NCAA

Top NCAA Football Prospects To Watch on Saturday

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This is a huge week in college football with a full slate of big games pitting ranked teams against each other. This also means that there are a ton of great matchups between highly touted draft-eligible players. This weekend will be crucial for their draft stock as evaluators typically put more weight on games where the players are pitted against other talented players from highly respected teams.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best individual matchups of this weekend’s games.

Joey Bosa vs. Jack Conklin

It’s been 12 weeks and the is the first time that the premier prospect in college football, Joey Bosa, is being mentioned as a prospect to watch on Saturday. Bosa will have his toughest test to date when he gets matched up with Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin.

This year, Bosa doesn’t have the production that you are normally used to, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been the preeminent force on defense in college football. Bosa has been harassing quarterbacks as a pass-rusher while also being a dominant force against the run. Bosa uses his explosiveness to press offensive tackles so that he can stack and shed to get to the ball. He’s not the bendy type of pass-rusher that we are used to with a player rated this high, but Bosa’s ability to convert speed to power is more than enough to make up for it.

Jack Conklin is a solid offensive tackle who is working through some injuries this year that have robbed him of some of his mobility. Furthermore, Conklin has been very inconsistent with his pass sets which have left him more vulnerable in pass protection than we are used to seeing. However, Conklin has still been very good as a run-blocker as he can use his strength and power to wear on opponents.

Conklin and Bosa won’t be lined up against each other all game, but when they are, it will be a great measuring stick to show just how good Bosa and Conklin are. Pay close attention to this matchup this weekend.

Shilique Calhoun vs. Taylor Decker

Another matchup that will take place in the trenches when Ohio State lines up against Michigan State is Buckeyes offensive tackle Taylor Decker going up against Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun.

Decker doesn’t have the highest ceiling amongst offensive tackles in this class, but he does have one of the highest floors. He is one of the only tackles that appears to have the ability to step right in and contribute in the NFL from day one. He is dominant in the run game as he utilizes superior angles and great leverage to move opposing players out of their gap.

Calhoun gets a lot of hype as a top-tier defensive end, but in reality he is a very good defensive end who will be a solid defender in the NFL. He’ll never have double-digit sacks, but he will be a good run defender who gets a lot of clean up type of sacks. Calhoun is great at setting the edge in the run game and he also does his part with spot on fundamentals. He just lacks the athleticism or power to be a really good pass-rusher at the next level.

This matchup will be interesting because their strengths match up well against each other. It’s going to be a great clash when these two go against each other at the point of attack and it will likely be a huge reason why Ohio State is or isn’t effective on offense.

Laquon Treadwell vs. Tre’Davious White

While most of the best matchups will take place in the trenches this week, there is one matchup on the outside that is worth paying attention to. Two of the most talented skill position players will go at it when LSU takes on Ole Miss. Laquon Treadwell may be the most talented wide receiver in college football and Tre’Davious White is one of the most fluid cornerbacks in the nation.

Treadwell is the same type of receiver as Dez Bryant. He wins with his physical play and ability to go up and win at the catch point no matter who is covering him. He doesn’t run the most precise routes, but his physical traits and nasty demeanor allow him to make up for it. With the ball in his hands, Treadwell is a nightmare to bring down as he punishes defenders as he makes his way upfield.

White doesn’t have the strength to match up with Treadwell’s, but he does have the athleticism and technique to make things extremely difficult for Treadwell all game long. White is extremely fluid in and out of his breaks and he knows how to stay in the hip pocket of receivers.

Overall, this matchup will come down to how Ole Miss uses Treadwell. There have been times where they seem to forget Treadwell is even on the field. If they give him a lot of targets it will be a huge test for White as Treadwell is best at most of White’s weaknesses. If White can hold up well, this will give his stock a huge bump after this season.


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