Florida vs USF Preview

Montrell Johnson Florida vs USF
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Date: September 17, 2022
Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Network: SEC Network
Records: Florida Gators (1-1) vs USF Bulls (1-1)
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
Spread: Florida +24
Over/Under: 60

Florida vs USF Preview

After a hard-fought victory over Utah, Florida comes off a loss to Kentucky and looks to bounce back at home before another top-25 matchup next week. The Gators are huge favorites in this one, but USF has experience at quarterback in Baylor transfer Gerry Bohanon. It should be a good way to get the Gators moving in the right direction as they move on to a tough opponent.

USF Bulls

Gerry Bohanon Florida vs USF
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Offensive Stats

Points Per Game (Rank): 21.0 (82)
Total Yards Per Game: 293.0 (105)
Passing YPG: 172.0 (99)
Rushing YPG: 121 (83)
Points Per Play: 0.368 (61)
Yards Per Play: 5.1 (74)
3rd Down Conversion %: 25.00 (112)
4th Down Conversion %: 50.00 (50)
Red Zone Scoring %: 66.67 (95)

Rush Play %: 45.61 (88)
Yards Per Carry: 4.7 (48)
Runs Per Game: 26.0 (119)

Pass Play %: 54.39 (44)
Completion %: 56.67 (94)
Yards Per Pass: 5.7 (98)
Passes Per Game: 30.0 (80)
Interception %: 3.33 (92)
QB Sack %: 3.23 (38)

Defensive Stats

Points Per Game (Rank): 50.0 (126)
Total Yards Per Game: 576.0 (129)
Passing YPG: 261.0 (79)
Rushing YPG: 315.0 (129)
Points Per Play: 0.725 (124)
Yards Per Play: 8.3 (127)
3rd Down Conversion %: 53.85 (115)
4th Down Conversion %: 100.00 (91)
Red Zone Scoring %: 80.00 (44)

Rush Play %: 52.17 (73)
Yards Per Carry: 8.8 (131)
Runs Per Game: 36.0 (69)

Pass Play %: 47.83 (59)
Completion %: 78.13 (126)
Yards Per Pass: 8.2 (94)
Passes Per Game: 32.0 (62)
Interception %: 3.13 (47)
QB Sack %: 3.03 (104)

Advanced Stats

FEI is a neutral field scoring differential per-possession metric. SP+ is a tempo and opponent adjusted efficiency metric. F+ combines the both of them, and OF+ and DF+ and the offensive and defensive components of F+. All five metrics are from Football Outsiders. PFF’s Point Spread Rating is their power rankings.

F+: -0.85 (106)
FEI: -0.54 (114)
SP+: -8.3 (95)
OF+: -0.51 (90)
DF+: -1.14 (114)

PFF: -9.2 (113)

sOUTH fLORIDA bULLS tEAM bREAKDOWN

South Florida has struggled so far throughout the season, and will need to greatly improve to stand a chance against Florida. The Bulls have struggled on third downs, and their defense has been atrocious. USF has ran the ball well, and that will be what they have to rely on. The matchup will be very difficult, and they will have to play mistake free football.

USf bulls Keys To Victory

  1. Convert Third Downs
  2. Force Turnovers
  3. Run The Ball
  4. Create Explosive Plays

Florida Gators

Offensive Stats

Points Per Game (Rank): 22.5 (79)
Total Yards Per Game: 365.5 (74)
Passing YPG: 155.5 (108)
Rushing YPG: 210.0 (10)
Points Per Play: 0.352 (69)
Yards Per Play: 5.7 (50)
3rd Down Conversion %: 39.29 (52)
4th Down Conversion %: 60.00 (44)
Red Zone Scoring %: 100.00 (1)

Rush Play %: 53.13 (51)
Yards Per Carry: 6.2 (9)
Runs Per Game: 34.0 (26)

Pass Play %: 46.88 (81)
Completion %: 52.54 (104)
Yards Per Pass: 5.3 (107)
Passes Per Game: 29.5 (83)
Interception %: 3.39 (93)
QB Sack %: 1.67 (21)

