Three College Football Players the Eagles Should Watch

Who should Eagles fans keep an eye on during this week’s games?

Jahad Thomas. (USA TODAY Sports)

Jahad Thomas. (USA TODAY Sports)

It’s finally here. It’s conference championship weekend, when we find out which four teams will make the College Football Playoff while we also watch some fans embarrass themselves by how they throw footballs. There’s only 14 games this Saturday after the MAC and Pac-12 held their championship games last night. They’re four ranked matchups this week, and two of them are top-10 showdowns.

Here are three players Eagles fans should keep a close eye on during today’s games.

1. Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple
This week’s opponent: @ No. 19 Navy — Noon (ABC)

There aren’t a lot of running backs playing today who we haven’t covered and are draft eligible. Thomas is an exception, and he’s certainly a late-round pick. He’s played a vital role in the resurgence of Temple football the past two seasons under head coach Matt Rhule. He missed the first two games of the season with a thumb injury, leaving Ryquell Armstead with the bulk of the carries. But ever since he’s returned, the senior has been great. He’s rushed for 856 yards and 12 touchdowns, which are similar numbers to what Armstead has. Thomas has an explosive first step, soft hands as a pass catcher, a high motor, and he shows toughness, which was why he was awarded a single jersey number by his teammates. But he’s only played with one quarterback from high school in Phillip Walker. There is incredible chemistry between the two, but how will he perform with a different quarterback in the NFL? He’s a late-round pick, but he could be a Temple diamond in the rough on Day 3, along with defensive lineman Haason Reddick.

2. Artavis Scott, WR, Clemson
This week’s opponent: vs. No. 23 Virginia Tech — 8 p.m. (ABC)

Scott’s teammate, Mike Williams, is by far the team’s top wide receiver. But Scott is the number two reciver on the Tigers in regards to receptions, catching 64 passes for 544 yards and five touchdowns. Head coach Dabo Sweeney said Scott would declare for the NFL Draft after the season is over. He’s been in the slot for most of his time at Clemson, as he has excellent hands, as well as short-area quickness and tenacious running to be a potential starting wide receiver. At 5-10, he’s not the ideal size for a wide receiver, but with players such as Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. being similar in height, it probably doesn’t mean a whole lot. He’s projected as a Day 2 pick.

3. Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State
This week’s opponent: @ Wyoming — 7:45 p.m. (ESPN)

Running back Donnel Pumphrey isn’t the only top potential draft pick from the Mountain West school. Kazee has been one of the best defensive players in the entire Mountain West for the last few seasons. He leads the team once again in interceptions, this time with five, including one returned for a touchdown. He uses his long arms and physicality to make it more difficult for wide receivers to make catches. He’s a good tackler, but he might not be fluid enough for man coverage responsibilities. The fifth-year senior has a light frame and can get easily tricked by fakes and moves. Consider him a mid-round pick as well.

Game Of The Week: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 7 Penn State (Big Ten Championship) — 8 p.m. (FOX)

Who would have thought Penn State would be in the Big Ten Championship game and even perhaps in the College Football Playoff at the beginning of the season? Put all the events from the past few years aside with the program, they have been one of the best college football stories all year. They face a tough Wisconsin team that played Michigan and Ohio State very well this year, and have a win over LSU as well. If the Nittany Lions win this game, it could cause a ton of problems in the top four.

Honorable Mentions: Temple @ No. 19 Navy (American Championship – Noon, ABC); Louisiana Tech @ Western Kentucky (Conference USA Championship – Noon, ESPN); No. 10 Oklahoma State @ No. 9 Oklahoma (Winner wins Big 12 Championship – 12:30 p.m., FOX); No. 15 Florida vs. No. 1 Alabama (SEC Championship – 4 p.m., CBS); San Diego State @ Wyoming (Mountain West Championship – 7:45 p.m., ESPN); No. 23 Virginia Tech vs. No. 3 Clemson (ACC Championship – 8 p.m., ABC)

Here are the players we’ve previously highlighted:

November 26

Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

Curtis Samuel, RB, Ohio State

Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

November 19

Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

November 12

Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee

November 5

Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

Tarean Folston, RB, Notre Dame

Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU

October 29

Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington (Division I-AA)

Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

October 22

Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin

Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma

Marquis Haynes, OLB/DE, Ole Miss

October 15

Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt

Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State

Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR, Ole Miss

October 8

John Ross, WR, Washington

Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan

Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina

October 1

Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

September 24

Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

September 17

Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

Travis Rudolph, WR, Florida State

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

September 10

Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech

Desmond King, CB, Iowa

Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee