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Titans Fan Guide: The Rivalry Edition

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NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State
Denzel Ward. Future Tennessee Titan?
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

It’s rivalry weekend! Which prospects will come up big or fall short?

#9 Ohio State at Michigan NOON FOX

- The Game. Can this year top last year's rendition where the Buckeyes got a huge fourth down conversion at the death to keep their hopes of a win alive? OSU needs a win and some major chaos above them to make it into the playoff. Michigan just needs a win over a rival since Captain Khaki struggles with beating the Spartans and Buckeyes. Michigan DC Don Brown needs to conjure whatever magic he has to stop the could be potent Buckeyes offense. Maybe this year, the Wolverines can stop the Buckeyes before the imaginary yellow line so Harbaugh is a bit more positive this time.

Ohio State prospects to watch

1. Denzel Ward 5'10 191 CB Junior

- Ward is the next man up in a long line of Buckeyes CBs to stand out before going pro. He's one of the better corners in the country. A track star with a purported sub 4.4 40 speed. A physical player with good ball skills. Should follow his predecessors early into the draft as a junior. CB3 in terms pure talent in my book.

2. Sam Hubbard 6'5 265 DE RS Junior

- Hubbard has been on the radar for basically his entire career after being called into duty early replacing an injured Joey Bosa. Hubbard has tailed off somewhat since a hot start but still is considered to be one of the better ends in the class. A 4-3 end by trade but can play in a 3-4.

3. Tyquan Lewis 6'3 265 DE RS Senior

- Lewis has seemingly been in the program for forever now. Experienced in pretty much everything an offense can throw at him. A guy who doesn't mind doing the dirty work for the team. Athleticism is above average. Projects as a 3-4 defensive end.

4. J.T. Barrett 6'1 220 QB RS Senior

- It seems like a generation ago that Barrett burst onto the scene as a freshman leading the Buckeyes on a national title run before getting hurt. He's been through multiple QB competitions since then and has won every single one. An above average athlete with limited improvement as a passer. Inconsistent as they come. Can dominate one game and no show the next. He's graded out to be a priority UDFA due to the severe inconsistencies in his game.

Michigan prospects to watch

1. Mike McCray II 6'4 248 LB RS Senior

- The leader of a depleted Wolverines defense that will be a chore to play against. A Big Ten legacy as father played for the rival Buckeyes. An above average athlete and fundamental tackler. Will be relied upon to set the tone as the leader.

2. Rashan Gary 6'4 287 DT Sophomore (2019)

- Gary is a beast inside the trenches. Still a beast.

3. Maurice Hurst 6'2 269 DL Senior

- Hurst has been a rising star this year for a fearsome Wolverines front seven. He's very quick for his size and is very fundamentally sound like most Michigan defenders. Knows his role and executes nearly every time. Is a first round lock at this point.

Florida State at Florida NOON ESPN

- How far have these two power programs fallen off the map? USF, UCF, and FAU have more than doubled their combined win total this year. Both teams are beyond horribly atrocious on offense and won't likely get any better any time soon. Florida has eliminated noted offensive guru Chip Kelly from coaching consideration. Florida State needs to win out to be bowl eligible. If you're looking for offense in this one, you'd be hard pressed to find it. It will be a struggle where a FG might win this one.

Florida State prospects to watch

1. Derwin James 6'3 212 S Junior

- The best safety prospect in the nation without question. He's an elite athlete with great instincts. The engine that makes the Noles defense hum. A physical force tackling opponents. Has had an inconsistent 2017 season thus far. He's been playing a lot better of late. Back to being the Derwin James we know.

2. Derrick Nnadi 6'1 313 DT Senior

- Nnadi is the latest prospect in a long line of productive Seminole defensive tackles. He really came on as a junior and could've gone pro but came back to school. A handful to deal with on the interior. He's a monster inside. Could be a 3-4 nose tackle at the next level. The heir apparent to continue the legacy of Timmy Jernigan and Eddie Goldman.

3. Tavarus McFadden 6'2 198 CB Junior

- Elite ball skills and athleticism. Fundamentally sound as a tackler. Regressed as junior for some reason. Production box is checked with 8 career interceptions as a sophomore. Teams will fall in love with his measureables.

4. Matthew Thomas 6'3 227 LB RS Senior

- Thomas has been an enigma throughout his entire career. A former top five star recruit that finally showed some promise as a RS Junior due to a multitude of off field issues. On field, he's a playmaker with above average athleticism. Plus football IQ and instincts. A throwback to an old school hard hitting linebacker type. Interviews will be key for him during the process.

Florida prospects to watch

1. Martez Ivey 6'5 315 OL Junior

- Ivey has had an inconsistent career to date due to injuries but really turned it on as a sophomore. He's a rare five star recruit that has panned out for the Gators on offense lately. Has been a key cog on a struggling Gators offense in 2017.

2. Duke Dawson 5'11 208 CB Senior

- Dawson is new defensive general for the Gators after waiting his turn behind NFL talent. Really needs the draft process to go well for him as medicals have been a concern throughout the 2017 season for him.

