Welcome back to When The Devy Breaks, your weekly rundown of the college football landscape and how it affects your devy league rosters. Here are a few quick storylines from last weekend’s slate of action:
- Illinois forced three turnovers against Wisconsin, setting up a monster upset win at home as 31-point underdogs.
- Florida QB Kyle Trask threw 4 TDs in an impressive 38-27 road win against a South Carolina squad fresh off a major upset against Georgia in Week 7.
- Justin Herbert and Jacob Eason combined for 7 TDs and 0 INTs in Oregon’s 35-31 road win over Washington.
Looking ahead to Week 9, I’m interested to see how Alabama functions without Tua Tagovailoa and whether Joe Burrow can further boost his NFL stock against Auburn. Devy values are on the move now that we’re into the heart of conference matchups. Let’s see who’s up and who’s down.
A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
I’ve been high on Dillon as a prospect for some time now. His rushing production speaks for itself and there’s evidence pointing to him being a truly special size-adjusted athlete. The one mark on his record heading into 2019 however was his lack of passing-game involvement. But through seven games this season he’s shown noticeable improvement in terms of his receiving efficiency.
It’s also worth noting that Golden Eagles’ head coach Steve Addazio has a history of ignoring his workhorse running back in passing situations. The 2020 RB class is deep, meaning Dillon likely needs a strong combine performance to crack Day 2 draft status. But he’s still one of my favorite RB prospects flying well under the radar given his production and athleticism.
Reggie Roberson Jr., WR, SMU
SMU’s 7-0 start is due in large part to an explosive passing attack led by WR Reggie Roberson Jr. The 6-foot, 200-pound junior set career highs in yards receiving (250) and touchdowns (3) last week against Temple, serving as QB Shane Buechele’s primary target.
Currently accounting for 35 percent of the Mustangs’ receiving production, Roberson is on his way to securing a breakout campaign despite playing with one of the better WRs in the country in James Proche. Assuming he declares early after this season, he’ll play his rookie year at age 23, which has historically led to a lower hit rate compared to younger WR prospects. But at the very least, Roberson is a G5 prospect worth monitoring moving forward.
Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
Following a 20-412-3 line as a freshman in 2016, Duvernay has toiled in relative obscurity over the last two seasons. But through seven games this season, the 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior has flashed in a major way, accounting for 29% of the Longhorns’ receiving production. Perhaps what’s most impressive has been his reliability as a pass-catcher.
Most catchable targets w/out a drop, FBS WRs, through Week 7:— Cam Mellor (@PFF_Cam) October 16, 2019
Devin Duvernay, Texas: 53
Isaiah Hodgins, Oreg St: 51
Elijah Moore, Ole Miss: 44
James Proche, SMU: 44
Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty: 34
Reggie Roberson, SMU: 34
Duvernay’s athleticism displayed in high school leads me to believe he’ll test strongly at next spring’s combine. If that happens, he could be a late riser as we approach the draft process.
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
Benjamin was fantastic as a sophomore, finishing with over 1,600 yards rushing. But the decline in efficiency to this point in 2019 is worth noting.
Typically a drop like this could be explained by a dip in offensive line play. But the Sun Devils’ OL ranks 79th in Line Yards per Football Outsiders, just a slight decline from last season’s rank of 63rd. So what’s the reason? To tell the truth, I’m not entirely sure. Benjamin is still a factor as a receiver, averaging 2.7 catches per game, and has gone over 100 yards rushing in his last three. It still feels disappointing based on what we saw last season.
Benjamin is still inside my top-20 overall prospects, but with the ascendance of Chuba Hubbard and others in that range, he has fallen slightly.
Trade Target Of The Week
Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Few WRs were hyped as much as Shenault heading into 2019, and for good reason. Coming off a breakout sophomore season in which he posted a 0.46 Dominator Rating in 8 games played, hopes were understandably high for Shenault to take another leap. But so far, the results have been mixed.
Injuries have again been a routine storyline this season, raising valid concerns about Shenault’s durability. And getting outproduced by what we consider to be lesser talent certainly isn’t encouraging. But if you still believe in his upside, now is the time to pry him away from another league mate who might be feeling a bit unsatisfied with Shenault’s year-to-date production.