Key prospects help completely re-shuffle the college rankings
The first week of college football is always surprising, because sports analysts’ preseason prognostications come smashing into cold reality. Virginia Tech’s 17-10 upset of No. 10 North Carolina certainly qualifies as a big surprise many didn’t see coming, as did No. 19 Penn State going on the road, shutting down No. 12 Wisconsin’s offense and winning their game 16-10. The biggest story of the week though was Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins smacking around the 16th-ranked LSU Tigers in both phases. They may be the class of the PAC-12 this year. Below are the prospects who stood out during Week 10 of college football.
Drake London WR (USC)
With a whopping 12 catches for 137 yards, London emerged as quarterback Kedon Slovis’s favorite go-to target in the Trojans’ offense. Playing both inside and out, the 6’5” receiver bullied and bodied smaller corners in the slot, while out-leaping outside corners on a collection of sideline routes. His body positioning on catches and his ability in the open field really stood out, although he doesn’t appear to be the best athlete. Having said that, there are improvements he can make at the catch point, as he had a sure-fire touchdown catch batted out of his hand late in the second quarter on a fade.
Mohamed Ibrahim RB (Minnesota)
It was a fantastic night for Ibrahim, leading his team in rushing to the tune of 164 yards and two touchdowns, until it wasn’t. The senior running back demonstrated patience and solid vision in picking the right holes in the Gopher’s zone blocking all night in helping his team stay in the game and compete against Ohio State. Then, late in the third quarter, Ibrahim ended up breaking his leg, prematurely ending his season. Well-rounded, but lacking in elite traits, he looks like a third-day selection come draft season.
Jermaine Waller CB (Virginia Tech)
Sam Howell came into this season as one of the most-hyped quarterbacks in college football. The Hokies shut him down and forced him into mistake after mistake. Most of that damage was done by the team’s coverage unit, led by Waller. The 6’1” junior cover corner was locked up in man coverage most of the time and absolutely bullied receivers for the ball. His interception in the third quarter came about by him simply ripping the ball away and wanting it more than the receiver. His stock will skyrocket this season.
Ellis Brooks LB (Penn State)
Another huge riser this week is Brooks, who led his defense in slowing down Wisconsin’s rushing attack. This was always going to be the perfect matchup for Brooks, as he excels in between the tackles as a physical presence who offers some short-read quickness and agility in traffic. Shortcomings in his coverage ability didn’t show up much, with Penn State choosing to bring him on blitzes during several passing downs. Brooks finished the game with 11 tackles, a sack and a tackle-for-loss.