Week ten of the college football season is in the books, which means we got another look at the potential stars of next year's NFL draft, as well as future classes. Each week, I'll be picking the players from each power-five conference who stood out the most. Thus, this is the tenth edition of TDN Power 5 Players of the Week.
Offense: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson - 10 touches for 225 yards and 2 TDs
Before the season, I compared Clemson star running back Travis Etienne to former NFL home-run-hitter Chris Johnson because of his ability to make any given play a house call. His speed and acceleration out of the breaks is something I haven’t seen at the running back position since Johnson in his prime. Performances like this confirm why he’ll be one of the most intriguing playmakers in the 2020 NFL Draft, if he declares.
Defense: Amari Henderson, CB, Wake Forest - 6 tackles, 4 PBUs, 2 INTs
Most of the focus on the Wake Forest secondary the last couple of seasons has been on star cornerback Essang Bassey, but his teammate, Amari Henderson, continues to prove why his name should be in the spotlight. He’s quietly been just as productive throughout his career for the Demon Deacons and possesses a much more NFL-friendly physical profile at 6’1 with his length. Henderson will almost certainly receive a Senior Bowl invite. He could become one of this draft’s biggest risers with a strong pre-draft process.
Offense: JD Spielman, WR, Nebraska - 6 catches for 123 yards
While Nebraska couldn’t finish the job against Purdue, the most explosive player on the field played for the Huskers — wide receiver JD Spielman. He continues to be a dynamic player each week on the field, and his ability to create before and after the catch in the open field with elite quickness makes him an intriguing slot candidate in the 2020 NFL draft.
Defense: Dele Harding, LB, Illinois - 12 tackles, 1 FF, 1 INT for TD
I wonder what kind of national hype Illinois senior linebacker Dele Harding would be receiving if he played for a better program. He leads the Big Ten in tackles with 107, and he also now has three interceptions on the season. Harding is undersized, but he fits today’s mold of an NFL off-ball linebacker with his ability to cover and play in space.
Offense: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State - 20 carries for 223 yards and 2 TDs
It is time to recognize Chuba Hubbard as one of the best running back prospects in the country. His combination of speed, power, and decisiveness in the backfield has proven to be unstoppable in the Big 12 this season. Quietly, Oklahoma State has become a factory for NFL running back prospects.
Defense: Darius Stills, DL, West Virginia - 10 tackles, 3 sacks
Now with seven sacks on the season, versatile defensive lineman Darius Stills is starting to build a case for his NFL future. He may be undersized at 6’1, 292, but his potential as an interior pass rusher, specifically as a one-gap penetrating three technique, looks incredibly promising.
Offense: Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State - 21 carries for 234 yards and 3 TDs
After an explosive start to the season, junior running back Kylin Hill’s production tailed off in SEC action. That has changed in the last two weeks — on the road against Texas A&M and Arkansas. With 384 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in his last two games, Hill has restored momentum for his projection to the next level.
Defense: Bryce Thompson, CB, Tennessee - 3 INTs (ties single-game school record)
While Bryce Thompson isn’t eligible for the 2020 NFL draft as a true sophomore, he put his name in the Tennessee record books with his three-interception performance against UAB. I understand the competition is a factor, but anytime a player puts up numbers like this, it is going to be eye opening.
Offense: Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington - 6 catches for 105 yards and 2 TDs
Other offensive players in the conference had better numbers, and even though it was in a loss, Washington tight end Hunter Bryant looked as dynamic as any pass catcher I saw this weekend. With two big play touchdown catches from Jacob Eason, Bryant continues to assert his status as one of the nation’s top draft-eligible vertical threats at the tight end position.
Defense: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah - 3 tackles, 1 INT for TD
I’ve been singing the praises of Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson for weeks now, and even though his tape will do the talking in the pre-draft process, it’s always good to see his production translate to the box score. His pick six on Eason proved to be the turning point of this back-and-forth matchup.