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Titans Fan Guide: Showcase Saturday 2

Lots of interesting game across the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 as rivalry games are kicked off in earnest.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Duke at UNC NOON ESPN2

- The storied hoops rivalry takes to the gridiron as both teams are in contention for the ACC Coastal division lead. Duke is coming off a stunning loss to Miami in what could be the most controversial referee decisions of this century. Miami returned a last second kickoff for a touchdown despite there being multiple instances of blocking infractions and a runner’s knee touching the turf. The Heels are coming off a perfunctory win over a surprising Pittsburgh team. Can the Blue Devils bounce back after a heartbreaking loss to defeat its bitter rivals nine miles away?

UNC Prospects to watch:

Ryan Switzer WR 5’10 185 Junior

- The last name may sound familiar as Ryan is the grandson of legendary Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry. Switzer is purely a slot receiver and return man in the mold of a Wes Welker as he lacks ideal measurables for the NFL. He has several return touchdowns in his career. Has played both inside and outside receiver positions. It’s highly probable that he stays for his senior season.

Landon Turner OG 6’3 325 RS Senior

- A massive road grader type of guard who needs to refine the technical aspects of his game. Has a good base and lower body strength. Turner’s hand usage is subpar in that he relies too much on his strength. He could be the top senior guard off the board in 2016.

#5 ND at Pittsburgh NOON ABC

- While not a direct rivalry game, ND-Pitt has given us some classics over the years as these Northern schools compete for the same recruiting battlegrounds. Pittsburgh has raised their standards in 2015 with a dynamic coach in Pat Narduzzi (who is well acquainted with ND over the years as Michigan State DC). Can the fifth ranked Irish keep their eye on a potential playoff spot should the top four slip or are they prime for an upset?

Notre Dame prospects to watch

Ronnie Stanley 6’5 315 OT RS Junior

- Stanley could’ve been the first tackle off the board in the 2015 draft had he declared for early entry. He’s the best tackle in the country by far.

Nick Martin 6’3 320 G/C Senior

- Martin is the younger brother of current Cowboys lineman Zack. Nick might end up being a better pro prospect. Can play both guard and center but will likely end up as a guard at the next level.

KeiVarae Russell 5’11 190 CB Senior

- Russell is doing the Everett Golson aka returning from a year long academic misconduct suspension. He has the potential to be the best corner in the country. Revis Island like potential.

Sheldon Day 6’2 285 DT Senior

- Day is this year’s Grady Jarrett in that he can play all of the line positions without losing a step. A still raw prospect that has yet to fully utilize all of his talents. He flashed particularly well against Florida State last year.

Jaylon Smith 6’2 235 OLB Junior

- A tackling machine that could be considered as the best outside linebacker in the nation. The defensive general for the Irish. A smaller Von Miller if you will.

#16 Florida State at #1 Clemson 3:30 PM ABC

- The annual ACC Atlantic winner take all showdown is finally upon us. Clemson has been appointed the top ranked team in the country by the playoff committee. Florida State is in an unfamiliar role as the underdog. Both teams have circled this date on the calendar as THE game that will determine their destinies. The Noles are coming off a humiliation of Syracuse while Clemson slipped away from a game NC State squad. Can the young Noles walk into Death Valley and walk out with a victory over its bitter rival Tigers? Can the Tigers hold their nerve as the top ranked team in the country? Sophomore sensation QB Deshaun Watson is one to watch for as he’s one of the best QBs in the nation, regardless of draft eligibility. Will the Tigers finally shed their infamous label of “Clemsoning”?

Florida State prospects to watch

Everett Golson 6’0 200 QB RS Senior

- Golson is a graduate transfer from Notre Dame who elected to leave South Bend after allegedly falling out with HC Brian Kelly. He has a propensity to turn the ball over at alarming rates, which hasn’t shown itself thus far in Tallahassee. Golson is very scattershot but has enough arm strength to make all the big league throws. Pocket presence is not ideal. Mental toughness is unquestioned. He’s very position specific in that he doesn’t have the ideal measureables to change positions in the pros. Unknown job status as of this writing.

