Photo courtesy of Clemson Tigers.
Draft 412 is ready for Saturday’s games and wants to make sure you are as well. Each week, we will preview the games and the players to watch, on our way to the draft in April 2024.
Here is our preview for - Week 12:
#20 North Carolina (8-2) at Clemson (6-4) 3:30 pm ESPN (Saturday)
Line- Clemson (-7)
Draft 412 Prediction - Clemson 27 North Carolina 17
Which Clemson team shows up this Saturday? The one who beat Notre Dame and Georgia Tech the past two weeks, or the one who started the season 4-4 and at times looked disinterested? North Carolina has to win out and get a bunch of help to get to the ACC Championship. This game looked a lot bigger when the schedule came out as both teams have underperformed in 2023.
Clemson- Linebacker- Jeremiah Trotter Jr.
Even though the 4-4 Clemson Tigers have had a disappointing season, some defensive stalwarts like Jeremiah Trotter Jr. have continued showing NFL scouts their true worth. Trotter has a very good chance of being the first linebacker selected in the draft and going in the top 15. He has been better than advertised this season, with 71 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. He will lead a Clemson defense that will be out to make another first round pick, Drake Maye’s life miserable.
To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Jeremiah Trotter Jr.…
North Carolina- Quarterback- Drake Maye
Quarterback Drake Maye has had a solid season for the Tar Heels and has all but locked up being the 2nd quarterback off the board. He hasn’t had the big games that Caleb Williams has, but he has not made some of the terrible decisions that he has either.
North Carolina needs to win out and it will have to be on the back of Drake Maye this weekend. Draft 412 thinks Maye is the most NFL ready quarterback coming out, and you better believe the scouts will be watching how he performs against a defense loaded with NFL talent.
To see Draft 412’s profile on Drake Maye…
Clemson- Safety- Andrew Mukuba
The Tigers' secondary will need to make plays on Saturday against Drake Maye and Draft 412 thinks this could be that big splash game for Andrew Mukuba that we have been waiting for. Mukuba, who is a first round talent, has been banged up and has not had quite the impact that many believed he could in 2023. Draft 412 still has Mukuba as a late first-early 2nd round safety who is a hard hitter with the athleticism of a cornerback.
To see Draft 412’s profile on Andrew Mukuba…
North Carolina- Wide Receiver- Devontez Walker
Tez Walker is leading the Tar Heels in receiving this season, even though he has only played in 6 games. The NCAA ruled him ineligible before the season, but later changed course and made the Kent State transfer eligible on October 5th. Since joining North Carolina, Walker and Drake Maye have become one of the nations best combinations. In just 6 games, Walker has 35 catches for 600 yards and 6 touchdowns and will need to put some back end pressure on the Clemson defense this Saturday.
To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Devontez Walker…
Others to Watch
Clemson- RB- Will Shipley
Clemson- RB- Phil Mafeh
Clemson- WR- Beaux Collins
Clemson- LB- Barrett Carter
North Carolina- RB- Omarion Hampton
North Carolina- TE- Bryson Nesbit
North Carolina- LB- Kaimon Rucker
#22 Utah (7-3) at #17 Arizona (7-3) 2:30 PM PAC-12 Network (Saturday)
Line- Arizona (-1)
Draft 412 Prediction - Utah 30 Arizona 22
Arizona has become the darlings of the PAC-12 this season with their three Top 25 wins. The Wildcats are only two years out from going 1-11 and are one of the biggest stories in college football. Neither team will make the PAC-12 championship game but have some unique prospects that we should be interested in.
Arizona- Quarterback- Noah Fifita
Arizona’s season came alive when freshman quarterback Noah Fifita became the Wildcats' starting quarterback. The 5’11” signal caller has been spectacular making plays both in the pocket and being able to get outside the pocket while making throws on the run. It will be fun to watch Fifita this weekend against a very fast and aggressive Utah defense.
