We’re three weeks through the college football season and boy, were there some fireworks and some duds!
For starters, I thought Alabama had the game against Florida in the bag before kickoff. They had a 21-9 lead at halftime and it felt like the Crimson Tide were going to do what they always do and that’s have some type of offensive explosion.
That didn’t necessarily happen. The Gators bounced back and lost 31-29 after quarterback Emory Jones didn’t attempt a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game.
Speaking of final plays, Charlie Brewer has left the Utah Utes program and now the team will scramble to figure out who their next starting quarterback will be. As for starting quarterbacks, Sam Howell has bounced back nicely for the Tar Heels and he looks a lot better than he did in Week 1 against Virginia Tech. We’ll see if he can carry this momentum through the rest of the season and into the 2022 NFL Draft.
Moving onto the 2022 NFL Draft, there are a handful of prospects that are on my radar every single weekend. Sometimes it’s a stud receiver from the top school in the country and other times it’s a few underrated players that I like more than others. Here are three prospects that have caught my eye from over the weekend.
Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State
Get your notebooks out and write this name down. Jake Haener from Fresno State is a senior quarterback that’s listed at 6-1 and 195 pounds. Don’t let any of that fool you, he’s one of the tougher quarterbacks you’ll find.
Not only did he have an impressive performance against UCLA on Saturday, he did it while playing through a hip/oblique injury. The injury was causing him so much pain that he couldn’t even stand to end the game but yet, he was throwing some of the best passes of any quarterback in Week 3.
Down four points with just under three minutes to go, Haener delivered an absolute strike into the end zone on third-and-goal from the UCLA 19-yard line. This put the Bulldogs up three points but UCLA came back quickly and scored to regain the lead. In the closing seconds of the game, Haener drove down the field, injured and all, and continued to fire passes into tight coverage. This setup another touchdown pass from him on 2nd and 11 with under 15 seconds to play in the game.
Who had the best performance in week 3 of CFB? My vote is Jake Haener from Fresno State. pic.twitter.com/0AVA91xRE1— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) September 22, 2021
He played so well that he had the commentators on the broadcast labeling him as “The Natural.” To their credit, the way he plays the position looks very natural. He stays poised and under control during pressure and does a nice job working through progressions. Most of all, his arm strength seems to be what impresses me every time the tape is on. At times, he can throw Randy Johnson fastballs. Going into the year, I was intrigued with the Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers but after this gutsy performance against UCLA, I’m definitely intrigued with Jake Haener.
Charleston Rambo, WR, Miami (FL)
Once a standout receiver paired with Kyler Murray at Oklahoma, Rambo became somewhat of an afterthought in 2020 and transferred to Miami (FL). This has given his career a much-needed resurgence.
Through the first three weeks of the season, Rambo has 24 receptions for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Against Michigan State, he had a breakout performance with 12 receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
Listed at 6-1 and 185 pounds, Rambo has the speed needed to beat defenders vertically down the field but he also shows the toughness needed to secure catches despite having defenders draped over his shoulder. He showed that against Michigan State in Week 3 and is on pace to have the best year of his college career. Keep tabs on this talented and yet underrated wide receiver for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
While many people have looked at Jalen Wydermyer from Texas A&M or Jahleel Billingsley from Alabama to be the top tight end for the season, there’s been another one that has emerged. That’s Trey McBride from Colorado State.
Through three games, he’s tallied 30 receptions for 339 yards and a touchdown. Clearly on pace to beat his totals from 2019 and 2020, McBride has looked like everything we’ve wanted to see from a top tight end to start the year.
.@CSUFootball TE Trey McBride was easy choice for Senior Bowl Player-of-Week. @mcbtrey had 99.1% of team’s receiving yards (109 of 110) in impressive win at Toledo. Need our @PFF friends to check if this type of dominant workload has ever happened.🤯#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/fUMp5hvCbU— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 20, 2021
Beyond having sure hands and an established role as a pass-catcher, he’s also consistent as a blocker. Whether he’s aligned in-line, at H-back, or in the slot, McBride has the frame needed to block, catch passes and most importantly, create mismatches. At 6-4 and 260 pounds, look for the senior tight end to continue with an established role for Colorado State. Also, don’t be surprised if he’s invited to all-star games in the off-season such as the Senior Bowl to further elevate his draft stock for the 2022 NFL Draft.