2021 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 3

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2021 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2021 NFL Draft Stock page.

By Charlie Campbell.
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Oklahoma State 16, Tulsa 7
  • Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard is an early-round prospect who could have been a second-day pick if he had entered the 2020 NFL Draft. Some of the biggest issues for Hubbard to improve his draft grade are showing more ability in pass protection and as a receiver during the 2020 season. This game got off to a rough start in that regard, as Hubbard had a pathetic cut-block attempt that allowed his quarterback to get sacked. It looked like Hubbard really didn’t really want to block the edge rusher and was just doing the bare minimum effort possible. Shortly later, Hubbard had another play in pass protection on which his effort was lacking.

    Things got even worse for Hubbard, however, later in the first quarter when he fumbled a handoff that was recovered by Tulsa. Hubbard was not getting into a groove as a runner either, as Tulsa was stuffing his running lanes. While he wasn’t finding good holes, Hubbard was not breaking tackles or showing physicality as a runner. He did have a short-yardage touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Oklahoma State achieved enough of a push to let Hubbard fall over the goal line.

    Hubbard finished with 93 yards on 27 carries – 3.4-yard average – and a touchdown. The Tulsa contest was a bad start to the season that will hurt Hubbard’s draft grade later in the fall. I was texting with team sources during this game, and they acknowledged that Hubbard’s pass blocking clearly needs a lot of work for the next level.With the NFL being such a passing-driven league, that is a serious issue. On top of blocking poorly, Hubbard did not run aggressively. This tape makes Hubbard look more like a third-round back rather than a first- or second-round pick.

  • Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace was playing in his first game after suffering a torn ACL last year. Wallace got involved in the third quarter with a win on a 50-50 reception after getting shutout in the first half. Wallace, however, was unable to break up a poorly thrown pass that was picked off by Tulsa cornerback Allie Green IV. Wallace mangaged to come back to make a leaping 36-yard grab over Green on the next series.

    Against Tulsa, Wallace totaled 94 yards on four receptions. He really struggled to get off press coverage. Wallace did not have the speed to separate from man coverage and also was not sudden or explosive to create separation out of breaks. He clearly is not a fast receiver for the NFL and not sudden as a route runner. This tape will hurt Wallace with NFL teams, at it illustrates his issues generating separation, which could be a huge issue for him as a pro. This contest made Wallace look more like a mid-rounder.

  • Green had a nice game for Tulsa, showing the ability to run with Wallace and blanket him in man coverage. The length and size of Green makes him a potential press-man corner for the next level, but he could have issues with speed receivers, so it will be interesting to see how he performs against speed receivers in the weeks to come. Overall, this outing will help his stock for the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Pittsburgh 21, Syracuse 10
  • NFL teams that are interested in taking a safety in the first or second round will be watching this tape repeatedly in the months to come. Syracuse safety Andre Cisco and Pittsburgh safety Paris Ford are two of the top prospects at the position for the 2021 NFL Draft. Each one started their season with an interception in their first game, and Ford was able to extend his streak in Week 2.

    From the beginning, Ford was active around the ball, including laying a punishing hit on a wide receiver in the flat to snuff out a bubble screen. Ford helped make some tackles in the ground game as well. In the third quarter, Ford made an excellent play, reading a screen to get in position and then making a diving catch for his second interception of the season.

    Against Syracuse, Ford showed his good instincts in pass coverage and the ground game. Ford covers a lot of ground in zone coverage, is a physical player willing to dish out some hard hits, is a fast defender, and willingly defendes the run defends. This tape will definitely help his draft grade.

    Cisco did not have a big game because Pittsburgh stayed away from throwing his direction. The ballhawk Cisco has 13 career interceptions, so the Panthers were wise to target other defensive backs. In the ground game, Cisco contributed some tackles and was around the ball. He did a nice job of getting to the perimeter on stretch runs as well. For the next level, Cisco may not be a safety who can line up in man coverage on receivers. But he is a dangerous zone safety with good instincts and phenomenal ball skills. Given his skill set and production, Cisco could be a solid first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Central Florida 49, Georgia Tech 21
  • Central Florida wide receiver Tre Nixon was on NFL teams’ preseason watch list, and he proved why right out of the gate against Georgia Tech. On Central Florida’s first drive, Nixon made two huge plays to get his team tied at seven. First, he ran a deep post route down the middle of the field for a gain of 49 yards. He then finished the drive by catching – and holding onto – a short touchdown on a slant while absorbing a hard hit from the safety.

