Week 6 of the 2021 college football season was full of memorable moments. No. 1 Alabama fell to Texas A&M on a last-second field goal 41-38, their first loss to an unranked team since UL Monroe in 2007.
No. 4 Oklahoma benched quarterback Spencer Rattler in favor of freshman Caleb Williams against No. 25 Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Rattler was taken out in the second quarter after completing just eight passes for 111 yards and an interception.
The Sooners found themselves down 38-20 at halftime, but Williams took the reigns and went 16-of-25 passing for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks broke off a 33-yard touchdown run on the final play of regulation to complete the comeback win 55-48.
The Longhorns will need to put that game behind them as they prepare to face the undefeated No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys. Another top-12 matchup features No. 11 Kentucky at the new No. 1 Georgia, who already has three ranked wins. Here are five NFL Draft prospects to watch in an exciting slate of games.
1) Kenneth Walker III (RB) Michigan State Spartans
Walker is a legitimate Heisman candidate this season. The junior leads the nation in rushing with 913 yards and nine touchdowns on 129 carries. Walker has also added 30 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Walker is the only player in the country to rank inside the top 10 in rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, all-purpose yards and yards-per-carry.
Walker wasn’t anywhere near the Heisman radar for 2021, but he’s firmly placed himself in the conversation. He can further his campaign with continued rushing efficiency against No. 8 Michigan, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State in the back half of the season.
2) Bumper Pool (LB) - Arkansas Razorbacks
Aside from the killer name, Pool is also really good at football. The 6-2 senior sits at sixth in the nation with 61 total tackles with 4.5 for loss. Pool finished 9th in tackles with 101 last season and has only improved since.
Pool’s performances against SEC competition have done wonders for his draft stock. He put up double-digit tackles in each of his last two games against No. 1 Georgia and No. 17 Ole Miss with 11 and 12, respectively.
Pool could continue to rise up draft boards with another solid outing against Auburn on Saturday morning.
3) Kenny Pickett (QB) - Pittsburgh Panthers
Pickett has quietly had one of the best statistical seasons among quarterbacks in 2021. The senior is fourth in the nation with 19 passing touchdowns, fifth in passing yards per game (342.20), sixth in completion percentage (72.0) and 12th in passing yards (1,731) all with just one interception.
Pickett recently broke Dan Marino’s record for most touchdown passes in a three-game span in program history with 15 against Western Michigan, New Hampshire and Georgia Tech.
While it remains to be seen if Pickett can succeed at the next level, his prolific passing numbers cannot be ignored. He’s currently looking like a Day 2 or 3 selection in the draft but could get some first round looks from quarterback-needy teams.
4) Kolby Harvell-Peel (DB) - Oklahoma State Cowboys
No. 12 Oklahoma State is rolling in 2021. The Cowboys took down two top-25 teams in a row by beating No. 25 Kansas State 31-20 and No. 21 Baylor 24-14.
Harvell-Peel earned First Team All-Big 12 honors in 2019 after finishing seventh in the nation for interceptions with five. He also racked up 71 total tackles, three for loss, a sack, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 13 passes defended during his stellar sophomore campaign.
After initially declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft, Harvell-Peel withdrew his name and elected to return to Oklahoma State for his senior season. He’s up to 27 total tackles, 2.5 for loss and two interceptions through five games this year. Harvell-Peel will look to keep his momentum rolling against No. 25 Texas on Saturday morning.
5) Nakobe Dean (ILB) - Georgia Bulldogs
The Bulldogs’ defense has allowed just 5.5 points per game in six contests. and Dean has been a huge reason why. The junior is second on the team in total tackles (23), sacks (3.5), and QB hurries (11) while adding four tackles for loss and an interception.
Dean was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award in 2020 after recording a team-high 71 total tackles with 1.5 for loss, 13 QB pressures and 1.5 sacks.
Currently projected as an early second-round selection, Dean could sneak into the first round with continued production against No. 11 Kentucky and No. 20 Florida in back-to-back weeks.
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