Who to watch: Mississippi State v. Northwestern (Gator Bowl)

Stay tuned for must-see prospects from every game of the bowl season.

Gator Bowl

Tuesday, January 1, 12:00pm EST

ESPN2

Why are you hating on Chad Bumphis?

Mississippi State

Chad Bumphis, #1, Senior, WR

You’re probably either drinking or hungover when you’re reading this, so I’ll keep it brief.  When you wake up tomorrow, turn on ESPN2.  Look for the guy with the M on his helmet wearing the #1 jersey.  His name is Chad Bumphis and he has major skills.  Not only is he a human joystick (see video below) but he is ultra productive.  He catches touchdowns at the same rate as Tavon Austin and Terrance Williams (1TD per game) and he makes explosive plays at 16+ yards/catch.  When I crunch his numbers, he grades neck-and-neck with Conner Vernon for draftability.  Expect the Bulldogs to send of Bumphis with a big game before he enters the draft as an under the radar prospect.

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Who to watch: Clemson v. LSU (Chick-Fil-A Bowl)

Stay tuned for must-see prospects from every game of the bowl season.

Chick-Fil-A

Monday, December 31, 7:30pm EST

ESPN

DeAndre Hopkins, your table is ready.

Clemson

DeAndre Hopkins, #6, Junior, WR

In my November WR rankings, I named DeAndre Hopkins the #3 draft-eligible wide out in the country and, despite a slow November, I am still very high on him.  It’s almost impossible to imagine that he scored a receiving touchdown in every conference game, and in 11 of 12 games overall.  Off hand, my rough estimation is that less than 3% of wide receivers who play college ball come close to that, which shows you what kind of rare talent he is.  Also, his 1.33 touchdowns/game average ranks 17th in my database of more than 2,000 receiving seasons over the past 15+ years.  To further illustrate his absurd playmaking ability, consider that of all wide receivers who caught at least 65 passes this year, only Hopkins and Baylor’s Terrance Williams averaged more than 17.5 yards per reception.

It will be absolutely fascinating to watch Hopkins square off against an elite SEC defense in the LSU Tigers.  If he can end the year with a bang in the Chick-Fil-A bowl, I expect Hopkins to declare for the draft and be a top 70 selection.

 

 

Who to watch: USC v. Georgia Tech (Sun Bowl)

Stay tuned for must-see prospects from every game of the bowl season.

Sun Bowl

Monday, December 31, 2:00pm EST

ESPN

Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, Marqise Lee.  Do I have your attention?

Southern California

Marqise Lee, #9, Sophomore, WR

Coming into the 2012 season, much of the USC receiver hype was about junior Robert Woods, and rightfully so.  In 2011 Woods had 38 more catches, 139 more yards, and 4 more touchdowns.  But Lee was just a freshman last year and now that he’s ingrained in the system, he is otherworldly.

In my November WR rankings, I said that if Lee was draft eligible he would be the #1 receiver on my board.  Lee has put up the most dominant USC receiver season in my database, topping Trojan legends like Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Williams, and Dwayne Jarrett.

More impressive than that, Lee is historically great within the Pac12 context.  This season he set Pac12 records for most receptions (112) and reception yards (1,680).  His 14 touchdowns are two behind Williams/Jarrett’s Pac12 record of 16.  His 140 yards per game is the 7th best total of the past 15 years behind names like Randy Moss, Torry Holt, Michael Crabtree, Justin Blackmon, and Terrance Williams.  Similarly, his 9.3 catches per game is 10th best in my database, and of the nine guys ahead of him, none has topped the 15 yards/reception level like Lee has in 2012.

In my ALL TIME receiver grades, Lee would rank 4th highest if he were eligible for the 2013 Draft.  Who is ahead of him?  Some guys you may have heard of named Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, and Larry Fitzgerald.

Need I say more?  Watch the tape and brace yourselves for Lee to catch 3 TDs against Georgia Tech, completing his trifecta of Pac-12 records.

(Reportedly, Lee sustained an injury in bowl practice and is questionable for the game.  Here’s hoping he plays.)

Who to Watch: Baylor v. UCLA (Holiday Bowl)

Stay tuned for must-see prospects from every game of the bowl season.

Holiday Bowl

Thursday, December 27, 9:45pm EST

ESPN

Arguably the best WR prospect and best RB prospect are in this game.  You should watch.

Baylor

Terrance Williams, #2, Senior, WR

In my November WR prospect report, I named Terrance Williams the #1 Draft-eligible WR in America.  Whether that will hold true after the combine, we will have to wait and see, but if nothing else, he is a MUST KNOW player.

To put things in perspective, consider the last decade of Big 12 wide receiver rankings, sorted by YPC.

  1. Crabtree (2007)  150.9 receiving yds/gm
  2. Blackmon  (2010)  148.5 receiving yds/gm
  3. Terrance Williams (2012)  147 receiving yds/gm
  4. Danario Alexander (2009)  137 receiving yds/gm
  5. Dez  (2008)  134.6 receiving yds/gm
  6. Jordy (2007)  133.8 receiving yds/gm

To understand how MAJOR of a list that is, you can identify four of six with just one name.  The company Williams is keeping are almost all household names among casual football fans.

Williams not only produces high yardage totals, he rips off yardage in huge chunks every time he catches the ball.  He averages 18.57 yards per reception.  Only TWO players in the last decade (from BCS conferences) have posted a higher yds/reception while catching at least 60+ balls.

Kenny Britt (2007) 62 receptions, 19.87 yds/reception, 13 games

Lee Evans (2003)  64 receptions, 18.95 yds/reception,  13 games

Terrance Williams (2012)  95 receptions, 18.57 yds/reception, 12 games

WOW!

Williams has eight games with 130+ receiving yards  and has hauled in at least one touch down in eight games.  THE MAN IS AN ABSOLUTE BEAST!

Watch him dismantle West Virginia…

UCLA

Johnathan Franklin, #23 , Senior, RB

Franklin was recently named 2nd Team All American, which was very deserved.  But some might question whether the 5′ 10”  195 lb running back is suited for the NFL.  Let’s take a closer look.

You know New York Giants running back David Wilson?  He has flashed HUGE for the G-men this fall after being a 1st round pick out of Virginia Tech last season.  To quantify how excellent Franklin is, let’s compare them head to head in their premier games.

SOS (avg rank of defense faced in premier games, lower is better)

  • Franklin–19th 
  • Wilson– 39th

Carries/ Game

  • Franklin–23
  • Wilson–22.3

Rush yards/ Game

  • Franklin– 160
  • Wilson–101

Rush yards/ Carry

  • Franklin–6.96
  • Wilson–4.54

Rush TDs / Game

  • Franklin–1.25
  • Wilson–.75

In the Holiday bowl, Franklin will be up against the 104th ranked defense in the nation… Yikes!  Expect him to go bonkers against the Baylor Bears. But before you write off this performance as a product of a soft opponent, consider the numbers above against his toughest competition.  I can’t know how Franklin will perform at the combine–or whether he can do backflips–but on the field JF23 gets it done.  Watch him make several impressive plays in the first 90 seconds…