There is a big week in college football approaching which is bound to show many high level match ups for some of the top prospects in this upcoming draft. In the week 11 NFL prospect preview, our draft experts will be presenting a few big time quarterback matchups and a challenge for a versatile defensive piece.
Michael Penix Jr vs Oregon
Michael Penix Jr is seeing a career revival after transferring to the Northwest from Indiana. Currently the NCAA leader in passing yards, Penix will need to be on point in week 11. Washington has reached the AP’s top 25 list again this season. The Huskies fell out after a pair of losses earlier this season and are looking to reestablish themselves after that hiccup.
Oregon has picked up steam over the past 10 games with their transfer quarterback Bo Nix catching fire in the draft community. This game is expected be high scoring with Nix and the Ducks coming off 8 straight games scoring 40 or more points. A quarterback battle between the two up and coming transfers should be a great watch and have intriguing outcomes for draft projections.
Trenton Simpson vs Louisville
Trenton Simpson is one of the more interesting defensive prospects in this upcoming class. An athletic linebacker prospect who wears many hats in the Tigers defense. He will inevitably be compared to former Clemson defensive stars like Isaiah Simmons who was also a versatile playmaker from the second level. Simpson is a player who has the athletic tools to make sideline to sideline plays, but as a traditional read and react player he has room to grow. Clemson counteracts this by having him rush the passer a large chunk of the game especially on obvious passing downs.
Coming into this week 11 match the Tigers are facing a familiar, yet deadly dual threat QB in Malik Cunningham. Cunningham is the most dangerous athlete at the quarterback position in the NCAA and has given Clemson struggles in years passed. Last year Simpson had his most productive game in his career. Tallying 2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss, Simpson will look to repeat that impact to help his team back into the winning column.
Hendon Hooker vs Missouri
Hendon Hooker and the Tennessee Volunteers took a hit to their playoff asperations in a drubbing vs number 1 Georgia last week. In this week 11 matchup Hooker looks to take on the team that may have given Georgia it’s toughest test to date in the Missouri Tigers. The Tigers were able to keep it close with the Bulldogs, falling in week 6 by only 4 points. If the Volunteers hope to prove they can go back and beat Georgia, putting up an impressive win against the team that played them the toughest will go a long way.
Hooker has had his name in the headlines a lot this draft cycle as a big time riser for a surprising Tennessee squad. His draft stock may have taken a hit with a offensively challenged game vs the best defense they had faced all season. That game was the litmus test to see if Hooker could string together some impressive wins after putting up big numbers vs the Alabama Crimson Tide. If Tennessee can beat Mizzou and make their way into the playoffs, Hooker may be able to have another crack at the Georgia D and reestablish himself as a quarterback to watch early in April.
Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU) at Texas
The big bodied unique receiver from in Fort Worth, Texas is doing all he can to solidify himself as wide receiver number one in this draft class. He may when all is said and done have the opportunity to be picked in the top ten of the 2023 NFL Draft – or perhaps higher. This week’s college gameday atmosphere at Texas is just asking for a performance from the receiver that can make him a household name in the media.
Johnston is big but not the bulkiest X-receiver you’ll see. His game in some ways is similar to DeAndre Hopkins with less physicality. He can make contested catches with his body control and long arms, but the best two facets of his game are run after the catch and release. After the catch Johnston is extremely tough to bring down. He is shifty for his size and has exceptional contact balance. With the ball in his hands he can wear down opposing secondaries.
On top of this he has maybe the most explosive off-ball speed from a player at his size we’ve seen. His 40 yard dash time may not be blazing, but his 10 yard split may be. All of this sums up to a high ceiling receiver prospect who has just recently begun to produce like one. At this rate I find it hard – barring injury – that he won’t hear his name called on day 1 of the draft. This game against Texas will help determine how much higher he can rise.
Joey Porter Jr (CB – Penn State) vs Maryland Passing Attack
Joey Porter Jr has earned himself a notable amount of support from the draft community on Twitter already in 2022. Porter has excelled at making plays at the catchpoint while in phase. His aggressive and physical nature of playing cornerback has a boom or bust tendency that can swing games one way or the other. This week against the Maryland passing offense Porter will have an interesting challenge in two physically gifted receivers in Dontay Demus and Rakim Jarrett.
Porter has his share of doubters in the analytics and scouting community. Many will point out the yardage he gives up when he fails to make a play on the ball or his grabbiness while in phase. There is worry that he gets away with a bit more physicality than will be accepted at the NFL level. These two bigger Maryland receivers will force him to play this way and it may catch the eyes of the officiating crew. It’ll be a game to keep an eye on penalty count as well as output. Of course if Porter can intercept a Taulia Tagovailoa pass it may make up for this style.
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