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College Football Week 11 – Too Cold or Too Bold?

Our writers tell you which takes from Week 11 of the college football season are overreactions, and which ones are legitimate.

Each week, college football fans and devy players drop hot takes and quick reactions to the weekend’s action. Each week, our writers break down which of these reactions are legit (cold) and which ones are overreactions (bold).

1. There is a QB controversy in Oklahoma

After Caleb Williams and the Oklahoma offense struggled to open their game against Baylor, Spencer Rattler entered the game. Caleb’s 2 picks had Oklahoma fans chanting for Rattler. This came about a month after they were chanting for Caleb to come in during Rattler’s early-season struggles. Spectators think that Caleb may not have the job locked down, and there may be a QB battle to monitor over the coming weeks and going into next season. Too Cold or Too Bold?

Justin (@FF_Hulsey) – Too Bold

Caleb Williams reminded everyone that he is a true freshman as he and the Oklahoma offense struggled to get anything going against Baylor. It was no surprise that Lincoln Riley went to Spencer Rattler in hopes that he could provide a spark with the team’s playoff chances hanging in the balance. This offense is far too reliant on a true freshman quarterback. I imagine Williams felt that on Saturday. With that said, there is absolutely nothing to support the notion that Rattler puts Oklahoma in a better position to succeed, and he did nothing to capitalize on his opportunity in relief. It is important to note that Williams was brought back into the game in the fourth quarter. I see no reason for Riley to overreact and jeopardize Williams’ future over a disappointing performance against a very good Baylor team.

Dan (@DanT_NFL) – Too Bold

Lincoln Riley has shown this season that he will give his starter a bit of lee-way with bad games before making a switch. This was the first poor showing for the true freshman Caleb Williams. With only two games to go in the regular season, Oklahoma still has its eyes set on a playoff berth and a national title run. The track record for Caleb this season has been more positive than it has been negative. One important thing to remember, the last time Lincoln Riley made a quarterback switch, we saw Caleb Williams lead this team to a comeback victory. Spencer Rattler had the entire fourth quarter to do this. I think that lack of production given a whole quarter to work with says everything we need to know about this “controversy.”

Sam (@DevyCramps) – Too Bold

Caleb being benched once in a game where he seemingly suffered a hand injury after being stepped on shouldn’t drop him much. For the last month, he has been much better than Rattler was in the early part of the season. The job is Caleb’s to lose. Not only for the rest of this year but for the rest of his college career. Rattler’s best opportunity to increase his draft stock is to transfer somewhere without much competition at the position. I could still see him bouncing back to day two draft capital, but it won’t happen in Oklahoma.

2. Will Rogers is the 2023 QB3

This year, Mississippi State QB Will Rogers has quietly been an electric producer, completing 75.7% of his passes with 29 TDs. Week 11 brought his most impressive performance yet. His 6 TDs led the Bulldogs to a massive comeback upset on the road against Auburn. With DJU slipping all season and not many other standout performances in the class, fans are calling Rogers a top 3 2023 QB. Cold, or Bold?

Justin – Too Bold

I like the Will Rogers hype, though! I was encouraged by what I saw from him against Auburn. He reads defenses well, delivers an accurate ball with velocity, and excels with a clean pocket. There is a lot to like, but he is limited as a pro prospect. He is a non-factor as a rushing threat and makes mistakes under duress. I like five quarterbacks in the 2023 class before it gets a little murky – Young, Stroud, DJU, Richardson, and Van Dyke. Things are much less certain after the top two tiers, and Rogers is capable of playing himself into that range.

Dan – Too Bold

I think the battle for the 2023 quarterback class is wide open, with Bryce Young clearly the QB1 of the class as of now. Will Rogers benefits from Mike Leach’s air raid offense, which has historically boosted quarterback numbers at Mississippi State and when he was the head coach of both Texas Tech and Washington State. Rogers is competing with the likes of Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec and Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall for the top of the quarterback class. There is the possibility that D.J. Uiagalelei will have a resurgence next year. We also cannot forget about Spencer Rattler potentially transferring this offseason and entering the 2023 draft instead of coming out this year. This will be a fun battle to look forward to next season.

Sam – Too Bold

But he’s not far off. He has been one of the most productive QBs in the class so far, but I believe he benefits a lot from the air raid system he is in, as he is often presented with wide-open receivers. The QB3-6 tier in that class is pretty murky and could be argued several ways. For now, I’m still taking DJU and Anthony Richardson ahead of him, and Tyler Van Dyke has looked great too. Those guys do all have flaws as well, so with all that said, I would not rule out Rogers becoming one of the top options in the class by the end of next year.

3. Devin Neal is a top 5 2024 RB

Kansas defeated Texas Week 11 in one of the biggest upsets of the season so far. Freshman RB Devin Neal was a huge factor in the Jayhawks win. He touched the ball 26 times for 169 yards and 4 TDs from scrimmage. He’s had a few impressive games so far, particularly for a freshman. The 3-star is establishing himself among the top 5 backs in his class. Too Cold or Too Bold?

