect fireworks when these two are head up on each other.

Bosa is an explosive player who wins with his use of leverage and power, he routinely bench presses opposing linemen in a way that makes it look effortless. Stanley, on the other hand, is a finesse tackle who can mirror as well as anyone in college football. Stanley is going to need to make sure he plays with good knee bend and pad level to be able to anchor against Bosa’s power. Bosa will need to vary the way he rushes the passer so that he doesn’t get predictable. If he does, Stanley will just sit and anchor on Bosa all day.

In the run game, Bosa appears to have a huge advantage. Stanley has never been the type of lineman to blow defenders off the ball; instead, he uses his footwork and body to turn and wall of defenders. However, Bosa is the hardest defensive end to move in the country and he rarely gets put out of position. Look for Bosa to make a few splash plays in the run as he discards Stanley in the backfield.

Overall, players with Bosa’s skillset have given Stanley the most problems this year, which is why Bosa should be able to get the better of the highly-touted offensive tackle.

Joe Schobert vs. Tre Madden

An underrated matchup during the college football season pits a gritty linebacker against an underrated running back. USC running back Tre Madden is a sneaky good running back that has been hampered with injuries throughout his college career. Wisconsin outside linebacker Joe Schobert is a highly productive player who has burst onto the scene this year.

Madden is at his best when he can get north-south and burst through the hole. He isn’t the best when he has to dance and make people miss in the hole. His injuries have limited his explosiveness, but he makes up for it with his vision and intelligence while running the ball.

Schobert is similar to Madden as he wins with his toughness, grittiness and intelligence in lieu of great athletic traits. Schobert plays with wreckless abandon as he tirelessly chases down ball carriers for every second of the game. He does a great job of identifying the play and flowing to the ball before it can get going.

If Madden can get some room to work, he can have a big day for the Trojans; however, it will be important for USC to get blockers on Schobert because if they don’t he will ruin Madden’s day.

Sterling Sheppard vs. Mackensie Alexander

The most electrifying matchup of the college football bowl season takes place when the No. 4 ranked Oklahoma Sooners are pitted against the No. 1 Clemson Tigers in the college football playoff. Wide receiver Sterling Sheppard is the best wide receiver that no one knows and Mackensie Alexander is trying to work his way into top-10 consideration.

Sheppard has been a huge playmaker for the Sooners throughout the whole season. Despite his small stature, Sheppard can win in aspect of playing wide receiver. he isn’t afraid to go over the middle and he runs his routes with a ton of nuance. He is been an impossible cover for any cornerback thus far this season.

Mackensie Alexander will have something to say about that as their isn’t a cornerback who has played at a higher level than him this year. Alexander is a physical corner who can completely blanket and take a receiver out of the game.

On paper, Alexander appears to have the advantage because of his ability to physically dominate the smaller receiver, especially in press coverage. However, that ignores the fact that Sheppard is extremely adept at getting off press coverage and his quickness and route running are some of the best in college football. Look for Sheppard to have a big day against the top-tier cornerback and raise his draft profile while doing so.


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