It’s never too early to look to the future. With that in mind, we at Sports Illustrated look at who’s next and who to keep an eye on for the 2023 NFL Draft with five players each week who stood out in college football.
Dante Cephas, WR, Kent State
His 246 yards broke a school record that had been held since 1997, with 230 of those yards coming in the second half. Both the yardage and 13 catches are highs for an FBS game this season. But it is not only against MAC teams that Kefas has stood out this season. His six receptions for 106 yards against Washington on Sept. 3 shows he has what it takes against high-level secondaries as well.
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
The Eagles have struggled to find offense this season, but as Flowers goes, so goes this BC unit. Dominates the team’s goal share. No Eagles pass catcher has more than 24 targets this season besides Flowers’ 47. He finished the win at Louisville with five catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Former NFL quarterback Mike Glennon compared Flowers to Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Clark Phillips III, DB, Utah
He was so good Saturday that you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a wide receiver when he has high balls like this:
Phillips had three interceptions, including a pick-six. In a pinch-hitting Utah defense, you can bet Phillips has plenty of physicality and coverage ability.
AT Perry, WR, Wake Forest
If your team is in need of a long-armed receiver, it might not have to look much further than Perry, whose 6’5″ frame and huge catch radius often give him an advantage. He has a lot on the cylinder that makes him looks to catch deep balls from QB Sam Hartman during his career and a big day against FSU last Saturday showed he can cut the yards after the catch into smaller chunks. He’ll need to add some weight (he weighs 205 pounds) and there will be questions about his age (he’ll be 24 as a rookie if he enters the 2023 NFL Draft), but his Instagram handle doesn’t lie: “alwaysopen.9.”
Isaiah McGuire and Trajan Jeffcoat, Missouri
Missouri’s defense has been much maligned the past two seasons, but Jeffcoat and McGuire came up big in the Tigers’ near upset of Georgia. They took it to the Dawgs’ underrated offensive line, troubling QB Stetson Bennett. Jeffcoat finished the game with a sack, a rush and 1.5 tackles for loss while McGuire had a rush and 0.5 TFL.
More NFL coverage:
More College Football Coverage:
• Karl Dorrell is out in Colorado. Now it’s Auburn’s turn.
• The Lane train is rolling at Ole Miss, on and off the field
• SI’s Top 10: Georgia shows top Dawgs have some vulnerability