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NFL Perspective: Top College Performers in Week 3

Rookie RB Todd Gurley has been a beast for Georgia so far this season, and will be looking to pile on the yards against South Carolina this Saturday.

Georgia RB Todd Gurley


By Steve Silverman

Oregon’s Marcus Mariota has big things on his plate this year.

The Ducks’ signal-caller certainly has a long way to go this season, but he’s looking for the rare triple this football season.

Certainly, he wants to keep on winning so his Oregon Ducks will get an invitation to the inaugural College Football Playoff. Once there, he would like to lead an undefeated Oregon team to the national championship.

He’d also like to be invited to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City at the end of the regular season, where he could come away with the Heisman Trophy.

Then, to make his 2014-15 season complete, he’d like to be the first pick in the NFL Draft next spring.

There are months to go, but Mariota’s dream is intact. Here’s a look at how Mariota and four other top draft picks performed in college football this weekend.

QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon – A week after a dominant performance against Michigan State, Mariota continued to roll in Oregon’s 48-14 victory over Wyoming. Mariota was razor-sharp in his passing as he completed 19-of-23 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Mariota also showed off his running ability and explosive speed as he had five carries for 71 yards and two more TDs. Mariota is the No. 1 prospect in the draft, and he enhanced his position with his stellar showing against the Cowboys.

RB Todd Gurley, Georgia – The Bulldogs played an emotional game against South Carolina and came out on the short end of a 38-35 score. While head coach Mark Richt will have issues with his defense and other areas, he should not have any problems with Gurley. The 6-1, 232-pound power back who reminds scouts of Marshawn Lynch carried the ball 20 times for 131 yards and one touchdown. He appears to have an excellent draft of becoming a first-round draft pick next spring.

WR Justin Hardy, East Carolina – The Pirates came up with a huge game against Virginia Tech and they registered a 28-21 win over the team that won at Ohio State last week. Wide receiver Justin Hardy has been climbing up the wide receiver rankings, but the Hokies managed to limit him to four catches for 47 yards with a long of 18 yards. Virginia Tech double-covered Hardy throughout the game, and that opened things up for Cam Worthy, who caught 6-224. Hardy, 6-0 and 188 pounds, appears to be a second- or third-round pick, but he’s going to have to show more against double coverage from this point forward.

OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa – This 6-5, 320-pound left tackle has been a stellar blocker throughout his career with the Hawkeyes. He is rated as the second-best tackle in the nation behind Cedric Ogbuehi of Texas A&M and the No. 5 draft prospect in the nation. However, Scherff and the Iowa running attack was held in check against Iowa State in a 20-17 loss. The Hawkeyes averaged just 2.9 yards per rush on 44 attempts, and that did not help this stud’s draft status.

SS Landon Collins, Alabama – Collins is the top-rated player at strong safety, and he rules the secondary for the Crimson Tide with athleticism and confidence. The 6-0, 215-pound defensive back projects to be the 11th-rated prospect in the draft, and he was on top of his game in Alabama’s 52-12 victory over Southern Miss. Collins had six solo tackles and six assists, and he was also credited with one quarterback hurry and 0.5 tackle for loss.



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