Defensive Stats

Points Per Game (Rank): 26.0 (63)
Total Yards Per Game: 378.5 (63)
Passing YPG: 209.0 (50)
Rushing YPG: 169.5 (85)
Points Per Play: 0.385 (67)
Yards Per Play: 5.6 (79)
3rd Down Conversion %: 46.15 (97)
4th Down Conversion %: N/A
Red Zone Scoring %: 70.00 (27)

Rush Play %: 56.30 (96)
Yards Per Carry: 4.5 (86)
Runs Per Game: 38.0 (78)

Pass Play %: 43.70 (36)
Completion %: 62.50 (77)
Yards Per Pass: 7.5 (79)
Passes Per Game: 28.0 (30)
Interception %: 3.57 (37)
QB Sack %: 5.08 (69)

Advanced Stats

F+: 0.86 (29)
FEI: 0.43 (26)
SP+: 12.9 (31)
OF+: 0.71 (33)
DF+: 0.86 (27)

PFF: 5.1 (44)

Florida Gators Team Breakdown

The Florida Gators come in after a tough loss to Kentucky needing to prove that they are able to get back to their identity. They are a run first team that needs to pound the rock offensively. With Anthony Richardson at the helm, you can look to create explosive plays in the passing game, but relying on that can be risky given his inexperience and the lack of playmakers around him, as shown in the Kentucky game.

Defensively, the Gators lack depth up front, but the starters and the first players off the bench have been extremely effective, the effects of a long game just wear on them throughout the course of the night. The linebacker core will be without sixth year senior Ventrell Miller, so younger athletes will be asked to step up. The secondary has played well so far, but won’t be tested much this game. Frankly, it won’t — or at least shouldn’t — take much to win this game.

Florida Gators Keys To Victory

  1. Limit Turnovers
  2. Convert Third Downs
  3. Run The Ball

Official Prediction for Florida vs USF

Florida – 42
USF – 14

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas: Prospects Review and Game Recap

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas
photo credit: Arkansas Athletics

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas was one of the more exciting matchups in an otherwise bland 3:30 slate of games. Relive the excitement and learn about some of the NFL Draft prospects for each team who stood out in this Cincinnati vs Arkansas review.

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas Game Recap

The number 23 ranked Bearcats took on the 19th ranked Razorbacks in a game between 2021’s most exciting squads. Both teams lost significant talent to the NFL Draft last year but still kept a large portion of their nucleus.

The first half was a tightly contested match in which defenses reigned supreme. Much of the first quarter was marred by strong defenses, with the only score coming from Arkansas by way of a quarterback touchdown run. Cincinnati almost shortened the score to just four points, however kicker Ryan Coe missed a 25-yard field goal with 0:13 seconds left in the quarter.

The second quarter was much the same as both teams traded punts until the Razorbacks were able to break the stalemate late in the half, putting the score at 14-0. Additionally, Cincinnati would attempt another field goal during the previous possession but missed again, this time from 48 yards out.

The Bearcats finally scored at the beginning third quarter with a Corey Kiner rushing touchdown from the Arkansas five-yard line. Arkansas would then respond with a nice back-shoulder touchdown to Jadon Haselwood. Cincinnati would also return the favor with another touchdown pass to Nick Mardner and would force a fumble on the next Razorbacks possession. This would only lead to a field goal, and Arkansas would extend their lead afterward with a field goal of their own.

With the score 24-17 heading into the fourth quarter, Arkansas continued to extend their lead with another deep touchdown. Cincinnati would bring the score closer with a Leonard Taylor touchdown reception. Despite the efforts of the Bearcats, Arkansas would take possession and drain the clock, finishing the game with a 31-24 victory.

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas Offensive Prospects Review

KJ Jefferson was the best prospect on the field Saturday, showing off his speed and playmaking ability. He finished the day going 18/26 for 223 yards and three passing touchdowns with one on the ground as well. Jefferson was stellar on the ground yesterday as well, displaying excellent agility to create yards after the play breaks down.

Additionally, Jefferson looks more comfortable navigating the pocket and working through his progressions. It was a great first game for the redshirt junior, and has certainly helped his draft stock.

Tight end Trey Knox was part of Jefferson’s success on Saturday, catching six passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Knox is a converted wide receiver who is now the starting tight end for Sam Pittman’s offense. He showed great ball tracking ability and speed, which was on full display during Arkansas’s final touchdown. Knox is certainly a player to keep an eye on from here on out.

