Welcome back! We made it to another year of college football! If you’re new to this article, the goal is to bring you the top college prospects to watch in nationally televised college football games. It’s never too early to take a look forward. Who is 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 weekly article as a place to refer back to as you prepare 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 (@THEtristancook) if you have players you think deserve to be mentioned in next week’s article.
Colorado State @ # 9 Michigan
Saturday, 9/3 | 12:00 PM ET, ABC
Melquan Stovall #0, WR 2023 (5’8”, 185)
The Rams head into the 2022 season under new direction. Jay Norvell comes over from Nevada and brings with him QB Clay Millen and an offense that averaged 35.7 points per game, which was 17th best in the country. The prospect that potentially has an opportunity to benefit the most from the changes in Fort Collins is WR Melquan Stovall. He’ll mostly be running out of the slot for CSU, but Stovall is a dynamic, albeit undersized, WR. Be ready to see #0 in green near the ball all day.
Blake Corum #2, RB 2023 (5’8”, 210)
There are only two players that I’m interested in for the Wolverines, and they both will see time in the backfield on Saturday. The first is JR RB Blake Corum. Corum split time last year with Texans fourth-round pick Hassan Haskins, and it looks like he’ll be sharing the workload again in 2022. He is a little undersized and somewhat divisive player in the devy community. I think Corum has the potential to be a Day 2 NFL pick if he has a good season.
Donovan Edwards #7, RB 2024 (6’1”, 204)
The other guy to watch is sophomore RB Donovan Edwards. He was used sparingly as a rusher last year but showed an impressive ability receiving the ball, including a ten reception, 170 yard, one TD game against Maryland. Edwards was a 4-star RB recruit, and the fourth-ranked RB in his class. I’m excited to see Edwards get a bigger role this season.
#11 Oregon @ #3 Georgia
Saturday, 9/3 | 3:30 PM ET, ABC
Bo Nix #10, QB 2023 (6’2”, 213)
The player to watch for the Ducks is Auburn transfer Bo Nix. He rejoined his former coach Kenny Dillingham in Eugene, hoping to revitalize his NFL potential. Nix was a highly touted dual-threat QB but wasn’t ever able to put it all together for the Tigers. Bo has a long way to go if he’s going to be a top NFL prospect, but he’s shown flashes. I’ll be watching him in a tough match with a familiar opponent this week.
Arik Gilbert #14, TE 2023 (6’5”, 255)
There are several players for the Bulldogs that have NFL potential. The two I will focus on here are top TE prospects. Georgia may have one of the best TE rooms in the country with Arik Gilbert, Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington, and Oscar Delp. Gilbert has been out of football for a while, but the former LSU freshman phenom has all the athletic ability in the world. I’m curious to see how he plays this season.
Brock Bowers #19, TE 2024 (6’4”, 230)
The “other” TE for Georgia is sophomore Brock Bowers. He doesn’t quite have the size of Gilbert, but he had an impressive season last year. He led the Georgia pass catchers in receptions, yards, and receiving TDs. He nearly doubled the second-place player in each category. Bowers was incredibly impressive as a freshman and will look to build on that this year as one of the top options for the Bulldogs.
UTEP @ #9 Oklahoma
Saturday, 9/3 | 3:30 PM ET, FOX
Eric Gray #0, RB 2023 (5’10”, 211)
After the mass exodus from Norman, there are fewer top names to know for the Sooners, but there are still some names of note. Eric Gray is the first player that I’ll be watching for OU. He had a very underwhelming year last year and saw his stock fall quite a lot. But he’s poised to be the starter for Oklahoma this year and should have a real opportunity to regain some of that draft hype. I’ve been a Gray fan, so I’ll be interested to see if he takes advantage of this position.
Marvin Mims #17, WR 2023 (5’11”, 184)
The other main player to watch for OU is JR WR Marvin Mims. He led OU in receiving yards last year, with only 705 yards. Mims is probably slated to go late on Day 2 or early on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, but if he can take a step forward this season, he could potentially move into the park second-round discussion. He’s a bit undersized so that he may get labeled as a slot WR, but I think he has a bit more to his game.
Dillon Gabriel #8, QB 2023 (5’11”, 204)
The last person to know is former UCF QB Dillion Gabriel. He transferred to Norman and has taken over the reins after the departure of Caleb Williams. Gabriel can power this OU offense, but I’m not sure he has real NFL potential. Some people are high on him, but I’m a bit skeptical. However, he will be the key to this team’s success, and I think he will succeed.
#23 Cincinnati @ #19 Arkansas
Saturday, 9/3 | 3:30 PM ET, ESPN
Josh Whyle #81, TE 2023 (6’6”, 250)
This Cincinnati team lost a TON of talent to the NFL last year, with Desmond Ridder, Jerome Ford, and Alec Pierce departures. One of the remaining players from that surprise playoff team is TE Josh Whyle, who shocked a lot of people by returning for one more year. He had some solid draft buzz, and will likely be a middle round guy. He should be a key piece of this offense. Another name to note is TE Chamon Metayer, who is listed at 6’5”, 257lbs and is a tremendous athlete.
