Here are five NFL Draft prospects to watch in conference championship week.
1) Kyle Trask (QB) - Florida Gators
There’s no doubt Florida was a shoe-in for the College Football Playoff if they defeated No. 1 Alabama on Saturday night. That is, until the Gators fell to the unranked LSU Tigers 37-34 in Week 15.
Trask threw for 474 yards and two touchdowns but also had two costly interceptions. Florida was without star Kyle Pitts, who has put together one of the best seasons in modern tight end history.
Trask remains a Heisman favorite. He leads the nation in passing yards (3,717), touchdowns (40), and is fourth in quarterback rating (90.3) with just five interceptions all year. Trask has a great opportunity to bounce back against college football’s top-ranked team.
2) Chris Olave (WR) - Ohio State Buckeyes
No. 4 Ohio State has been great in the limited amount of games they’ve gotten to play. Olave has racked up 36 catches for 528 yards and five touchdowns in just five games this season.
The Buckeyes will need a victory over No. 14 Northwestern in the Big 10 Championship if they want to seriously be considered for a CFP spot over a team with a larger sample size. Olave will need to have a big day against one of the nation’s top defenses.
A projected second round pick, Olave could help Ohio State’s offense get things going. Quarterback Justin Fields should look to find Olave early and often, especially in the redzone.
3) Brock Purdy (QB) - Iowa State Cyclones
Purdy first put his name on the map in 2019 when he set the school record for passing yards (3,982), passing touchdowns (27), completions (312) total offense (4,231) and 300-yard passing games (6).
This season Purdy has thrown for 2,272 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 66.2 percent of his passes. Purdy will look to have a huge game against No. 10 Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship on Saturday morning in what should be a high-scoring affair.
No. 6 Iowa State is also vying for a spot in the CFP. The committee would likely have a hard time turning them down if they win in dominant fashion. Purdy will have plenty of opportunities to put up huge numbers and build his stock.
4) Anthony Johnson Jr. (DB) - Iowa State Cyclones
Johnson Jr. had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2019. He recorded 60 total tackles, seven for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and tied for first on the team with 10 passes defended
Johnson’s production earned him Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors. He possesses great length at the cornerback position and his versatility against the pass and as a tackler makes him a particularly intriguing prospect.
A projected mid-round pick, Johnson could prove to be a diamond in the rough among a deep defensive back class. A standout performance against a high-powered Oklahoma offense would do wonders for his stock.
5) Desmond Ridder (QB) - Cincinnati Bearcats
Ridder is easily one of the most underrated prospects in a stacked quarterback class. He’s been overshadowed by the likes of Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and BYU’s Zach Wilson.
Ridder has thrown for 1,821 yards and 16 touchdowns while adding 526 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. His combination of arm talent and mobility makes him one of the most exciting prospects to watch at the next level.
Ridder could easily find himself being selected in the second or third round of the NFL Draft. A big performance in the AAC Championship against No. 23 Tulsa would certainly solidify his stock.
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