CFB Week 5: Player Matchup Preview
College football is heading into week 5 and the start of serious competition. There are plenty of big games on offer for the viewer this weekend and with that some big matchups. We bring you five battles between NFL Draft eligible prospects. Welcome to our player matchup preview.
Bryce Hall v Chase Claypool
It was a boon for Virginia to get back their best defensive player for the 2019 season. Senior cornerback Bryce Hall decided to return and attempt to boost his draft stock. One of the premier corners in the nation, Hall will hope to play himself into Round 1 contention.
This week will see him face off versus Chase Claypool of Notre Dame. It could be a good battle for Hall who excels in physical matchups. A bigger receiver like Claypool might not be able to expose Hall’s weakness which is his long speed. Expect the pair to go toe to toe a few times during the evening.
Alex Leatherwood v Qaadir Sheppard
Alex Leatherwood has had to bide his time at Alabama. Being a five star recruit doesn’t mean much in Tuscaloosa. No amount of stars give you a pass to a starting slot on one of the nation’s most competitive rosters. Leatherwood found his path to left tackle blocked by Jonah Williams for the last two years. Now he has cemented his spot at the most important position on the offensive line, he hasn’t disappointed.
It would be a surprise to see Ole Miss put up a serious challenge to the Crimson Tide but watch out for Qaadir Sheppard. The Rebels defense has switched to a 3-4 and Sheppard can now use his speed in space to rush the passer. His explosion will be a good test to see where Leatherwood’s NFL stock is at.
Amari Rodgers v Myles Dorn
The odds have been stacked against Amari Rodgers during his Clemson career. An injury this spring could have seen him miss part of the early season but Rodgers made sure it didn’t. Despite an ACL tear, Rodgers was lining up as part of the Tigers offense in week 2 vs Texas A&M, 166 days after the injury happened. In addition to this, Rodgers has stiff competition for receptions at Clemson. Buried behind Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins on the depth chart Rodgers still has an impact from the slot. Highlighted by his 121 receiving yards and two TDs vs Syracuse earlier this season.
Part of slowing down Clemson’s offense will be stalking Rodgers. Myles Dorn is likely to be an important factor in offering deep field protection for North Carolina. Dorn is a rangy, tall free safety who will be tasked with ensuring the top is not blown off the Tar Heels defense early doors. It’s a stiff task even for a team rejuvenated under returning head coach Mack Brown. However, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence hasn’t had everything his own way this year and an early interception may test the Tigers’ nerve.
Michael Pittman Jr v Myles Bryant
It was quite the shock to see USC defeat Utah with their third string QB last week. A big part of that victory was the dominance of Michael Pittman Jr over a well regarded Utes secondary. The Trojans are blessed with a trio of receivers in Pittman, Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St Brown making covering the whole unit a problem.
They come up against Washington this week and versatile defensive back Myles Bryant will be key. Bryant now leads this group and moves around the defense as needed. At 5’9 he projects as a nickel corner at the next level, a spot he is well versed in. The Huskies will also use him at safety and it is likely he could be asked to cover a deep portion of the field in an attempt to stifle Pittman and co. The Huskies will be searching for an early turnover to unnerve a USC offense that has discovered a new confidence.
Javon Kinlaw v Logan Stenberg
Javon Kinlaw is one of the most talented defensive interior forces in the nation. The problem for the South Carolina Gamecock tackle is consistency. In flashes he possess the power and speed to get into the backfield. He showed those similar bright moments earlier in the season in a stiff task against Alabama. A sack in each game so far equals his season tally from last year and could be a sign that he is turning a corner.
Against him for Kentucky will be Logan Stenberg. Stenberg, a redshirt senior, is the most experienced player on the Wildcats line. Stenberg was a pre-season second team All-American and was critical in the record breaking rushing performances of former running back Benny Snell. He will be tested to the max vs Kinlaw in what may be the least heralded of our matchups but could be the most intriguing.
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com