The aforementioned Haselwood was also a consistent target, showing off his body control and hand-eye coordination on his touchdown grab. The Oklahoma transfer picked up where he left off with the Sooners, and could be a big contributor in 2022.

Cincinnati looked noticeably weaker after losing a majority of their defensive talent and some key starters on offense. Despite this, there were still a couple of standout performances worth noting here. Tight end Josh Whyle started off with an incredible one-handed grab from an awkward throw by quarterback Ben Bryant. Although he finished without a touchdown, Whyle was a safety blanket underneath and was able to create some nice yards after the catch.

Wide receiver Tyler Scott also had a nice game against Arkansas. Scott is one of the Bearcats’ speedy deep threats that had plenty of opportunities to score, however Cincinnati could not get him the ball. The same could be said for Tre Tucker, who had a solid game but wasn’t able to show off his big play ability.

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas Defensive Prospects Review

Arkansas’s defensive transfers also flashed a ton during this Week 1 matchup. Defensive ends Jordan Domineck and Drew Sanders both had quarterback sacks while showing off their impressive athleticism.

The last Arkansas prospect to shine was fan-favorite safety Jalen Catalon. Coming off of a season-ending shoulder injury, Catalon had a solid game Saturday, but left due to another injury to his shoulder. He would not return, but still managed to show off his physicality and instincts in his limited reps.

On defense, the star of the show was transfer linebacker Ivan Pace Jr, who took charge in place of the departed Darrian Beavers. Pace had a few nice plays in the box but really shined as a blitzer. His brother Deshawn also flashed a little due to his athleticism, but had an otherwise rough outing Saturday.

Saturday was also a disappointing game from veteran defensive back Arquan Bush. As the most tenured player on the Bearcats’ back end, Bush struggled to stay in phase with his targets and let up some big plays.

Florida vs Utah Preview

Date: September 3, 2022
Time: 7:00pm EST
Network: ESPN
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
Spread: Utah -3.0
Over/Under: 51

Florida vs Utah Preview

The #7 Utah Utes travel to the Swamp to face the unranked Florida Gators for each of their opening games of the season. Utah is coming off of a Pac-12 Championship last season, led by a fantastic running game, a tremendous defense, and a quick passing game commanded by quarterback Cam Rising. Utah looks to be an early favorite to repeat as Pac-12 champions, with a few other contenders in Oregon and USC to compete with. The Utes’ toughest non-conference matchup looks to be this opening game. The Florida Gators are coming off a tumultuous season that led to the firing of previous coach Dan Mullen. New head coach Billy Napier looks to lead Florida back to success in his first season. Florida opens the season with a tough stretch with three of the first four games against quality opponents, headlined by Utah.

Florida vs Utah
Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty images

Individual stats are courtesy of sports-reference.com, and team stats and rankings are courtesy of teamrankings.com

Utah Utes

2021 Recap

2021 Record: 10-4
Passing Leader: Cameron Rising, R-Jr (current year), 63.8% 2493 yds, 7.8 YPA, 20 TDs, 5 INTs
Rushing Leader: Tavion Thomas, R-Jr, 1108 yds, 5.4 YPC, 21 TDs
Receiving Leader: Brant Kuithe, R-Sr, 50 rec, 611 yds, 12.2 YPC, 6 TDs
Sack Leader: Mika Tafua, NFL, 48 tackles, 13 TFLs, 9.5 sacks
Tackle/Interception Leader: Devin Lloyd, NFL, 111 tackles, 22 TFLs, 7.0 sacks, 4 INTs, 1 FR, 1 FF

2021 Offensive Stats

Points Per Game (Rank): 35.8 (13)
Total Yards Per Game: 429.8 (39)
Passing YPG: 210.6 (85)
Rushing YPG: 219.2 (11)
Points Per Play: 0.521 (7)
Yards Per Play: 6.2 (20)
3rd Down Conversion %: 49.69 (7)
4th Down Conversion %: 50.00 (66)
Red Zone Scoring %: 80.00 (88)

