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College football players to watch for: Week 9

Related: Julian Edelman to miss some time after undergoing knee surgery

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The week leading into College Football’s 38-game Halloween slate has been, well, scary. Future number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence tested positive for Covid-19, leaving his future in question. Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz and head coach Paul Chryst also tested positive, forcing the team into a 21-day quarantine, effectively ending their hopes for a CFP berth. To top it all off, future first-round pick (and the most electrifying player in CFB) Jaylen Waddle’s season ended with an ankle injury. Not the ideal week.

Despite all of this, College Football will be played on Halloween, with some pretty damn exciting matchups.

So as we do every week we will talk about three players and games New England Patriots fans should watch.

But first, let’s check out the performances from our subjects last week.

Jonathon Cooper, DE, Ohio State

  • Jonathon Cooper and his Silver Bullet cohorts played well enough in their 52-17 trouncing of Nebraska. Cooper was good but unspectacular, ending his day with two tackles and a forced fumble, that he for some reason, didn’t get credit for.

Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

  • Penn State somehow found a way to choke their game against Indiana away but it was at no fault of Massachusetts’ favorite son Pat Freiermuth. The Merrimack native posted 7 catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. This was great and all but the biggest positive from him was his blocking. He did indeed look like “Baby Gronk” on Saturday. (He should have a big game against an undersized Ohio State defense this week.)

Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

  • Kwity Paye BALLED OUT in Minnesota. The “Athletic Marvel” posted 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, and 3 QB pressures against the Golden Gophers. His play earned him the number 1 spot in PFF’s “Top Week 8 Performances” list with a 93.1 overall grade.

Now let’s get into week 9.

*Weekly Disclaimer* I am not predicting that the Patriots will draft any of these players, I am just connecting the dots on who could fit in or have ties to New England.

Carlos Basham Jr., DE, Wake Forest

  • Matchup: @ Syracuse
  • Gametime: 12:00pm
  • Network: ACCN

First and foremost the man goes by “Boogie” Basham, that’s an automatic first round grade. Secondly, you would be hard pressed to find a defensive player who fits the Patriots needs and system better.

Basham stands at 6’5” and weighs 285 lbs. He’s an incredible run defender, with great ability to identify blocking schemes and beating them. Great off the ball, will run into at least one tackle for loss per game. He has above average pass rushing skills and works tremendously with stunts. He sets the edge and has a never ending motor. He reminds me a lot of a less athletic Kwity Paye.

I think it’s becoming pretty evident that if they don’t go wide receiver come April, the Patriots could be in the market for a versatile defensive lineman. They need someone who can line up head up with a tackle and either move inside or outside. I think Basham could be the guy who moves inside, while Chase Winovich is the guy who jumps out. He’s a three down player who could provide a spark in multiple spots on the defense depending on the down.

Basham is a gamer so any week is a good one to watch him. I just really like this matchup with Syracuse because they STINK and Basham should have a field day. This is a fun alternative if you don’t want to watch BC get demolished by Clemson and their 265 lb true Freshman QB.

Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

  • Matchup: @ Auburn
  • Gametime: 3:30pm
  • Network: CBS

When teammate Ja’Marr Chase opted out back in September a lot of responsibility fell onto the shoulders of Terrence Marshall. He went from being the #4 option to the #1 option in about 6 months. He has done nothing but run with the opportunity.

Through four games, Marshall Jr. has 27 catches for 512 yards, and NINE touchdowns. He’s become the only real option for an LSU team that was overflowing with them in 2019. The former 5-star prospect has tremendous size (6’3” 200lbs) speed, and athleticism. He runs tremendous routes and is a big play threat from all three receiver spots. Uses his frame well and rarely if ever drops a ball that touches his hands. He is superb in contested catch situations and, get this, can separate from defensive backs. If there is a major flaw in his game it comes as a blocker.

We all know the need is there for wide receivers. The Patriots are entering their week 8 game in Buffalo with Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, and their choice of three practice squadders. Whether you agree with the idea of them drafting a wide receiver high or not, Marshall is currently a late second and early third round pick. He is a real option for the Patriots.

Auburn-LSU should be a really fun game. Marshall is now working with a talented true Freshman QB in TJ Finley. He’s a big play threat in a game that will have plenty. This should be a fun game to watch.

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

  • Matchup: @ Penn State
  • Gametime: 7:30pm
  • Network: ABC

I’m double dipping at WR this week, consider it a Halloween treat.

Not only is Olave our second WR in this blog, but he’s my favorite in the 2021 draft. I think he brings everything the Patriots look for in a receiver to the table. He’s incredibly smooth in his routes and can create separation on a dime. He’s more quick than fast, and has a really diverse skill set, playing both inside and outside. He brings special teams value as a gunner on kickoffs and punts. Hands won’t blow you away but rarely needs to win contested catch scenarios as DB’s have trouble sticking with him.

Olave broke out in a big way last year, leading the Buckeyes in catches (48), yards (840), and touchdowns (12). He became the number one option for Justin Fields who has become a superstar. He’s got experience now being a security blanket, something the Patriots could be looking for.

Like I said in the Marshall section. Patriots need a wide receiver, Olave should be there by the time their second pick comes around. Win-Win scenario.

Olave and Ohio State are headed to Death Valley this week to take on Penn State. Like I said earlier, he’s the security blanket and the Buckeyes will rely heavily on him Saturday.