Justin – Too Cold

Alright, I will bite on this one. Kansas was lucky to keep the local kid in state, and it is already paying off with massive dividends. Devin Neal was a highly sought-after recruit with offers from Iowa, Oklahoma State, and Nebraska, among others. He posted video-game numbers in high school. He has prototypical size with good acceleration, patience, and burst. There are several running backs from the 2021 recruiting class who I like, but most haven’t touched the field yet. Neal is already producing at a high level. Despite playing on a bad team that lacks talent on the offensive line and skill positions, he has been efficient. His game against Texas was his third 100-yard performance of the season. They are also starting to use him more as a receiver, which seems to come very naturally to him.

Dan – Too Bold

There is a case to be made, but with so few games on record, it is pertinent to rate a player’s scouting report more heavily than if we were looking at an upperclassman. What is impressive is that Devin Neal is doing this on such a poor Kansas Jayhawks team. Could we see a transfer portal option in the future for Neal? I think a change of scenery and an improved offense could highlight his talents and propel him into the top 5 considerations for the 2024 running back class.

Sam – Too Cold

There is a large number of higher-ranked recruits in the class than Neal, but few of those players have done anything in college so far. I thought Neal should have been a 4-star recruit, and he’s done nothing but impress so far this year. His decisiveness as a runner is impressive for a true freshman. He has shown up in big games, with his two best performances coming against Oklahoma and in the upset against Texas. He has good size, and while he hasn’t caught many passes in college yet, he showed receiving traits in high school. Neal has also gotten rave reviews from coaches as far as his character goes. There are several players right on his tail, but he is currently the 2024 RB5 for me.

4. Deven Thompkins is a Day 2 Prospect

The Biletnikoff Award semifinalists were released recently, and Utah State WR Deven Thompkins is among them. He leads the nation not only in receiving yards but in all-purpose yards too. He’s put together 230 kick return yards on top of his production through the air. He hasn’t gotten a lot of attention playing in the MWC, and he is certainly on the smaller side, but the production and tape are hard to ignore. Thompkins is on his way to day two draft capital. Too Cold or Too Bold?

Justin – Too Bold

Deven Thompkins has been a star this season for Utah State as an explosive playmaker who can fly. The production jumps off the page, but I do not view him as a day 2 prospect in such a deep receiver class. Thompkins was a two-star recruit coming out of high school, is listed at 5’8” 155 lbs, and is a late-producing small school receiver. That type of profile does very little to excite me. I hope that I am wrong, though. His speed and vertical ability would be fun to watch at the next level.

Dan – Too Bold

Size will be a big hindrance to Deven Thompkins receiving Day 2 draft capital. Measuring in at only 5’8” and weighing only 155 pounds, he is severely undersized to play at the NFL level. His measurables are very similar to 2021 second-round pick Tutu Atwell. And we all see how that has been working out for the Los Angeles Rams. Atwell is already having season-ending shoulder surgery after just nine weeks of his rookie campaign. A team will fall in love with his production profile, but the size will limit him to a Day 3 pick at best.

Sam – Too Bold

As mentioned by Justin and Dan, size is a huge issue with Thompkins. Recently, with picks like Devonta Smith and Tutu Atwell, some teams have suggested they aren’t as concerned with size anymore. However, for the most part, teams still value the physical aspect of the game highly. All that combined with the fact that he’s not in the Power 5 will make it tough for Thompkins to earn day two capital. I could see him earning a role as a day three pick because of his return ability, but he will have to add a good amount of muscle to his frame to do so.

5. Bijan Robinson has played his last college football game

This may not be your typical devy hot take. Stud 2023 RB Bijan Robinson is out for the season with a dislocated elbow. After the success of players who opted out in the 2020 season like Ja’Marr Chase, many expect star players to opt-out more often down the road. Bijan has only played 19 college games, but he has already earned first-round draft capital. As such, some fans are expecting him to sit out the 2022 season to preserve his body and prepare for the NFL. Too Cold or Too Bold?

Justin – Too Cold

I am generally opposed to players opting out, but Bijan Robinson has nothing left to prove at the collegiate level. Texas is not going to fix their quarterback problem overnight (prove me wrong, Quinn Ewers), so the offense in 2022 would revolve around Robinson yet again. There is no reason for him to take the risk of being run into the ground on a team that will not be competing for a title. He can train for the 2023 NFL Draft instead, where he will undoubtedly be a first-round pick. I think there is a strong likelihood that we have seen Bijan Robinson’s last college football game.

Dan – Too Cold

We have seen this strategy work well for many players in the past. Besides Ja’Marr Chase sitting out due to COVID in 2020, we also saw Nick Bosa sit out his final year at Ohio State and was still selected second overall in 2019. I am sure young players realize the limited time that running backs have in the league. Saving a year of wear and tear on your body now will only help extend your career down the road. You know, when they are actually making money playing football. Also, let’s be honest, Texas does not have national title aspirations for the 2023 season.

Sam – Too Cold

This one obviously depends on Bijan’s desire to play, not whether he thinks he should. He shouldn’t. If he were eligible for the draft right now, he would be a first-round pick. If he sits next year, he will still be a first-round pick in 2023. There aren’t many players who can say that this far out, especially with an injury, but Bijan is one of them. Sitting a year could do wonders for his NFL career, given the brutality of playing RB. He could always choose to return if he just wants to play football. But if I had to guess, he will choose his future and not take his next snap until he’s in the NFL.

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