Here are five NFL Draft prospects to watch in Week 12 of the college football season.
1) Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (DB) - Cincinnati Bearcats
No. 5 Cincinnati remains undefeated with just two regular season games remaining. Gardner has been a huge part of their success. He has 25 total tackles, 2.5 for loss, two sacks, three interceptions and two passes defended on the season.
Gardner has not allowed a touchdown catch in his collegiate career. At six-foot-three, he has the length needed to become a lockdown corner at the next level. Gardner is projected as a first round pick and for good reason.
Gardner gets a tough test against an SMU offense that puts up 498.7 yards and 41.6 points per game. The Bearcats will look to stay undefeated on Saturday afternoon as they fight for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
2) Jameson Williams (WR) - Alabama Crimson Tide
Williams has put up one of the best seasons among wide receivers this season. He has 51 catches for 1,028 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Williams has had over 150 yards receiving in each of his last two games. He caught 10 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown against LSU and had six catches for 158 yards and three scores against New Mexico State.
New Orleans desperately needs help in the passing game. Williams could make an immediate impact at the next level no matter who gets under center.
3) DeMarvin Leal (DL) - Texas A&M Aggies
No. 16 Texas A&M has remained competitive this season. The Aggies reeled off a 20-3 win over No. 13 Auburn before falling to No. 15 Ole Miss 29-19.
Leal had a great game against the Rebels and quarterback Matt Corral, who has 2,774 passing yards and 17 touchdowns with just two interceptions this season. Leal recorded seven tackles and a sack in the loss.
Leal now has 48 total tackles, 10.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble and two passes defended. The junior is projected to be taken near the middle of the first round.
4) Khalil Shakir (WR) - Boise State Broncos
Shakir has had a great career at Boise State. He’s posted at least 700 receiving yards and five touchdowns in each of his last three seasons. Shakir caught 52 passes for 719 yards and six touchdowns in just seven games last season.
Shakir is up to 64 catches for 927 yards and five touchdowns in 2021. He’s also rushed 19 times for 93 yards. Shakir is one of the more underrated prospects this year, but his talent is undeniable.
Shakir’s best strength is gaining yards after the catch, but he’s also a solid route-runner. He’s absolutely worth a Day 2 pick and could prove to be one of this year’s biggest sleeper picks.
5) Isaiah Likely (TE) - Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Likely is quietly having a fantastic season for a tight end. He’s second in the nation at the position in receiving yards with 733 and nine touchdowns on 44 catches.
Likely has helped lead Coastal Carolina to an 8-2 record in the Sun Belt Conference. He’s been a huge part of an offense that’s fifth in the nation in points per game (42.3) and eighth in yards per game (492.8).
Likely’s best game this season came in Week 6 against Arkansas State. He caught eight passes for 232 yards and four touchdowns. Likely is clearly capable of being a focal point of an offense and has the tools to do so in the NFL.
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