There are quite a few prospects headed into the 2018 college season that are not from a power five conference school. It is easy to look for talent from the SEC, ACC or PAC 12, since they consistently put out first round picks every year, but there are some gems to be found in division one that may get overlooked. Take a look at the offensive rookie of the year, Kareem Hunt. Hunt was a smaller school prospect from Toledo, that many people overlooked. Some stated he did not have a second gear and lacked size to be an every down back. The former Rocket, went on to rush for 1327 yards on 272 carries. Who could be the next explosive rookie to come from a non-power five conference?
Wide Receiver: Andy Isabella (UMass): Isabella is a Biletnikoff award watchlist member, after he caught 65 passes for 1020 yards and ten total touchdowns in 2017. It would be easy to say that was against smaller competition, since he had back to back 100 yard games against Old Dominon and Coastal Carolina. In reality, Isabella lit up the Mississippi State Defense with seven catches for 158 yards and one touchdown. He put up huge numbers against a good SEC defense. Isabella was able to get behind the Bulldog defense for a 69 yard touchdown and a 52 yard gain. UMass plays against top competition again when they face Georgia on November 17. Keep an eye on Isabella to be a big time contributor.
2018 Games we will be watching: @Boston College 9/1 BYU 11/10 @Georgia 11/17
Running Back: Marquis Young (UMass): Marquis Young is used as more of a third down back, that has the ability to make plays. He is a spark plug on the Minutemen offense, especially on third and longs. Young is dangerous when he gets the ball in space and is given the opportunity to cut back. He reads the defense well and finds the open running lanes for a big play. He has quality size, as he is listed between 6-0 to 6-1 and weighs in at 215 -pounds. Young shows potential to be more than just a third down back, as he makes every carry count for something. Often times, he is not brought down by the first defender, as he tends to push the pile.
2018 Games we will be watching: @Boston College 9/1 BYU @11/10 @ Georgia 11/17
Defensive Tackle: Ed Oliver J.r. (Houston): Ed Oliver is a big time playmaker for the Cougars and is a preseason top draft eligible player for many media outlets. There is a good reason for him being a top prospect with his ability to constantly make plays and wreak havoc on offenses. His impressive stat lines in just two seasons with Houston is very impressive. So far, Oliver has forced 10.5 sacks, 145 tackles (94 solo), 39 sacks, five forced fumbles, 12 passes broken up, a blocked kick and he even added a one-yard rushing touchdown. Oliver is just a playmaker that finds the football and makes a play. He can play defensive end or defensive tackle and is scheme diverse.
2018 Games we will be watching: @Texas Tech 9/15 @ Navy 10/20 Memphis 11/23
Quarterback: Tyree Jackson (Buffalo): Jackson could be the next hyped quarterback going into the NFL. Jackson has size at 6-7 245 pounds. Much like Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger, he moves very well for somebody his size. He has a big arm and can make just about all of the throws. He also has the ability to outrun defenders and make big plays with his legs. This season could help jolt Jackson’s draft stock. Jackson has made the most out of his career, only throwing three interceptions last season, and twelve touchdowns. If he continues on, his draft stock will continue to rise.
2018 Games we will be watching: @Temple 9/8 Army 9/29 @Central Michigan 10/6
Wide Receiver: Tyre Brady (Marshall): Brady has ideal size for an NFL receiver at 6-3 208. He is not a sub 4.4 receiver, however, he has a second gear with the ball in his hands to break away from defenders. He has put up monster numbers against quality competition. Against NC State (23) he caught 11 passes for 248 yards and one touchdown. The final game of 2017 was one of his best as he posted 6-165-1, against Colorado State. Brady should be a name that continues to get hot as the year goes on. If he continues to put up big numbers against tough competition, he should climb up draft boards.
2018 Games we will be watching: @Soutch Carolina 9/15 NC State 9/22 @Western Kentucky 9/29