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What we learned from Week 10 in college football

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  • By Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, Lance Zierlein and Chad Reuter NFL.com
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Here's a look at what NFL.com analysts learned about prospects in Week 10 of the college football season.

1. It was a horrible statistical night for LSU's Leonard Fournette on Saturday against Alabama (17 carries for 35 yards), but I thought he ran hard. I attended the game and saw him do a nice job chipping in protection in the passing game to help out his struggling quarterback. LSU split him out and tried to get him the ball as a pass receiver, but he wasn't effective and dropped a pass. As a runner, he does need a little bit of room to get going, and there was none to be found against Alabama. One highlight for Fournette was a leaping, freakish spin move that elicited oohs and ahs from the crowd. I had a chance to eyeball Fournette on the field before the game and as big as he looks on tape, he's even bigger in person. I spoke with an NFL scout before the game and he said Fournette does not have any character red flags off the field. Although tonight's game wasn't a statistical success (for the second year in a row against Alabama), I don't think this performance will have a negative impact on the opinions about him in the NFL scouting community. -- Daniel Jeremiah

2. I know "defense" is a dirty word in the Big 12, but that shouldn't diminish what Texas RB D'Onta Foreman is doing as the designated wrecking ball for the Longhorns. For the second straight game, Foreman put up fantasy football-like numbers while punishing a Texas Tech defense that had no answer for the 6-foot-1, 249-pound freight train with nimble feet and swivel hips. Foreman racked up 341 rushing yards on 33 carries with three touchdowns. While the numbers are impressive on their own merit, it's Foreman's big-play ability that stood out to me. He scored on runs of 74, 55, 23 and 38 yards on the day, which is a testament to his surprising breakaway speed as a big back. With Foreman posting 250-plus yards in back-to-back games, it's time to pay closer attention to the emerging superstar. -- Bucky Brooks

3. When I scouted LSU against Auburn last season, I couldn't help but notice Tigers safety Jamal Adams flying around the field making plays. I got another to see him in person on Saturday. Scouts at the Alabama-LSU game were buzzing about Adams' leadership and the influence he can have in a locker room. Before the game, Adams kept chattering to his teammates to get them hyped. During the game, he was the player who consistently got the secondary lined up and pointed out coverage responsibilities against Alabama's varied personnel groupings. Adams drifted into the right place at the right time to make an interception on the opening drive of the game and he finished with six tackles, including a tackle for a loss. While Adams is an extremely effective downhill safety when he's playing in the box, there are times when he's not quite as urgent as you would expect when the run isn't coming right at him. He whiffed on one relatively easy open-field tackle Saturday, but other than that, he was solid. All of the NFL evaluators I've spoken with are high on Adams. -- Lance Zierlein

4. Miami QB Brad Kaaya has failed to live up to the lofty preseason expectations that led some observers to tout him as a potential franchise quarterback, but he delivered a stellar performance against Pittsburgh that could create some buzz in the scouting community. The 6-4, 215-pound junior completed 32 of 47 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns. In addition, Kaaya rushed five times for 17 yards and another score. From a statistical standpoint, the game was unquestionably one of his best performances of the season, but I was more impressed with his poise, composure and accuracy. Kaaya repeatedly delivered "dimes" to his receivers on the perimeter, particularly on fades and skinny posts in the red zone. He also showed outstanding anticipation and timing on a few playaction passes (bootlegs/naked passes) to his receivers on the move. With Kaaya also showing better awareness against the pass rush, the Hurricanes' QB1 finally looked like the playmaker that scouts envisioned prior to the season. -- Bucky Brooks

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5. I wanted to get a close look at Alabama OLB Tim Williams before Saturday's 'Bama-LSU game. He's listed at 6-4, 252 but he looked much lighter with a sinewy build that resembled a "move" tight end more than a defensive end. I thought he did a good job of playing physically and handling his business against the run vs. LSU, as he was in on many more early downs than we usually see. When I brought Williams' elevated first-half play up to Senior Bowl Director Phil Savage at halftime, he reminded me that Williams is from Baton Rouge and seemed to have some extra juice in front of the hometown crowd. Williams' ability to cover in space (which he did early in the game) was eye-opening and quite impressive. He showed good fluidity in his movement and an instant burst when changing direction. I thought this was one of the most complete games I've seen him play. -- Lance Zierlein