Rush Play %: 57.1 (33)
Yards Per Carry: 5.6 (2)
Runs Per Game: 39.3 (39)

Pass Play %: 42.91 (98)
Completion %: 62.63 (48)
Yards Per Pass: 7.4 (71)
Passes Per Game: 28.6 (90)
Interception %: 1.88 (31)
QB Sack %: 3.13 (2)

2021 Defensive Stats

Points Per Game: 23.0 (32)
Total Yards Per Game: 349.1 (23)
Passing YPG: 223.0 (57)
Rushing YPG: 126.1 (21)
Points Per Play: 0.337 (38)
Yards Per Play: 5.1 (34)
3rd Down Conversion %: 38.12 (56)
4th Down Conversion %: 53.33 (72)
Red Zone Scoring %: 79.55 (42)

Rush Play %: 48.31 (13)
Yards Per Carry: 3.8 (37)
Runs Per Game: 33.0 (16)

Pass Play %: 51.61 (118)
Completion %: 61.28 (71)
Yards Per Pass: 6.9 (32)
Passes Per Game: 32.4 (80)
Interception %: 2.14 (89)
QB Sack %: 8.28 (25)

2021 tEAM Advanced sTATS

FEI is a per-possession metric to determine the scoring differential between opponents on a neutral field. SP+ is a tempo (plays per game, etc.) and opponent adjusted metric to judge efficiency. F+ combines these two metrics. Offensive F+ (OF+) and Defensive F+ (DF+) break that down to the side of the ball. All five metrics are courtesy of Football Outsiders. PFF’s Point Spread Rating is their version of power rankings.

F+: 1.22 (10)
FEI: 0.74 (7)
SP+: 15.2 (16)
OF+: 1.35 (11)
DF+: 0.90 (20)

PFF: 10.5 (10)

Utah Utes Team Breakdown

The Utah Utes are an extremely talented team that is returning a majority of it’s starters from last season. They have a good team culture with coach Kyle Whittingham in his 18th season, and are built to play a bully-ball style of game. They will pound the rock with a vicious barrage of running backs and have plenty of skilled playmakers at the tight end spot to go big. Defensively, their line will look to eat up space to let their new linebackers make plays. The secondary is very talented on the outside, but is a mixed bag at safety. If one of the new safeties can step up, this could be one of the best secondaries in college football. Quarterback Cam Rising will look to play efficiently and deliver the ball to his playmakers quickly to avoid mistakes.

Florida vs Utah
Photo by Sean M Haffey/Getty Images

Utah Utes Keys To Victory

  1. Stop the Run
  2. Force Turnovers
  3. Avoid Early Deficits
  4. Run the Ball Effectively

Florida Gators

2021 Recap

20221 Record: 6-7
Passing/Rushing Leader: Emory Jones, R-Sr (Transferred), 64.7%, 2734 yards, 7.9 YPA, 19 TDs, 13 INTs, 143 carries, 759 yards, 5.3 YPC, 4 TDs
Receiving Leader: Jacob Copeland, R-Sr (Transferred), 41 rec, 642 yards, 15.7 YPC, 4 TDs
Sack Leader: Brenton Cox, R-Sr (current), 41 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, 8 sacks
Tackle Leader: Mohamoud Diabate, Sr (Transferred) 89 tackles, 2.5 TFLs
Interception Leader: Rashad Torrence, Jr, 87 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 3 INTs

2021 Offensive Stats

Points Per Game (Rank): 27.4 (61)
Total Yards Per Game: 443.0 (20)
Passing YPG: 236.6 (61)
Rushing YPG: 206.4 (22)
Points Per Play: 0.386 (63)
Yards Per Play: 6.2 (21)
3rd Down Conversion %: 38.89 (70)
4th Down Conversion %: 56.00 (50)
Red Zone Scoring %: 84.44 (54)

Rush Play %: 53.64 (63)
Yards Per Carry: 5.4 (6)
Runs Per Game: 38.1 (52)

Pass Play %: 46.36 (68)
Completion %: 61.94 (59)
Yards Per Pass: 7.5 (68)
Passes Per Game: 31.8 (55)
Interception %: 4.72 (129)
QB Sack %: 3.54 (7)