Jalen Ramsey 6’1 204 DB Junior

- Ramsey is arguably the Seminoles’ best player. Athletic ability, instincts, and ball skills are very good. Versatile defender as he’s played safety, corner, and some linebacker. Had a monster 2014 season as a sophomore, winning several games by himself (see Louisville and Miami games in particular). He will play 2015 as a boundary corner exclusively after the pro departure of several teammates at that position. Barring a dip in form and/or injury, Ramsey is likely a top ten pick next year should he take that route. Funny note: Ramsey is also one of kick returners but he has to change his jersey on the sideline before every kick due to the NCAA rule that no two players on the same unit can have the same number. WR Kermit Whitfield also wears #8 so Ramsey has to switch to #17.  He asked permission from former Noles legend Charlie Ward to wear his retired #17.

Terrance Smith 6’4 224 OLB RS Senior

- Smith was the heir apparent to current Jaguar linebacker Telvin Smith. Speed is the name of his game and he brings not much else to the table. Smith is one of two linebackers on the roster currently healthy and active after multiple injuries and transfers. He needs a good 2015 campaign to get drafted late. Projected to return.

Chris Casher DE 6’4 250 RS Junior

- Casher is an above average athlete with very little that could translate to outside linebacker. It was an embarrassing sight when he was ordered to drop back into coverage by DC Charles Kelly (who’s proven to be in over his head but that’s another story for another time). A four star recruit from Alabama. Has some pass rush moves but needs further development.

Roberto Aguayo K RS Junior 6’1 203

- Aguayo is the best kicker in all of college football, no questions asked. Possesses a strong leg and is one of the most accurate kickers in history. He has made four of five kicks from 50 yards and beyond in his career. Hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (150+ tries) so far in his illustrious career. 2013 Lou Groza award winner and runner up for the 2014 award. He actually contemplated declaring for the 2015 draft before deciding to return to school. Could’ve been drafted within the first 3 or 4 rounds had he done so. He has the draft option again this year. Would be the second kicker in school history to declare early should he choose that. (Sebastian Janikowski is the first and only kicker in NCAA history to do so).

Clemson prospects to watch

Mackensie Alexander 5’11 185 CB RS Sophomore

- Alexander is the second best corner in the conference. He boldly claimed that he was the best corner in the ACC and he just might have the skills to back it up. Fundamentally sound and is very coachable. Athleticism is above average as well. However, Alexander is old for a RS Sophomore at 22 years old.

Jayron Kearse 6’4 205 S Junior

- Kearse is one of the top safeties in the ACC, if not the entire country. Athleticism is off the charts good but he needs to work on fundamentals. Very inexperienced with only 17 career starts. Needs an NFL strength and conditioning program desperately as frame cannot hold up for 16+ games as presently constituted. NFL bloodlines are impressive as any prospect in this year’s class. He’s a cousin of former Miami Hurricane DB Phillip Buchanon (who had a good career with the storied early 2000s Canes teams). The last name should be very familiar to Titans fans as he’s the nephew of former Titans standout pass rusher Jevon Kearse.

#7 Michigan State at Nebraska 7 PM ESPN

- Sparty has made several games this year very interesting and Nebraska desperately needs signature win for Mike Riley’s first year in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers defense has been nonexistent this year and has been repeatedly burnt for big plays. They have put up a whopping six losses, which is the most for a first year coach there. Bowl eligibility may be a struggle this year. Look for MSU to go away from its moneymaker and air it out against a weak Huskers secondary.

Nebraska prospects to watch

Maliek Collins 6’2 300 DT Junior

- Collins is more of an athlete than a technician at the tackle spot. His footwork and agility are above average. However, it’s all he needs to improve on technique instead of relying on his speed and athleticism. Hand usage is good enough to get by. Needs to develop a countermove to offset his great first step.

