There are several critical games on Black Friday that will determine many things, including potential playoff dreams of contenders. Who will step up?
Nebraska at Iowa NOON Fox
- The Huskers are coming to Kinnick Stadium hot as they’ve won four of the past five games after starting 0-6. They won’t be bowling but it’s a nice finish to build the foundation of the Scott Frost regime in Lincoln. The Hawkeyes are entering this contest cold as they’ve lost three of the past four. Can Iowa turn its fortunes around so that they can feel a bit better heading into their bowl game? Can the Huskers keep on building towards the 2019 season?
Nebraska prospect to watch
1. Stanley Morgan, Jr 6’0 195 WR Senior
- Morgan is an underrated receiver prospect that has been shining for a program that has struggled a bit under prodigal son HC Scott Frost. He’s a plus athlete that finds the little spaces in between defenders. Technical route runner. Ball skills are ideal. However, his size will come into question during the offseason.
Iowa prospect to watch
1. Noah Fant 6’4 232 TE Junior
- Fant has been widely considered to be TE1 for a majority of his junior season. Nothing really has changed that perception. He’s an excellent athlete that should test well if he elects to declare early. TE1 is all that’s needed for him.
2. T.J. Hockenson 6’5 243 TE RS Sophomore
- See clip. Enough said. He’s also a solid pass catcher to boot. It’s rare that a teammate would challenge for position 1 honors but Hockenson is coming around the bend fast on Fant. He’s been that good.
Houston at Memphis NOON ABC
- The Cougars travel to Memphis in a pivotal winner takes all contest in the AAC West division. The scenario is simple for Houston: win and they’re in the AAC title game. Memphis needs a win and Navy to beat Tulane to clinch the division due to a head to head loss to Tulane. Reportedly star defensive tackle Ed Oliver will play in this game after a lengthy layoff due to injury.
Houston prospects to watch
1. Ed Oliver 6’2 290 DT Junior
- The much talked about former five star recruit is nearing the end of a standout college career. He’s the best defensive tackle in the class without question (though Q Williams might challenge him). He’s an athletic freak. Virtually unstoppable. Has been hurt a bit this season with a knee injury. Recently became involved in a minor incident involving a wearing a starter’s only jacket issue with his coach Major Applewhite. The closest any DT has come being college version of Aaron Donald 2.0 in recent years.
2. Isaiah Johnson 6’2 195 CB Senior
- He’s a taller corner so teams will like that about him. Can turn and run with receivers as well. Athleticism is a plus. From the film that I’ve seen him, he seems very uninspired in his pursuit to the football in pass and run, the run game especially. He doesn’t even bother to engage the blocker most of the time. Gets a little too grabby beyond the five yard rule as well. Will need a big Senior Bowl week to change my perception of him. Has already accepted his invitation to the event.
Memphis prospect to watch
1. Darrell Henderson 5’9 200 RB Junior
- Henderson is currently the second leading rusher in the country with 1,521 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s a dynamic athlete that can play bigger than his size indicates. One of the best running backs that no one talks about but should get drafted early. He’s a home run threat on every carry. He’s fourth in the nation is yards per carry with 8.7 per attempt. He #good.
#6 Oklahoma at #13 West Virginia 8 PM ESPN
- The Sooners will take their wares to Morgantown to decide who will play in the Big 12 title game. OU can clinch a spot with a win. WVU can clinch with either a win or loss if Texas somehow loses to Kansas AGAIN due to defeating Texas outright. An OU loss coupled with a Texas win knocks the Sooners out due to head to head. The only question is which defense will show up a little bit?
Oklahoma prospects to watch
1. Bobby Evans 6’5 299 OT RS Junior
- One of the better tackles in the country. Athleticism is a plus. Footwork is solid. Could project as a guard at the next level. If the 299 is accurate, he may have to add on some weight to play tackle.
2. Marquise Brown 5’10 168 WR Junior
- “Hollywood” is having a breakout junior campaign that has a lot of people turning heads. He’s a speed demon. Used all over the place in the offense. Lateral agility and quickness is elite. Frame is questionable however. He needs to put on some weight.
West Virginia prospects to watch
1. Will Grier 6’1 214 QB RS Senior
- Grier is one of the best pocket passers in the class. He makes everything seem so effortless in terms of moving the pocket, making the right reads, and has enough arm talent to make the throws. Has enough athleticism to make things work when things are not on schedule. Footwork is a plus. He profiles as a Colt McCoy type. Has posted a 67% completion rate with 33 touchdowns to only eight interceptions.