    Later in the first half, Nixon got a step on the cornerback running vertically down the field. Nixon ended up in the end zone, but it became a tough, contested catch because the pass was underthrown, which allowed the cornerback to recover. Nixon, however, made the superb catch for the score despite landing hard on the ground. That play knocked him out for the rest of the game though. It could have been a prolific game for Nixon, who had 94 yards and two touchdowns from four receptions through two quarters.

    Assuming Nixon is not seriously injured, this was a really nice tape for him to give pro evaluators. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder showed the ability to make tough contested catches while knowing that hits were coming. To go with quality size and strong hands, Nixon had enough quickness to get open running vertically and out of his breaks. When teams assign a draft grade to Nixon, this performance will definitely help him.

    Miami 47, Louisville 34
  • Brevin Jordan is looking to keep the Miami tradition alive of ‘tight end U,’ and he executed well against Louisville. On the first play from scrimmage Jordan caught a check down in the flat and turned upfield to get a gain of about 20 yards. Later in the first quarter, Jordan got open in zone coverage along the sideline to catch the ball. He then dodged a tackle from a cornerback to get just enough yards for the third-down conversion. A couple of plays later, Jordan caught a screen in the flat and accelerated upfield, where he then hurdled a tackler around the 10-yard line and managed to get to the one-yard line before getting pushed out of bounds. It looked like Jordan got into the end zone, but the officials called him short and the play wasn’t reviewed.

    It wasn’t all good for Jordan, who dropped a low pass. It was not an easy catch on the run, but it was still a catch he should have made. Jordan put Louisville away in the fourth quarter with a 47-yard touchdown catch. He ran down the seam as the Cardinals blew the coverage, letting Jordan run completely uncovered down the middle of the field for one of the easiest touchdowns that he will ever have. Jordan caught seven passes for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals.

    Jordan showed nice receiving ability in this contest, including the quickness to get downfield, the athleticism to pick up yards after the catch, and smooth route-running. He also had a respectable night as a blocker. This tape will help his draft grade, and he could be a second-day prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell is smaller speed receiver who is capable of producing some big plays. For a lot of the first half, Louisville struggled to get Atwell the ball, but he was a real factor after halftime. In the third quarter, Atwell made a pretty leaping grab after getting open, allowing him to show his burst to separate for a gain of about 20 yards. He finished the drive with a score thanks to a mismatch on a safety in man coverage near the goal line. Atwell used his speed to out-race the safety to get open in the flat for the short touchdown.

    Midway through the fourth quarter, Atwell snuck behind zone coverage for a chunk reception. In garbage time, he got open while running across the end zone behind zone coverage for an easy touchdown. Atwell caught eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns against the Knights. He is a small and fast receiver who could be a slot receiver candidate in the NFL.

  • Louisville running back Javian Hawkins put together a nice performance to help himself. Versus Miami, Hawkins totaled 164 yards on 27 carries with a touchdown and a 12-yard reception. His touchdown was a pretty 19-yard run on which he started running to an outside stretch run to the left but saw three Hurricanes closing on him in the backfield. He then spun back to the right and exploded away from the defense to help get Louisville back in the game. Hawkins really ran well against Miami and carried the Cardinals’ offense.

    Hawkins runs with good knee bend, staying behind his pads, and is a smooth in the open field. With his quality vision, feet and quickness, Hawkins slashes through the defense. The 5-foot-9, 196-pounder may not have the size to be a bell-cow back in the NFL, but he could be a nice rotational contributor.

  • Miami edge rusher Quincy Roche did not have a huge performance, but he was a solid contributor with a couple tackles for a loss, three stops, and some pressure in the pass rush.

    Roche read one first-quarter play perfectly, as he started out rushing against the left tackle but recognized a screen was being set up, so he backpedaled to cover the back and force a throwaway that got his defense off the field on a third down. In the third quarter, Roche pushed a blocker into the backfield and then made a tackle for a loss. Roche got upfield on the next play and dipped under the left tackle to hit the quarterback just after the pass was released. Late in the fourth quarter, Roche darted by the left tackle to the inside to almost get a sack, but the quarterback was able to break Roche’s takedown attempt.

    Roche looked more like a mid-rounder against Louisville. Because he faces some size limitations for the next level, his best fit as a pro would likely be as a 3-4 outside linebacker.


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