Today we celebrate! November 7th, 2020, marks the official return of Pac-12 football! Now Pac-12 football is nothing to get too excited about, BUT it means that we’ve got football from all 10 conferences for the first time in the 2020 season.
After nine weeks of slim pickings, week 10 brings us a 41-game slate! That means more prospects for us to take a look at and more football as a release from that thing that was happening all week.
So, in the interest of giving you all a reason to spend 14 hours in front of your TV like yours truly, we are instituting a new rule in the College Football Players to Watch For series! From now on we will be profiling not three, but five players every week!
Before we get into our five profiles, let’s take a look at the subjects of last week’s blog.
Carlos Basham Jr, DE, Wake Forest
- It was a quiet week for Boogie Basham. His 23 game streak of at least one tackle for loss ended as he had 0 tackles and 0 sacks in Wake Forest’s 38-14 win over Syracuse. He did however record 2 QB pressures and in what may be my favorite stat of the season, was run at only twice on Syracuse’s 18 rushing attempts with him on the field. He also left the game midway through the third quarter as Wake Forest had the game handled by that point. It wasn’t a monster performance like I expected, but he was handled in a way that was to be expected, Syracuse Head Coach, Dino Babers called him “godzilla” earlier last week.
Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
- Auburn continues to be my mortal enemies. Everytime they are involved in one of my profiles they make me look dumb, so they are officially cancelled from all future blogs. They molly whopped Terrace Marshall’s LSU squad 48-11 and held him to four catches for 28 yards. They also kept making LSU quarterbacks throw it to them and not LSU wide receivers. Very troubling game for me to watch but Marshall is still good at football.
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
- Last week I said that Chris Olave was my favorite receiver in this draft class. This week I think he’s my favorite player. The junior receiver caught seven passes for 120 yards and two spectacular touchdowns in Ohio State’s 38-25 win over Penn State. He’s going to be a great player at the next level.
Let’s focus on week 10.
*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.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (#8), WR, USC
- Matchup: vs. Arizona State
- Gametime: 12:00pm
- Network: FOX
Amon-Ra St. Brown is a separation machine. He’s played primarily in the slot for USC and proven to be a big play threat for them while showing the ability to beat both man and zone coverage. He understands leverage very well which contributes to his ability to create separation. He’s got strong hands and can create YAC. Not the best underneath route runner but he’s been limited by USC’s offense. Allowing him the opportunity to expand his route tree would be a risk for any team that drafts him.
If we’re being honest St. Brown isn’t one of my favorite wide receivers in this draft but I think the stars may align on this one. He’s looking like a late second round pick and with the Patriots needs on defense and at tight end they may head in one of those directions early on. They could allow other teams to make the decision for them and pick up the scraps at WR in the middle rounds. This is obviously all projections but he’s got such room for improvement I think he deserves to be seen in this series. The bottom line is, he’ll be available for the Patriots and others probably won’t be.
St. Brown had a stellar performance against Arizona State last year so maybe he can pick up where he left off. This will also be his first game not playing alongside Michael Pittman Jr, so we will see if USC expands his role. Either way I think this is his best shot to prove anything that he hasn’t proven so far throughout his college career.
Rashod Bateman (#0), WR, Minnesota
- Matchup: @ Illinois
- Gametime: 3:30pm
- Network: BTN
Rashod Bateman is a love him or leave him kind of prospect. He possesses great tools and size (6’1”, 210 lbs) to be a top line explosive receiver but his play strength is a real question, making many wonder where he would fit at the next level. He’s a fluid route runner with strong hands but has struggled mightily in press man coverage. He’s not going to create great separation but will come down with the 50/50 ball.
Bateman reminds me a lot of Jakobi Meyers but he’s made more explosive plays throughout his college career. Both have the ability to play inside and outside and work better against zone coverage than man. Bateman is physically more impressive but that’s not always something that relays into being more successful on field at the next level. Bateman is pretty much locked in as a top 5 receiver in this draft but I’d have him a bit lower. It will be interesting to see how he’s used as the season goes on.
Bateman heads to Champaign this weekend to take on a god awful Illinois team. I’ll be really interested to see what he can do at the top of his game.
