Ohio State (#2) vs. Michigan State (#10)
Carlos Hyde (6’0, 235)
The Big Ten Championship is without a doubt of the best games on this week’s schedule. The Buckeye’s high-powered running offense will be up against the Spartan’s very stout defense.
Ohio State’s offense relies heavily on running back Carlos Hyde, who’s been almost unstoppable in past few weeks. Hyde has rushed for over 200 yards in two of his last three games and has had the best season of any Big Ten running back.
Hyde has been a fast riser as he is now moving up boards due to his effectiveness this season, despite being a bruising running back. Hyde also possesses great vision and seemingly unstoppable determination to pick up extra yards.
The Buckeyes will have their toughest test of the season with a very solid Spartan run defense that currently ranks No.1 in the nation. Michigan State also features arguably the best cornerback tandem in the country that includes standout senior CB Darqueze Dennard.
With this in mind, Braxton Miller will need to be extremely cautious attacking the Spartan’s defense through the air, which is why Hyde is likely to play a huge role in the gameplan. I would expect to see Michigan State load the box in early downs situations throughout the game in the hope of preventing Hyde from getting to the second level.
This is the kind of match up I really enjoy and probably my favorite game of the docket this weekend. It’s always great to see quality running backs face a tough defense.
Missouri (#5) vs. Auburn (#3)
Greg Robinson (6’5, 320)
Auburn LT Greg Robinson, a redshirt sophomore, is quickly emerging as one of the best left tackle prospects in college football. Auburn’s zone read offense utilizes Robinson’s ability to set the edge with either QB Nick Marsall and RB Tre Mason exploiting the left side of opposing defenses.
A good game against Alabama will clearly help Robinson’s draft evaluation. He offers great size and moves pretty well for a left tackle.
Michael Sam (6’2, 255)
On Saturday, Robinson gets a huge test against Missouri DE Michael Sam, who is among the SEC leaders in sacks and tackles for loss this season. Sam has been a constant terror for opposing tackles, but I would expect Robinson to be a pretty good match up for Sam to contend with.
It’s worth noting that Sam has struggled as of late, as he has only two tackles for loss and hasn’t recorded a sack since late October. Clearly both players have a good deal to gain in terms of their draft stock, but this is really perfect match up for Robinson given that he gets a quality opponent who’s dealing with some recent struggles.
We have Michael Sam currently listed as our No. 48 prospect in our 2014 Big Board.
Stanford (#7) vs. Arizona State (#11)
Shayne Skov (6’2, 245)
Shayne Skov happens to be a fifth-year senior from Mexico who has been on scouts radar’s for sometime. There was talk that he could come out following last season, but he ultimately elected to return for his year of eligibility at Stanford.
Skov is considered by several scouts to be one of the most pro-ready inside linebacker prospect’s in the country. He really is an underrated linebacker who has demonstrated explosiveness and great physicality in just his second season removed from a torn ACL.
The Cardinal will square off against a surprisingly good Sun Devils team that is ranked No. 8 is scoring with 43 points per game.
The first time these two teams met earlier this season, Stanford kept the Sun Devil’s offense off balance with non-stop blitzes throughout the game. However, Arizona State’s offense has really improved as a unit throughout the season, so it should be much closer than their first meeting.
Texas (#25) at Baylor (#9)
Lache Seastrunk (5’9, 210)
Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk is a threat to score every time he has the ball in his hands. He’s a very explosive ball carrier with great elusiveness and is a very instinctive runner with both above average vision and balance. Add in the fact that Seastrunk also has great pass catching skills out of the backfield and you can see why he’s such an obvious talent to keep an eye.
I would expect to see Seastrunk to forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
Jackson Jeffcoat (6’5, 238)
After a down season in 2012, Jackson Jeffcoat’s production and draft stock both appear to be trending upwards. The main reason for Jeffcoat’s improved play has been defensive coordinator Greg Robinson who’s has implemented a new defensive package called “Spinner” that allows Jeffcoat to play a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role called “Viper.”
The results have been great for Jeffcoat who recorded a career high three sacks and seven tackles during his first game in the “Spinner” package. His new role was just what he needed to finish his college career in a high note.
Unfortunately for the Longhorns, they are up against a Baylor team that is in the midst of an astounding season. This year they are averaging a league best 55 points per game, which means Texas will need a huge game from Jeffcoat if they expect to have any chance of neutralizing that kind offensive production.