2021 Defensive Stats

Points Per Game: 24.7 (44)
Total Yards Per Game: 354.3 (34)
Passing YPG: 186.3 (9)
Rushing YPG: 168.1 (82)
Points Per Play: 0.361 (50)
Yards Per Play: 5.2 (39)
3rd Down Conversion %: 34.78 (22)
4th Down Conversion %: 47.06 (51)
Red Zone Scoring %: 82.05 (56)

Rush Play %: 54.20 (89)
Yards Per Carry: 4.5 (85)
Runs Per Game: 37.1 (65)

Pass Play %: 45.80 (42)
Completion %: 55.98 (13)
Yards Per Pass: 6.5 (18)
Passes Per Game: 28.6 (32)
Interception %: 2.33 (77)
QB Sack %: 8.78 (17)

2021 Team Advanced Stats

F+: 0.68 (34)
FEI: 0.33 (36)
SP+: 11.0 (30)
OF+: 0.58 (39)
DF+: 0.69 (30)

PFF: 5.9 (25)

Florida Gators Team Breakdown

The Florida Gators are helmed by new head coach Billy Napier. Napier will be tested in his opener at the swamp, but his NFL-style offense can be effective against a superior opponent. The Gators will look to use their strong offensive line and deep running back room to move the ball effectively and make the Utes’ linebackers run and chase. Anthony Richardson is unlike any quarterback Napier has ever had, so expect more creativity with the position than he has previously shown.

On the defensive side of the ball, a lack of depth up front will have to be made up for with the star power of Gervon Dexter and Brenton Cox Jr. The Gators do have experience in the secondary, and that group should be talented. Linebacker remains a question, as those with experience lack athleticism, and those with athleticism lack experience.

Florida vs Utah
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Florida Gators Keys to Victory

  1. Effective Anthony Richardson – 300+ Total Yards, 2+ Total TDs
  2. Run the Ball Effectively – 5.0 + YPC, 200 Total Yards
  3. Limit Turnovers – Turnover Margin Within 1
  4. Explosive Plays – year’s3 25+ yard plays
  5. Gets Stops On 3rd Down – Under last years average of 49.67% conversion rate

Official Prediction for Florida-Utah

Florida – 31 Utah – 28

The 7 Best Defensive Line matchups in Week One of College Football

College Football Week One
Photo Credit: Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

College football officially kicked off last week with few solid matchups to wet the appetite of football fans. But for NFL draft fans, the Week 1 slate will debut many incredible talents. Although skills players will take center stage, some of the best matchups in college football this week will be between those offensive and defensive line in the trenches.

The 2023 NFL draft boasts some incredible defensive line talent, especially among the edge rushers. Offensive line, while not quite as strong as last year’s groups, looks promising after a summer of film study. The battles these two groups will engage in will intrigue the more keen football fans and offer up some incredible moments.

As such, here are the best defensive line matchups to watch for on the first big Saturday of the 2022 college football season.

The Best of College Football Week 1

Isaiah Foskey (Notre Dame) vs. Paris Johnson Jr./ Dawand Jones (Ohio State)

The most important of the defensive line matchups in Week 1 of college football is a two-for-one special featuring Notre Dame and Ohio State. Isaiah Foskey is widely beloved as one of the top pass rushers in the 2023 NFL draft class, while Paris Johnson and Dawand Jones are the Buckeyes elite duo of bookend tackles that will be charged with containing Foskey. 

Foskey possesses elite athletic traits and can rush from a multitude of different spots, but can also be relied upon for his edge presence. He shows upside with his hand usage in both phases of the defense, but needs to show the most improvement as a pass rusher. He’ll use his own blend of short-area quickness and power to supplant both Buckeye tackles. 

Johnson Jr. is viewed as one of the top offensive linemen in the 2023 NFL draft, showing great explosiveness and athleticism despite his own flaws. Jones is considered a solid day two option that uses overwhelming size to win at the point of attack. Both players will have their hands full, as they must block one of the most explosive pass rushers in the nation. 

Jalen Carter (Georgia) vs. T.J. Bass (Oregon) 

This is the first major interior matchup of the weekend between two excellent NFL draft prospects. Jalen Carter is considered a top three player in the current class, while Tyler Bass is among the top ten at his position. Both will be key to their respective team’s chances at a victory, making for a potentially incredible game. 

