Week four of college football opens at Soldier Field with a matchup of two midwest powerhouses in Notre Dame and Wisconsin. Down in Texas, we have an SEC West showdown between Arkansas and Texas A&M. Let’s take a look at the players who you should keep your eyes on.
Shamrocks at Soldier Field
Notre Dame and Wisconsin travel to the Windy City for this marquee matchup with definite College Playoff implications. Luckily for the Fighting Irish, Kyle Hamilton is fully healthy and looks like the best college football player this year. Hamilton tied a career-high ten tackles and added two pass breakups and an interception against Purdue. He is the first Notre Dame player to have three interceptions in the first three games since Manti Te’o and Bennett Jackson. Hamilton has a chance to surpass Manti Te’o in Notre Dame lore if he can string his success into a Heisman trophy.
If Notre Dame wants to win this game handily for once this season, they will need star running back Kyren Williams to get going. After a breakout 2020 season, Williams has struggled to find holes to exploit in the first three games. A lot of this attributed to the below-average offensive line play from the Fighting Irish. Against Purdue, he led all Irish players with 168 all-purpose yards, the third-highest of his career. It was also the second time that he had a receiving and rushing touchdown in a game. Williams is an actual three-down back who has the skillset and blocking ability to work in the modern NFL.
Wisconsin comes into Soldier field intending to shut down former quarterback Jack Coan, and Linebacker Jack Sanborn will make sure it happens. Sanborn decided to come back for his senior season after an abridged 2020 season. Over two seasons, Sanbord has compiled 132 tackles with his assignment correct playstyle. He offers enough lateral mobility to play the middle linebacker for teams in the NFL. Sanborn needs to improve his coverage skills, and Notre Dame’s sophomore tight-end Michael Mayer will put him to the test Saturday.
Pigs and Gigs
Texas A&M running back Isaiah Spiller looks to be the offensive driving force for the Aggies with Haynes King injured. He averages 5.5 yards per carry and just recently joined the 2000 career rushing yards mark for A&M. Even better is his 8.1 yards per catch average coming out of the backfield. Spiller is a smooth runner despite his physical style of play and knows how to wait for holes to open up.
You won’t find a more versatile defensive lineman than Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal, who has played every position along the line. Leal possesses the size to play inside as a defensive tackle and the explosiveness to come off the edge. He needs to work on getting off blocks while polishing his pass-rushing skills before the draft. Leal’s athleticism and versatility easily make him a first-round pick worthy of a top 25 selection.
Arkansas’s Treylon Burks needs to get more looks if they want to knock off the Aggies in this showdown. Burks is one of the top receiver prospects in the upcoming draft, and so far, he’s been relatively lackluster. In the season opener, he had 127 yards receiving on three catches and one touchdown. Since he has accounted for 79 yards on ten catches with zero trips to the endzone. You could point to the up and down quarterback play, and rightly so, but Burks has to be the catalyst to spark this offense.
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