Week 3 of the college football season is officially in the books. There were plenty of notable performances throughout the country. With the pre-draft resumes of prospects continuing to be added to weekly, here are the five draft-eligible prospects that caught my eye the most from the weekend.
Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
One of my red dot players, which signifies a prospect that deserves extra attention, was the Gators cornerback. Widely seen as a potential first-round selection, the game against Alabama is always one of the first games that scouts will want to watch when developing evaluations for a prospect.
As is custom, the Crimson Tide have some of the best wide receivers in the country. Even though the group as a whole isn’t nearly as deep as we’ve seen over the past two seasons, there’s still plenty of talent there. Matched up with one of the taller tasks of the season, Elam passed the tests with flying colors. Recording three pass breakups, his length, aggression, and fluidity were all on display Saturday afternoon.
As prospects, Elam reminds me a lot of Xavier Rhodes coming out of Florida State. A big, physical, and aggressive corner that isn’t scared to get in the face of receivers at the line of scrimmage. Both struggled with questionable short-area quickness and twitchy receivers will likely present issues for them. Outside of a questionable pass interference call in man coverage and a missed tackle that led to a touchdown for Brian Robinson, Elam looked like a first-round corner against Alabama.
George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
After battling issues with COVID and another undisclosed injury, Karlaftis had his 2020 limited to only three games. An early standout during his freshman season, the do-it-all Boilermaker defensive lineman seems to have returned to the player that we saw in 2019. A showcase game for Karlaftis against one of the better teams that he’ll face this year, he displayed the full arsenal and why so many evaluators are excited about his future outlook.
Karlftis’ best attribute is his natural power combined with his versatility. Against the Irish, he played nearly every position along the defensive line. Playing mostly 5-technique, they often dedicated two blockers to him in pass protection. But when reduced down inside, he was able to create consistent pressure.
The Purdue junior defensive lineman is a natural penetrator of the first level. His power jumps off the screen as it’s easily noticeable the effect that it has on the body of matchups that he’s facing. Head snaps and knocking the momentum of others backward was a frequent sight, but it’s his battery that never loses notches is what’s so impressive about Karlaftis. The same first step that he displayed from the opening series of the game carried over and remained consistent throughout the second half, as he finished the game with 1.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks. In the day and age of versatility being a commodity in the league, Karlaftis’ name is trending in the right direction through the early portions of the college football season.
Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
After Chris Olave elected to return for his senior season, arguably the second-most surprising prospect to return to school was Davis. After a strong finish to his junior campaign, many thought that he would enter the 2021 draft. Through three games, the monstrous defensive tackle’s decision appears to have been the correct one.
At 6-foot-6 and 360 pounds, Davis has shown more consistency with his motor and as a disruptor against the pass. The biggest question for him entering the year was if he could show more as a pass rusher. While he isn’t an interior defender that will blow scouts away with his pass-rush repertoire, he has enough in his tool chest to condense the pocket.
After a notable performance against Clemson, Davis put another positive performance on his resume against South Carolina. Showing off a push-pull move, he was able to force the quarterback into a safety near the waning moments of the first half.
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Every year there's a prediction about who will be the next quarterback that suddenly unlocks the next stage of their development to take the nation by storm. Over the past two seasons, we’ve seen it with Joe Burrow and Zach Wilson. This year, there seems to already be a clear frontrunner. Corral didn’t come out of nowhere like the others, but the video game numbers that he’s been able to put up over the first few weeks of the season have been noteworthy.
In Lane Kiffin’s explosive offense, Corral has shown to have full command. A quick release combined with a scheme that wants to push the tempo has been a perfect match for Corral’s playing style.
Through the first three weeks of the season, the Ole Miss signal-caller is completing 66% of his passes to go along with six passing touchdowns and another five on the ground. Proving to be a true dual-threat option, many scouts are awaiting the showdown in two weeks as the Rebels travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. If Corral plays well against the Crimson Tide, we could start to see some major shifts when discussing the 2022 QB class overall.
Joshua Flowers, CB, Winston Salem-State
Since the pandemic hit, one of the things that I have missed the most is live scouting. What’s the purpose of live scouting? It’s to get a feel for a prospect. There’s only so much that you can learn from watching film on a player. Some of the things that you can get a feel for when live scouting is body types of players, mannerisms, personality, and to see if certain traits that you identified on film match your observations in person.
Over the weekend, a player that I had a chance to live scout was Flowers. A late addition that I made to my top 40 HBCU draft-eligible prospects list, Flowers has transitioned from safety to corner. Matched up against North Carolina Central, his only Division I opponent of the year, I came away impressed with what I saw.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds on the team’s official roster, he’s not nearly that tall. Closer to being 6-feet tall, his weight appeared to be within a close range. Nearly pulling off the upset, Flowers had multiple standout plays—the most impressive being a click-close break on a post route that resulted in a pass breakup. Flowers is a prospect that could benefit from a postseason all-star contest. Overall, it was a very promising outing for a player that projects as a priority free agent coming into this season.
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