Carter plays with an incredible blend of power and finesse, using his overwhelming strength to breach the A-gap of the offensive line. He needs to show progress with his hand usage this season  to cement his status. However, Carter’s athleticism and football IQ will make him a worthy opponent of Bass. 

Bass is arguably one of the best guards in this class, showing great explosiveness, awareness, and positional versatility. He can play in a phone booth, using that same explosiveness to dominate. One is more incredible than the other, but both are exciting players to watch.

Nolan Smith (Georgia) vs. Steven Jones Jr. (Oregon) 

The second-best matchup in Georgia/Oregon is another fantastic matchup between two great prospects. Nolan Smith is aiming to raise his stock after an inspiring 2021 season. He’s “toolsy”, but undersized, for the edge position, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fairs against the 6-5, 340 Steven Jones. 

Jones played mostly guard in 2021, but is finally getting a chance to play left tackle full time this season. As mentioned previously, Jones is a massive player who wins with size and power from his core. This will be the best edge matchup in this game, however, Jones’s teammate Malaesala Aumaveae-Laulu will face Smith’s teammate in pass rusher Robert Beal. This will be a nice little battle to keep an eye on as well. 

Princely Umanmielen (Florida) vs. Braeden Daniels (Utah) 

As far as NFL futures go, this Saturday night battle has the potential to be one of the most important in the entire 2022 college football season. Umanmielen is a former four-star with plenty of athletic traits and a high ceiling while Daniels could be an ascending prospect in this class at left tackle.

Umanmielen’s teammate Brenton Cox Jr., who is also a highly-touted pass rusher, could also get some looks against Daniels. Although the spotlight will be on the quarterbacks in this game, this trench battle will be an interesting aside to monitor. 

YaYa Diaby (Louisville) vs. Matthew Bergeron (Syracuse) 

This is a personal favorite of mine between two incredible prospects. Diaby is a highly athletic five-technique who flashed plenty of potential in 2021. Bergeron is a powerful offensive tackle who could climb into the top 100 conversation with a good season. Both are high ceiling players that should be on everyone’s radar.

Diaby has little trouble flattening his hips to turn a corner. He’s an older prospect who needs to develop his hands outside of speed-to-power, but has plenty of potential.  Bergeron is a sound technician who has patient hands and a nice anchor that will be used well against Diaby. 

Ikenna Enechukwu (Rice) vs. Andrew Vorhees (USC) 

This is an underrated matchup of Week 1 between one well-liked prospect and one that has zero hype whatsoever. Enechukwu comes from an underpublicized program in Rice, but he’s a talented football player.  He wins with snap timing and length which helps him as a gap penetrator.

Vorhees is a malicious guard who has enough power of his own to star as an interior blocker. Vorhees struggles with awkward hand placement and Enechukwu knows how to manipulate angled pressures. 

Byron Vaughns (Utah State) vs. Tyler Steen (Alabama) 

Our last matchup is by far the most low-key — despite the teams involved. After Evan Neal left for the NFL, Alabama found a suitable replacement in Vanderbilt transfer in Tyler Steen. He’s not an elite athlete like Neal, however Steen is a solid all-around prospect who has a nice anchor in pass protection.

Vaughns is a great athlete who, like many on this list, is a high-ceiling player who can get some serious attention with a stand-out performance. 

Nebraska vs. Northwestern Preview: Week 0 Prospect Roundup

Image via NUSports.com

Northwestern vs. Nebraska preview
PHOTO BY CRAIG SULLIVAN

Nebraska vs Northwestern Preview

Let’s take a deep dive into some of the best 2023 NFL Draft prospects in this Nebraska vs Northwestern preview!

College football’s return begins with the annual Week 0 matchups. Although these aren’t the crowd-pleasing matchups that come later in the season, these early games offer a nice appetizer.

By far the most anticipated game in Week 0 is the inter-conference bout between Nebraska and Northwestern. This is the biggest Power Five game, between two teams looking to bounce back.

This BIG 10 rivalry game has the allure of being set in the Irish capital of Dublin, with the actual game taking place at Aviva Stadium. 2022 marks an important year for both teams, especially for Nebraska after coming off a 3-9 season in 2021. Their last win came against Northwestern in the fall of 2021, scoring a whopping 56 points against the Wildcats.

