Hello and welcome back! College football is back! If you’re new to this article, the goal is to bring you the top upcoming dynasty prospects to watch in nationally televised college football games. It’s never too early to take a look forward. Who will 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 (@THEtristancook) if you have players you think deserve to be mentioned in next week’s article.
#8 USC @ Colorado
Saturday, 9/30 | 12:00 PM ET, FOX
Caleb Williams #13, QB 2024 (6’1″, 215)
Once again, the eyes of the college football world will be on Boulder, Colorado, as USC travels to face off with the Buffaloes. The players to watch for USC haven’t changed. But because this game is in the early window rather than #Pac12AfterDark, the nation will get a chance to watch the best player in the country in what should be a high-scoring game. My only concern for Caleb Williams is whether he will declare this year or return for one more year at USC.
Zachariah Branch #1, WR 2026 (5’10″, 175)
I expect several players to be heavily utilized and successful for USC this week. The one that has the highest potential is freshman wideout Zachariah Branch. He is electric with the ball in his hands and has shown why he was such a highly coveted recruit. We still have a few years before Branch becomes an NFL prospect, but remember his name.
Shedeur Sanders #2, QB 2024 (6’2″, 215)
I am interested to see how Shedeur and the Buffs bounce back after last week’s blowout loss to Oregon. Colorado looked outmatched, and Sanders lacked time to throw the ball. Despite the poor performance, I am not too concerned about Sanders. It will be good to see if he can move the ball against a weak USC defense. Sanders is draft-eligible this season and has been ranked as high as QB3 in some recent mock drafts. There’s been some speculation that he’ll return for another year, but you should be watching him either way.
Xavier Weaver #10, WR 2024 (6’1″, 180)
The other names to know for Colorado remain the same. One of Sanders’ top targets this season has been senior receiver Xavier Weaver. If the Buffs are going to be competitive in this game, they will need a big performance from Weaver and fellow wideout and USF transfer Jimmy Horn Jr. Weaver has been the Buffs’ best receiver in 2023 and has a chance to get on the NFL radar with a few more big performances.
#1 Georgia @ Auburn
Saturday, 9/23 | 3:30 PM ET, CBS
Brock Bowers #19, TE 2024 (6’4″, 240)
The main player to know for Georgia is their superstar TE, Brock Bowers. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Georgia has a really good TE prospect. There isn’t much that Bowers can’t do and do well on a football field. He’s my TE1 in the class and could be a top-15 NFL Draft pick. He had a monster game last week against UAB in which he caught 9 passes for 121 yards and 2 scores. I expect Carson Beck to look his way frequently again this week.
#2 Michigan @ Nebraska
Saturday, 9/30 | 3:30 PM ET, FOX
Blake Corum #2, RB 2024 (5’8″, 213)
The players of note in this game all reside on the Michigan sideline. Blake Corum surprised some people when he announced that he would return to Ann Arbor for the 2023 season. As expected, Corum has been vital to the offense so far in 2023. At this point, I hope that Corum stays healthy all year. I think he’s done enough at the college level, and now I’m interested in seeing how he performs in the pre-draft process.
JJ McCarthy #9, QB 2024 (6’3″, 202)
Next, we have Michigan’s signal-caller, JJ McCarthy. JJ has been impressive on the young season, completing nearly 80% of his passes. This Nebraska team should be the toughest test he’s faced, but I still expect Michigan to handle the Cornhuskers easily. I am still undecided on whether I think McCarthy will declare after the season. If he does come out, he’s got a shot to be in the second-tier of quarterbacks in this class.
#24 Kansas @ #3 Texas
Saturday, 9/30 | 3:30 PM ET, ABC
Devin Neal #4, RB 2024 (5’11″, 210)
The main player to know for the Jayhawks is their junior running back, Devin Neal. Neal had a breakout season last year and has picked up right where he left off to start 2023. Neal has a chance to be a solid NFL player if he continues to perform this way. If Kansas is going to stay with the Longhorns in this game, Neal will need to show up big. I’m excited to see how he can do in a tough matchup.
Quinn Ewers #3, QB 2024 (6’2″, 195)
The Texas Longhorns may have lost Bijan Robinson to the NFL, but they still have several top players on their roster. The first on that list is quarterback Quinn Ewers. I still have Ewers as my QB3 in the 2024 class, but I will admit that he’s closer to QB4 than he is to QB2 at this point. It will likely come down to Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Quinn Ewers as to who gets drafted as the third quarterback.
Xavier Worthy #1, WR 2024 (6’1″, 172)
One of the top weapons for Texas is junior WR Xavier Worthy. At only 172 pounds, Worthy is a slender receiver. However, he has dynamic speed and elusiveness and has shown the ability to produce despite his size. Worthy has been impressive this year but needs to clean up a few concentration drop issues. I still expect him to declare and be in the discussion for the WR2 spot.
Ja’Tavion Sanders #0, TE 2024 (6’4″, 243)
The final player to note for Texas is tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders. Sanders has been dynamic this season so far for the Longhorns. He leads the team in yards receiving and seemingly makes a big play every week. The TE1 position in the 2024 class belongs to Georgia’s Brock Bowers, but Sanders is firmly in the second spot in my rankings. I expect to see him heavily used in this game.
#13 LSU @ #20 Ole Miss
Saturday, 9/30 | 6:00 PM ET, ESPN
Malik Nabers #8, WR 2024 (6’0″, 200)
The main attraction in this game on LSU’s side is Malik Nabers. He’s coming off back-to-back monster games against Mississippi State and Arkansas. Nabers combined for 21 catches, 369 yards receiving, and 4 scores in the last two weeks. He is in line to be the next promising WR prospect to come out of Baton Rouge. I expect to see him in the discussion for WR2 if he declares this year.
#20 Ole Miss
Quinshon Judkins #4, RB 2025 (5’11″ 220)
The leading name to know for Ole Miss is running back Quinshon Judkins. Judkins had an astonishing true freshman season in 2022, tallying 1,567 yards rushing on 274 carries with 16 touchdowns. He also added another 132 yards and one additional score on 15 receptions. Despite getting off to an underwhelming start, Judkins is in the mix to be the top RB in next year’s class and is a name you should know for the future.
#11 Notre Dame @ #17 Duke
Saturday, 9/30 | 7:30 PM ET, ESPN
#11 Notre Dame
Sam Hartman #10, QB 2024 (6’1″, 210)
The player to watch in this game for the Irish is former Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman. Hartman has continued his spectacular start to his first season in South Bend. He has completed over 70% of his passes for 1,236 yards with 14 scores and no interceptions. If he keeps this up, he’s got a good chance to get into the QB3 discussion. I think it’s more likely than not that he ends up as a mid-round NFL selection than a first-round pick, but he’s worth knowing.
Riley Leonard #13, QB 2024 (6’4″, 212)
On the other side of the ball, junior quarterback Riley Leonard is the main man to know. He is another one of the players who could throw their name into the QB3 discussion in the 2024 NFL Draft. The biggest issue is that there are about ten guys vying for that spot. Leonard has the size that NFL teams covet, and he has a great opportunity to perform well against a good Notre Dame defense in a primetime game. I’ll be watching this one closely.
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 guys 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!