2024 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 4

Ohio State 17, Notre Dame 14

  • There was a great draft matchup in this game with Notre Dame left tackle Joe Alt taking on Ohio State defensive ends J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer. Overall, Alt did well against Tuimoloau and Sawyer, but Ohio State defensive tackle Tyleik Williams gave Alt some problems.

    In the early going of the game, Tuimoloau got a pressure with a bull rush that pushed Alt back in the pocket. Alt, however, notched his share of of wins, keeping Tuimoloau and Sawyer from getting close to his quarterback. Alt also generated some movement on Tuimoloau, pushing him backward to open a hole for the running back to take off on a 20-yard run. In the third quarter, Alt got pushed back into the running back by Williams, which snuffed out a third-and-short for no gain. Shortly later, Alt was knocked on his backside by Williams and pushed into quarterback Sam Hartman after Williams used speed to power to rock Alt to the turf. It was a very impressive play from Williams. As Notre Dame produced two touchdown drives to take the lead in the fourth quarter, Alt was keeping Tuimoloau in check and making him a non-factor.

    In the fourth quarter, Tuimoloau finally recorded a tackle for a loss after going unblocked by the offensive tackle, and the pulling blocker did not get there in time to prevent Tuimoloau from making the tackle for a loss on a busted run. That play was more of Notre Dame failing to execute over Tuimoloau doing anything on his own. Tuimoloau was better on better on the next play, as he read it was a screen pass and tipped the ball away.

    Alt looks like a NFL starter, but this game illustrated he has what is a common problem for players of his size. The 6-foot-8, 322-pounder gets in trouble when he stands up too high. That opens up his chest, allowing defenders to push him backward. Alt will need to work and develop with his NFL coaches to improve his ability to bend and not play too high. With his length and solid quickness and athleticism, Alt can be a pro starter, but he is not as flawless as some in the media have made him out to be. Alt is not as good of a prospect as say Penei Sewell, but Alt could end up being a Mike McGlinchey-type tackle in the NFL.

  • Tuimoloau and Sawyer don’t play up to their reputations. They were billed as the next high first-rounders like Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, and Chase Young, but they were non-factors in this game – nor were they impressive in Week 1 against Indiana. If they were to enter the 2024 NFL Draft, they look like mid-rounders who evaluators could hope turn out to be late bloomers. Right now, however, Tuimoloau and Sawyer are not dangerous edge rushers or impactful run defenders.

  • Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. is in the running to be the top non-quarterback prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, and fellow wideout Emeka Egbuka is another first-round talent. They were held in check for a lot of this game, but they still flashed. In the third quarter, Harrison laid a key block on Cam Hart that helped spring running back TreVeyon Henderson for a 61-yard touchdown run. Egbuka made a clutch fourth-quarter catch to move the chains and get the Buckeyes across midfield. Late in the fourth quarter, Harrison made a tremendous diving catch inside the 15-yard line to keep Ohio State’s final drive alive. With only seconds remaining, Egbuka made a leaping catch while getting tackled by two defenders at the Notre Dame one-yard line with seven seconds remaining. A few plays later, the Buckeyes got a walk off win with a one-yard touchdown run. Overall, this game won’t hurt or help Harrison and Egbuka.

Penn State 31, Iowa 0

  • Penn State left tackle Olu Fashanu has received a lot of media hype about being a potential high first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. He turned in a solid performance against Iowa, looking steady in pass protection and contributing to the rushing offense.

    Fashanu uses his size and length to make it tough for defenders to get by him. However, he is not an elite athlete on the edge with rare movement skills or quickness. He can move defenders up front in the ground game, but he is not all that nasty in his style of play. For the NFL, Fashanu looks like a starting left tackle, but he doesn’t come across as an elite left tackle. He does not look like a top-10 prospect like a Penei Sewell. Fashanu might be a more similar pro to an adequate starting tackle like Russell Okung over an elite tackle like Sewell.