Kadarius Toney (#1), ATH, Florida
- Matchup: vs. Georgia
- Gametime: 3:30pm
- Network: CBS
Kadarius Toney is hardly a wide receiver, he’s better described as an athlete. In his time at Florida, Toney has been used as a wide receiver, running back, kick and punt returner, and wildcat quarterback. The goal is pretty much to get the ball in his hands and get the hell out of the way.
Toney may be the hardest man to tackle in America, he is unbelievably shifty and shows great ability to avoid traffic. He has a good ability to run routes but is mostly used as a gadget guy. He has shown promising progress as a true receiver in his time in Gainesville.
I am very much in favor of evaluating what a player has proven he can do over what you think he can do. That’s why I like Toney. He doesn’t have amazing hands and he’s not going to go out and beat a top corner on a dig route. He is however going to make about 6 or 7 guys miss every time he gets the ball. He’s been mostly used on jet motion stuff and as a check down guy. The Patriots seem to have fallen in love with the idea of having a guy like Toney in their offense, so much so that they’re forcing N’Keal Harry to do that stuff. Toney can do it much better and the Patriots could nab him in the 7th round or as a UDFA. He’s a perfect player for that spot in the offense.
Toney will have a prime spot to show his growth as a receiver and electricity with the ball against Georgia, who has a top five defense. This is a big time game with big stakes so he’ll need to show up for the Gators. I’m very excited to watch him in this one.
Jaycee Horn (#1), CB, South Carolina
- Matchup: vs. Texas A&M
- Gametime: 7:00pm
- Network: ESPN
I think Jaycee Horn is the best outside corner in the country. He’s got the frame (6’1” 205 lbs) and technique to battle with big “X” style receivers with great physicality at the line of scrimmage. He’s aggressive which has led to him giving up some catches but has been targeted minimally throughout his career. Doesn’t have the best hips or trail speed, strength makes up for it for the most part. Uses the sideline to his advantage better than any other corner in the country.
I like Jaycee Horn as a plug and play corner. He’s not a Stephon Gilmore replacement. I think he can be the guy they thought they were getting in Joejuan Williams. A big, physical corner who can cover outside receivers and tight ends and grow into a potential second corner. Williams has done an admirable job in that spot but hasn’t shown anything that suggests he will grow into something more than that.
Horn will get a good test in Texas A&M’s offense, Kellen Mond is an underrated QB that has given corners fits in the deep passing game throughout the past two seasons. Horn will draw his top target Jhamon Ausbon this week in a battle of the heavyweights.
Max Borghi (#21), RB, Washington State
- Matchup: @ Oregon State
- Gametime: 10:30pm
- Network: FS1
Max Borghi has been a running joke on Patriots twitter over the last few seasons. The easiest way to describe why is by showing you a picture of him, but I think i’ll tell you about him as a player.
Borghi is one of the better dual threat backs in the country, recording 1,414 scrimmage yards and 16 scores over the course of 13 games. He’s got top notch speed and will bowl over tacklers when he has the ball in his hands. He can play in the slot as well as the backfield.
I love this fit for the Patriots for a number of reasons. First being his fit in the offense. When they are firing on all cylinders the Patriots offense completes more passes to running backs than just about any team in the league. At his best, Borghi is a receiver out of the backfield first (86 catches in 2019). Secondly, Rex Burkhead (31) and James White (29) will both be free agents this offseason. It is a virtual guarantee that one, if not both won’t be back next year opening the third down back role in the offense. Thirdly, I think this is a great opportunity to get back to the old way of doing things. If you retain White for a year or two, that gives Borghi time to learn the system and develop into that same role. That is the same thing they did with White, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead before him.
Borghi has a new head coach so it will be interesting to see how he is used in 2020. This week will be our first opportunity at that. If they use him incorrectly, it may be good news for Patriots fans as his stock could drop quickly. They may be able to scoop him up in the later rounds.
That will do it for this week, lots of skill position players to focus on all throughout the day. You can follow me on Twitter: @KeaganStiefel for more college football on Saturdays! See you next week!