New coaches make a splash in the inaugural early-signing period, a big-named quarterback will miss his team’s bowl game, and Appalachian State absolutely demolishes Toledo. This week, I will focus on how certain new coaches are faring early on and break down the fantasy angle of this past week’s bowl contests.
New Coaches and Signing Day
Dan Mullen Gets His Guy
The whole reason Florida brought Dan Mullen in was to kick-start this atrocious offense. Mullen is planning on doing so by stealing away four-star dual-threat quarterback Emory Jones away from Ohio State in the final hour. Jones fits into the system that Mullen runs and will likely be the guy Mullen runs with over Felipe Franks. Mullen also brings in two talented running backs in Dameon Pierce and Iverson Clement. Clement comes in as an athlete and will make a good third-down back, and Pierce is going to make name for himself very quickly.
Herm Edwards Loses Both Coordinators Within a Week
Arizona State’s NFL Style Experiment is off to a poor start, as both Billy Napier and Phil Bennett have left the program. Edwards was hoping to retain both, but neither wanted to stay. Napier is now the head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, and Phil Bennett is looking around the job market. Recruiting isn’t going well, either. The Sun Devils are ranked 73rd on 247Sports and are bringing in less talent than Kansas, Illinois, and Tulane.
Taggart Brings In Six Defensive Players, Loses Out On Fields
Willie Taggart made headlines after leaving Oregon less than a year after joining. The early signing period went well defensively, but not overwhelmingly great from an offensive standpoint. Taggart manages to bring in six four-star defensive players but only one three-star offensive lineman. The offensive line is the Achilles heel of the Seminoles and should be focused on heading into the spring signing period if Taggart wants anything to be done on offense. Justin Fields has also elected to go with Georgia over Florida State, leaving the ‘Noles without a quarterback in the 2017 class.
Josh Allen Declares For The Draft
Whether or not you buy into the hype surrounding Josh Allen, he has decided to declare for the draft. Josh Allen has all the intangibles of an NFL quarterback, according to most scouts, and is a projected top-15 pick in 2018. His 2017 season didn’t make him a lot of money, but it didn’t seem to lose him much, either. Look for Wyoming to take a huge step back next season as most programs do after losing a player of this caliber.
Texas Tech Reciever Keke Coutee Declares
This came as a shock to me. Keke Coutee is coming off a 93-catch, 1,429-yard, and 10-touchdown season. His stats look like a player who should be declaring for the draft, but he’s likely to go late. The Air Raid system rarely puts out strong NFL receiving prospects (not everyone is Josh Gordon), and Coutee is under six-foot tall. Coutee will need to make a splash at the NFL Combine should he be invited.
DJ Moore To Enter NFL Draft
It’s a shame, really. DJ Moore set a school record in receptions and was the third receiver in Terrapin history to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards. He did this under four different quarterbacks. Just imagine how well he would’ve done had Tyrrell Pigrome or Kasim Hill stayed healthy. Moore was the Big Ten Wide Out of the Year and is a sleeper pick in the 2018 draft.
Courtland Sutton Will Enter the NFL Draft
As expected, Courtland Sutton declared for the draft after his bowl matchup against Louisiana Tech. Sutton is considered one of the top-three receivers in this draft class. SMU’s team will look entirely different next year on offense with Sonny Dykes taking over the Mustangs. Fantasy owners can only pray that Trey Quinn sticks around for one last ride.
Josh Rosen To Miss Cactus Bowl
The Cactus Bowl seems now like a greatly one-sided affair considering Rosen is out with a concussion. Josh Rosen is considered a top-three quarterback in this draft class and has made it known that he does not want to be a Brown. Expect Skylar Thompson to feast on the UCLA defense, and expect UCLA not to do much offensively.
Will Grier Won’t Be Back For Heart of Dallas Bowl
After breaking his finger against Texas while running for a touchdown, Will Grier will be unable to play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Utah. Utah manages to find ways to exploit weaknesses, and the absence of Grier is a huge one. Expect the Utes to come out on top against the Mountaineers and stand by for Will Grier’s possible draft declaration.