Utah- Safety- Cole Bishop
Cole Bishop is a player who can make Arizona freshman quarterback Noah Fifita’s Saturday a long day. Offenses always have to account for Bishop on every snap. He lines up all over and can attack in so many different ways. His big play ability can be the reason this game changes on a dime and turns in Utah’s favor.
To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Cole Bishop…
Arizona- Linebacker- Jacob Manu
Manu, only a sophomore, has been the heart and soul of the Wildcats' defense. Utah has a lot of different weapons on offense, both on the ground and through the air. Manu is a player to take note of and he projects as a possible mid-round type draft pick at linebacker. He is a little on the smaller side at 5’11”, but he gets around the field effortlessly and wraps up well as a tackler. Draft 412 looks forward to seeing him on the field Saturday.
Utah- Edge- Jonah Elliss
It is hard not to watch Utah’s defense and not be impressed by the play of edge rush Jonah Elliss. He has been consistent since week one and leads the Utes with 12 sacks on the year. He is undersized for an edge at only 6’2” but generates so much speed off the edge that he has been a handful for Pac-12 tackles all year. He will make Fifita’s life miserable all day long.
Others to Watch
Utah-WR- Devaughn Vele
Utah- RB- Ja’Quinden Jackson
Utah- LB- Levani Damuni
Arizona- RB- Jonah Coleman
Arizona- WR- Tetairoa McMillan
Arizona- LB- Taylor Upshaw
#21 Kansas State (7-3) at. #25 Kansas (7-3)
Line- Kansas State (-8.5)
Draft 412 Prediction - Kansas State 44 Kansas 24
One of college football’s most underrated rivalries takes on a new feel this season with both teams being ranked in the top 25. The Sunflower Showdown is one of the protected matchups going forward by the Big 12 and this season's matchup has a lot riding on it. A win for Kansas State keeps their Big-12 title hopes alive, and the rival Jayhawks would love nothing more than knocking off the Wildcats.
Kansas- RB- Devin Neal
With quarterback Jason Bean banged up and probably nowhere near 100%, running back Devin Neal will be called upon early and often. Neal has had a phenomenal season and is considered by most a mid-round draft pick in 2024. He has 965 yards and is averaging 6.2 yards per carry with 10 touchdowns. Look for Kansas to try and slow the game down, and if Neal gets going, they have a chance to knock off the Wildcats and dash their Big-12 title hopes.
To see more of Draft 412’s profile on Devin Neal…
Kansas State- Tight End- Ben Sinnott
Ben Sinnott is the poster boy for the new style of tight ends that the NFL wants. He runs routes like a wide receiver, has strong hands and stretches the seam of the defense. Sinnott is a decent blocker as well and has pushed up draft boards to as early as round 3. He is quarterback Will Howard’s safety net and Draft 412 looks for Sinnott to have another stellar game Saturday.
To see more on Draft 412’s profile on Ben Sinnott…
Kansas- Safety- Kenny Logan Jr.
Kenny Logan Jr. is a player who is making a late run at getting some Draft love for 2024. Logan has had a very productive season and leads the Jayhawks in tackles with 70 and has an interception he returned 30 yards for a touchdown. He is a big hitter in the secondary but watching some tape on Logan, he will lower his shoulder for the big boom, instead of wrapping up. Logan still projects as a UDFA, but could sneak into draft boards with a good combine or all-star game performance.
Kansas State- Running Back- D.J. Giddens
Sophomore running back DJ Giddens has opened up some eyes this season for Kansas State. Giddens is a complete back who has good size (6’1” 212 lbs.) and excellent speed to put pressure on a defense. On the year, he has 859 yards and is averaging 6.0 a carry. The running back matchup of Giddens and Devin Neal will be a good one and it will go a long way to deciding who wins.
Others to See
Kansas- WR-Lawrence Arnold
Kansas State- S- Kobe Savage
Kansas State- WR- Phillip Brooks