Developing Assets: Week Eight

Ryan McDowell

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Although much of this college football Saturday was filled with mediocre games, tonight’s big game was well worth tuning into. Here’s a rundown of two of the biggest games of the day, highlighting the future NFLers..

Woke Up and Watched: Baylor at West Virginia (Fox Sports 1, 12:00)

This game was filled with future NFL stars and for most of them, we won’t have to wait much longer before seeing them suit up on Sundays. The previously undefeated Baylor Bears are, of course, led by quarterback Bryce Petty, who spurned the NFL following his junior season and went back to school for one more season. Petty’s teammate, wide receiver Antwan Goodley, made the same choice to return to school. While Petty has nearly matched his outstanding junior season, Goodley may be regretting his decision after dealing with an injury that cost him playing time, and being outplayed by true freshman KD Cannon. Like many of Baylor’s top pass catchers in recent years, both Goodley and Cannon are relatively small and don’t fit the makeup of today’s top NFL wide receivers. Of course, more and more we’re seeing there is not one true build that translates to NFL or fantasy success, so maybe it’s wrong to knock them due to their size. Combining Goodley’s size with his old-for-a-rookie age of 24 come September of 2015 and he’s not a player who will be high on my list.

Baylor also has a running back who will hear his name called on draft weekend, though it’s not clear which year that might be. Starting running back Shock Linwood is just a sophomore, but since he’s had a redshirt year, he is eligible to declare for the draft following this season. With Petty and Goodley headed to the league, maybe Linwood will choose to make the jump as well. Linwood is a bowling ball back with a good mixture of speed and power. When I see him play, I see a bit of Maurice Jones-Drew and just six games into the season, Linwood has nearly matched his numbers from a season ago

West Virginia has some players you might worth looking into, and if you haven’t paid attention to the Mountaineers this season, you might be surprised who they are. Heading into the season, the attention was all on quarterback Clint Trickett and running back Rushel Shell. While both players have played well this year and Shell could still be in the hunt to be drafted in the next year or two, senior wide receiver Kevin White has stolen the show. At 6’3” and over 200 pounds, he does fit the bill of today’s elite NFL wide receiver and he’s shown he has the skills to match his size. He already has 61 receptions for nearly 900 yards and five touchdowns on the season. His yardage total is good enough to lead the entire nation, while he is second in receptions. White very well might be a player you haven’t seen play yet, but he’s getting a ton of first round buzz and now is your chance to see him play.

RESULT: West Virginia 41, Baylor 27

Kevin White absolutely stole the show here as he finished with eight catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

Primetime Play: Notre Dame at Florida State (ESPN, 7:00)

This battle of top five teams was one you heard about all day long as we led up to the 7:00 faceoff. Of course, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are always making headlines regardless of their success on the field. This is one of those years they are actually playing well and are deserving of the attention they are given, as they proved tonight. It’s important to keep in mind when viewing the Irish as a devy/dynasty owner, they are stacked with potential future NFL talent. The unfortunate part is that most of that talent is young and doesn’t always see the playing time we might like. My favorite running back on this team is sophomore Greg Bryant, but he’s only third on the team in carries, including running quarterback Everett Golson. At the wide receiver position, Corey Robinson, son of former San Antonio Spurs’ Hall of Famer David Robinson, is second on the team in receptions and yardage and is a beast to bring down. The other receiver I have my eye on from this team is also the son of a former athlete, Torii Hunter, Jr. but he has been slow to recover from a groin injury and has played sparingly in two games this season.

For better or worse, this game was all about the Seminoles of Florida State and specifically, quarterback Jameis Winston. It’s disappointing to see the Winston story play out, especially after his play on the field a season ago was so impressive and his character seemed so endearing. His dynasty and draft stock have plummeted following the continued off-field incidents he finds himself in the center of. Hopefully for his sake, he can play some more great games as he did tonight and get his attention back on the game of football. Winston still has a chance to be a first round draft pick, though multiple NFL decision makers have chimed in saying they wouldn’t take him on their team. Let’s see if that’s true come April.

The Noles also have a handful of other NFL prospects that devy and dynasty owners should hone in on, including wide receiver Rashad Green and tight end Nick O’Leary, the top two pass catchers on the team and both seniors. Travis Rudolph is the team’s top youngster, a true freshman receiver and they would be wise to get him more involved. The other top freshman, Ermon Lane, has also been relatively quiet, despite entering his college career with a ton of hype and expectations. Finally, the running game is a fairly balanced attack between the three headed monster led by Karlos Williams, who has disappointed devy owners this year. Former five star recruits Dalvin Cook and Mario Pender also see their share of carries and have often outplayed the starter Williams.

RESULT: Florida State 31, Notre Dame 27

Everett Golson went 31-for 52 for 313 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions as he nearly led the Irish to a win (an offensive pass interference penalty wiped out what would have been the game winning touchdown). Tarean Folston carried the ball 21 for 120 yards and Corey Robinson had eight catches for 99 yards and two scores for the Irish. As for the Noles, Jameis Winston was able to focus on the game and was solid going 23-for-31 for 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Karlos Williams was quiet with just 25 yards, though he did score two touchdowns. Rashad Greene was the offensive star with 108 yards and a score on eight catches.

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