(7) UCLA at Virginia NOON EDT ESPN
- The Bruins are led by Heisman candidate QB Brett Hundley, who's primed for a big year after returning for his RS Junior year. On defense, they are led by two key prospects in LB Eric Kendricks and DL Ellis McCarthy. UCLA should be in contention for the Pac-12 crown with the likes of Stanford and Oregon. On other side, a traditionally mid tier ACC member Virginia awaits. You have to give credit to the Cavaliers for scheduling tough OOC games early. In years past, they have played the likes of USC (in their heyday), Oregon, and now UCLA. Several standout recruiting classes have replenished the talent level in Charlottesville and yielded some draft eligible prospects.
UCLA prospects to watch
1. Brett Hundley QB 6'3 222 RS Junior (#52)
- If things break right for him, he has a chance to be the third QB taken in 2015. There's a lot of Logan Thomas in his game (in a bad way) that needs coaching. Right now, I grade him as a second round prospect.
2. Eric Kendricks ILB 6'0 228 RS Senior (#55)
- Kendricks comes from an athletic family background. His father played for the Bruins as a running back and brother Mychal is currently a linebacker for the Eagles after going to Cal. He's a very good athlete but is very undersized for the inside linebacker position. Perhaps a move outside will do him some good in the pros. I would give him a first round grade based on his potential but the size knocks him down into the late second.
Virginia prospects to watch
1. Anthony Harris S 6'1 190 (#40)
- Harris is considered to be one of the best overall safety prospects in the class. He can play either free or strong. However, is he a one hit wonder or can he sustain his progression? I give him a fourth round grade but has a chance to move up into the second with a great senior season.
West Virginia vs (2) Alabama 3:30 PM ABC/ESPN2
- The Georgia Dome staff has a quick turnaround for their second Kickoff Classic in three days. This game is alternatively called the Former FSU QB Bowl. Both teams feature former Florida State QBs who transferred due to a certain Jameis Winston winning the job in Tallahassee. West Virginia has Clint Trickett (son of FSU OL coach Rick) and Alabama has Jacob Coker (who allegedly took the QB battle to the final week of fall practice in 2013). West Virginia doesn't have much in the way of draft prospects right now but Alabama is loaded as usual.
Alabama prospects to watch
1. Amari Cooper WR 6'1 205 Junior (#18)
- The number one receiver for the Tide and has been compared to former Tide standout and current Falcon, Julio Jones. Cooper will be expected to carry the load in 2014.
2. TJ Yeldon RB 6'1 218 Junior (#23)
- He runs too upright though for my liking. A great athlete that can also help in the screen game. Yeldon could challenge for the top RB taken honors. Second round could be his ceiling.
3. Christion Jones WR 5'11 185 Senior (#54)
- Can the electric playmaker step up and lead the Tide WR corps? A fourth round grade for him.
4. Landon Collins S 6'0 215 Junior (#60)
- He got next. After patiently waiting his turn behind the Tide's secondary studs, it's his time to shine. Also part of the most hilarious commitment moment of recent memory. One that neither Alabama nor LSU fans will forget for a very long time. While he isn't in HCD's class, he's a good athlete. A first round grade from me.
5. Arie Kouandjio 6'5 315 OG Senior (#68)
- The older brother of Cyrus Kouandijo and a good line prospect in his own right. Not quite Chance Warmack (few are, really) but a third round grade awaits him.
6. Trey DePriest ILB 6'2 245 Senior (#98)
- Needs step up in a big way for the Tide after the loss of CJ Mosely to the pros. He's looked upon as only a two down linebacker so that will hurt him.
(16) Clemson at (12) Georgia 5:30 PM EDT ESPN
- These two old rivals match wits once again. Likely the best game of the day. Georgia is breaking in a new (old) QB after Aaron Murray finally graduated to the pros. Clemson is doing the same as well. Tigers DE Vic Beasley should be salivating at that. UGA also has a new DC in Jeremy Pruitt, who came over from Florida State. Can the Tigers finally figure out Pruitt's defense, given a second chance at it? Clemson also has two intriguing prospects on the DL in Corey Crawford and Grady Jarrett.
