As much as this college football season has been all over the place, it has been entertaining. We’ve already seen Alabama put the beat down on every team they’ve faced, including Louisville and Ole Miss. Georgia’s only competition in the SEC East seems to be if Georgia’s second team could break off and play against the first team. Texas and USC had a battle for who is not back the most, Ohio State looks unstoppable, Hawai’i is slinging the ball better than anyone else, prospects are popping up all over the place and so much more.
This is why college football is so fun to try to keep up with. You never truly know what’s going to happen next.
Myself and the rest of the staff here at TDN did a ton of ground work when setting up the site, mainly coming up with all the prospect reports for the season. So, with that, we’ve had a pretty good idea on which guys to look out for. “Nothing will get passed us,” we said.
No matter how much research you do beforehand, college football will always have some surprises for you, especially for players who are making their final audition for the NFL. So, with that said, here are five stats that I never would have believed heading into Week 4 of the college football season.
1. Memphis RB Darrell Henderson Is Y.P.C. King
Listen to this: The 5-foot-9, 200-pound junior running back for the Tigers currently has the most running yards in the country at 521, the most rushing yards per attempt at 14.47, the most 60+ yard runs with two and the second most rushing touchdown with six.
Henderson’s production has been unbelievable three games in. He’s not only averaging a first down per carry, but averaging more than four yards per carry more than that. Henderson ran for 1,154 yards in 12 games last year, and he’s nearly halfway to that total in just three games this season.
2. Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu & The Deep Ball
Ta’amu had an interesting journey to the starting spot he now holds tight at Ole Miss. He was a Junior College transfer, and was the 2016 Southwest Junior College Football Conference Player of the Year. A Ole Miss, he sat behind Shea Patterson for a few games before things sort of went off the rails for the Rebels in 2017, leaving Ta’amu to be the man in charge. After taking over, he started his final five games of the season, and ended the year 115-of-173 for 1,682 yards and 11 TD. He also happened to be the only Ole Miss player to ever throw for back-to-back 350 yard games.
That deep ball success carried over.
Ta’amu leads all draft-eligible quarterbacks in throws beyond 30, 40, and 50 yards, and trails only Hawai’i’s Cole MacDonald by for the national lead in each category. I knew Ole Miss’ wide receiver group was talented, but I didn’t know how talented the man throwing them the ball was. Ta’amu is proving he can sling it with the best of them deep down the field.
3. No WR Kelvin Harmon In Top 50
Going into the season I had N.C. State’s Kelvin Harmon as my top wide receiver. After finishing his sophomore season with over 1,000 yard receiving, I thought that with Ryan Finley at quarterback, who some are touting as a first round prospect, Harmon would have an even better year in his first draft-eligible season.
That hasn’t exactly happened so far.
N.C. State has only played two games due to Hurricane Florence’s presence in the Carolinas, but Harmon is still only averaging 81.5 yards per game, which doesn’t even put hm in the Top 50 nationally. What might be even more surprising is that Harmon as doesn’t have a touchdown, either.
N.C. State’s next foe is the Marshall Thundering Herd, so I’m expecting a big bounce back. Seeing Harmon left off some of the top receiving statistically categories just shouldn’t be.
4. Note Dame CB Julian Love Being Tested — And Passing
Three games into the college football season and not only is Notre Dame’s 5-foot-11, 193-pound junior cornerback Julian Love being tested as much as any player around the country with passes thrown his way, he’s succeeding at rate higher than any other cornerback, as well. Love is tied for the national lead in passes defended with eight, and has the sole lead in the passes broken up category with eight there, as well.
Size was a concern for me when evaluating Love, but he seems to be dealing with it just fine. I thought he was talented, but for him to be targeted as much as he has been and be as a successful as he has been, that was hard for me to believe.
But I’m a believe now. Props to Love. Make sure you keep him in mind in your big boards and rankings.
5. Boston College Sack Master, DE Wyatt Ray
Three weeks into the season and guess who leads the nation in sacks. Is it Nick Bosa? Ed Oliver? Jeffery Simmons? Brian Burns? Some small-school guy no one has ever heard of?
Nope, it’s Boston College’s senior defensive end Wyatt Ray, who leads the country with five sacks.
I wrote a piece on Ray earlier this week, so after writing about him I wasn’t surprised, but going into the piece before then I certainly was. I went into the tape evaluation of Boston College’s first few games expecting to write about Zach Allen, their other senior defensive end. But not only was Wyatt’s production better, his traits were, too.
At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, I was pretty dang impressed by Ray off the edge. He’s a player who can play as a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. I never would of expected Ray to be at the top of college football’s sack list three weeks in.
But he sure is.