Once the games end on college football Saturday, my work begins. That’s when I pore over the coaches’ film, taking notes and writing reports …
Here are 10 prospects who impressed over this past weekend, along with an all-22 clip (or two or three) to illustrate what makes each an intriguing NFL prospect:
With thousands of prospects on the radar for the 2023 NFL Draft, I rarely have the time to focus on freshmen or sophomores who aren’t yet draft-eligible (Bowers can turn pro after next season). But it is impossible to overlook the impact and talent of Bowers, who announced himself as a star last season as a freshman and is only getting better this year as a sophomore.
Against South Carolina on Saturday, Bowers split his 33 offensive snaps between the slot (17), inline (11) and out wide (5), as the Georgia offense used him across its formations. All the ways he can impact the game were on display for his three touchdowns (two receiving and one rushing).
The first score came early in the first quarter on a reverse from the 5-yard line. Who runs a reverse with a tight end, especially in the red zone where the field is condensed and defenders are closer to the line of scrimmage? Well, Georgia does, because it has a talent like Bowers with the speed to eliminate those pursuit angles.
The second score was a back-shoulder fade with Bowers again lined up wide. In the clip below, you’ll notice that the cornerback has tight coverage and gets his hands on the football, but Bowers displays his dominance — he snatches the football and has the wherewithal to make sure a foot (maybe two; it was close) stayed inbounds.
The third touchdown showcased what really separates Bowers from most tight ends. Yes, it is a coverage bust that leaves Bowers wide open in the middle of the field, but few tight ends have the skills to turn this catch into a 78-yard touchdown. Bowers makes two defensive backs miss with his balance and power and accelerates to top speed quickly to outrace everyone else. His ability after the catch creates flashbacks of Travis Kelce or George Kittle.
I’m a supporter of the NFL rule that says players must be three years removed from high school to be draft-eligible because 99 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds aren’t ready for the NFL. And now with NIL, players will have a chance to earn money while they develop at the college level. However, Bowers is part of the one percent who could be scoring touchdowns on Sundays right now if given the chance.
I avoid speaking in absolutes when it comes to the draft, especially this early. But it’s not a hot take to say if the draft happened tomorrow and he was eligible, Bowers would be a lock as a top-10 pick.
Olu Fashanu, LT, Penn State (6-6, 315)
Most evaluators agree: This offensive tackle draft class appears lackluster in terms of high-end talent. But Fashanu is one of the up-and-coming youngsters in college football who could help change that narrative. He has already been a clear upgrade at left tackle for the Nittany Lions over Rasheed Walker, who was drafted this past April by the Green Bay Packers.
Fashanu was dominant — especially in pass protection — against Penn State’s first two…