Clemson prospects to watch
1. Vic Beasley OLB 6'2 235 RS Senior (#4)
- Beasley was a pass rushing force of nature for the Tigers in the vein that Aldon Smith was for Missouri. He is a bit undersized and needs to settle down in a position for 2014. Arguably one of the better outside linebackers in the class. He should go in the top 20 if things go right.
Georgia prospects to watch
1. Todd Gurley RB 6'1 232 Junior (#12)
- Gurley could be the best back in the class, provided that he stays healthy. He has prototypical size and underrated speed. A third round grade at best because of his health questions. Likely settles into the fourth round, not based on talent but the going rate for RBs these days.
2. Ramik Wilson ILB 6'2 232 Senior (#21)
- Alec Ogletree who? A second round grade from me.
3. Jordan Jenkins OLB 6'2 246 Junior (#31)
- Jarvis Jones who? He has that much talent and looks to thrive under new DC Jeremy Pruitt. A third round grade.
4. Damian Swann CB 5'11 178 Senior (#87)
- Really needs a bounce back year after a dismal 2013. A 6th round prospect.
5. Leonard Floyd OLB 6'4 230 RS Sophomore (NR)
- He has a ton of potential and it could be argued that he is the most talented pass rusher in the SEC.
(1) Florida State vs Oklahoma State 8 PM ABC
- Jerry's World is the venue for this ACC vs Big 12 battle. While FSU returns a significant amount of starters despite all of the personnel losses in the past couple of years, Oklahoma State has lost a ton to graduation, injury, and suspension. The Cowboys also have issues at QB. FSU obviously does not, returning the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
Florida State prospects to watch
1. Cameron Erving OT 6'5 320 RS Senior (#5)
- Erving is one of the best tackles in this year's class. He started out as a defensive line recruit at the tender age of 16 and developed into a great tackle under the tutelage of Rick Trickett.
2. Mario Edwards, Jr DE 6'3 277 Junior (#9)
- The former top ranked recruit in the 2012 class had a monster 2013 after battling some weight issues as a freshman. He's a freak athlete with a good NFL bloodline as his father Mario, Sr played at FSU and had a decent career with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s
3. Jameis Winston QB 6'3 228 RS Sophomore (#11)
- The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is back to lead the Seminoles once more. Off field issues aside, he might be the latest in a long line of QBs under Jimbo Fisher to get drafted in the first round.
4. PJ Williams CB 6'0 190 Junior (#20)
- Lamarcus Joyner's heir apparent and the guy who made the key interception in the title game, which sealed the Defensive MVP honors for him.
5. Rashad Greene WR 6'0 180 Senior (#26)
- Who was Winston's go to guy in clutch situations? Greene. A bit undersized but is an excellent route runner and knows how to find space where there is none.
6. Tre Jackson OG 6'4 330 Senior (#34)
- The best guard in this year's class, no question. Can also play center and tackle in a pinch.
7. Karlos Williams RB 6'1 223 Senior (#39)
- Former 5 star recruit at safety that converted to running back in 2013 with good results. Doak Walker award sleeper candidate.
(14) Wisconsin vs (13) LSU 9 PM EDT ESPN
- This game might be the most entertaining to watch. Neutral site action as NRG Stadium (Houston Texans) plays host. LSU will have a new QB as current Titans QB Zach Mettenberger has obligations elsewhere. His backup, Anthony Jennings has been selected to start. A traditionally strong Wisconsin running game meets a somewhat weakened Tigers defense.
LSU prospects to watch
1. La'El Collins OT 6'5 315 Senior (#25)
2. Jalen Collins CB 6'1 195 RS Junior (#33)
3. Jermauria Rasco 6'3 262 DE Junior (#65)
4. Ronald Martin S 6'1 218 Senior (#83)
Wisconsin prospects to watch
1. Melvin Gordon RB 6'1 207 RS Junior (#16)
Other games of note
Cal at Northwestern 3:30 PM EDT ESPN2/ABC
- A battle between two academic powerhouse institutions. Also interesting because of Northwestern players' efforts to unionize all of college sports.
Fresno State at (15) USC 7:30 PM EDT Fox
- The Steve Sarkesian era gets underway against a Carr-less Fresno State program.