It’s rivalry week! And that means that all college football fans will be gathered around their screens to scout mid-major school prospects. Oh … that’s just me? Welp, so be it.
There’s a ton of hype around some of the biggest games in the Power Five conferences and rightfully so. There are playoff implications and historic matchups between fan bases that genuinely dislike one another.
So as we enter the final week of the regular season, I’m going to change up the normal format. Rather than focusing on players who had great performances last week, I’m going to focus on three players who are true prospects for rookie drafts, next year.
Group of Five Prospects
Omar Bayless, WR, Arkansas State
Quietly, Bayless leads the FBS in receiving yards with 1,375. He’s also accounted for 15 TDs. Bayless is finally breaking out as a receiver during his fifth season on campus. His 1,375 yards this year is 200 more than he had for his career entering this year. But at 6 feet 3 inches, his TD production and 17.2 yards per reception point to a prospect who developed a skill.
As a prospect, the concern will always be his late breakout as a fifth-year senior and lower level of competition. But don’t be surprised when his name is called at the back end of the draft. A season like this isn’t easy to overlook.
Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
I haven’t spent much time talking about the TE position this season. That’s because generally none have been outstanding. Bryant was a player I regarded highly entering the year, but he hasn’t produced in a way that I expected. He has 890 receiving yards and three TDs which represent a 28% share of yards and a 0.216 dominator rating.
But this past weekend was noteworthy. He had 182 yards and a TD against UTSA. His yardage ranked fourth in the FBS. Bryant was a lower-tier high school prospect, but with over 2,000 yards in his college career, he could be a Day 3 selection with a good draft process.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
This is unquestionably my favorite Group of Five prospect for the 2020 draft class. Since joining the FBS last season, Gandy-Golden has continued his dominant play. He caught 71 passes for 1,037 yards, a 33% market share, in 2018 and has 70 receptions for 1304 yards, a 39% market share, in 2019. He’s second in FBS receiving yards to Bayless. With one more TD this season, he’ll have back-to-back double-digit TD seasons. And this is all before his FCS stats are taken into consideration where he has 1,381 yards and 13 TDs in his first two seasons.
Gandy-Golden is projected as an early Day 3 selections but could improve his stock with a good draft process.
Week 13 Group of Five Matchups of the Week
Cincinnati at Memphis
This matchup is a precursor to the AAC championship game, and it features two teams that are moving in opposite directions. Memphis has been winning games in high-scoring games, mostly blowouts, while Cincinnati has been trying to win lower scoring games and haven’t impressed. Michael Warren entered the year as a possible 2020 draft prospect, but appears to be returning for his senior year with Cincinnati. Memphis is led by QB Brady White and freshman RB Kenneth Gainwell.