6. Alabama linebackers Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams play the same position, but Anderson's build is substantially thicker than Williams'. While walking the field before Saturday's Alabama-LSU game, one of the first things that jumped out at me was the "grown-man" physique of Anderson with his muscular shoulders and broad waist. Anderson is the prototypical Alabama edge player with an ability to set the edge, but he brings a closing burst to the ball that others at that position haven't possessed. Anderson was rarely defeated on any of the run snaps I saw on Saturday. As a pass rusher, Anderson didn't show great edge turn, and I question whether he'll ever be more than a solid pass rusher. With that said, his effort and consistency are always on point. He's extremely strong and tough at the point of attack. I think Anderson will be an instant starter as a strong-side linebacker for a 3-4 defense in the NFL next season. -- Lance Zierlein

7. Arkansas' Jeremy Sprinkle, one of the top tight ends in the country, looked the part against Florida on Saturday. The 6-foot-6, 256-pounder presents difficulties for linebackers and safeties with that large frame in the middle. Sprinkle has catcher's mitts for hands and can make difficult catches while on the run. He's not an elite athlete, looking stiff and not overly quick when lining up as a fullback on one second-half play. The senior showed scouts a willingness to block on the edge, though, which is a good sign for his NFL future. Some technique work on moving his feet after contact should be enough to make him serviceable as a blocker at the next level. Sprinkle reminds me of former first-round pick Bubba Franks. Franks was overdrafted by Green Bay, but he still had some very good years in the NFL. -- Chad Reuter

8. Saturday was the fourth time I've seen Alabama LB Reuben Foster play live over the last two years and he's delivered an impressive performance every time. His speed and range were on display tonight against LSU. He was very aggressive to fill the hole inside, although he needs to do a better job of coming under control. He missed an easy sack, but overall, he was very disruptive in this game. He's been compared by others to Patrick Willis and I don't think that is far off base. He's an easy first-round pick and he'll have an immediate impact wherever he lands in the draft. -- Daniel Jeremiah

9. LSU C Ethan Pocic had a solid but not spectacular game against Alabama. He was at his best when he could shield and wall off defenders, but he failed to generate any movement at the point of attack. The strength and power of the Alabama front gave him some trouble. I did like the fact that he's assignment-aware and plays snap to whistle on every play. He's played all along the offensive line at LSU, but I do believe his future is at center. He has a very unique body type that's similar to Saints center Max Unger's. -- Daniel Jeremiah

10. Saturday marked the second time I've seen LSU CB Tre'Davious White (I watched him in the Texas Bowl vs. Texas Tech last season) in person, and he was much better in this exposure. He ran stride for stride with Alabama WR Calvin Ridley down the field and he was very aggressive attacking the line of scrimmage. He had a sack on Saturday and was very aggressive against the run. In talking to coaches before the game, they love the fact that he can play inside as well as outside. White did make one terrible decision as a punt returner, fielding a punt inside the five-yard line. Overall, I think White helped himself with evaluators vs. 'Bama. -- Daniel Jeremiah

11. Athletic and tough, Mississippi State's Fred Ross was a great red-zone target for QB Nick Fitzpatrick in the team's upset of Texas A&M. His strong upper body allows him to beat the jam at the line and gain position inside. Ross has enough speed to be a deep threat, and the foot quickness to stop short so he can free himself of his man. His blocking outside was impressive, as well, as he used that strength and determination to stay on the target for as long as necessary. Ross, a senior, is an impressive player who will be a favorite of NFL scouts. -- Chad Reuter

12. North Carolina State junior DE Bradley Chubb has added 20 pounds since last season, when he was a linebacker, to become one of the better defensive ends in the country. The 6-4, 275-pound Chubb already had six sacks coming into Saturday's game vs. Florida State, and it was clear why. Whether coming out of a three- or four-point stance, his ability to power off the ball makes it difficult for tackles to maintain their anchor. Chubb still looks like a linebacker when chasing from the backside, as well. His potential is immense at his new size, and NFL scouts know it. -- Chad Reuter

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