2023 NFL Draft: College Game Recaps - Conference Championships

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2023 NFL Draft Prospects have performed.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: draftcampbell@gmail.com
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

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  • Charged with taking on Johnston was an NFL prospect in Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents. It was big-versus-big matchup as Brents is a 6-foot-3 cornerback who moves pretty well for his size. Brents though put together a rough game. He was called for multiple pass-interference penalties for grabbing downfield, and he dropped an easy interception. The pass was thrown up for grabs like a punt, and Brents let the uncontested catch fall right through his hands. Brents did manage to bring in an interception on an under-thrown pass in the end zone. He also came back to break up a deep ball in coverage on Johnston late in the fourth quarter.

    This tape showed the good and bad with Brents. He has excellent size to match up with big receivers, has length, some ball skills, and instincts. However, Brents presents speed limitations, so he could make him more of a No. 2 or 3 corner for the NFL, which makes him more of a second-day prospect for the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn is going to be a steal in the 2023 NFL Draft. He is very short at 5-foot-5 or 5-6, but defenses have a hard time keeping track of him behind the line and Vaughn is a warrior.

    In the first half, Vaughn could not find good running lanes because the Horned Frogs were selling out to stop the ground game, but that let Vaughn get open as a receiver, where he demonstrated good route-running. Midway through the first half, Vaughn juggled and dropped pass for what could have been a gain of about 20 yards. Shortly later, Vaughn made up for it with a leaping grab for about 20 yards, using his strength to outfight the defensive back for the ball.

    In the fourth quarter, Vaughn started to see some better holes as the TCU defense was getting worn out. Vaughn took a carry near midfield and made superb cutback to the left to explode into the secondary. Vaughn then juked a safety in embarrassing fashion at the 20-yard line to coast into the end zone with a 44-yard touchdown. Vaughn ran 26 times for 130 yards and a touchdown. He also notched two receptions for 30 yards.

    Vaughn may not have the size to be a three-down starter in the NFL, but he could be a dynamic No. 2 back. He is an excellent receiver who has speed, amazing elusiveness, and nail-hard toughness. While he is slightly different, Vaughn could be a Darren Sproles-type back in the NFL.

  • One of the players who was really limited Duggan was Kansas State defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah. In the second quarter, Anudike-Uzomah flew by the left tackle to get a pressure on Duggan to force an incompletion. In the third quarter, Anudike-Uzomah got a third-down sack after using a dip underneath the left tackle and speed to close to bring down Duggan. Anudike-Uzomah made other good pass rushes and plays in run defense. This tape could help Anudike-Uzomah to be a second-day pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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  • Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter is one of the top prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft, and he is in the running to be the first non-quarterback taken. Carter gave proof of why with how he dominated the LSU offensive line.

    In the first quarter, Carter came on a twist to put pressure on Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels to blow up a pass play. Early in the second quarter, Carter wrecked a series for LSU with two pressures on Daniels that forced incompletions and then caused a pile to stuff a third-down run. Late in the second quarter, Carter used a swim move to toss the guard to the side and then sped in to close the pocket and sack Daniels. Carter came up with another huge play after halftime when he blasted the right tackle onto the turf and then fired into the backfield to start a tackle for a loss on a fourth-and-1.

    For the NFL, Carter is a fast and athletic interior lineman with strength to shed blocks. He could be a versatile defender who possesses both the power to play nose tackle and the speed to serve as a three-technique. Team sources feel Carter is a better prospect than Jordan Davis or Devonte Wyatt, with this game reinforcing that opinion. This tape will help Carter to be one of the first players selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels had been playing through an injured ankle recently, and he played injured versus Georgia. Daniels started the game well, successfully moving the ball, but as the pass rush started ramping up, the injury and the hits led to Daniels limping around and not be the same player.

    Daniels threw a few beautiful passes in the first quarter, including a 16-yard rope through a tight window to move the chains. Daniels was rewarded particularly by wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, who Daniels hit run on a crossing route. Boutte then tacked on an additional 40 yards to produce a 53-yard touchdown.

    Shortly later, Daniels had terrible luck, as a pass went off the hands of his receiver and a cornerback. The ball then bounced off the helmet of his receiver to get intercepted by a Bulldogs defender. Daniels gutted things out in the first half, but turned LSU over the quarterback position to the backup in the second half. Daniels finished completing 16-of-24 passes for 208 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

    Daniels could get second-day consideration in the 2023 NFL Draft. He has good size, a quality arm and dangerous running ability. For the pros, he needs development as a pocket passer, including working through progressions, reading coverage, and he could also stand to add some weight to his frame. Daniels could start as a backup in the NFL, but he has the physical tools to be a starter. With upside, it will be interesting to see if he can develop into a being a starter.

