We have made it to another weekend with football! We might even be seeing more conferences playing games in the near future! If you’re new to this article, the goal is to bring you the top dynasty prospects to watch in nationally televised college football games. It’s never too early to take a look forward. Who are going to be the sleepers of upcoming rookie drafts? Check back here every week for my ‘Weekly Watch’ series before you head into the weekend. Use this article each week as a place to refer back to as you get ready to watch each game.
How this article works:
I’ll give you the network, time, and teams playing in nationally televised games. Below that, I’ll list the respective schools’ prospects that are, in my opinion, worth mentioning, their position, the year they are eligible to enter the NFL Draft, and their listed heights and weights.
Feel free to reach out on Twitter (@tristancook_) if you have players you think deserve to be mentioned in next week’s article. This year will be a little different than last because of all the unknowns we face. I will still be trying to highlight the players to watch, but we will likely be digging a little bit deeper with fewer games. Hopefully, this will give you a few names to monitor throughout the year.
Boston College @ #1 Clemson
Saturday, 10/31 | 12:00 PM ET, ABC
Trevor Lawrence #16, QB 2021 (6’6, 220) ***COVID***
Unfortunately, Trevor Lawrence will not be in this game. He has tested positive for COVID-19, and will be in that protocol for the time being. That means that there’s a chance that we’ve seen him play his final game for the Tigers. It’s unlikely, but if Clemson loses while he’s gone and their College Football Playoff hopes are gone, he has little reason to return to the field. But, as long as they have a chance to make a title run, we should see him back on the field. We will get a good chance to look at highly touted QB prospect DJ Uiagalelei with the absence of Lawrence.
Travis Etienne #9, RB 2021 (5’10, 205)
The big name to watch for this offense is now Travis Etienne. It will be interesting to see how well he can play with the defense, likely putting more attention on him. I expect to see him go off here and solidify himself as a top-two pick in 1QB leagues. I’m still uncertain if I prefer him to Alabama’s Najee Harris, so this will be a good opportunity to focus on his abilities.
Frank Ladson Jr. #2, WR 2022 (6’3, 205)
Another name to keep in mind is sophomore WR Frank Ladson Jr. I’ve already mentioned JR WR Amari Rodgers several times. He’s the 2021 eligible name to watch, but I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight Ladson instead. At 6’3, he’s more of a prototypical outside WR, and he’s had some highlight-reel plays in his young career, keep him in mind going forward.
Michigan State @ #13 Michigan
Saturday, 10/31 | 12:00 PM ET, FOX
Jayden Reed #5, WR 2022 (6’0, 185)
The Spartans looked terrible in Mel Tucker’s highly anticipated debut as head coach. They lost to a Rutgers team that was unbeaten in 21 straight Big Ten conference games. Michigan State was outplayed in just about every aspect of the game. However, one of the only bright spots was sophomore WR Jayden Reed. He posted an 11/128/2 game, including an impressive 50-yard TD reception on 4th down. We’ll see how he does against a stronger opponent this week.
Zach Charbonnet #24, RB 2022 (6’1, 220)
On the UM side, I’ll mainly be focusing on two players. The first is another sophomore in RB Zach Charbonnet. He looks slimmer and faster than he did last year, which can only be seen as a good thing. Charbonnet still has another year of development, but I think his name will be in the 2022 draft discussion as one of the top 2 tiers of RBs.
Ronnie Bell #8, WR 2021 (6’0, 190)
The other player I’ll be watching is WR Ronnie Bell. He led the Wolverines in receiving yards in last week’s victory over Minnesota. He only caught four passes, but that was also best on the team. I expect him to have a big year if Michigan is going to be successful in the shortened season. Bell is draft-eligible but only a junior, so he may not come out until 2022 either. I think he could use some more development before turning pro.
LSU @ Auburn
Saturday, 10/31 | 3:30 PM ET, CBS
Terrace Marshall #6, WR 2021 (6’3, 200)
The names for LSU are the same as they have been. The top player you will see in this game on their side of the ball is WR Terrace Marshall. I was a fan of him last year, but he has turned it up a notch this year without Ja’Marr Chase or Joe Burrow. Through 4 games, Marshall is near his yardage and TD numbers from all of 2019. He also is more than halfway to his catch total from last year. Marshall is a name that I expect to continue to ascend up draft boards as the draft gets closer.
