clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Week 4 CFB preview, prospect spotlight, and open thread

Let’s take a look at which college games and prospects to keep an eye on in Week 4 of the 2022 season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Missouri at Kansas State

College football is back!

As the 2022 season rolls along, so will our weekly previews of games and NFL prospects to watch. This will come in addition to our sporadic NFL Draft coverage over the course of the fall and winter. Whether you’re a fan of the draft or just a college football fan, this series looks to give you an idea of what to watch each week.

Windy City Gridiron’s Lead Draft Analyst Jacob Infante will be taking a look at what to expect in Week 2 of this year’s college football campaign.

Game of the Week

Jacob: Kansas State vs. Oklahoma, Saturday Sept. 24, 7:00 p.m. CST

Not only is Oklahoma a perennial Big-12 powerhouse, but Kansas State might have one of the most underrated rosters in the Power 5.

Though Lincoln Riley might not be their head coach anymore, most of the Sooners’ draftable talent comes on offense this year. Perhaps the top prospect on their roster is left tackle Anton Harrison, an athletic pass protector with impressive coordination and tools to be a future NFL starter. Oklahoma also has an intriguing wide receiver in Marvin Mims, who may be a bit skinny but offers polished route-running ability and top-notch athleticism. Center Andrew Raym and right tackle Wanya Morris are two completely different players — the former wins with quickness and pad level and the latter with raw power and size — but both could be drafted in the spring. Defensive lineman Jalen Redmond, running back Eric Gray, linebacker DaShaun White and quarterback Dillon Gabriel could be in the discussion for a late-round pick or priority undrafted status.

Kansas State’s offense is led by dynamic running back Deuce Vaughn. The comparisons to Darren Sproles seem unoriginal — two small, athletic backs from Kansas State — but they check out. Vaughn is a pint-sized spark plug with elite agility, good vision and value as a pass-catcher. Left guard Cooper Beebe is one of my favorite interior blockers in this draft class, as he brings very good weight distribution, play strength and situational awareness. Their defensive superstar is edge rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who has 2.5 sacks in his first three games this year. He’s an athletic pass-rusher with a high motor and very good flexibility turning the corner.

Big Matchup to Watch

Jacob: SMU WR Rashee Rice vs. TCU, Saturday Sept. 24, 11:00 a.m. CST

Few offensive players in college football have played as well to start the 2022 season off as SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice.

Rice had 670 yards in 12 games in 2021, and he’s only 179 yards away from reaching that mark this year. For reference, SMU has only played in three games so far. He leads the FBS with 491 yards, is tied for second with 28 receptions and has three touchdowns, to boot. He’s a reliable pass-catcher with solid hands, great ball skills and very good physicality at the catch point. The 6-foot-3, 206-pounder is tough to bring down after the catch and has a well-rounded skill set.

Rice doesn’t have elite athleticism or crispness as a route runner for his position, which has him at just a fourth-round grade on my board right now. He does a lot of the little things right, though, and he projects well as an oversized field-size ‘Z’ receiver in the pros.

Sleeper Highlight

Jacob: Washington State QB Cameron Ward vs. Oregon, Saturday Sept. 24, 3:00 p.m. CST

Washington State is the “unofficial” No. 30 team in the FBS given their votes in the AP Top 25. Not only would the 3-0 Cougars likely move into the Top 25 with a win over No. 15 Oregon, but quarterback Cameron Ward could rise up draft boards in the process.

Ward was a dominant force at FCS school Incarnate Word prior to transferring to Wazzu this year. He has 727 yards and a 65.0 completion percentage through three games, and he’s coming off of a four-touchdown performance against Colorado State last week. He has above-average arm talent, as his throws come out with good velocity, and he is able to deliver bullets from different arm angles. Ward is also an athletic quarterback who may not have great rushing production at the collegiate level, but he’s quick and can make defenders miss in space effectively.

He’s pretty raw in terms of his ability to sense pressure in the pocket and scan the field, but Ward has some intriguing tools to work with. Some — including myself — tagged him as a potential breakout candidate heading into the year. He hasn’t produced at an elite level yet, but with a strong in-conference performance against a ranked team, he could generate some serious buzz.