Raheim Sanders #5, RB 2024 (6’2”, 227)
There are two main guys to watch on the Razorbacks’ side of the ball. Raheim Sanders is a big bodied RB, who split the carries with Trelon Smith last year. With the departure of Smith, Sanders has an opportunity to take hold of the backfield and show off his ability.
Jadon Haselwood #9, WR 2023 (6’3”, 213)
After the departure of Treylon Burks, the Hogs were left with a very unproven WR corps. It’s a little hard to know who will be the “guy” for Arkansas. Former Oklahoma WR Jadon Haselwood has a chance to fill the void left by Burks, who absolutely dominated the receiving stats last year. Haselwood is a big, prototypical outside WR, who is easily the most established receiving weapon already. I’ll be watching him closely in this one.
Rice @ #14 USC
Saturday, 9/3 | 6:00 PM ET, PAC-12
Caleb Williams #13, QB 2024 (6’1”, 215)
Speaking of former Oklahoma players, Caleb Williams is one of the huge additions to the USC offense since 2021. He followed Lincoln Riley out west, and is still a top-tier 2024 prospect. I think the USC should look very similar to what we saw in Norman, with Williams distributing the ball to his plethora of offensive weapons, and could be an under-the-radar Heisman candidate. Williams was and still is in the discussion for the 1.01 in the NFL draft in 2024.
Jordan Addison #3, WR 2023 (6’0”, 175)
The other big name player that USC brought in is the reigning Belitnikoff winner, Jordan Addison. He put up a monster stat line last year of 100/1593/17 and was the main target of Kenny Pickett’s at Pitt last year. Addison should be heavily involved in this offense, but may actually take a step back statistically under Riley. In any case, he will most likely be a first round NFL pick, or at worst an early second day guy. It’ll be fun to see how Williams distributes the ball.
Mario Williams #4, WR 2024 (5’9”, 185)
Another former Oklahoma player, and the less-hyped OU transfer, is Mario Williams. His transfer news was overshadowed a bit by that of Riley and Caleb Williams. But, Mario is a good player in his own right. He will likely be playing second fiddle to the aforementioned Addison in 2022, but could put up gaudy numbers come 2023 in this system.
#7 Utah @ Florida
Saturday, 9/3 | 7:00 PM ET, ESPN
Cameron Rising #7, QB 2023 (6’2”, 218)
Utah is the reigning Pac-12 champs and led by JR QB, Cameron Rising. He had a surprisingly impressive year in 2021, completing nearly 64% of passes, and boasting a 4:1 TD:INT ratio. Rising isn’t exactly a top prospect coming into this year, but has a chance to see his draft stock rise if he continues to develop. Florida will be a good test for him and the Utes in Week 1.
Brant Kuithe #80, TE 2023 (6’2”, 218)
The top target for Rising last year was TE Kuithe. He returns in 2022 and after the departure of WR Britain Covey, Kuithe will likely once again be the focal point of the passing attack. There’s been a lot said about Kuithe’s size and how it may or may not translate to the NFL. I personally am a believer. We’ve seen undersized TEs succeed at the next level, and I think Kuithe can do exactly that.
Dalton Kincaid #86, TE 2023 (6’4”, 240)
Dalton Kincaid is a slightly more traditional TE prospect. The TE position is the hardest to project to the next level, but Kincaid has the tools to play in the NFL. He led this team in receiving TDs and has enough size and athleticism to create mismatches. I expect to see him heavily involved in the passing attack for Utah as well.
Tavion Thomas #9, RB 2023 (6’2”, 238)
The player with eyes on him for Utah is Tavion Thomas. He had a monster year in 2021, totaling 21 TDs on the ground. At 6’2” and nearly 240 lbs, Thomas is an imposing, powerful back. I’m not sure that he possesses the speed to have a major role in the NFL, but he certainly has the size, and will likely have a heavy workload this year.
Anthony Richardson #15, QB 2023 (6’4”, 232)
Richardson is the main man for Florida. With the transfer of Emory Jones (to ASU), Richardson now has sole command of the QB position for the Gators. This team is going to be interesting to watch in 2022, they bring in Billy Napier as the new HC, and don’t have a lot of “wow” players outside of Richardson. Florida will go as far as Richardson can take him, and this #7 Utah defense will be a test out of the gate.
#5 Notre Dame @ #2 Ohio State
Saturday, 9/3 | 7:30 PM ET, ABC
#5 Notre Dame
Michael Mayer #87, TE 2023 (6’4”, 265)
The biggest game of Week 1 will take place in Columbus with Notre Dame traveling to face off against Ohio State. The Fighting Irish are under new command after Brian Kelly took his talents to Baton Rouge. We aren’t totally sure what this team will look like with Marcus Freeman in charge. But, one thing we know is that Mayer will be heavily involved. He is currently my TE1 in the 2023 class. Mayer does everything well.
