As the college football season heads to a close, our Plant Your Flag roster dwindles. Just four players remain as Bowl Games beckon. Some of our players have already begun their preparations for the NFL Draft. Let’s see who will be gracing the field in Week 14.
QB: Justin Fields, Ohio State
Week 13: @ Illinois (cancelled)
Week 14: @ Michigan State
Fields would have been looking forward to righting the wrongs from his performance versus Indiana. Unfortunately, COVID delayed that. The Buckeyes can’t afford another cancellation – if they do, they will be barred from the B1G championship game. If that happens, can the college football playoff committee really put Ohio State through?
The Spartans are 2-3 on the year, and haven’t yet faced a QB anywhere near Fields’ quality. Indiana’s Michael Penix Jnr threw for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns against them in Week 11. Their defence is far better against the run than the pass, so fully expect Fields to feast. He and Head Coach Ryan Day know that The Buckeyes must be 6-0 to be considered a playoff team in December.
RB: Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
Somebody could get a steal on Day Three of the NFL Draft, should Hill fall that far. If you extrapolate his performance in past seasons to make up for this year’s opt-out, his numbers are promising. Had he not opted out, Hill was on course for close to 600 touches and over 3,400 yards. Add to the fact that he showed some promise in the passing game until Mike Leach, and you’ve got a NFL calibre running back.
WR: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Week 13: Won 50-44 v. Texas Tech
Week 14: @ TCU
It has been so good to see Tylan Wallace fully fit and at his best in 2020. He had another impressive showing in Week 13 as the Cowboys narrowly beat Texas Tech. Wallace led his team in receiving, with 129 yards and a score from 7 catches. For the third year running, he is averaging over 17 yards per catch. He has 70 or more yards in all but one game this season (Oklahoma being the exception).
The 6-2 Cowboys are very much in the hunt for the Big XII Championship game. They face a tough opponent in TCU, who are sitting at 4-4. The good news for Mike Gundy is that 3 of The Horned Frogs’ 4 losses this year have come in Fort Worth.
TE: Pat Freiermuth, Penn State
Freiermuth’s season is over after Penn State ruled him out with an “undisclosed injury”. He is considered by most to be the most complete Tight End of this draft class. He will be taken in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. His total yards in the college game is not the most impressive (1,185), but he has similar production to Noah Fant when he entered the league in 2019. When you consider that Freiermuth is the far more polished blocker, that comparison becomes more complimentary.
Kyle Pitts will be the first Tight End off the board in April. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that there’s only one Tight End worth a first round price tag.
QB: Trey Lance, NDSU
Concerned about Lance’s passing ability? He had a 64.5% completion percentage in his first year as a starter. Of the first round quarterbacks taken in the last five draft classes, their accuracy improved by 4.1% from years one to two.
Daniel Jones, one of the more mobile young quarterbacks in the NFL, had 1,323 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in three years as Duke’s starter. Lance matched those figures in just one year at North Dakota State. If Jones can go #6 overall, how far can NFL teams allow Lance to fall in April?
Critics will never move off the “FCS opposition” hill. I have nothing to offer that will convince those people otherwise. But how many NFL teams are in need of a QB? And how many can afford to let a transformative talent like Lance slip through their fingers? He may be best suited to a rookie year on the side-line, but don’t be shocked when Lance establishes himself in the NFL.
RB: Travis Etienne, Clemson
Week 13: Won 52-17 v. Pitt
Week 14: @ Virginia Tech
Clemson are going to the college football playoffs. The Hokies are on a three game losing streak. This could be the sort of game where Etienne does his usual damage in the early stages of the game, before Lyn-J Dixon sees the majority of snaps later in the game.
Etienne waved goodbye to Death Valley last weekend with 2 touchdowns from just 11 carries. As The Tigers ran away with the game, Etienne watched the next generation of Clemson backs take to the field.
Don’t expect the same as we enter the postseason. Both Etienne and quarterback Trevor Lawrence will want to leave for the NFL with a national championship ring. They’re just 4 games away from making that dream a reality.
WR: Tamorrion Terry, Florida State
Of all the Plant Your Flag picks, this one has backfired the most. Terry’s 2020 has been disrupted by injury. When he did take to the field, he clearly didn’t fit into Head Coach Mike Norvell’s plans. When the clear-out began in Tallahassee, Terry was one of the first to depart.
The big-bodied receiver is of a similar size to Jacksonville’s DJ Chark or Jets receiver Denzel Mims. His usage was similar to that of Mims in Baylor, too. However, that is where the comparisons seem to end. Before Norvell’s arrival, Terry was used almost exclusively as an X receiver. He hasn’t shown the varied route tree that NFL franchises are in search of.
Terry can expect to wait until Day Three of the draft to hear his name called when injury risk and college usage are taken into consideration.
TE: Kyle Pitts, Florida
Week 13: Won 34-10 v. Kentucky
Week 14: @ Tennessee
Kyle Pitts is so good at what he does. As discussed on last weekend’s Breakfast Club podcast, he is not only Tight End #1, but WR #3 too.
Last week against Kentucky, he led the Gators in receiving with 99 yards and 3 TDs from 5 receptions. His chemistry with quarterback Kyle Trask is something that has been the envy of college football fans everywhere. If Florida are to launch an unlikely run for the college football playoffs, they’ll need Trask and Pitts in perfect synchrony.
The Gators should have too much for the 2-5 Vols, who surrender 244 passing yards on average to their opponents. Tennessee are on a 5 game losing streak, Florida has won their last 5. All signs point towards a Gators’ victory.
Pitts’ 11 touchdowns on the year is incredible. For a Tight End, too. He’s fully deserving of a top 16 pick in April’s draft. But first, there’s the small matter of taking on Alabama in the SEC championship game. If Pitts and Co. can do the improbable, they could still be a playoff team.
@5yardcollege – Saturdays are for rushing, too!