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What we learned from Week 12 in college football

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  • By Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, Gil Brandt, 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 12 of the college football season.

1. Washington State's Luke Falk is one of the most polarizing QBs in the scouting community. Some scouts love him, while others view him as a backup at the next level. He had an up-and-down game Saturday in a big Pac-12 game against Colorado (26-of-53 for 325 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT). He made some beautiful touch throws in the intermediate area, but his deep-ball accuracy was a little off. My biggest concern is the lack of urgency he shows at times in the pocket. He needs to work through his progression at a quicker pace. He will have a lot of scouting eyes on him next week in the Apple Cup (vs. Washington). -- Daniel Jeremiah

2. NFL scouts tuned in to the Pac-12 tilt between Washington State and Colorado to see Luke Falk make his case to be considered the top quarterback in college football, but the evaluators were treated to a spectacular show from Buffaloes QB1 Sefo Liufau instead. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior accounted for 453 yards of offense with three scores in a thrilling win over the Cougars. Scouts should walk away raving about his combination of arm talent and athleticism. The rugged playmaker torched the Cougars with his legs, as he gained a 100-plus rushing yards on an assortment of zone-read plays. Most impressively, Liufau logged 23 carries while displaying outstanding grit and determination as a runner. Although one game won't make the Colorado star a top pick, it will make him an interesting developmental prospect to watch when the draft rolls around in April. -- Bucky Brooks

3. Texas RB D'Onta Foreman was expected to chew up the Kansas defense and he did. Well, kind of. Foreman showed off his burst and agility in cranking out another game of 200-plus yards (246) with two more touchdowns to give him 15 on the season. However, Foreman was asked to carry the ball 51 times on Saturday. He's had 30-plus carries in five of his list six games. I understand that Texas might be trying to push Foreman for a trip to Manhattan as a Heisman finalist, but I have to wonder if NFL teams will have concerns about his excessive use this season. -- Lance Zierlein

4. USC CB Adoree' Jackson is one of the most unique players to study in college football. He's a dynamic playmaker in all three phases (offense, defense, special teams), but his lack of size shows up on balls thrown down the field. He gave up two TD passes early against UCLA on Saturday. The first one wasn't solely his fault. The safety help was late to arrive and the safety missed the tackle after Jackson was beat on the route. On the second one, Jackson was boxed out in the end zone, something we've seen happen a couple times this fall. On the positive side, he made a few impressive pass breakups, where he showed off his leaping ability and awareness. I know some scouts feel like his future is at wide receiver but I'd still keep him at cornerback. He is very similar to Asante Samuel. Both guys excel from off coverage, where they can use their instincts and quickness to break on balls in front of them. Neither player is built to play press coverage and survive on a consistent basis. One thing about Jackson that everyone agrees on -- he is an electric returner, capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. It will be fun to see him play against Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer next week. -- Daniel Jeremiah

5. Oregon RB Royce Freeman hasn't had the season I expected, but he's finishing on a high note. After going four straight games with 50 yards or less on the ground, he's posted back to back 100-yard games. He pounded out a tough 129 yards against Utah on Saturday, and helped the Ducks upset the Utes. He also hauled in 8 passes for 36 yards. He doesn't get mentioned with the top running backs in college football, but his game translates very well to the next level. -- Daniel Jeremiah

6. Michigan State is having a disappointing season, but scouts will quickly develop an affinity for RB LJ Scott after checking out his spectacular performance against Ohio State. The 6-1, 230-pound thumper totaled 236 scrimmage yards (160 rushing; 76 receiving) on 21 touches with two scores. Scott showed outstanding strength, power and body control running between the tackles on an assortment of power runs from the I-formation. In addition, he displayed soft hands and solid receiving skills as a playmaker in the passing game. He rumbled 64 yards for a score on a dump-off pass, exhibiting surprising speed, quickness and burst for a big man. Considering how rare it is to find a big back with natural running and receiving skills, I'm sure several scouts will compare the sophomore to former Spartan Le'Veon Bell. While I'm not ready to tout Scott as the best back in college football, I will definitely pay attention to his development to see if he can blossom into a All Pro-caliber runner down the road. -- Bucky Brooks

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7. LSU produces many NFL-caliber defensive linemen, and Davon Godchaux is next in line. He showed many of his skills lining up as a five-technique and inside in the team's win over Florida on Saturday. Godchaux plays with power, pushing offensive linemen into the backfield with regularity by staying low (though he's listed at 6-4) and extending his arms for leverage. He finishes plays in the backfield, dragging down quarterbacks after fighting through double teams -- even if the ball is out of the pocket. Though Godchaux is sometimes the last guy off the ball, he can turn it on to challenge the quickness of tackles on the outside. He's a versatile player who should be an instant NFL contributor. -- Chad Reuter

8. With Michigan State DL Malik McDowell out of the game due to injury, I expected Ohio State C Pat Elflein to control the middle of the line of scrimmage Saturday. Elflein is one of the stronger players in the country in the upper body, so he can move a defender out of the hole simply by latching on and turning. A former guard, the senior has found his future NFL home at center. His feet aren't as quick as you'd like in a mobile guard; he can move to the second level to hit a target, but staying with the block is difficult for him. Elflein also looked past defenders on the move, allowing them to make tackles behind him. Michigan State's athletic linemen shed Elflein's blocks regularly, as well. He was called for holding in the third quarter when pulling a jersey instead of moving his feet to stay on his man. Elflein is a powerful player who will start in the NFL, but limitations in his ability to work his feet and hands together might keep him out of the top-50 selections in the 2017 draft. -- Chad Reuter

9. With starting quarterback Wilton Speight out of the Wolverines' game vs. Indiana due to injury, the team struggled to move the ball in the first half. Then, they started giving the ball to RB De'Veon Smith. The senior scored on runs of 34 and 39 yards, taking advantage of holes up front while also setting up second-level defenders with a cut. His power to plow over would-be tacklers by lowering his pads was impressive, as well. Smith isn't the fastest back in the country, but when he's running north-south and playing angry, he's fast enough to break off big runs like he did against the Hoosiers. He salted away the win in the snow and wind by hanging onto the ball to run down the clock. In this game, Smith's skills made him a difference-maker. -- Chad Reuter

10. Michigan State's Riley Bullough came into the season as somewhat of an ascending prospect at inside linebacker, but he just hasn't had a strong season. Today was a snapshot of who he is as a player -- a smart, try-hard inside linebacker with average athletic tools who is more likely to assist in a tackle than go make a disruptive play downhill. It's hard to see Bullough as anything more than a late-round pick. -- Lance Zierlein

11. I continue to be very impressed by Oregon QB Justin Herbert. The true freshman helped lead the Ducks to a 30-28 upset on the road against Utah on Saturday. He completed 30-of-43 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns. -- Gil Brandt

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