Arik Gilbert #2, TE 2023 (6’5, 249)
The other main player to watch is freshman TE Arik Gilbert. He’s looked incredible so far in 2020, and barring any unforeseen changes, he should be a star as he develops. As I have mentioned many times, the TE position is a difficult one to project, but you can’t teach his athleticism and the fact that he’s already producing bodes well for his future.
Seth Williams #18, WR 2021 (6’3, 211)
The 2021 eligible player to watch for Auburn is WR Seth Williams. The Auburn offense has basically been one of two things. Either it’s lob it up to Seth Williams or hand it off to Tank Bigsby. Williams has an incredible ability to go up and win contested catches, and Bo Nix hasn’t been afraid to give him plenty of opportunities. You’ll also see Anthony Schwartz involved, he’s one of the fastest players in college football.
Tank Bigsby #2, RB 2023 (6’0, 204)
The other name to mention here is freshman RB Tank Bigsby. He still has a long time before he’ll be draft-eligible, but you’ll most certainly hear his name called early and often in this one. He’s going to be one of the top RBs in the 2023 class, and I know our very own Jared Wackerly is a big fan of his. Bigsby has all the traits you look for in an RB, and he’s only a freshman.
Texas @ #6 Oklahoma State
Saturday, 10/31 | 3:30 PM ET, FOX
Keaontay Ingram #26, RB 2021 (6’0, 222)
The first player I’ll be watching on the Texas side of the ball is Keaontay Ingram. He’s had some struggles with ball security this season. But, he has hopefully put those behind him. His 2020 campaign has certainly not been what he was hoping for, so I expect him to return to Texas for his final year of eligibility. However, he is a talented player, and if he can put it all together, he could be a very good RB.
Joshua Moore #6, WR 2021 (6’1, 169)
The other name of note for the Longhorns is redshirt sophomore, WR Joshua Moore. He has been outstanding on the field for Texas this year, posting a 21/328/6 stat line, which leads the team in each category. The biggest concerns I have with Moore is his off the field issues. By all accounts, he has straightened himself up, but those issues will always linger. As a third-year sophomore, he’s technically eligible to declare this year, but it’s rather unlikely at this point. He’s someone I’ll be monitoring.
#6 Oklahoma State
Chuba Hubbard #30, RB 2021 (6’0, 208)
You’re probably very familiar with the names for the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys. The first is RB Chuba Hubbard. They benefited from the return of QB Spencer Sanders last week in their narrow victory over Iowa State. Hubbard had an awe-inspiring day and has solidified himself as one of the top few backs in this class. He still trails Harris and Etienne for me, but the gap isn’t very big.
Tylan Wallace #2, WR 2021 (6’0, 190)
As I’ve mentioned before, the other player is WR Tylan Wallace. Listed at 6’0 and 190 lbs, Wallace doesn’t exactly profile as your typical jump-ball receiver. But, he may be the best contested catcher in this class. He likely won’t be mentioned in the same air as the top WRs, but I think that will end up making Wallace a value pick.
Mississippi State @ #2 Alabama
Saturday, 10/31 | 7:00 PM ET, ESPN
Osirus Mitchell #5, WR 2021 (6’5, 210)
The only player I’ll really be focusing on for the Bulldogs is senior WR Osirus Mitchell. There’s been a ton of turmoil in the Mississippi State locker room of late. But Mitchell is the name I’ll be watching once they get on the field. He’s leading the team in receiving yards and TDs and is a massive target. I’m interested to see how he tests come draft season.
Kylin Hill #8, RB 2021 (5’11, 210) ***OPT-OUT***
Speaking of turmoil in the program and draft season, the other Bulldogs player I was excited to watch is Kylin Hill. However, he has decided to leave the program and prepare for the NFL draft. I have been a big Kylin Hill fan for quite a while, so I’m excited to see how the NFL views him. I’ll probably end up with several Hill shares after my rookie drafts.
Najee Harris #22, RB 2021 (6’1, 230)
There’s been a little bit of shake-up for which players to watch for Alabama. However, Najee Harris is still very much the main player you’ll see in this game. He’s been absolutely dominating so far. I’ve said it already, but the RB1 debate is between him and Etienne. It’s hard to pick one because they’ve both been good and are two different style RBs. The biggest takeaway for me is that I’ll likely be happy with either player.
DeVonta Smith #6, WR 2021 (6’1, 175)
The focal point of the passing game could shift to DeVonta Smith. After the devastating injury to Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith should see an increased workload. I’m a fan of Smith’s skills, but my main concern has been how he’ll hold up with a slender build at the NFL level. It’s certainly possible, and we’ve seen WRs do it before, but that’s my one knock on him. He probably will be a 1st round pick in most rookie drafts or early 2nd.
