Developing Assets: Week Two

Ryan McDowell

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The second week of college football is underway, but don’t expect the marquee matchups of last week. Many of the top teams have opted to play a lesser opponent before conference games kick into high gear. Nonetheless, dynasty and developmental players must focus on even these games as we prepare for the future success of our team.

A Look Back

Devy of the Week: Todd Gurley, RB UGA

If I told you that Georgia running back Todd Gurley only had twelve carries in the team’s big opening week matchup with the Clemson Tigers, you probably would’ve been disappointed. That is, until you found out what he did with those few carries. Gurley rushed for a career high 154 yards and two scores, though it was not enough as the Bulldogs fell in Clemson. Gurley’s performance, along with the toughness he showed in battling through an early injury, was enough to vault him to the top overall devy ranking in the Devy Stock Watch list.

Disappointment of the Week: Malcolm Mitchell, WR UGA

While’s Gurley performance was terrific, the loss and the injury to top wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, spoiled the night. What’s worse, Mitchell suffered his season ending injury, a torn ACL, while celebrating a Gurley touchdown run. Mitchell expected to be the team’s top wide receiver and was considered an NFL Draft prospect for the upcoming spring draft. Still working on his transition from his former defensive back position, this injury likely cements the idea that Mitchell will return to Athens for his senior season. Mitchell could also receiver a medical redshirt this season, considering the early injury. The Bulldogs are deep at wide receiver and it will be interesting to see who steps up as Aaron Murray’s top option.

On the Rise: Melvin Gordon, RB WISC

We knew coming into this season that the Wisconsin backfield was loaded, but I was still surprised when I heard that redshirt sophomore Melvin Gordon did not draw the start for the team’s opener. Well, Gordon didn’t let that get in the way. Even though he did not start, nor did he lead the team in carries, he totaled 144 rushing yards to lead the Badgers. The highlight was a 70-yard touchdown run. This split backfield, which also featured the talented senior James White and freshman Corey Clement, should be a good thing for Gordon’s long-term future. We have seen the Badgers give a huge amount of carries to their tailbacks in past years, with both Ron Dayne and Montee Ball coming to mind. With two other more than capable runners joining him in the running back rotation, Gordon should be able to stay fresh, not only during this season, but as he looks forward to his NFL career.

A Look Ahead

Wake Up and Watch: Florida vs. Miami (FL) (ESPN, 12:00)

In a week where there are few “big” games, this is an easy call. The in state foes match up in one of the day’s early games and there are a handful of players you should be on the lookout for.

The Hurricanes are led by quarterback Stephen Morris, who will be asked to do more this week against a stout Gator defense than in last week’s matchup against cupcake Florida Atlantic. It will be interesting to see if Morris goes back to freshman wide receiver Stacy Coley, who had a couple of costly drops last week. Expect to see plenty of Miami running back Duke Johnson, who totaled over 200 total yards last week and made his debut on our Devy Stock Watch board.

The Gators boast a pair of young running backs that all devy players should be excited to check out. Sophomore Matt Jones will make his season debut after missing last week while still recovering from a viral infection that cost him weeks of practice. Reports are that Jones will see a ton of carries. While he is generally regarded a tier below some of the other top true sophomore backs, Jones will have a chance to make a name for himself with a heavy weekly workload. When Jones is not in the game, I am hoping to see more of true freshman Kelvin Taylor, who debuted last week with just a handful of carries for 43 yards.

If You Can Only Watch One: Georgia vs. South Carolina (ESPN, 4:30)

I tried to get away from this one, honestly. It’s clearly one of the top games of the day as one of just two games pitting two ranked teams, but after last week’s performance by Todd Gurley and the rest of the Bulldogs, I want to see more. Honestly, Georgia could be featured in this category nearly every week. Anyway, Gurley and Keith Marshall will again be the pair to watch, which goes without saying.  With wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell out for the year, tight end Arthur Lynch has a chance to get more involved in the passing game. Lynch may end up being lost in a crowded tight end class, but could use this potential chance for more targets to boost his stock.

For the Gamecocks, let’s see of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney can bounce back from his subpar start last week. He has a chance to build up some sack numbers against the less than mobile Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Also, watch for South Carolina sophomore wide receiver Shaq Roland, who had that great long catch and run for a score last week.

Stay Up Late For: San Jose St. vs. Stanford (PAC12 Network, 11:00)

The Cardinal make their season debut at home and they have a few players that could be interesting devy and draft prospects.  It all starts with their big-framed quarterback Kevin Hogan. Hogan is only a redshirt sophomore, but is a player already firmly on the radar of devy owners. While this is possibly due to the recent success of former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Hogan’s numbers speak for themselves. He should have a big day against San Jose St.

The rest of the offense is wide open for Stanford, as the team lost running back Stepfan Taylor and tight end Zach Ertz to the NFL. The player I’m most excited to see is actually buried on the running back depth chart. Redshirt freshman Barry Sanders, Jr. needs no introduction to football fans. He’s obviously the son of former Lions great Barry Sanders.  The younger Sanders redshirted as a freshman and head coach David Shaw claims he will be guarded with his use of Sanders. The Cardinal backfield is deep, but I am hoping Sanders gets a chance to show what he can do early on this season.

San Jose St. has a top quarterback prospect of their own in senior David Fales. Fales was once thought of as a challenger to Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the top quarterback prospect, but they hype has recently died down. Despite his big 6’3” frame, one of Fales’ weaknesses is actually his arm strength. If he shows improvement there, look for Fales to be a first round pick in the spring.

Devy Stock Watch

The first year each player is NFL draft eligible is noted in parentheses.

  1. Todd Gurley, RB UGA (2015)
  2. Sammy Watkins, WR CLEM (2014)
  3. Marqise Lee, WR USC (2014)
  4. TJ Yeldon, RB ALA (2015)
  5. Teddy Bridgewater, QB UL (2014)
  6. Duke Johnson, RB MIA (2015)
  7. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE UW (2014)
  8. Amari Cooper, WR ALA (2015)
  9. Lache Seastrunk, RB BAY (2014)
  10. Melvin Gordon, RB WISC (2014)

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