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When The Devy Breaks: Damien Harris Prepares For The Next Level

When the Devy Breaks travels the college football landscape, keeping you up-to-date on last week’s results, previewing the big upcoming tilts, and providing updated devy rankings.

Another week, another slew of top-20 upsets. Washington and Oregon both fell on the road against unranked teams, opening the door for a Washington State PAC-12 North title. Texas faltered as a road favorite against Oklahoma State, proving yet again it’s wise the fade the Longhorns in non-underdog roles with Tom Herman as head coach. Texas A&M, South Florida, Wisconsin, N.C. State, and Appalachian State also lost to previously unranked opponents.

By the time you’re reading this the initial set of playoff rankings will be released creating a whirlwind of talking points. But just remember, what we think we know now is almost guaranteed to be wrong. Don’t take it personally. It’s not really our fault. But on the bright side, we have the best slate of games we’ve had all season coming up this weekend. Alabama/LSU, WVU/Texas, Georgia/Kentucky, and Penn State/Michigan all have playoff implications. Do your chores and fulfill your social obligations early. You’ll thank me later.

RECAP

Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace is becoming a star right before our eyes. A 10-222-2 performance against Texas last week should vault Wallace into the national spotlight as a legitimate Biletnikoff Award candidate. The 6-foot, 190-pound sophomore has accounted for 35 percent of the Cowboys’ receiving yards and touchdowns this season and is on his way to a strong age-adjusted breakout season.

TCU WR Jalen Reagor has been held down for much of the 2018 season by inept quarterback play. His 8-177-1 line against Kansas, however, is a glaring reminder of his talent and upside. At 5 feet 11 inches, 195 pounds, Reagor might be typecast as a slot WR, but his career TDs/game (0.6) and yards-per-catch (15.5) metrics suggest otherwise. Much like Wallace, Reagor is also on track to an early breakout season posting a 0.33 Dominator Rating so far this year.

It’s reasonable to wonder how healthy Duke QB Daniel Jones is since breaking his collarbone in September. His 396-4-0 performance against Pitt was reassuring. Jones has the size that has historically proven to be important to NFL scouts at 6 feet 5 inches, 220 pounds and is relatively athletic to boot (1,110-plus yards rushing and 15 TDs). His career adjusted yards per attempt of 6.3 is underwhelming but this season has been the most efficient of his career. Given the current QB-starved NFL environment, it’s hard to imagine Jones not being highly drafted assuming he’s healthy we he declares.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

Because of the incredible offensive efficiency shown by Alabama this season, RB Damien Harris hasn’t been getting much buzz. In a backfield where touches have been distributed equitably, he has just 25 percent of his team’s carries so far. Playing alongside three potential future NFL RBs — Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs, Brian Robinson — will likely limit Harris’s opportunity moving forward. Scouts praise his decisive running style but question his athleticism, making his spring workouts evermore important. Next up is a matchup with an LSU run defense ranked 21st against the run per S&P+.

Despite being the most efficient RB on the roster, Texas’s Keaontay Ingram had just 11 carries in last week’s loss to Oklahoma State. He’s had more than 13 carries just once this season. Tom Herman cites Ingram’s heavy workload in high school as a primary reason his touches remain limited. At 6 feet, 205 pounds, accounting for 40 percent of the Longhorns’ non-QB rushing production, Ingram is one of the most intriguing freshman RBs in nation. Texas will look to bounce back at home against West Virginia and their middling run defense.

Michigan WR Donovan Peoples-Jones was a consensus five-star recruit out of high school. Through 21 games, however, his raw counting stats don’t jump off the screen. After a disappointing freshman season tied to QBs John O’Korn, Brandon Peters, and Wilton Speight, Peoples-Jones has accounted for 31 percent of his team’s receiving production in 2018. He also has two career punt return TDs, a positive indicator of plus athleticism. He’s far from a sure thing, but if Shea Patterson comes back next season, Peoples-Jones will have more time to refine his game with a competent QB and prove why he was so highly sought after as a high school prospect. He’ll face a Penn State secondary on Saturday allowing just 5.5 yards per attempt this season.

Check out my updated devy rankings. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or the message boards to let me know what you think.

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