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Weekend 1 - Players to Watch

by J.T. Toth

Photo courtesy of

Do you believe college football is here? Draft 412 is ready for Saturday’s games and wants to make sure you are as well. Each week, we will go through the games and the players to watch, on our way to the draft in April 2024.

Here is our preview for - Weekend 1 (Saturday-Monday):

Boise State at. #9 Washington 3:30 pm ESPN

Line- Washington (-14)

Draft 412 Prediction- Washington 49 Boise State 20

The Washington Huskies enter 2023 as a team that should be on many short lists of squads that can make the college playoffs. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and wide receiver Rome Odunze will be one of the top combinations in the country, and Draft 412 looks forward to seeing if the Huskies are for real.

Here are some future NFL prospects to watch in this 3:30 game:

Washington- Quarterback - Michael Penix, Jr.

Michael Penix, Jr. posted some big time numbers after transferring from Indiana. He was able to stay healthy for a full season and looks to improve his draft stock and solidify his name in next year's class of top tier quarterback prospects.

Washington- Wide Receiver - Rome Odunze

Rome Odunze is a Draft 412 preseason Second-Team All-American who looks to continue garnering attention after his 75 catch, 1145 yard season.

Washington- Defensive End- Bralen Trice

Bralen Trice is one of the top edge rushers in the country, he plays a strong, fast game and causes destruction in the backfield. Draft 412 has Trice as a Preseason First-Team All-American.

Boise State- Running Back- George Holani

Holani is an underrated running back that you should not sleep on. He ran for 1,157 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022, and may put his name on draft boards with a big game against the Huskies.

Others to Watch

Washington - WR - Jalen McMillan

Washington - TE - Devin Culp

Washington - CB - Jabbar Muhammad

Boise State - K - Jonah Dalmas

#4 LSU at. #7 Florida State 7:30 pm ABC (SUNDAY NIGHT)

Line- LSU (-2.5)

Draft 412 Prediction- LSU 37 Florida State 24

The game of the weekend is Sunday night in Tallahassee, as LSU and Florida State look to make a run to the playoffs. Both teams have favorable schedules and a win here puts them on a short list of teams who can make the final four. This game is loaded with NFL prospects and will be fun to watch:

LSU- Quarterback- Jayden Daniels

Daniels has quietly had himself a stellar 5-year career between Arizona State and LSU, and last year showed the country that he can take his game to that next level. With 2,913 yards and 17 touchdowns he led the Tigers to a 10-4 record. Daniels is in that “next” category of quarterbacks who will want to play his best game Sunday night.

Florida State- Quarterback- Jordan Travis

Jordan Travis, a 6-year senior, is looking to keep rising on draft boards after his big 2022 season. Travis, a transfer from Louisville has been getting mentioned with the other top quarterbacks in the class after throwing for 3,214 yards and 17 touchdowns. Both of these quarterbacks rarely throw interceptions (Travis (5) and Daniels (3)), so the defenses will have their hands full.

Florida State- Running Back- Trey Benson

Junior running back Trey Benson is back after leading the Seminoles in rushing with 990 yards and a 6.4 yards per carry. Benson looks to play a big part in the Seminoles offensive attack.

LSU- Wide Receiver- Malik Nabers

Malik Nabers and Jayden Daniels teamed up 72 times for 1,017 yards in 2022, and both expect to connect just as much if not more in 2023, improving their draft stock.

LSU- Defensive Tackle- Mekhi Wingo

Wingo is a Draft 412 preseason Second-Team All-American and is a disruptive presence in the middle of the line. He will need to have a big game to help slow down the Seminoles attack.

Florida State- Defensive End- Jared Verse

Verse had 9 sacks and 17 tackles for loss last year and will showcase his speed off the edge against LSU Sunday night. He is a Draft 412 preseason First-Team All-American and has a chance to be the first defensive player selected in next year's draft.

Others to Watch

LSU-RB- Josh Williams

LSU-WR- Brian Thomas, Jr.

Florida State- WR- Keon Coleman

Florida State- TE- Johnny Wilson

LSU- C- Charles Turner III

Florida State- C- Maurice Smith

LSU- DE- Sai’vion Jones

LSU- DT- Maason Smith

#10 Clemson at Duke 8:00 pm ESPN (MONDAY NIGHT)

Line- Clemson (-13)

Draft 412 Prediction- Clemson 23 Duke 21

Not too often do you get a good ACC matchup in week 1 of the season, but Clemson at Duke should be a dandy. Duke quarterback Riley Leonard would love to improve his draft stock on the national stage against a daunting Clemson defense.

Here are some future NFL prospects to watch in this Monday night game:

Duke- Quarterback- Riley Leonard

Riley Leonard is not quite considered in the top tier with Caleb Williams or Drake Maye as far as elite quarterbacks go, but a solid performance on opening night against the Tigers may push him toward the top.

Clemson- Defensive Tackle- Tyler Davis

The big 6’2” 300 lb defensive lineman leads a star studded defense that consists of 3 preseason All-Americans. Davis, a Draft 412 preseason First-Team All-American, may be the best defensive tackle in the country.

Clemson Linebackers- Jeremiah Trotter, Jr. & Barrett Carter

The Clemson Tigers are once again building a defense with loads of NFL talent and their linebacker duo of Trotter, Jr. and Carter are going to be a handful for offenses. Both of these linebackers are Draft 412 preseason Second-Team All-Americans.

Duke- Tackle- Graham Barton

How do you stop a pass rush with three preseason All-Americans? Having a preseason First-Team All-American at left tackle is a good start. Barton is protecting Leonard’s blind side and a good showing against this Tigers defense can solidify him as a top 3 tackle in this draft.

Others to Watch

Clemson-RB- Will Shipley

Clemson- TE- Jake Briningstool

Clemson- G- Marcus Tate

Duke- DE- R.J. Oben

Duke- DT-Dewayne Carter

Clemson-DT-Ruke Orhorhoro

Clemson- SS- Andrew Mukuba

Clemson-CB- Nate Wiggins

Draft 412 TOP 25 Matchups

East Carolina at #1 Michigan

UT Martin at #2 Georgia

Middle Tennessee at #3 Alabama

#4 LSU at #7 Florida State

Nevada at #5 USC

#6 Ohio State at Indiana

West Virginia at #8 Penn State

Boise State at #9 Washington

#10 Clemson at Duke

Virginia at #11 Tennessee

Florida at #12 Utah (Utah-24 Florida-11)

Portland State at #13 Oregon

Tennessee State at #14 (1-0) Notre Dame

Rice at #15 Texas

Colorado at #16 TCU

SE Missouri State at #17 Kansa State

Buffalo at #18 Wisconsin

#19 Oregon State at San Jose State

South Alabama at #20 Tulane

Mercer at #21 Mississippi

#22 North Carolina at South Carolina

Wofford at #23 Pitt

#24 Texas Tech at Wyoming

Utah State at #25 Iowa

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