  • Some in the media have pushed Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo as a high first-rounder for the 2023 NFL Draft, but many teams have him graded on Day 2. His performance in the SEC Championship game proved why pro teams are not as high on Ringo.

    Midway through the game, LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers torched Ringo on a deep post to get open for a 59-yard gain. Ringo was fortunate that Nabers fell down while making the catch, or he would have gone for an 80-yard touchdown. Later in the third quarter, Ringo lost track of the ball while in coverage in the end zone, so he just hugged the receiver and drew a pass interference.

    In the fourth quarter, Ringo was slow to adjust to a receiver darting underneath him to pick a reception of about 30 yards. On the same drive, Nabers got open versus Ringo on a comeback route. To end that possession, Jaray Jenkins got behind Ringo and then cut across the field, and Ringo could not keep up with him, allowing a 33-yard touchdown.

    Ringo has good size and straight-line speed, but he has major issues with stiffness, which leads to him giving up separation when receivers make cuts in their routes. For the NFL, Ringo looks limited to serving only as a press-man corner.

  • This was probably the last collegiate game for LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte. He had a slow start to the season and did not seem to be on the same page with Daniels. That seemed to get Boutte in a funk of running some lazy routes and dropping some passes. However, Boutte played better during the back half of the season, and he ended the season well versus Georgia, catching six passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Boutte showed quickness as a route runner, some yards-after-the-catch ability, and the athleticism to generate separation. This tape will help him in the months to come as the 2023 NFL Draft.

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  • Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell has been a productive passer in the Big 10 over the past few seasons, and he deserves a lot of credit for helping to make the Boilermakers relevant again. O'Connell also deserves condolences and credit for continuing to play despite the recent tragic death of his older brother. In the Big 10 Championship Game, O'Connell had a mixed performance.

    O'Connell started the game pretty well, throwing precision passes in the short to intermediate part of the field. He was taking what the defense was giving him and moving the ball consistently. While he did not throw into the end zone, he set up a rushing touchdown and produced a few field goal drives.

    In the third quarter, O'Connell had a bad interception when he threw a pass way too short instead of leading his receiver to the back of the end zone. The ball floated into the defensive back for a critical turnover. Later in the fourth quarter, O'Connell stared down his receiver, and that let a cornerback jump the route to snag another pick. O'Connell completed 32-of-47 passes for 366 yards and two interceptions.

    For the next level, O'Connell is a pocket passer who can throw accurately in the short to intermediate part of the field. He does not have an overpowering arm or present a dual threat via running ability, but he has enough size and passing ability to be a potential backup at the next level. O'Connell could be a third-day pick in the 2023 NFL Draft who ends becoming a nice value as a solid No. 2.

  • For most of the season, Michigan was led by running back Blake Corum, but since he went down with an injury in November, backup Donovan Edwards has been tremendous for the Wolverines. Corum has a tough decision to make whether he leave school while coming off a serious injury that could cause him to slide to Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft. Prior to the injury, team sources thought Corum would be a second- or third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. If Corum returns to Michigan for next season, he has a chance to enter the NFL healthy, although he would also be taking another injury risk. Additionally, backup Donovan Edwards has been tremendous, so he could eat into Corum's carries in 2023. Corum faces a difficult decision to make over the next six weeks.

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  • This game had a good draft matchup with Utah cornerback Clark Phillips III taking on USC wide receiver Jordan Addison. Both are smaller players who possess special speed and athleticism. However, Phillips got the better of the matchup overall, limiting Addison to five catches for 65 yards, with the majority of that total coming on a single play.

    In the second quarter on a third-and-goal, Phillips was in man coverage on Addison on the outside when the Trojans ran a quick slant. Phillips stayed stride-for-stride with Addison, blanketing him and slapping the pass away cleanly to force a field goal. It was a textbook example of excellent coverage from Phillips.

    Addison broke loose in the fourth quarter for a 48-yard reception when Phillips fell down in coverage, but that was the only big play which Addison made all game. While Phillips did not produce big numbers, just one tackle and one pass broken up, he blanketed Addison with an excellent performance in pass coverage.

    At 5-foot-9, Phillips could be limited to being a slot corner only in the NFL, but a slot corner is still a starter, and a good slot is essential to field a good defense. Phillips could be a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft who ends up turning a solid pro starter.

    Addison is undersized to serve as a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, but he is a quick wideout who could be a dangerous in slot and potentially a very good No. 2 wide receiver.

  • Other Weeks:

    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 1
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 2
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 3
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 4
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 5
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 6
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 7
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 8
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 9
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 10
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 11
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 12
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 13
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Conference Championships
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - College Playoffs
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - National Championship Game


    2023 NFL Mock Draft - March 21

    2024 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 19

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 17

    NFL Picks - Feb. 14

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 7


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