Sunday Senior Showcase: New Roles, Big Performances

Photo: © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Offense: Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk

What a win for the quietly 5-1 Arizona State Sun Devils -- and what a performance from Brandon Aiyuk! With now-New England Patriot N'Keal Harry off to the NFL, Aiyuk had a huge void in terms of targets and playmaking opportunities to fill; through the first half of the 2019 College Football season, he has delivered, to the tune of 7 receptions (on 8 targets), 196 yards, and 3 touchdowns this week against the Washington State Cougars.

This is an explosion that was expected by the Senior Bowl staff and has been acknowledged by our staff, as Jonah Tuls wrote on Aiyuk's NFL future after his strong performance against Colorado late last month. But this Wazzu game was the best of Aiyuk's career, and came at a key time for Arizona State, as they look to a potential Pac-12 South defining clash against the Utah Utes next week.

Be sure to watch for Aiyuk against a tough Utah secondary as the Sun Devils look to send another receiver to the early rounds of the NFL Draft.

Defense: Michigan EDGE Josh Uche

It got just a little dicey there for the Wolverines, as Illinois pulled within 3 with 12:50 remaining in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, they had an elite senior pass rusher to bail them out in Josh Uche, who ended the day with 3 total sacks to bring his total on the season up to 4.5 -- 5 TFLs to bring his total up to 6.5.

So it was a big day.

Uche indeed moves all around the field for the Wolverines, utilizing his bend and explosiveness to loop into interior gaps or take a tight corner around offensive tackles. The Senior Bowl could be huge for Uche, who must prove to NFL teams he can fit nicely into a pro role after wearing so many different hats for Don Brown's Wolverine defense. He'll get reps against top tackles as a true outside bender; man coverage opportunities against backs and tight ends as if he was a more traditional drop 'backer.

But one thing Uche clearly can do is hustle to the quarterback. That will always matter to NFL teams.