Good Morning New York Giants fans!
Happy Saturday and welcome to Week 12 of the college football season. It feels like the college season only just got started a week or two ago, but we only have two weeks remaining until the conference championship games.
There’s a bit of a lull in the schedule this week before the craziness that is Rivalry Weekend next week (and, of course, Championship Weekend the following week). But that doesn’t mean we don’t have good games to watch today.
(1) Georgia vs. Kentucky
CBS - 3:30 p.m. ET
Apparently we need to choose between watching the top ranked teams in the land.
The game between Kentucky and Georgia has a bit more on the line as this is a prime chance for Kentucky QB Will Levis to improve his draft stock. While Levis has consistently been one of the top three quarterbacks in the upcoming draft class, there seems to be a bit of separation between him and the duo of Brice Young and C.J. Stroud. It’s would be a colossal upset for Kentucky to win (granted, we’ve seen more than a few of those already this year), but a strong performance against Georgia’s dominant defense could work wonders for his draft stock.
We’ve already talked plenty about Georgia, and my standard advice still applies: Enjoy the game, take note of which players jump off the screen and circle back to them later. Georgia is just too stacked to call out every potential NFL player.
(2) Ohio State vs. Maryland
ABC - 3:30 p.m. ET
Let’s get this out of the way: all eyes will be on OSU quarterback C.J. Stroud. He will likely be the first quarterback drafted on April 27th and there’s a very good chance that he’s the first player off the board.
Ohio State is a thoroughly talented team, with future NFL players in just about every position group. As with Georgia, I’d suggest enjoying the game and taking note of which players stand out.
I’ve wanted to talk about Maryland for a while, but haven’t had a good chance.
We should probably start with QB Taulia Tagovailoa. Tua Tagovailoa’s younger brother got off to a very hot start to the season but cooled off after injuring — and then re-injuring — his knee. Taulia is an undersized quarterback at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, but he is a strong runner who also has the arm talent to drive the ball down the field with touch and accuracy. He’s flying under the radar and might return to school for a fifth year, but a good performance could make him a sleeper at the QB position.
OT Jaelyn Duncan is easily Maryland’s highest graded player. He could well be a first round prospect and one of the first offensive tackles off the board. While the Giants don’t need his services, he is a big, powerful tackle with the mobility to be a good starter at the NFL level.
Wide receivers Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus Jr. are intriguing options in the middle rounds. Jarrett is a compact slot receiver with good football IQ and run-after-catch ability. His stout frame makes him tough to tackle and NFL teams could see him as a player in the mold of Deebo Samuel. Demus is a big 6-foot-3, 220 pound receiver with the size, long speed, and physicality to be a true “X” receiver. He also has experience as a “big slot”, which is becoming more popular at the NFL level.
(7) USC at (14) UCLA
Fox - 8 p.m. ET
For our final spotlight of the day, I wanted to check in on the PAC 12.
It feels as though USC lineman Andrew Vorhees has been in college football since forever, and as a sixth-year senior, he kinda has. Vorhees is an interesting prospect who’s size (6-foot-6, 320 pounds) suggests offensive tackle, but his athletic traits might make him an interior lineman at the next level. He has the athleticism to play center, though his height might make that problematic. Vorhees will be a very interesting player to evaluate over the process, and he could be one of the most versatile linemen in the draft, or a player without a natural home.
USC is also hoping to get WR Jordan Addison going this game. The junior receiver is generally regarded as one of the best in the upcoming draft, but he suffered an injury back in October against Utah and was held to just 1 catch for 2 yards last week against Colorado.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu has put up some serious numbers this year. The 6-foot-4, 290 pound junior has 32 tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 passes defensed.
The potential matchup between Tuipulotu and UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet could be a fun one to watch.
Charbonnet has averaged 7.5 yards per carry this season and has 13 touchdowns on the year. He is a big (6-foot-1, 220 pound), powerful, one-cut runner with good vision and surprising agility for his size. Charbonnet is a load to bring down once he gets moving, but he’s also a back who needs a bit of a runway before he really gets going. We’ll see if Tuipulotu (and company) are able to get Charbonnet down before he gets going.
Of course, UCLA has other options if Charbonnet can’t get going. QB Dorian Thompson-Robertson has blossomed under Chip Kelly, completing 71 percent of his passes at a clip of 9.0 adjusted yards per attempt and has thrown 20 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. He’s a bit undersized at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, but he also a capable runner who has 23 rushing touchdowns over the last four years. Thompson-Robertson is obviously accurate in and out of the pocket and he also has a reputation as a fiery competitor. He’ll be throwing to 6-foot-5 receiver Jake Bobo, who is having a breakout year at UCLA after transferring from Duke (where he played from 2018 to 2021). Bobo doesn’t have gaudy numbers, but his 43 receptions, averaging 15.1 yards per catch and 6 touchdowns are by far the best among UCLA’s receivers.
This is an interesting game from a scouting perspective, and a matchup between Lincoln Riley and Chip Kelly could make for a downright fun game to watch.