  • The prospect who really helped himself in this game was Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson. He fired past blockers all night and wreaked havoc in the backfield. In the second quarter, Robinson used his speed to fly past the Iowa guard and force quarterback Cade McNamara into a third-down incompletion. Shortly later, Robinson had another speed rush into the pocket, leaping high into the air and knocking his blocker into the quarterback. In the third quarter, Robinson showed his explosion and ability to bend flying off the corner, blowing by the left tackle to get a hit on McNamara. Late in the fourth quarter, Robinson roasted the Hawkeyes left tackle with a hand slap-and-explosion combination to strip-sack the backup quarterback. Penn State then recovered the loose ball.

    This game illustrated that Robinson can be a dangerous speed rusher for the NFL. He has a lightning-fast first-step and the athletic ability to get low and bend around the edge. Robinson demonstrates speed to power and is a hard-charging edge rusher who really challenges offensive linemen. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder is undersized for run defense at the next level, but the NFL is driven by passing, so his quarterback-hunting talents could make him a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Oregon 42, Colorado 6

  • A few days before this game, Colorado head coach Deion Sanders said that his son, star quarterback Shedeur Sanders, was likely to return to the Buffalos for next season. That sounds like a real possibility given that there is now huge money available through NIL deals and it would let him playing one more year for his father. However, there are plenty of examples of players who said they would go back to school before changing their mind at the end of the season and enter the draft. Hence, it makes sense to continue to evaluate Sanders.

    Everything went wrong for Sanders in the first half of this contest, as his receivers weren’t getting open and his offensive line was getting abused at the point of attack. That left Sanders was getting hit and pressured constantly. He also made mistakes of his own, including a number of plays on which he kept retreating and backing up. That led to Sanders taking a few bad coverage sacks, which cost the Buffaloes a lot of negative yardage.

    Things did not get better in the second half due to Oregon continuing to dominate at the point of attack. Sanders had a nice run and a few good throws, but Colorado continued to see its drives snuffed out with no running game or pass protection. Sanders threw some pretty passes downfield that his receivers didn’t hold on to, or they failed to finish their route. Sanders finished completing 23-of-33 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown.

    This game illustrated that as good as Sanders has been, he still has things he could do better – like every other player . When pressured, Sanders needs to get the ball out. His tendency to back pedal is not going to work in the NFL given the speed and athleticism of the edge rushers. Sanders will have to work on that, but by the sounds of it, he will have another season of college football to work on his craft before going pro.

  • Oregon quarterback Bo Nix and the Ducks offense moved the ball at will against Colorado. The offensive line absolutely dominated, and there was no resistance from the Buffaloes defense. In the early going, Nix moved the ball with bubble screens and some other short quick passes. He also made a nifty play on a fake run and then a flip pass to the flat that turned into a short touchdown pass. Later in the second quarter, Nix led receiver Troy Franklin toward the back of the end zone for another touchdown strike.

    Midway through the second quarter, Nix threw a bad pass intended for Franklin. Franklin was behind the cornerback with separate and open grass down the sideline, but Nix’s pass was horribly underthrown and floated into the cornerback for an easy interception.

    Shortly later, Nix came back to hit a 36-yard touchdown strike to Franklin. Colorado had a coverage bust, leaving Franklin wide open for an easy score. Just before the half, Nix zigzagged his way through the defense for an 11-yard touchdown run.

    Nix finished completing 28-of-33 passes for 276 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He also notched one rushing score. For the NFL, Nix offers mobility and could be a fit as a backup quarterback in a West Coast offense. Nix will get mid-round consideration in the 2024 NFL Draft and stands a shot at being a second-day pick.

  • Oregon defensive linemen Jordan Burch and Brandon Dorlus were impressive against Colorado. In the second quarter, Burch showed impressive speed to power, bull rushing the left tackle into Sanders and tallying a sack. In the same quarter, Dorlus cut to the inside of the guard and chased down Sanders for a sack. Both Burch and Dorlus are interesting prospects with speed and athleticism on the inside. They are sleepers who could be risers for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Florida State 31, Clemson 24 OT

  • Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins is an early-round prospect, and he was facing a dangerous passing attack with the Seminoles. Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis is vastly improved and is a dangerous dual-threat weapon. Seminoles wide receiver Keon Coleman had an electric start to the season against LSU, but made zero catches in their near-loss to Boston College last week. Entering the season, there was a lot of hype and excitement for Florida State wide receiver Johnny Wilson. The 6-foot-7, 240-pounder is a giant who possesses surprising athleticism for such a big-bodied skill-position player. Wilson generated some production in the season opener against LSU, but he also had some ugly dropped passes. Wilson bounced back nicely against Boston College, so every prospect was in need of impressive tape entering this rivalry game.

