What we learned from Week 9 in college football

Here's a look at what NFL.com analysts learned about prospects in Week 9 of the college football season.

  1. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson missed some throws today and his wide receivers dropped several catchable balls. However, when the game was on the line, he made plays. He made a pinpoint pass on fourth down and then lofted a beautiful game-winning TD with 13 seconds left to play. I love studying how QBs respond when their team is losing late in games. This was an impressive display by Jackson. -- Daniel Jeremiah
  1. Deshaun Watson's performance against Florida State on Saturday was reminiscent of his showing against Louisville earlier this month. While he had a couple of bad interceptions that are cause for concern when evaluating him as a pro prospect, he still made plays in the clutch that led his team to the win. Watson was baited into both of his interceptions by FSU cornerbacks and I felt like his confidence waned at times. The leadership and athleticism are there, and he has plenty of arm, but I'm still waiting for more consistency from Watson. Ultimately, winning still matters and he's doing it. -- Lance Zierlein
  1. Once again, Florida State RB Dalvin Cook's offensive line failed to create many creases for him in the first half but his second half against Clemson showed why so many NFL evaluators feel like he has a shot to become the best running back from this year's talented junior class. Cook's first touchdown showed off his lateral jump-cut quickness and ability to finish his run with some toughness. In the second half, we saw his incredible burst around the corner combined with his breakaway long speed. I recently compared Cook to a young Clinton Portis and tonight solidified that comparison for me. -- Lance Zierlein
  1. Dalvin Cook was the best player on the field tonight in the Clemson-FSU game, but he wasn't the only future NFL running back in the contest. Wayne Gallman played an excellent all-around game. He ran extremely hard, but I was most impressed with his awareness and effectiveness in pass protection. His blitz pickup on the game-winning TD was phenomenal. He is very well thought of in the personnel community and he didn't disappoint tonight. -- Daniel Jeremiah
  1. Florida has always housed an impressive collection of NFL-caliber defensive backs, but its current cornerback tandem (Quincy WilsonandTeez Tabor) might be the Gators' best offering in years. Wilson and Tabor are explosive athletes with ideal physical dimensions (Wilson measures 6-1, 213 pounds; Tabor is listed at 6-0, 201 pounds). They're impressive cover corners capable of playing man or zone on the island. Against Georgia on Saturday, Wilson and Tabor showed off their pro-ready games with a solid effort against the Bulldogs' receivers. Each player flashed the physicality, agility and discipline to challenge receivers at the line with strong jams and deceptive mirror techniques. In addition, Wilson and Tabor showed solid awareness and instincts in zone coverage, particularly when the Gators played Cover 2/Quarters in the back end. With a number of NFL teams employing those schemes, Wilson and Tabor will continue to garner interest from scouts looking for long, rangy CB1s to build around. -- Bucky Brooks
  1. NFL teams looking for an old-school running back with the perfect mix of size, strength and nasty should take a long, hard look at Texas RB D'Onta Foreman. He cracked the 1,000-yard mark with a 32-carry, 250-yard effort that sparked Texas to a 35-34 win over Baylor on Saturday. The 6-foot-1, 249-pounder is a throwback runner with a rugged running style that will remind some of the legendary runners (Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams) that used to don the burnt orange and white jerseys back in the day. Foreman runs through defenders with a ferocity that intimidates second-level defenders, which leads to big runs late in games. Although he's at his best grinding out it between the tackles, Foreman flashes impressive top-end speed and acceleration when he gets into the open field, as evidenced by his 37-yard score. If he continues to put up gaudy numbers as a workhorse runner with a physical running style, scouts will quickly get excited about Foreman's potential as a RB1. -- Bucky Brooks
  1. What was frustrating about scouting Clemson WR Mike Williams vs. FSU on Saturday is that there was so much dink and dunk going on and I wasn't really able to see him go to work down the field. I know he can do it because I saw it back in 2014. He catches the ball cleanly and away from his body and he's a natural runner after the catch. I went down on the field to get a look at his build and he is an impressive-looking athlete. -- Lance Zierlein
  1. Michigan has produced good NFL receiver talent over the years, and Amara Darboh's play vs. Michigan State showed that the well hasn't run dry in Ann Arbor. The senior had a couple one-handed catches Saturday -- one on a high pass to the sideline and another while heading down the left sideline with a cornerback in his hip pocket. Darboh's ability to make plays on short, intermediate and deep throws shows he can be a difference-making No. 2 receiver at the next level. -- Chad Reuter
  1. Justin Herbert had his second straight impressive start for Oregon. The true freshman quarterback tossed six touchdowns last week against Cal, but looked even better Saturday against Arizona State. Oregon's young signal-caller completed 31 of his 42 throws for 489 yards and four scores. He tied the school record for most passing yards in a single game, originally set by Bill Musgrave in 1989. Herbert has certainly been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season for the Ducks. He faces an interesting test next weekend, as the team travels to the Los Angeles Coliseum to face USC. The Trojans held high-powered Cal and Davis Webb to just 24 points on Friday. -- Gil Brandt
  1. A prototypical 3-4 linebacker prospect, Virginia's Micah Kiser showed his ability to handle coverage duties, play the run, and bring down the quarterback on A-gap blitzes on Saturday as the Cavs almost pulled off an upset against Louisville. The Cavs' leading tackler once again hit double-digits in tackles (14) against the Cardinals, consistently getting to the ball whether he was in the box or chasing to the sideline. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson is very athletic, yet Kiser was able to change direction quickly enough within the pocket to drag the Heisman favorite down twice. It was another excellent performance for Kiser, who is having an all-conference season. -- Chad Reuter
  1. Kentucky's football team doesn't get much publicity (even thought it's competing for an SEC East title), but it does have an intriguing offensive lineman in center Jon Toth. He's tall at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, but Toth still usually won the leverage battle against Missouri's shorter, strong defensive tackles. He'll need to play with knee bend more consistently to anchor against NFL-caliber players, though. Toth stayed with his block through the whistle, keeping his feet alive and hands engaged. He also moves well to linebackers and keeps his balance on the move because he doesn't overreach. A technically sound, intelligent leader, it's clear Toth has an NFL future. -- Chad Reuter
  1. Notre Dame DT Jarron Jones came out with his hair on fire against Miami on Saturday. Throughout the first half, the 6-5, 315-pound Jones carried the center into the backfield. When the Hurricanes tried reach-blocking him, he was just too quick and powerful, running into the plays. In the second and third quarter, however, Jones couldn't make much of an impact. Jones stood up off the snap, lacking the gas to explode past his blocker. He even ended up on the ground a couple of times when being single-blocked. Jones turned it on again in the fourth quarter, shedding blocks to make plays against the run. Scouts won't like the uneven effort, but in the end, Jones rose up to be a force in the clutch. -- Chad Reuter

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