Through each passing day, I continue to take more notes on each college football player that’s on my list. For example, I’ll be going into detail in the coming weeks on how the UCLA Bruins offense and how they could be one of the best teams in the Pac-12.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to flip over every rock to figure out certain backstories on each player for the 2023 NFL Draft and of course, we’ll continue to grind the tape. So over the last week, I’ve had the chance to watch the following three players and I think these three could make a serious impact for their teams’ offense in the coming weeks.
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
There’s been a long list of running backs from Alabama that have transitioned into the NFL. Most recently, it was Brian Robinson Jr., and Najee Harris. While their roster already has a talented running back in Trey Sanders, he’s struggled to stay healthy.
Sanders was rated as the top running back in the country and was coached by Cadillac Williams at IMG Academy but a foot injury in 2019 and a serious car accident in 2020 has left Sanders in a tough spot. He may be the starter for the Crimson Tide but it seems unlikely – especially after the team landed Jahmyr Gibbs from Georgia Tech in the transfer portal.
Gibbs left Georgia Tech after posting over 1200 rushing yards in two seasons. He’s an explosive, one-cut type of back that could provide Alabama a much needed spark alongside quarterback Bryce Young in their backfield. In high school, Gibbs was one of the top-rated players in the state of Georgia and there’s expectations for him to potentially lead the SEC in rushing yards this season.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch Gibbs from his two seasons with the Yellow Jackets, I’d suggest doing so. He has a real chance of taking
Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
There’s been plenty of buzz surrounding Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Kentucky quarterback Will Levis. Rightfully so, Young looks like he could once again be the best player in the country. However, we should rightfully prepare ourselves for Hendon Hooker this season and for the 2023 NFL Draft cycle.
Last season, Hooker completed 68% of his passes for over 2900 passing yards. He also had 31 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Aside from making consistent decisions with the football and having minimal turnovers, there’s much to be desired with how he runs the football. He runs hard between the tackles and in the open field and it was good enough to record over 600 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Hendon Hooker (QB 5 - Tennessee) is an intriguing 6-4 & 218 pound QB with 26 starts between Va Tech and Tennessee. He’ll be 25 as a rookie in the NFL but the ball jumps out of his hand. Watch him here as he puts his mobility on display with a nasty spin move & leg drive to score. pic.twitter.com/GiY8vVQPrq— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) June 1, 2022
Despite losing a player such as Velus Jones at wide receiver, he still has a talented wide receiver in Cedric Tillman to target. This season, the Vols will look at Hooker for his leadership and overall talent to get them a winning record and potentially atop the SEC.
Now, Hooker isn’t the same player as Bryce Young but there’s plenty of good within his tape from his lone season at Tennessee and his 15 games as a starter at Virginia Tech. The ball jumps out of his hand with a good throwing motion but he’s also strong enough to make just about any throw on the field. Sure, he’ll get stuck on a receiver from time to time but it feels like he’s gotten better every season he’s stepped onto the field. Will his skillset intrigue teams enough to roll the dice on a sixth-year player that’s already 24 years-old?
Kobe Hudson, WR, UCF
There might not be a more underrated player in the state of Florida than Kobe Hudson. The former four-star recruit is a super talented receiver that had great play after great play when given the opportunity to make one.
While Auburn had up and down performances from quarterbacks such Bo Nix and T.J. Finley, Hudson found ways to produce. Last season, Hudson emerged with 44 receptions for 580 yards and four touchdowns. His 44 receptions led the way for Auburn and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he increases in every statistical category while playing for UCF this season.
On tape, you’ll see plenty of designed bubble screens for Hudson where he’s able to make defenders miss at ease like he did against Arkansas. Or you’ll find him in the corner of the end-zone securing touchdown passes with one-hand. Like I said, if given the opportunities, it feels like Hudson was the playmaker the Auburn offense needed desperately at the receiver position. But now, Hudson is gone and he’s at UCF. This off-season, he surprised many by entering the portal and then landing in Orlando.
One name worth keeping tabs on from the transfer portal is Kobe Hudson (WR 2 - UCF). He transferred from Auburn after posting 44 receptions for 580 yards and four touchdowns. His game against Mississippi State was very impressive, including this grab. https://t.co/0b0UjMG6GB— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) July 28, 2022
With that, it wouldn’t surprise me if UCF ends up being one of the most productive offenses in the AAC and even in the country. There’s plenty of sizzle on offense as they bring back senior wide receiver Ryan O’Keefe and senior running back Isaiah Bowser to the offense. But the cherry on top could be the immediate impact that Hudson could provide for the Knights offense.