Week 5 was one of my favorites weeks so far this season. It featured unexpectedly close games between conference foes, fan-friendly shootouts, and only a few blowouts.
Both of last week’s games of the week turned into high scoring affairs and showcased the potential that can come from the group of five.
Jack Abraham, QB, Southern Mississippi
Jack Abraham took an extended path to school, but the junior QB seems to have found his place at Southern Mississippi. Abraham was a three-star prospect who originally signed with Louisiana Tech before transferring to junior college after one year. In his one year with Northwest Mississippi Community College, Abraham passed for 2,949 yards and 23 TDs in 11 games. That season brought him back into the FBS mix as he joined Southern Mississippi and threw for 2,347 yards in 2018. Now, through five games, he has 1,515 passing yards while averaging 10.5 adjusted yards per attempt which ranks seventh in the nation. Last week, he threw for 351 yards and three TDs against UTEP. Abraham lacks ideal size and likely won’t enter the draft this season, but he could find his way onto an NFL roster if he finishes 2019 strong and follows it with another productive year.
Southern Mississippi has a bye this week, but returns against North Texas on October 12.
Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
I’d projected Patrick Taylor Jr. as a potential breakout candidate this season due to vacated opportunity and Memphis’s recent success with RBs, but his injury opened the door for an even more intriguing prospect. Gainwell has 411 yards and 4 TDs for the season while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. And he’s added 14 receptions for 97 yards and a TD. As a redshirt freshman, the former three-star athlete prospect presents some upside that his teammate lacks. Gainwell is a name to keep in mind as devy drafts roll around next season. Recent history would hint that he could be a very productive college RB and if he tests well, he could turn into a viable NFL prospect.
Memphis takes on Louisiana-Monroe who allows nearly 250 rushing yards per game. Gainwell is a prime candidate to produce.
Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston
Houston’s offense looked poised to take a massive step back after QB D’Eriq King and WR Keith Corbin announced their intention to redshirt the remainder of the 2018 season. But the team responded with a 46 point outing against North Texas. Stevenson didn’t put up huge numbers, but he continued to be very productive with seven receptions for 64 yards. He leads the team with 24 receptions for 298 yards and three TDs. His 38% market share of yards ranks 12th among qualified receivers. Stevenson is a former three-star prospect in the class of 2016 and while he will be eligible for the 2020 class, he will likely return for his final season. His coach Dana Holgorsen has heavily featured top receivers in recent years so an additional season in his system could improve Stevenson’s production profile even with an advanced age.
Stevenson has a bye week, this weekend, but he returns to action on October 12 against Cincinnati.
Other Notable Players
Harrison Bryant had the standout devy performance from last week’s games of the week. Bryant continues to be the leading target for Florida Atlantic and while he didn’t score, he caught six passes for 96 yards. Every week is a good week to throw out a mid-to-late round devy pick in trade offers for Bryant.
The other game of the week standout was Darrynton Evans of Appalachian State. In a game that featured an extended delay, Evans rushed the ball 15 times for 60 yards and two TDs. Even though the efficiency numbers aren’t eye-popping, I’m more convinced every week that Evans will make an NFL roster.
Jarret Patterson put up his second productive season for Buffalo with 183 yards rushing and a TD. This is his second straight week with more than 100 yards. While you’d like to see his usage in the passing game increase, the sophomore back is a player to watch as the team settles into conference play.
Auburn transfer Nate Craig-Meyers led Colorado State in receiving against Utah State. If he can secure the lead WR role on that offense, he’s a candidate to put up video game numbers.
All of UCF’s skill players put on a show during the rout of Connecticut.
Week 5 Group of Five Matchups of the Week
Central Florida at Cincinnati
Both of these teams are coming off of blowout victories against undermanned opponents. Central Florida defeated UConn 56-21 en route to costing me a perfect week of locks on the RotoViz College Football Podcast. Cincinnati defeated Marshall 52-14. And there’s potential NFL prospects all over the field. Dillon Gabriel continues to be my favorite prospect on the UCF roster with more than 1,300 yards and 14 TDs through five games. Michael Warren is potentially the top RB prospect in the game and UC will likely lean on him as an attempt to slow down a UCF offense that prides itself in a fast pace.
Arkansas State vs. Georgia State
This game might not look like a great game at face value, but it features a few intriguing options. Despite losing their starting QB, Logan Bonner, for the season, Arkansas State’s offense put on a show in a shootout game against Troy. But they may have found a gem in true freshman, Layne Hatcher. He passed for 493 yards and four TDs in his debut, however, he also threw three interceptions. More importantly for devy purposes may be watching standout WR, Omar Bayless, who has 689 yards and seven TDs. Bayless could be a deep sleeper in rookie drafts in 2020 and Hatcher could be a stash player in deep devy drafts.