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NFL Perspective: Top College Performers in Week 4


Melvin Gordon could play a pivotal role in Wisconsin's trip to Ohio State.

Melvin Gordon

College football stars who have a chance to be drafted in the first or second round tend to make defining statements early in the season.

When a player can put a signature game or two on the board in September, pro scouts tend to notice and follow those stars  more closely throughout the rest of the season.

Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide team may not always win the national championship, but they remain an elite team that contends nearly every year. While Saban is a solid strategist and motivator, the main reason he is at the top of the college coaching profession is his recruiting skill.

He brings top players to Alabama every year, and they continue to excel this season.

Here’s our look at how five of the top draft prospects performed this week in college football.


SS Landon Collins, Alabama – Many scouts have Collins (6-0, 215) rated as the No.1 defensive back in the country and he put on a stellar performance in Alabama’s 42-21 victory over Florida. Collins was all over the field in registering five tackles, one interception and breaking up two passes. More than the numbers, Collins played with speed and aggressiveness throughout against Florida, and he imposed his will against the overmatched Gators.

WR Amari Cooper, Alabama – While Collins dominated on the defensive side of the ball, there was no stopping Cooper on the offensive side. He won the battle against top Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III as he caught 10 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Cooper seemed to cement his status as a potential first-round draft choice with his athletic ability, route-running skills and his talent at making big plays.

RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin – The Badgers rolled to a 68-17 win over Bowling Green, and Gordon and the running game simply did whatever they wanted against the Falcons. Gordon appears to be a strong first-round selection next spring, and the 6-1, 209-pound running back had an eye-opening game as he carried the ball 13 times for 253 yards while scoring five touchdowns. Although Bowling Green did not have the size or strength to slow down Wisconsin’s huge offensive line, Gordon took advantage of every opening and could not be stopped.

DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State – The Spartans were in an angry mood after having a week off following their Sept. 6 loss at Oregon. They took out their frustrations on Eastern Michigan, as the Spartans registered an overpowering 73-14 victory. While Michigan State dominated in all areas, their defense was stellar. Eastern Michigan was held to 135 total yards (20 rushing), and most of those came after the game was out of hand. Calhoun, a likely top-10 pick next spring, helped set the tone as he had two tackles, a sack and two quarterback hurries. The 6-4, 215 pound pass rusher has explosive quickness and the strength to punish opposing blockers.

WR Sammie Coates, Auburn – The 6-2, 200-pound redshirt junior has a chance to be drafted in the top half of the first round, but he did not help himself in Auburn’s 20-14 victory at Kansas State Thursday night. Coates was the focus of the Kansas State defense throughout much of the night, and he was held to two catches for 24 yards. Teammate D’Haquille Williams caught eight passes for 110 yards, and that’s not going to help Coates’ draft status.


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