Three College Football Players the Eagles Should Watch
With the regular season winding down, teams are looking to get a chance at either a shot in the College Football Playoff, a shot in their conference championship game, or even being bowl eligible. There’s only a few games left in the season, and every snap counts at this point for many teams, especially for the top 10. There’s two top-25 matchups this week that will be important for conference races in the Pac 12 and SEC.
Here are three players Eagles fans should keep a close eye on during today’s slate of games.
1. Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
This week’s opponent: vs. Pittsburgh — 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
When you think of the running back class for this year’s NFL Draft, you think of guys like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and even Nick Chubb. But probably not Gallman. Sure the Clemson offense is mainly in part by the success of DeShaun Watson at quarterback, but Gallman plays a very important role in it as well. He’s rushed for 634 yards and eight touchdowns thus far in 2016 after rushing for 1,527 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. He’s a pretty good north-south back and goes through contact instead of preparing for it. Sometimes, he gets into too much contact, specifically with his own blockers. He has a great first step, but his following steps are even better. However, Gallman’s vision can be on and off at times, as he can be late to find holes or miss them entirely. He’s a back that should be available in the second or third round.
2. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
This week’s opponent: @ No. 4 Washington — 7:30 p.m. (FOX)
Haven’t the Eagles gone through this path before with drafting a USC wide receiver in the first round? What makes Smith-Schuster different than Nelson Agholor? The junior plays with strength and aggression and uses his upper-body strength and is able to wall off defenders down the field. He can make unbelievable catches and he is a great ball tracker, catching the ball with his hands more so than with his chest. The wideout has eight touchdowns this season, two short of last year’s total of 10. But just like Agholor, one issue is with his hands. Even though they are one of his strengths, his concentration can wonder off at times. That could be a problem that might scare Eagles fans. Freshman Sam Darnold is now the starting QB, so let’s see how different his production is than with junior Max Browne.
3. Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
This week’s opponent: vs. Kentucky — Noon (SEC Network)
Sutton is an interesting pick this week. He’s been out with a fractured ankle that he suffered against Ohio in mid-September. He has practiced the past few days in preparation for a return sooner than later, but Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said Sutton was a game-time decision. If Sutton does return, it’s great for the Volunteer defense. The senior is a very confident athlete in man coverage. Sutton can easily change directions and locate the football quickly, as he shows great hand-eye coordination at the football when it arrives in his direction. Sutton also has terrific initial quickness. But at just over 5-11 and 186 pounds, Sutton lacks the size of being a pro defensive back in the league, and also needs to improve on his tackling skills. Before his injury, he was a definite choice in the last first or second round. Now, he could possibly fall into the third round.
Game Of The Week: No. 20 USC @ No. 4 Washington — 7:30 p.m. (FOX)
This game could mean big implications for both teams regarding the race to play in the Pac 12 championship game. For Washington, it also factors into playing in the College Football Playoff. Sam Darnold has won his last five games for USC and is 5-1 since taking over the starting quarterback job from Max Browne. For the Huskies, Jake Browning is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and is getting some consideration for being a Heisman finalist. He’s completed over two-thirds of his passes for 2,273 yards and 34 touchdowns, with only three interceptions thrown. John Ross, who we previously highlighted, leads the team with 14 touchdown receptions. And with College Gameday at the game, it should be a fun environment for the Husky faithful.
Honorable Mentions: No. 16 West Virginia @ Texas (Noon, FS1); No. 9 Auburn @ Georgia (3:30 p.m., CBS); No. 24 LSU @ No. 25 Arkansas (7 p.m., ESPN); South Florida @ Memphis (7 p.m, ESPNU)
Here are the players we’ve previously highlighted:
Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Tarean Folston, RB, Notre Dame
Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington (Division I-AA)
Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin
Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
Marquis Haynes, OLB/DE, Ole Miss
Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR, Ole Miss
John Ross, WR, Washington
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina
Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
Travis Rudolph, WR, Florida State
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
Desmond King, CB, Iowa
Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee