What we learned from Week 4 in college football

Here's a look at what NFL.com analysts learned about prospects in Week 4 of the college football season.

  1. Dalvin Cookreturned to form against South Florida. After a sluggish start to the season, I thought he ran much harder today. He was more decisive and it resulted in monster numbers (career-high 267 yards rushing). He was also effective out of the backfield where he displayed soft hands and an explosive burst. -- Daniel Jeremiah
  1. In the first half against Florida, it looked like Tennessee was not meant to snap its 11-game losing streak to the Gators this season. Joshua Dobbs, their senior quarterback, and the offense struggled early as the Vols fell behind 21-0. Dobbs' leadership and maturity were evident coming out of the locker room at halftime, as he stayed in the pocket and delivered multiple passes under pressure in addition to his usual tough running. His receivers stepped up their game as the team put up 38 unanswered points to get the much-needed win. Scouts probably won't move him up their boards quite yet (he was off to a disappointing start this season before his big second half vs. the Gators), but anyone who's down on him will have to reconsider their positions if he keeps this up. -- Chad Reuter
  1. It was great seeing Alabama TE O.J. Howard get involved in the offense more regularly in the first half of Alabama's blowout win of Kent State. He caught three passes for 60 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown. That touchdown catch displayed his smooth running and overall athleticism that NFL scouts expect in a difference-maker at the position. Once he crosses the face of a linebacker in space, it's over. -- Chad Reuter
  1. Here's a name to remember: Brady Gustafson. The Montana QB came up a bit short against Cal Poly on Saturday, as his Grizzles fell, 42-41, but he completed 47 of 59 passes for 418 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. Any time a guy puts up numbers like that, he's going to get some attention from scouts. He's an interesting player. He's a big, tall QB with a strong arm and mobility. He faced off against Carson Wentz in the season opener last year and beat Wentz. -- Gil Brandt
  1. The Badgers' defense played very well against Michigan State, and linebacker Vince Biegel shows skills versus the run and pass. He held the edge when the Spartans tried running outside, despite giving up 40-50 pounds to offensive tackles. Biegel's athleticism and pure want-to was clear when beating blocks in pass rush, then closing quickly on Spartans quarterback Tyler O'Connor multiple times to force quick throws. He's a strong candidate for a top-100 selection, not unlike former teammate Joe Schobert last year (No. 99, Cleveland Browns). -- Chad Reuter
  1. UNC QB Mitch Trubisky has limited college football experience, but the junior will certainly pique the interest of scouts looking for an intriguing developmental prospect. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior completed 35-of-46 passes for 453 yards and five scores in leading the Tar Heels to a 36-35 come-from-behind victory over Pittsburgh. Although it's hard to judge a quarterback simply off numbers in today's pass-happy game, Trubisky's physical tools match his production when studying his game on tape. He is a polished pocket passer with a strong arm and a deft touch, but he also displays excellent timing and anticipation firing passes down the seam or boundary. Trubisky's ability to fit the ball into tight windows is uncommon for a player with limited experience, but it speaks volumes about his mature game. As he continues to get more reps against elite competition on a big stage (UNC plays Florida State next Saturday), the buzz could build around the Tar Heels' QB1. -- Bucky Brooks
  1. Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk didn't put up big numbers against Arkansas, but he has a game that's ideally suited for the NFL. The shifty playmaker is a precise route runner with outstanding stop-start quickness and burst. Kirk explodes out of his breaks to shake free from coverage and his electric running skills make him a threat to score from anywhere on the field when he touches the rock. On his 9-yard score in the fourth quarter on a quick out, Kirk showed how his wiggle and burst could make him a nightmare to defend as a pro. Considering he'll have at least one more to further refine his skills at the college level, the Aggies' star receiver will be on every scout's "must-see" list next fall.
  1. USF RB Marlon Mack wasn't really a factor against Florida State. The game got out of hand early and his touches were limited. His teammate, WR Rodney Adams, showed off his deep speed on an 84-yard TD on the Bulls' first play from scrimmage. He's viewed as a mid-round prospect by NFL scouts. -- Daniel Jeremiah

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