John Metchie III #8, WR 2022 (6’0, 195)
The player that actually stepped up the most in the absence of Waddle last week was John Metchie III. He’s not eligible until 2022, but I do want to mention him now. He’s an explosive receiver that has been outstanding in his first real season, seeing playing time. He’ll probably be the top guy for the Crimson Tide next year, so get used to hearing his name.
#3 Ohio State @ #18 Penn State
Saturday, 10/31 | 7:30 PM ET, ABC
#3 Ohio State
Justin Fields #1, QB 2021 (6’3, 228)
If OSU is playing, the main player to watch is QB Justin Fields. He completed 20/21 passes against the Cornhuskers last week and added a touchdown and 54 rushing yards. He’s firmly my QB2 for the 2021 class, which isn’t a knock on him as much as it is an endorsement for the incredible prospect that is Trevor Lawrence. In Fields favor, though, he is more of a running threat than Lawrence, and if he puts up big numbers this year, he could narrow the gap.
Trey Sermon #8, RB 2021 (6’1, 215)
As I mentioned last week, the next player I’ll be watching is Trey Sermon. He had a pretty unspectacular debut for the Buckeyes last week after transferring in from Oklahoma. He also saw Master Teague III get two rushing TDs. I’m interested to see how this backfield plays out, I’m a fan of Sermon’s ability, but I am curious to see if he will be ‘the guy’ for Ohio State.
Chris Olave #2, WR 2021 (6’1, 188)
The final player I’ll mention for the Buckeyes is Chris Olave. He was injured last week on a big hit after catching a pass in the 2nd half. He still managed to haul in 6 catches for 104 yards. But, the head injury he suffered has made his status a bit unknown. It looks like he’s on track to play, but there’s a chance he won’t be out there. I expect Olave to be a 2nd round rookie pick, with the potential to sneak into the end of the 1st round, depending on his testing numbers.
#18 Penn State
Pat Freiermuth #87, TE 2021 (6’5, 260)
The main man to watch for Penn State is TE Pat Freiermuth. He had a nice first game back last week, catching seven passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. There’s going to be a good debate over which TE deserves to be the top guy in 2021. Coming into the year, it was easily Freiermuth, but Florida’s Kyle Pitts is pushing for that honor. I think the gap is razor-thin between these two. I’m still not ready to move Freiermuth down, but they both could be 1st round TEs.
Jahan Dotson #5, WR 2021 (5’11, 182)
The other name to watch on offense for Nittany Lions is Jahan Dotson. I mentioned him a few times last year and am a fan of his big play ability. That was on display last week when he hauled in a 60 yard TD reception. Dotson is only a junior, so he might not declare until 2022, but as of now, I think there’s a chance he comes out early. If he does, I’d expect to see him drafted in the middle of most rookie drafts.
Journey Brown #4, RB 2021 (5’11, 215) ***INJURED***
The final name I’ll mention is Journey Brown. He’s likely going to miss the entire 2020 season, which means that the potential for him to return to Happy Valley is rather high. If he can return to the football field, Brown is an incredible RB, so you should know his name.
Western Kentucky @ #11 BYU
Saturday, 10/31 | 10:15 PM ET, ESPN
Mitchell Tinsley #4, WR 2021 (6’1, 185)
The Hilltoppers aren’t exactly a college football powerhouse, but they do have an interesting prospect named Mitchell Tinsley. He’s a former 3-star recruit who is leading WKU in all receiving categories. He’s a junior and will likely be back for his final year, but you’ll probably hear his name called in this game.
Zach Wilson #1, QB 2021 (6’3, 210)
The main man to watch on either team is QB Zach Wilson. He’s looked incredible this year, completing nearly 80% of his passes en route to 16 TDs and only 1 INT. He’s also scored 6 TDs on the ground. I’ve seen his name mentioned a lot more of late, and if he continues to play at this level, he probably will continue to garner significant draft buzz.
That’s it for this week’s games. Next week brings the return of the PAC 12, so we’ll have even more games to preview. As I previously mentioned, if there is anyone you’d like me to take a look at, or want to share your thoughts on anything dynasty related, hit me up on Twitter ( @tristancook_ ). Also, check out tape on some of these guys in the Dynasty Nerds Film Room. It’s an amazing tool that I plan to take full advantage of.
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