2. Gary Jennings, Jr 6’1 209 WR Senior
-He’s an reliable weapon for the Eers. The Air Raid offense has benefited him tremendously as he’s the second leading receiver on the team with 47 receptions and 692 yards to go with 11 touchdowns. A big play specialist with 14.7 yards per catch.
3. Marcus Simms 6’0 195 WR Junior
- The third leading receiver on the team and generally considered to be Grier’s safety valve when things break down. He has posted 44 receptions and 682 yards with two touchdowns. Has a yards per catch of 15.5. Could be WR1 for the team next year.
4. Yodny Cajuste 6’5 315 OT RS Senior
- The Air Raid has undersold his hype a bit during his career along with the fact that he’s been injured here and there (not enough to miss games but little bumps and bruises). Football IQ is a plus. Technician. Fundamentally sound. Experienced as a senior. Could be drafted in the middle rounds and be a steal. Not the most fleet of foot but he gets the job done.
#16 Washington at #8 Washington State 8:30 PM Fox
The Apple Cup
- Win or go home. The Apple Cup once again will determine the Pac-12 North winner to face Utah in the conference title game. A Huskies win will more than likely knock out the conference out of the playoff. A Cougars win will keep the dream alive for another week at least. Washington has owned the series as of late, winning five straight and 13 of the 18 this century overall. Can the Cougs break the streak?
Washington prospects to watch
1. Aaron Fuller 5’10 187 WR Junior
- Fuller is the go to weapon for Jake Browning and it shows. He has an almost 300 yard lead on the second leading receiver. Has enjoyed a breakout junior campaign thus far. Profiles as an excellent slot weapon at the next level.
2. Ben Burr-Kiven 6’0 222 LB Senior
- BBK is a stat sheet monster. He leads the entire country in tackles with a whopping 145 to go with one sack and an interception. He’s an athlete at the position. A bowling ball of energy. Ball skills are a plus. Size will limit him to a specialized role at the next level.
3. Myles Bryant 5’8 180 CB Junior
- Size wise, he compares to the Rams’ standout cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. He plays a lot bigger than what he’s listed at. Due to size, he won’t be CB1 but will still play a bit as the third cornerback at the next level. Lateral agility is a plus and instincts are as well. Versatile athlete with great speed.
4. Byron Murphy 6’0 175 CB RS Sophomore
- Washington’s other starter at corner is pretty good in his own right. He’s a solid athlete that will test well should he declare early for the draft. Pops off the screen when I watch him play. Doesn’t get beat often but when he does, he makes up for it.
5. Taylor Rapp 6’0 212 S Junior
- He is the best safety in the Pac-12 and possibly among the best in the nation. His 2018 season is just more evidence of this. He’s simply a play maker that flies around the field with calculative abandon. Versatile stat sheet as Rapp has posted 51 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles.
6. Greg Gaines 6’1 332 DT / NT RS Senior
- The next man up in the Huskies’ recent trend of standout interior defensive linemen. He’s a classic space eating type of 3-4 nose tackle. A monster in the middle when rushing the passer. Lack of athleticism like his predecessors will hurt his stock a bit.
Washington State prospects to watch
1. Jalen Thompson 6’0 191 S Junior
- One of the more underrated safety prospects in the country. Rangy, ball hawking type of free safety. Instinctive as a pass defender. Fundamentally sound in coverage. He has put up 54 tackles, three tackles for loss, and seven passes defensed.
2. Gardner Minshew 6’1 220 QB RS Senior
- Minshew Mustache Mania has gripped the nation in 2018 as he has led the Cougs to the doorstep of the Pac-12 North title and beyond. As a prospect, he can make all the big league throws and is very accurate in the short and intermediate game. He has completed over 70% of his passes and has lived off of crosses, slants, outs, and the other various short routes to get receivers open. The obvious system fit questions will crop up during the offseason. He’s a grad transfer from East Carolina. Has run some form of the Air Raid offense since high school.
3. James Williams 5’11 195 RB RS Junior
- Williams is a versatile athlete for a running back. He’s equally adept at the running thing and also receiving out of the backfield. The stats and film back it up as he leads the team in rushing and receptions. Has nearly the same amount of rushing yards as to receiving yards. Should be interesting as we near decision day in January.
Bonus games to watch
Virginia at Virginia Tech 3:30 PM ABC
#9 UCF at USF 4:15 PM ESPN