College Football Week 7: 2024 NFL Draft prospects to watch, including Bo Nix vs. Michael Penix Jr.

2T084HN TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 30: Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. #9 during a football game between the Washington Huskies and the University of Arizona Wildcats on September 30, 2023 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, AZ. (Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• Bo Nix takes on Michael Penix Jr.: Nix sports an 86.0 passing grade, while Penix stands on an elite 93.4 mark.

• Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga faces a challenge in Laiatu Latu: Fuaga is one of the most underrated players in the country. This is the second season where he has earned an overall grade above 80.0, and he does so with strength first.

• Check out PFF's 2024 NFL Draft big board: Click here to see 150 of the top draft prospects that college football has to offer.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes


We’ve now entered the second half of the college football season — and, perhaps, the best weekend we’ve seen yet in terms of future 2024 NFL Draft prospect battles. 

Here are the top prospect matchups to watch for Week 7.


QB BO NIX, OREGON vs. MICHAEL PENIX JR., WASHINGTON

A battle of two of the top quarterbacks in all of college football headlines the Week 7 college football slate: Bo Nix versus Michael Penix Jr.

Nix is having another great year at Oregon, looking much more efficient than his Auburn days. He has a passing grade of 86.0 this season with four big-time throws, just two turnover-worthy plays and an 86.8% adjusted completion percentage.

Penix boasts a 93.4 passing grade — the best in the FBS. He also has 13 big-time throws, and his adjusted completion percentage stands at 83.3%. It should be a high-scoring affair between these two offenses.


CB KHYREE JACKSON, OREGON VS. WRs ROME ODUNZE & JA’LYNN POLK, WASHINGTON

It isn’t just the quarterbacks who capture the NFL draft headlines when Oregon faces Washington. Khyree Jackson, a former Alabama cornerback, is playing some of his best ball this season. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound defensive back has the size and speed to match up with big athletic receivers. He’ll have plenty of chances to prove that this weekend against Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk.

Odunze has an 83.5 receiving grade this season, while Polk sports an 85.3 receiving grade. Both have been very impressive on contested opportunities, too, with contested catch rates above 60%.

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DL BRANDON DORLUS, JORDAN BURCH, OREGON vs. OT TROY FAUTANU, WASHINGTON

We couldn’t move on from Oregon and Washington without touching on the trenches. We have an interesting matchup in that category, as Washington offensive tackle Troy Fautanu will face off against Oregon defensive ends Brandon Dorlus and Jordan Burch.

Fautanu plays left tackle for the Huskies, but his best position in the NFL might be on the interior. That makes Dorlus and Burch particularly good to examine, as both are listed at 290 pounds. Seeing how Fautanu handles their strength will be a good test.


CB KAMARI LASSITER, GEORGIA VS. WR WILL SHEPPARD, VANDERBILT

Vanderbilt's odds of upsetting Georgia this weekend are slim (sorry, Brad Spielberger), but it features an intriguing NFL draft matchup.

Commodores wide receiver Will Sheppard has seen 18 contested targets already this season, hauling in eight of them. His strength at the catch point is his strength as a receiver. Lassiter has a 76.5 coverage grade and hasn’t yet allowed 100 receiving yards into his coverage this season.


CBs D.J. JAMES & NEHEMIAH PRITCHETT, AUBURN vs. WRs MALIK NABERS & BRIAN THOMAS JR, LSU

Speaking of SEC cornerbacks and wide receivers going at it, the premier matchup of skill positions will happen in Baton Rouge when LSU faces Auburn.

LSU has one of the best wide receiver duos in the country with Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. Nabers has earned a 91.2 receiving grade this year, while Thomas sits at 74.0. Both have more than 12 explosive plays this season while recording an average depth of target of above 12.5 yards. Meanwhile, James and Pritchett might be the best cornerback duo in the country. Both outside cornerbacks are top 100 players on the PFF big board.


EDGE LAIATU LATU, UCLA vs. OT TALIESE FUAGA, OREGON STATE

This matchup might not have a ton of national hype, but it may be my favorite of the weekend. Two players in the top 25 of the 2024 PFF big board go up against one another in the trenches. 

This is the second season in a row where UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu has recorded a 91.0-plus pass-rush grade and a 20%-plus pass-rush win rate. For my money, he’s the best pass-rusher in the country and in the 2024 class. Meanwhile, Beavers offensive tackle Taliese Fuaga is one of the most underrated players in the country. This is the second season where he has earned an overall grade above 80.0, and he does so with strength first. Latu is a player who wins with a lot of finesse. He will be a fantastic test for Fuaga.


QB TYLER VAN DYKE, MIAMI (FL) vs. QB DRAKE MAYE, NORTH CAROLINA

Nix and Penix isn't the only notable quarterback battle going on this weekend.

Maye is the more known name when it comes to the 2024 NFL Draft, but his 88.7 passing grade is actually second to Van Dyke’s 92.3 mark in this matchup. Now, that doesn’t mean he’s the better prospect, but it does hint at this being a game that lights up the scoreboard. Both of these quarterbacks have a gunslinger style — Maye with 13 big-time throws this season and Van Dyke with 14. The stats between the two are more similar than most would expect, which should make for a fun game to watch.

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