Bowl Game Takeaways
Cheribundi Cherry Tart Boca Raton Bowl
“One-sided,” a “blowout,” and “never had a chance” are just a few ways to describe how this game went. Devin Singletary had a field day, rushing for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Jason Driskel threw for 270 and two touchdowns and added two more touchdowns on the ground. Willie Wright caught seven passes for two touchdowns and 71 yards. It was just dominance from the Owls on both sides of the ball, as Kato Nelson threw for 80 yards and the Zips managed a rushing total of 69 yards. As long as Kiffin is at FAU, they will remain fantasy relevant for years to come.
DXL Frisco Bowl
Not Ben Hicks’ best game, for sure. Hicks averaged over 20 fantasy points per game this past season, but he threw three interceptions compared to one touchdown against the Bulldogs of Lousiana Tech, and two of which went for six. J’Mar Smith threw or 216 yards and three touchdowns and added a touchdown on the ground. Boston Scott carried the ball 20 times for 110 yards in his career finale. Teddy Veal went for 118 and two touchdowns. J’Mar Smith-to-Teddy Veal is a connection to watch for years to come.
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
How about that sponsor? The Movable Object met the Stoppable Force in the Temple FIU matchup, and Temple came out on top. Alex McGough left the game early on with an injury, and the Golden Panthers looked lost without him. Temple was able to score touchdowns with three different running backs, which is a nightmare for fantasy owners.
As badly as I wanted to see the Blazers win … that’s how badly they were beaten by Ohio. Dorian Brown was absolutely unstoppable with 152 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Nathan Rourke passed for two touchdowns to cap off his breakout season. UAB could not manage to run the ball effectively, and AJ Eardly had to pass way too much. The real story heading into next season is how much Rourke improves in the offseason after a tremendous sophomore campaign.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Josh Allen went out into his final collegiate game and did Josh Allen things by throwing for three touchdowns. Shane Morris went 23/39 passing for 329 yards and a touchdown, but his four interceptions are a concern. Central Michigan Running Back Johnathan Ward caught seven passes for 109 yards and a touchdown and also had 12 carries for 29 yards and a touchdown. Ward has potential to put up big numbers next season depending on who plays quarterback.
The final three minutes of this game were the most entertaining, with three back-to-back-to-back scores. Quinton Flowers and Nic Shimonek combined for 727 passing yards and seven touchdowns. Tice and Johnson were both held for under five yards per carry, while Justin Stockton rushed for 5.7 in his 18 attempts. Marques Valdes-Scantling caught three passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in a dominant performance. Both teams lose their starting quarterback next season, which is huge for the Bulls and probably not as bad for the Red Raiders.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
This was probably the best bowl game of the season thus far. Ahmad Bradshaw finished with 180 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Rashaad Penny ran for 221 and four touchdowns. The game finished with a crazy pick six. So much to like for this season, but not much to like for next season, as the two best players that participated are graduating.
Dollar General Bowl
Jalin Moore was the player to watch in this game, and he delivered upon the expectations with 125 yards and three touchdowns. Taylor Lamb finished his career at App State with only 16 total passes attempted. Logan Woodside threw three interceptions and no touchdowns, and Terry Swanson couldn’t get much rolling in the ground game with 44 yards on 11 carries. Moore has the highest ceiling of any returning player from this game and has top-10 upside.
Fresno State looked really good to cap off a really good season. Marcus McMaryion finished with 342 passing yards and two rushing touchdowns. As a junior, McMaryion was very up and down, and if he’s more consistent next season, his ceiling is high. D’Eriq King had an off game with only 38 rushing yards on nine carries. He also threw more than 40 times, which doesn’t translate well for his style of play. He is still a name to watch in 2018 after his back end stretch of games for Houston.