2021 was also a trying season for the Northwestern Wildcats, finishing the season with the same record as their opponents at 3-9. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald hopes to rebound in 2022, hopefully through their downhill rushing attack lead by their impressive room of running backs.

More important than their individual team aspirations are the draft prospects found within each team. Both squads have plenty of talent on their rosters with each varying in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. The following list will attempt to preview all of the 2023 NFL Draft prospects you should care about as you watch this exciting Week 0 matchup of Nebraska vs Northwestern.

Nebraska vs Northwestern Preview: NFL Draft Prospects

Northwestern 

Evan Hull – Running Back 

The Wildcats haven’t been known for their offensive star power. However, that doesn’t mean they lack talent at the skill positions. In the last five years, players such as running back Justin Jackson and wide receiver Ben Skowronek haven’t been the most impressive prospects, but have carved out roles at the next level nonetheless. This year, the Northwestern Wildcats have another solid skill player in running back Evan Hull. 

Hull had a breakout year in 2021, amassing 1009 yards rushing at 5.1 yards-per-carry on almost 200 touches. Additionally, he rushed for seven touchdowns while catching another two through the air.

At 5-11, 210 pounds, Hull has a dense build that allows him to carry good strength in his lower body to churn out runs down the field. He’s not an elite-level athlete, at least on tape, however, he shows good fluidity in between the tackles that allows him to create extra yards. 

Playing against a stout Cornhuskers front, Hull will have a chance to showcase his ability and potentially get more eyes to his game. He’s certainly an underrated prospect coming out of the summer, but is certainly worth some attention in Week 0 this Saturday. 

Peter Skoronski – Offensive Tackle 

Similar to his former teammate and 2021 first-round pick Rashawn Slater, Wildcats offensive lineman Peter Skoronski is Northwestern’s biggest offensive star by a long shot. Skoronski is considered to be one of the top offensive tackles in the 2023 NFL Draft, and one of the best players in the BIG 10 Conference. 

Skoronski shows excellent power with a crisp anchor, having great lower half strength that helps him to supplant opponents with little issue. He’s an excellent mover in the second level, with his foot quickness and hip fluidity allowing him to take advantageous angles to his targets.

The biggest draw to Skoronski’s game, however, is his versatility — or rather — potential positional versatility. Skoronski lacks elite arm length, so there are questions as to whether he’ll stick at offensive tackle or not. He’s had experience at center, which should open up different opportunities for him to see the field. 

As mentioned above, the Cornhusker’s front seven looks to be stout this year, with their pass rushing possessing a three-headed rotation that could give Skoronski some struggles on Saturday. Even so, Skoronski could quickly cement himself as one of the top tackles if he comes out sharp against Nebraska

Adetomiwa Adebawore – Defensive End 

Where Northwestern has begun to shine over the last five years is with its defense. A few edge rushers such as Earnest Brown IV, Dean Lowry, and Ifeadi Odenigbo have made it to the league — with varying degrees of initial success. This year Adetomiwa Adebawore could be the next Wildcat edge rusher to make his way to the professional level. 

Adebawore was recently featured on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks Lists, where he was highlighted for his impressive strength and weight room prowess. He also showed good numbers in the three-cone drill as well, reflecting the above-average change of direction skills found in his college film. He has solid first-step quickness that will allow him to establish leverage while using that elite strength to maintain gaps. 

Adebawore was not a highly thought of player initially by yours truly after summer scouting, but after more film study his stock has begun to rise a little bit in my rankings. He has a great opportunity to make some noise this weekend against a Nebraska offensive line that lacks elite talent. Adebawore is a solid day three prospect at this point and could continue to rise if he builds off of a promising 2021. 

Cameron Mitchell – Cornerback 

Greg Newsome was great for the Wildcats and quickly became among one of the best cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft class. Newsome was a quick riser in that draft class after not being a widely discussed prospect for much of the early process. This isn’t to say that Cameron Mitchell will reach the same heights as his former teammate, however, he is one of the BIG 10’s best-kept secrets. 