#1 Alabama at #6 Auburn 3:30 PM CBS

- The Iron Bowl. The stakes could not be any higher for this edition as the winner takes the SEC West and a date in Atlanta next week. College GameDay is in town. Auburn will rely on stud back Kerryon Johnson to power them through the imposing Tide front seven. The Tigers are more balanced this year with an actual competent QB in Jarett Stidham. Bama is the usual Bama Death Machine but they can be exploited through an shaky and injured LB corps. Tide QB Jalen Hurts has improved but not nearly enough to scare opposing defenses as a passer. Can the Tide survive and advance on The Plains? The last time the SEC West was on the line, the Kick Six happened.

Alabama prospects to watch

1. Minkah Fitzpatrick 6'1 203 CB Junior

- The nation's best cornerback prospect and it isn't particularly close, either. Impact day one starter even as a freshman. Elite athlete. Position versatile as he played safety a ton last year after Eddie Jackson went down with injury. He's good. Not much left to be said. Possibly the most talented of the Bama corners of recent lore. Has dealt with a hamstring issue as of late.

2. Calvin Ridley 6'1 188 WR Junior

- 2016 was not a fun experience for him as the Tide were breaking in a true freshman QB but he has a ton of potential. The Tide's WR1 this year. Pretty good athlete. Outstanding route runner. Above average blocker. He's getting some buzz lately as a WR1 from differing sources.

3. DaRon Payne 6'2 308 DL Junior

- One guy leaves for the NFL, the next guy comes in and balls out. The machine that is the Bama defensive linemen room continues with Payne. Above average athlete. Has really stood out despite the presence of all world Da'Shawn Hand. Likely to go pro early.

4. Rashaan Evans 6'4 234 LB RS Senior

- Evans is a beast. He got next in the long line of great Tide linebackers that are inevitable pros. He is a playmaker all over the field and the stats show it. Had a monstrous season all year. He very well could be my favorite linebacker in this year's class. LB1 regardless of outside and inside.

5. Damien Harris 5'11 221 RB Junior

- Harris has emerged as the lead back in Tide's crowded backfield. Mark Ingram who? TJ Yeldon who? He's that talented. Speed is a plus. Instincts and IQ are as well. The workhorse back that has won the job over the much more hyped Bo Scarborough. Interesting to see if he declares for the draft or not.

Auburn prospects to watch

1. Carlton Davis 6'1 203 CB Junior

- Davis is the best corner on the team. NFL teams will love his size (if accurate). Has had bouts of inconsistency throughout his junior campaign. Gifted athlete that can keep up with nearly every receiver. Really showed out in the Georgia game. He shut down every receiver that came his way. Likely first round pick but settled into the second round range.

2. Jarrett Stidham 6'2 214 QB RS Sophomore

- On a good day, Stidham is one of the best QBs in the country. On a bad day (aka against really good defenses like Clemson), he's just a guy. He really should have selected another school as it will take a long time if ever to shake loose of the bastions of poor QB development that are the Baylor and Auburn programs. Arm talent is a plus. More athletic than given credit for. It will be interesting to see how he handles the monstrous Bama defensive line.

Texas A&M at #18 LSU 7:30 PM SEC Network

- The Aggies travel to Baton Rouge and take on a white hot LSU team looking to end the year on a good note. Interesting note: A&M HC Kevin Sumlin is reportedly out of a job regardless of the result. Can the Aggies deliver a going away present for the outgoing Sumlin? Coach O appears to have finally let notable OC Matt Canada loose with the offense. LSU takes it at home at night in this one.

Texas A&M prospect to watch

1. Christian Kirk 5'11 201 WR/KR Junior

- Kirk has been impressive since stepping foot onto campus. A dynamic athlete that can change games in an instant out of the slot or in the return game. He's vastly improved as a receiver every year. Athleticism is elite. Work ethic and character are pluses. Isn't a diva given his top billing as a recruit and works harder than anyone on the team. He's been one of the best receivers in the SEC this year. Explosive playmaker.

LSU prospects to watch

1. Arden Key 6'6 265 DE/LB Junior

- Key could be the most talented edge rusher in all of college football this year. He should be a pretty high first round pick. Plus athleticism even at his size. A freak athlete that is learning to be very disciplined in gap integrity. The next great Tigers defensive stud? However, he has been a little inconsistent this year. Also, there have been rumblings of personal issues that forced him to miss spring camp. Missed significant time this season due to injury, including last week against Tennessee.

2. Kevin Tolliver II 6'1 193 CB Junior

- The veteran leader of the once again feared Tigers secondary. He's seen and experienced a lot even as a junior. Athleticism is a plus. IQ plus as well. I have him as a CB5 or CB6. Third round grade.

Bonus game to watch

#7 Georgia at Georgia Tech NOON ABC

- The Ramblin Wreck own a two game win streak over the Dogs. QB TaQuan Marshall is good. Georgia needs a win in Atlanta TWICE and some help to get into the playoff.

Louisville at Kentucky NOON SEC Network

- Lamar Jackson vs. pretty solid Wildcats defense.

Vanderbilt at Tennessee 4:00 PM SEC Network

- Someone has to win this one, right?

#5 Wisconsin at Minnesota 3:30 PM ABC

- #ExoticCheese vs Row the Boat. Freshman RB Johnathan Taylor is good

Where are the Titans scouting today?