Jordan Westerkamp 6’0 195 WR RS Junior

- Westerkamp is Nebraska’s top returning receiver and will replace the departed Kenny Bell as the lead dog. Due to his size limitations, he will be limited to the slot in the NFL unless he shows some improvement on the outside. It could be a long 2015 for him as Nebraska’s QB situation is unsettled and very inconsistent.

Cal at Oregon 10:30 PM ESPN2

- The annual grudge match between the Ducks and Golden Bears. Cal needs a win in the worst way after losing three in a row, especially after losing a close match with reeling USC last week. Oregon is coming off a wacky #Pac12AfterDark 61-55 three overtime thriller against MCM’s own Saint’s beloved Sun Devils. The Ducks got away with some mind-blowingly awful Whisenhunt style calls on offense and have done so for the most part all year. Cal has struggled to live up to the hype this year as they’ve been actually trying to be historically terrible. Their DC Don Pellum is essentially Jerry Gray. The OC Scott Frost is an awful combo of youthful Dowell Loggains and the stubbornness of Whiz. If Cal doesn’t put up at least 40, I’d be very surprised. Expect another wild #Pac12AfterDark game in Eugene tonight.

Cal prospect to watch

Jared Goff 6’4 210 Junior QB

- Goff is the top draft eligible quarterback in this year’s class. His direct comparison could be the Titans’ very own Marcus Mariota. Goff possesses just enough arm strength to make all the big league throws. Intelligence and system versatility are also a plus. A traditional pocket passer developed in the Texas Tech style Air Raid offense (Sonny Dykes is a Mike Leach disciple). However, Goff has some questions as well, namely can he hold up for the entire season given his frame. Another negative is the system he’s currently in doesn’t bode well for his future given the lack of success from former Air Raid QBs. Is it pure talent or the high tempo spread system making him look good?

Oregon prospects to watch

DeForest Buckner 6’7 290 DE Senior

- Arik Armstead who? Buckner is just as good if not better than the 49ers first round pick in the 2015 Draft. He’s a physical marvel and has very little bad weight. More of a brute strength type of defensive end instead of the speed type we’ve seen from Oregon in years past. Has some ability to drop back into coverage but it’s not the best aspect of his game.

Bralon Addison 5’10 190 WR RS Junior

- Addison is making his way back to full fitness after tearing his knee up in fall camp last year. It’s been a slow but steady recovery for him and with Oregon’s offense struggling somewhat, hasn’t shown his true talents. He’s normally a speed merchant with above average hands and great return ability. Frame at the next level will certainly be a question as he’s limited to the slot given his current body type. Frequently spotted as the WildDuck (puts $20 into the ATQ tip jar) QB.

Tyler Johnstone 6’6 295 OT Redshirt Senior

- Johnstone has been a stalwart tackle for the Ducks when he’s healthy. The medical at the Combine will be scrutinized very closely by the doctors there as he’s torn his ACL twice in back to back years. 2015 has been a bounce back year for him however. Fits more of a right tackle role than a left one but he is capable at both spots. Bonus games to watch

Texas Tech at WVU NOON Fox Sports 1

  • The couches won’t be the only thing burning in Morgantown tonight. I hope the scoreboard operator got a good night’s sleep in last night. He’ll be very busy I suspect.

Minnesota at #3 Ohio State 8 PM ABC

- The see saw QB battle has swung back into Cardale Jones’ corner as former starter JT Barrett lost his scholarship and job due to a DWI last week. The Gophers gave the Buckeyes a scare in this game last year.

Navy at #13 Memphis 7 PM ESPN2

- Which QB shows up? The option oriented Midshipman Keenan Reynolds or the passing savant Tiger Paxton Lynch? Memphis HC Justin Fuente is arguably the hottest coaching candidate out there this year. He’s going to get several offers from big name programs.