College Football Week 3: 2024 Draft prospects to watch, including QBs Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye

2JT482Y August 27, 2022: North Carolina freshman Drake Maye( 10) passes the ball against Florida A& M. NCAA football game between Florida A & M and the University of North Carolina at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Corolina David Beach/CSM

Week 3 of college football will present a handful of good prospect matchups to monitor as we decide which games to watch this weekend.

Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye have intriguing matchups that could impact their early draft stock, while Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley could leap up the PFF big board with a big week against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Here are a handful of prospects we’ll closely watch this weekend.

QB JAYDEN DANIELS, LSU

Opposition: Mississippi State

Daniels, who entered the season with one of the highest Heisman odds outside of Caleb Williams, has a 77.0 passing grade through two games this season. He earned a 70.7 passing grade in the season opener against Florida State and an 80.0 passing grade against Grambling.

The LSU signal-caller has tossed six touchdowns and one interception, with four big-time throws and one turnover-worthy play. He was one of the most risk-averse quarterbacks in college football last season and recorded a 0.4% turnover-worthy play rate on 390 attempts. But his big-time throws were relatively low, as he produced just 11 on the season.

This year, we wanted to see those turnovers stay down and the big throws go up. He’ll get a good opportunity to showcase that in Starkville against Mississippi State.


WR MALACHI CORLEY, WESTERN KENTUCKY

Opposition: Ohio State

Corley is one of the most unique athletes you’ll watch this college football season. He grew up in Orange City, Fla.,  before moving to Kentucky, where he played basketball and football in high school. He was originally going to play cornerback at Western Kentucky but moved to offense, first as a running back, then as a wide receiver — in his first year.

Since then, he’s honed in on being a takeover receiver, especially after the catch. In 2022, he averaged 7.1 yards after the catch per reception, and that part of his game pops on film — his acceleration, balance and determined running style shine.

This week, he’s back from injury and will go up against a fast Buckeyes defense that includes future NFL players like safety Lathan Ransom, linebacker Tommy Eichenberg and cornerback Denzel Burke.

You have to figure he’s more than ready to prove that he deserves to be on that field and can once again stand out against one of the best defenses he’ll face.


WR Antwane Wells Jr. VS. CB KAMARI LASSITER

South Carolina vs. Georgia

Wells, who came in at No. 50 on PFF’s preseason big board, has been dealing with a lower-body injury since camp. He was able to play in the first half of the North Carolina game but was ruled out for the second half because of that injury.

Last year, Wells snagged seven contested catches and 20 explosive plays of 15 yards or more as the top receiver on the team. This year, it’s been a slow start due to the injury, but it sounds like he’s in a good place to play — and hopefully play well — this Saturday.

He’ll get the chance to go up against Georgia cornerback Kamari Lassiter. The 6-foot, 180-pound Lassiter has assumed CB1 duties for the Bulldogs, with Kelee Ringo now off to the NFL. Lassiter has earned a 64.4 coverage grade so far in 2023 and has not allowed a reception yet.


QB DRAKE MAYE VS. S TYLER NUBIN

North Carolina vs. Minnesota

Maye has been in some thrillers already to start this college football season — he and his Tar Heels team defeated South Carolina to start the season, and they narrowly escaped App State the following week.

Maye has been very good in each performance, posting back-to-back passing grades in the 80s for a season total of 89.0. He has four big-time throws with only one turnover-worthy play and an adjusted completion percentage of 85.0%

Waiting for his passes on the other side of the line of scrimmage this week will be one of the best safeties in the country in Tyler Nubin, the veteran starter for the Gophers. Through two games, Nubin already has a 90.3 coverage grade with two interceptions. You know he’d love to get his hands on a Maye pass in this one.


LB TY'RON HOPPER VS. TE BEN SINNOTT

Missouri vs. Kansas State

For those who might not be familiar, Kansas State vs. Missouri is quite the rivalry in the Midwest. Players on each team will be extra focused for this one, but one matchup we’ll have our eyes on from a draft point of view is Tigers linebacker Ty'Ron Hopper going up against Wildcats tight end Ben Sinnott.

Hopper has played the most snaps on Missouri’s defense this season with 118. He's graded best in pass rush (72.9), while his lowest facet grade is his 49.3 coverage grade.

Meanwhile, Sinnott currently sits at 101 receiving yards from six catches on nine targets. He is also used quite a bit as an additional blocker, which is where he and Hopper could go head-to-head the most.


WR Bru McCOY VS. CB JASON MARSHALL Jr.

Tennessee vs. Florida

It’s a battle of the former five-star recruits down in Gainesville, Fla., this weekend, as Tennessee wide receiver Bru McCoy will face off against Florida cornerback Jason Marshall Jr.

Marshall was the No. 25 ranked player in the 2021 recruiting class, while McCoy was the No. 9 ranked player in 2019.

At 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds, McCoy is in the 60th and 80th percentile for height and weight, respectively, for NFL receivers. Marshall, at 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds, is in the 80th percentile for both height and weight for NFL corners.


 

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