Six things to note from the college football early signing period and the first college football bowl games.
1. Utah State QB Jordan Love wrapped his college career up with a loss to Kent State in the Frisco Bowl on Friday night, and he heads to the Senior Bowl as one of the most fascinating prospects in this year’s class. He’s had a tough junior year with a new staff and was cited for marijuana possession. But there’s a boatload of talent there, and I wouldn’t be shocked if teams are quiet about their interest in him—like some were with Patrick Mahomes three years ago—because he’s such a wild card of an evaluation.
2. Chris Petersen coached his last game as Washington’s head coach on Saturday, a 38-7 win over his old school, Boise State, in the Las Vegas Bowl. What he said after captures the coach in a nutshell: “We were excited to come to the bowl game but when we saw the opponent, I was lukewarm on the opponent just because of all the people and the connections, and all those things. I'm just proud of these guys, I really am, because again I just thought that would make it more about me and it's never about one person, it's just not —it's about these guys playing really, really well." NFL teams have shown interest in Petersen in the past, and my guess is they will again, too.
3. The early signing period came and went this week, and it was a big deal in the college football world. Is it worth paying attention to from an NFL perspective? Kind of.
Last week, I put together a big board with my preliminary top 10 for the 2020 draft. Three of the 10 players (Chase Young, Derrick Brown, Jeffrey Okudah) were ranked among the top 10 players in their high school class by the 247 composite (which aggregates all the major recruiting rankings), and a fourth (Jerry Jeudy) was 21 in his class. That’s four of the top 10 prospects in the draft rated as five-star prospects coming out of high school. Another five were four star prospects, leaving Clemson S/LB Isaiah Simmons (a three star ranked 451 overall in his class) as the group’s sleeper.
4. Early matchups to watch, prospect-wise, in the Fiesta Bowl: Clemson WRs Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross vs. Ohio State CBs Jeffrey Okudah, Damon Arnette and Shaun Wade.
5. Early matchups to watch, prospect-wise, in the Peach Bowl: Oklahoma WR Ceedee Lamb vs. LSU CB Kristian Fulton, and Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray vs. LSU TE Thaddeus Moss (son of Randy).
6. Two muddled position groups going into draft season: receiver and offensive tackle. Jeudy, Higgins and Lamb are among those battling for position atop a loaded group of receivers, and Thomas, Wirfs, Austin Jackson (USC) and Jedrick Wills (Alabama) all could wind up rising or failing within the first round before April.
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