    In the first quarter, Travis and tight end Jaheim Bell failed to get on the same page, leading to pass floating behind Bell. The ball bounced off the chest of a Tigers safety, and Travis was extremely lucky that it wasn’t picked off. Later on the drive, Coleman ran a good route to generate separation, but Clemson safety Andrew Mukuba recovered to break up the pass. Travis needed to get the ball out faster and show more anticipation, while Coleman did his part to get open for his quarterback. If the throw had been delivered sooner, it would have been a first down for the Seminoles, but the delay allowed Mukuba time to recover.

    The Clemson defense did a nice job of breaking up passes at the catch point for a lot of the first half, including a nice one against Wilson. Late in the second quarter, Travis put a nice drive together, using Coleman and Wilson in the middle of the field to move the chains. To end the drive, Coleman ran a good route to get wide open in the front end zone for a seven-yard touchdown.

    On Florida State’s next drive, Travis used his feet to buy time and Coleman did a nice job of braking off his route to run to open space and get open for his quarterback. Travis hit Coleman, who darted down the field for a 38-yard gain. Just before halftime, Travis had a nice second-effort run at the goal line to score from a yard out.

    On the first play of the third quarter, Wilson ran a go route down the field and got a step of separation. Travis needed to get the ball out sooner, but Wilson was able to slow up and control the ball for a 40-yard reception despite taking a big hit from a Tigers safety. Later in the third quarter, Wiggins ran stride-for-stride with Wilson before slapping a pass away from the 6-foot-7 receiver.

    Late in the fourth quarter, Wilson made a huge hands catch down the sideline to get the Seminoles close to midfield. Wilson later got open again for a key third-down conversion in the middle of the field on an 18-yard gain. On a third-and-10 though, Wiggins had tight coverage on Wilson and slapped a pass away. The drive stalled out, but in overtime, Travis connected with Coleman for a 24-yard touchdown early in overtime to get a huge road win. For the day, Coleman collected five receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson also caught five passes, going for 94 yards.

    Overall, both Coleman and Wilson helped their draft grades with the played against the Tigers. The wideouts showed the ability to get some separation from the Clemson cornerbacks, with Coleman particularly showing impressive burst out of his breaks and impressive route-running for a big receiver. There is no doubt that Wilson is a mismatch weapon for the NFL. He has quality speed for a huge wide receiver and impressive athleticism to sink his weight to get in and out of his breaks. Coleman could be a first-round pick next April in the 2024 NFL Draft, and Wilson should go in the first- or second-round of the 2024 NFL Draft, but he needs to display steady and reliable hands over the rest of the season.

    Travis completed 21-of-37 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns passing. He also rushed for a score. Travis made some impressive throws, but he also had missed out on some big plays due to waiting to throw the ball. This game tape illustrates that Travis has next-level ability, but because of being undersized, he might be more of a mid-round backup. Wiggins was solid against Florida State, which predominantly threw at the other cornerbacks. The tape from this contest should not hurt or help his draft stock significantly.

  • Florida State defensive end Jared Verse is a potential first-rounder for the 2024 NFL Draft, despite having had a quiet start to the season statistically. This game was similar in that Verse made his presence felt somewhat and was active, but he was not a dominant force off the edge. Midway through the first quarter, Verse burst through a play-action run fake and batted down a pass to produce a fourth-and-1 for the Florida State defense. In the third quarter, Verse had a nice run stuff at the line of scrimmage. Overall, he has a first-round skill set, but he has not produced up to it yet in 2023.