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When The Devy Breaks: Marquez Stevenson Is Dynamic

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.

As is often the case, Week 10 was not kind to several ranked teams playing on the road. Utah, Texas A&M, Penn State, Iowa, and Houston all lost, further complicating divisional standings in the PAC-12 and Big Ten, in particular. Alabama had no such trouble against LSU in a night game in Death Valley as the Tide went full on Rick-Grimes-at-the-bridge, blowing up the Tigers’ playoff aspirations.

Several teams narrowly avoided upsets including Notre Dame, West Virginia, and Oklahoma. The Irish moved closer to an undefeated regular season and the Mountaineers and Sooners moved one step closer to an incredibly important meeting in the final week of the season.

Last weekend’s slate will be difficult to top based on the sheer number of marquee matchups. But a few Week 11 games stand out. Clemson travels north to Boston College, Notre Dame welcomes Florida State to South Bend, and Ohio State looks to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with a trip to Michigan State where dreams go to die.

RECAP

Arizona RB J.J. Taylor has averaged 186 yards rushing per game over the last three weeks including a workhorse-like 40-192-0 performance last week against Colorado. Taylor is undersized at 5 feet 7 inches, 180 pounds but has shown an uncanny ability to handle large shares of the Wildcats’ rushing production accounting for 63 percent of his team’s non-QB yards rushing. The redshirt sophomore is an explosive runner likened by some to Chicago Bears’ RB Tarik Cohen and ranks third in the county in yards rushing behind only Jonathan Taylor and Darrell Henderson.

Overshadowed by the aforementioned Henderson, Memphis WR Damonte Coxie has been producing impressive numbers. The 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound redshirt sophomore has a 52-839-7 line through 9 games equating to 34 percent of the Tigers’ yards and TDs through the air. Attached to QB Brady White who has been very efficient this season, Coxie has the opportunity to continue to build a strong production profile and position himself as a draft-day sleeper with the next two years.

After exploding on the scene last season, Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson has struggled to live up to the lofty expectations in 2018. He did, however, go nuclear against Miami (OH) putting up a 8-238-3 line. Johnson ranks second on his team in receptions and yards receiving serving as the downfield threat averaging a gaudy 21 yards-per-reception. Johnson is an older prospect — 24 in January — but likely did enough last season to catch the eye of NFL evaluators who will like be drawn to his size. In a somewhat down class for WRs in 2019, Johnson remains an intriguing dynasty prospect.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

Plagued by injuries in his first two college seasons, Houston WR Marquez Stevenson has finally broken out. Currently averaging a 5-91-1 line per game, Stevenson has become the point of the offensive-juggernaut-triangle led by offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and QB D’Eriq King. Accounting for 28 percent of the Cougars’ receiving yards and TDs this season, Stevenson is bordering on a breakout season that would increase the likelihood of future success. His speed and versatility also bode well for his eventual transition to the NFL. This weekend he’ll face a Temple Owls’ defense that gave up 52 points to UCF their last time out.

A key factor in the Cincinnati Bearcats’ 8-1 start has been the play of RB Michael Warren II. The 5-foot-11-inch, 218-pound sophomore has racked up 931 yards rushing and 14 TDs, equaling 60 percent of his team’s rushing production. He’s also added 19 receptions and ranks 31st nationally in all-purpose yards per game (122). Tavion Thomas and Charles McClelland, two talented freshman RBs, cap Warren II’s statistical ceiling. But Warren II has the build of an NFL RB and is starting to amass the production profile of one as well. I anticipate the Bearcats leaning heavily on Warren II in their upcoming matchup with South Florida.

Previously held back by poor QB play, Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin has emerged since the Irish made the move to Ian Book. The 6-foot-4-inch, 228-pound senior has a 0.35 Dominator Rating through 9 games, serving as the primary TD producer in Notre Dame’s passing attack. Because of his late-career emergence, Boykin may not grade out well among the analytical community. But age-adjusted metrics, while important, are just part of the puzzle. Draft position matters too. Scouts note his size, strength, and ball skills, all traits that could vault his draft stock next spring. Boykin gets a shot at a marquee (albeit currently struggling) program in Florida State in prime time on Saturday.

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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