Lorenzo Styles #4, WR 2024 (6’1”, 195)
The other name on this offense to pay attention to is sophomore WR, Lorenzo Styles. He had an encouraging freshman year in 2021, tallying 24 catches for 244 yards and a TD. I expect Styles to be the top WR for Notre Dame this year. I’m anxious to see if Styles can build on his 2021 and see his stock rise.
#2 Ohio State
CJ Stroud #7, QB 2023 (6’3”, 218)
There are a few teams in CFB that seemingly always have top-tier talent at multiple positions, and Ohio State is one of those teams. QB CJ Stroud is a Heisman favorite and a potential top overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. He has all the tools and really only needs to prove his consistency. He also appears to be a great guy, as he recently helped give $500 gift cards to every single one of his 100+ teammates from a NIL deal. I expect to see Stroud lead this team to the CFB playoff and be a first-round NFL pick.
Jaxon Smith-Njiba #11, WR 2023 (6’1”, 200)
If producing two 1st round NFL WRs in the 2022 NFL draft wasn’t enough, OSU has another WR that may end up going earlier than either of his former teammates. You may be familiar with the name Jaxon Smith-Njigba, after he posted a Rose Bowl record 346 receiving yards. JSN is an incredibly smooth WR who can win all over the field. I doubt he goes for nearly 350 in this game, but I expect him to be heavily targeted.
TreVeyon Henderson #32, RB 2024 (5’10”, 214)
The last name (for now) to know is RB TreVeyon Henderson. He isn’t eligible until the 2024 draft. But, he will likely be one of the top backs taken, so you should familiarize yourself with him now, if you haven’t already. Henderson had a spectacular freshman year, rushing for 1,248 yards and 15 TDs on 183 carries. I expect him to duplicate those stats and beyond this year, so you’ll hear his name plenty before the season is over.
Utah State @ #1 Alabama
Saturday, 9/3 | 7:30 PM ET, SEC Network
Xavier Williams #3, WR 2023 (6’0”, 180)
There really aren’t too many players to talk about for Utah State, but I will mention Xavier Williams. He transferred from Alabama this winter, so perhaps we have a revenge game in store for us. Williams is a former 4-star recruit, but I wouldn’t expect too much from him or any of this Aggie offense against the juggernaut that is Alabama.
Bryce Young #9, QB 2023 (6’0”, 194)
The man under center for this juggernaut is Bryce Young, the reigning Heisman winner. Young put up very impressive numbers last year, and despite winning the top trophy in CFB, seemingly had a quiet year. He completed 66.9% of his passes, threw for 4875 yards and 47 TDs with only seven INTs. I expect Young to pick up right where he left off. His weapons may have changed a bit, but he shouldn’t miss a beat.
Jahmyr Gibbs #1, RB 2023 (5’11”, 210)
One of Young’s new shiny offensive weapons is Georgia Tech transfer, Jahmyr Gibbs. He’s a threat any way you can get the ball in his hands. He tallied 60 catches during his time at Tech, and will likely be utilized as a receiver for Saban and Co. Gibbs should put up big numbers behind the Bama offensive line and see his draft stock rise.
Jermaine Burton #3, WR 2023 (6’0”, 200)
Burton is another new offensive weapon for Alabama, this time a transfer from the University of Georgia. We don’t know exactly how he’ll be used yet, but Burton is a speedster who can help open up the field. Behind him, there are a lot of unproven pieces, but you’ll likely hear his name called a good amount.
Idaho @ Washington State
Saturday, 9/3 | 9:30 PM ET, PAC-12 Network
Cameron Ward #1, QB 2023 (6’2”, 220)
There aren’t a lot of players in this game to watch, but if you’re staying up late for some #pac12afterdark, then I’ll give you the two names that I’ll be watching. First, we have the QB transfer from Incarnate Word, Cameron Ward. Ward brings a lot of tools to the table, but doesn’t exactly have a belt to put them in yet. He’s a very unpolished player, but perhaps his former HC, who is now his OC, can help with his refinement. I’m really excited to see how he looks.
De’Zhaun Stribling #88, WR 2024 (6’3”, 204)
De’Zhaun Stribling is likely to be one of Ward’s top targets this season. Stribling had a nice first season for the Cougars, and has the opportunity to build on it this year. I expect to see this offense throw the ball a good amount more than they did in 2021, and at 6’3, Stribling makes a great target down field and in the redzone.
That’s it for this week’s games. 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 ( @THEtristancook ). Also, check out tape on some of these top college prospects in the Dynasty Nerds Film Room. It’s an amazing tool that I plan to take full advantage of. You can use the code “tcook” for 15% off a membership of any kind!