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What we learned from Week 13 in college football

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  • By Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, Lance Zierlein and Chad Reuter NFL.com
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Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Here's a look at what NFL.com analysts learned about prospects in Week 13 of the college football season.

1. USC's Adoree' Jackson had an eventful day against Notre Dame. The cornerback/receiver/kick returner took 2 kicks back for scores (1 punt, 1 kickoff) and also scored on a 52-yard reception. When he has the ball in his hands, he is dynamic. His burst, vision and elusiveness are at an elite level. However, he's still raw at the cornerback position. He took the bait on a double move and allowed a touchdown vs. the Fighting Irish. He's given up several scores this season. He also fumbled a punt at the beginning of the third quarter. Overall, there was a lot more good than bad. If we voted for the best athlete in college football, I'd cast my ballot for Jackson. -- Daniel Jeremiah

2. I'm still not sold that Ohio State's J.T. Barrett will be a starting NFL quarterback, but I did like what I saw from him when it was time to make winning plays Saturday vs. Michigan. Barrett wasn't helped by a couple of drops by his receivers, but he struggled to make quick decisions with the ball and throw with accuracy. When it came time to move his team down the field for a chance to win the game, Barrett completed his last five passes in a row for 60 yards. As a runner, he helped keep OSU within striking distance and it's that dual-threat ability that will give Ohio State a chance against Alabama should they meet up in the playoff. -- Lance Zierlein

3. One thing that always stands out about the Alabama defense is the amount of edge pressure it can generate. Linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson both successfully got after the offensive tackles for Auburn on Saturday. Williams showed off his devastating spin move, while Anderson's strength and effort were on display. Both of these guys will be top-40 picks this spring. -- Daniel Jeremiah

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4. Ohio State safety Malik Hooker is one of the best playmaking defenders in college football and he made a huge play Saturday vs. Michigan. The Wolverines were dominating the game until his pick-six changed the momentum and kept the Buckeyes in the contest. He has the best ball skills of any defensive back in the country. His tackling is still a work in progress, though -- he had a couple fly-by missed tackles in this game. -- Daniel Jeremiah

5. Scouts pay close attention to how well top prospects play in the big games. That's why Utah's Joe Williams and Tim Patrick could see their draft stocks take a significant hit after their disappointing play against Colorado on Saturday. Each player has played a key role in the Utes' solid season, yet they failed to deliver when it mattered for their squad. Williams lived up to his reputation as a suspect ball handler when he coughed up the ball twice in the game, including a costly fumble in the fourth quarter that was returned for a score. While scouts will give him credit for running hard against a defense intent on plugging running lanes with extra defenders in the box, the lack of ball security will continue to be a concern for scouts searching for a reliable runner in the draft.

Patrick had been the Utes' most reliable pass-catcher coming into the game, but he failed to come down with a few passes that could've sparked the team's dormant offense. Although each of his drops would be considered difficult grabs for some receivers, premier pass-catchers find a way to make extraordinary plays in critical moments. Patrick didn't deliver the goods on several 50-50 plays and scouts will question his ability to thrive as a WR1 with a few missed opportunities in a big game. -- Bucky Brooks

6. Michigan TE Jake Butt had a very solid game for the Wolverines vs. Ohio State. He had one drop on a low pass early in the game, but he rebounded to haul in 5 catches for 58 yards. He was effective on crossing routes and showed his savvy on option routes over the middle. He was an efficient run blocker, shielding off defenders on the edge. -- Daniel Jeremiah

7. At 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, Michigan DL Taco Charlton has NFL size and the potential to play on the strong side of the line at the next level. He split a double team in the first half Saturday vs. Ohio State, stretching out a run for his teammates to make the stop behind the line. He consistently beat the right tackle off the snap to turn the corner, forcing QB J.T. Barrett to move forward in the pocket. Though he missed out on a sack a couple of times, the way he worked to get a fourth-quarter sack was impressive. Charlton lost contain a couple of times in the third quarter against Barrett, allowing the athletic quarterback to get big runs. He also didn't have as much success vs. the left tackle as he did on the other side. But late in the game, he chased down RB Mike Weber in the flat and made the open-field tackle. He showed impressive agility on that play. Charlton's ability to create pressure from the strong side and stand up against the run will earn him a lot of "attaboys" from NFL scouts. -- Chad Reuter

8. What we saw today was a perfect example of why Michigan DL Taco Charlton will be a first-round pick while his fellow DL, Chris Wormley, is more of a solid, third-round type. Wormley was active and part of a unit that did a nice job for most of the afternoon, constricting running lanes and getting after Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett. Wormley is a player who can be part of a solid unit, but isn't likely to be productive at a high level as a pro. While he has some strength at the point of attack, he's missing the ability to win quickly against the run or pass, which is something that Charlton flashes. -- Lance Zierlein

9. I've previously discussed the spectacular talents of Grambling QB DeVante Kincade, but he deserves another mention in this notebook based on his spectacular play in the Bayou Classic. The ex-Ole Miss prized recruit showcased his explosive dual-threat skills on the way to amassing 339 yards of total offense (completed 24-of-33 for 283 pass yards; nine rushes for 56 yards) and a pair of scores. Kincade efficiently picked apart the Southern defense with a host of pinpoint short and intermediate throws while also flashing A-plus arm talent on a handful of deep balls. Although he misfired on a few vertical routes, the combination of accuracy and range will pique the interest of scouts looking for an athletic gunslinger at the position. If Kincade can keep it rolling in the SWAC conference title game next week, he will start to generate some serious attention as a prospect to watch in the 2018 class. -- Bucky Brooks

10. Nick Saban landed safety Ronnie Harrison, a four-star recruit, out of Tallahassee two years ago and hasn't looked back since. In his first year as a starter, Harrison's been a star in the secondary, ranking second on the team in tackles while also making plays in coverage. Don't be fooled by his lanky 6-3, 216-pound build -- this sophomore plays like a hammer. He came downhill to securely tackle Auburn receivers and running backs throughout the Iron Bowl on Saturday. When Auburn tried to run laterally, Harrison sniffed out the play and used his speed and aggressive nature to wreak havoc. His pressure when quarterback Brandon Cox went outside the pocket in the fourth quarter led to an interception that sealed the deal for the Tide. -- Chad Reuter

11. The success of former Big Ten star defensive tackle Mike Daniels (Iowa) in Green Bay gives Michigan's Maurice Hurst great hope for his future. The 6-2, 282-pound Hurst often plays inside, but he showed why teams are interested in him as a five-technique against Ohio State. His quickness can be too much for guards, and it was quite evident when he looped all the way around the left tackle from left of the center to record a sack on a third-and-long Saturday vs. Ohio State. Hurst also pushes back guards with his leverage, invading quarterbacks' personal space. In crunch time, he got lower than two Buckeyes linemen on a third-down play, forcing the play to fail on the outside. Hurst proves you don't have to be 300 pounds to be an effective defensive lineman vs. the run. He even knocked down a pass, even though he doesn't have great height, to force a third-and-long. -- Chad Reuter

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