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When The Devy Breaks: Bryce Love Looks To Regain His 2017 Form

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.

Last weekend gave us a handful of notable upsets, led by Kentucky defeating Mississippi State on the shoulders of Benny Snell Jr. who had a monster game on the ground (25/165/4). Texas Tech beat Oklahoma State 41-17 in Stillwater, led by emerging freshman star QB Alan Bowman. An ultra-efficient effort from QB David Blough helped Purdue to their first win of the season against a red hot Boston College team, 30-13. And for the second week in a row, Texas defied the critics by beating a solid team at home, handling TCU 31-16.

On the other end of the spectrum, all teams ranked in the top 10 entering the weekend won easily, with the exception of Oklahoma and Stanford. They needed overtime to stave off upset bids from Army and Oregon, respectively. Looking ahead to Week 5, we get two marquee matchups with national title implications. Stanford goes to Notre Dame and Penn State welcomes Ohio State to Happy Valley. If nothing else, make a point to scope those out.

RECAP

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa is the current Heisman Trophy favorite and did not disappoint against Texas A&M. The 6-foot-1, 219-pound sophomore completed 73 percent of his throws for 387 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s finished every game this year with a passer rating of 224 or better and has yet to throw an interception. He’s the only QB this century to throw for 12 or more TDs on 80 or fewer attempts and is averaging a ridiculous 15.9 adjusted yards per attempt through four games. While pro-to-college comparisons are often faulty, Tagovailoa has been likened to both Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. And at this point the praise doesn’t seem unwarranted. He’s my top 2020 QB prospect.

Texas WR Collin Johnson helped propel the Longhorns in their win against TCU with 7 receptions for 124 yards and 1 TD. He’s accounted for 28 percent of Texas’ receiving yards and TDs through four games, earning a near-equal split with Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Lauded for his size (6-foot-6, 220 pounds), Johnson has yet to post a breakout season, finishing with a meager 0.17 Dominator Rating as a sophomore in 2017. But as we know, elite measureables can often supersede sub-par production come draft day. Johnson is already gaining praise as a potential top-50 pick in the 2019 draft.

Ever since Tyreek Hill took the NFL by storm two seasons ago, we’ve been searching for the next game-changing human blur. Purdue WR Rondale Moore might just be next. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound true freshman put up an 8/110/2 line against Boston College, his third game with 100 or more yards receiving this season. He’s also rushed for 132 yards and a score on just six carries. Moore has a 0.40 Dominator Rating through four games, putting him on pace for an elite age-adjusted season. While a Heisman Trophy campaign might be premature, Moore is quickly ascending to the top tier of the 2021 class.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

Stanford RB Bryce Love has fallen victim to the curse of high expectations. After averaging 163 yards rushing per game in 2017, Love has just 254 yards rushing combined through three games. This decrease doesn’t fall on Love alone. The Cardinal have thrown on 51 percent of their plays compared to 43 percent last season, and Stanford’s offensive line has under-performed, ranking 124th and 120th in opportunity rate and stuff rate per Football Outsiders. Love’s sub-par first-year Workhorse Score and career receiving stats can be overcome by a strong combine performance and draft position, but it’s worth keeping an eye on how he finishes out his final college season. His big-play ability will be tested this weekend against a Notre Dame defense that ranks 11th in the country in limiting big plays on the ground.

Injury and increased competition have slowed Baylor WR Denzel Mims so far this season, but he remains a very intriguing 2019-eligible prospect. As a 20-year-old sophomore last season, Mims posted a 0.33 Dominator Rating, an important indicator of future success. The presence of Jalen Hurd limits his statistical ceiling, but Mims’ elite frame and athleticism make him a high-upside proposition. On Saturday he’ll face an Oklahoma Sooners’ secondary that got bullied by Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler, another big-bodied wideout, just two weeks ago.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of Trevor Lawrence taking over as Clemson’s starting QB is WR Justyn Ross. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound true freshman is averaging 21.5 yards per target, and all three of his TDs have come from Lawrence. Ross is currently accounting for 21 percent of the Tigers’ receiving yards and TDs. Clemson is unsurprisingly loaded at WR, so barring injury, Ross will be hard-pressed to see a substantial increase in volume.1 But if he continues to grow as a route-runner and earn even more trust from the coaching staff, we could see him earn a more solidified role. Ross’s talent coupled with Lawrence’s arm make him a rising star in the 2021 WR class.

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.

  1. He averages just 2.7 targets per game.  (back)

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