Mitchell plays outside corner for the Wildcats and, despite not possessing elite ball production, there are still elements of his game that show some promise. Mitchell plays with quick feet and solid fluidity in his hips, allowing him to be a relatively successful man-coverage corner with some good activity in his hands.

At this point, Mitchell is an underrated prospect but looks to have a good weekend against the Cornhusker’s receivers. 

Nebraska

Casey Thompson – Quarterback 

The Texas Longhorns had a down 2021 season under their first year with Steve Sarkisian, although quarterback Casey Thompson was one of the bright spots for the team. Now at Nebraska, the 23-year-old passer aims to guide the Cornhuskers to the promised land in the BIG 10 in 2022.

Thompson possesses some good athletic traits when using his legs, with great foot quickness which allows him to break off big runs down the field. He has a solid arm, too, and has several instances where he’s been able to astutely press the ball downfield. 

Although it’s unlikely that Thompson will be considered among the ranks of Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, he could carve out a nice place for himself in the 2023 draft class. And that journey starts on Saturday. 

Travis Vokolek – Tight End

Chase Allen was the focus at tight end for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Now that duty has turned over to Travis Vokolek. With Zavier Betts off the team, there isn’t a top-end pass catcher for Thompson to rely on. Vokolek has nice speed with solid hands, but in a deep tight end class he’ll need to find his footing.

Ochaun Mathis – EDGE 

Nebraska’s second biggest offseason addition is pass rusher Ochaun Mathis. The former Horned Frog transferred this year after having a solid career at Texas Chrisitan. He finished his career at TCU with 12.5 sacks and 26 tackles for a loss, with eight of those sacks coming during the 2020 season.

Mathis already has many fans in the draft community, but will have an excellent opportunity to gain more with a great performance on Saturday. 

Mathis already possesses some solid athletic traits, showing a good initial step and change of direction skills when operating from gap-to-gap. He stands at 6-5, 260 pounds, possessing great length for the edge position with enough mass to anchor versus the run. Mathis is still learning the finer points of pass rushing, but has the potential to improve and showed plenty of promise in 2021. 

Caleb Tannor – EDGE 

By far the biggest unknown out of every player mentioned here is the “other” edge rusher at Nebraska, Caleb Tannor. After starting only a handful of games in 2020, Tannor made the jump to full-time in 2021 and the results were not disappointing. While he didn’t necessarily crush the stat sheet, the raw athleticism on display was something to behold. 

Similar to Mathis, Tannor is still somewhat raw as a pass rusher. However, he can absolutely supplant tackles with speed-to-power, using his length to stun offensive linemen and drive them deeper into the backfield. He has an incredible burst off the line of scrimmage, while his body control allows him to play underneath his opponents.

Tannor vs. Skoronski will be must-see television on Saturday. 

Garrett Nelson – EDGE 

The final pass rusher in the Cornhuskers’ Hydra linebacking core is veteran and reigning team sack leader,  Garrett Nelson. Coming off of a six-sack 2021, the lead pass rusher of Nebraska is an underrated prospect in this class. He’s not as athletically gifted as his teammates, but Nelson still has plenty of talent of his own and is certainly worth a look going forward. 

Nelson has solid hand technique when operating as a pass rusher, but still relies heavily on effort and power. More so than his teammates, it will be interesting to see what improvements he’s made as a run defender. Run defense was not his strongest suit in 2021, with him struggling to set a physical edge against the inter-conference competition. He’ll likely see snaps against Skoronski as well, so viewers will get the chance to see how he fairs against top talent early on. 

Luke Reimer – Linebacker 

The final prospect in this preview is the Cornhuskers’ 2021 tackles leader in linebacker Luke Reimer. Reimer isn’t an elite-level athlete but has proven he can make consistent plays against the run. The 2021 All-Big 10 Honorable Mention is one of the teams’ top defenders, and its easy to see why.

Reimer has shown on film how easily he deconstructs blocks, using hand force and body positioning to stave off potential blocks. He’s quick on the hoof against the run, and tries to be the first player to the football. He’s deceptively sticky in man coverage versus tight ends, but will not be heavily relied upon in that regard. Reimer is still a junior and may not even declare this year. However, he’s still worthy of your time.