Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson led the Cougars to two bowl victories and three bowl game appearances during his three-year run in Provo. After recovering from injury setbacks as a sophomore, he led his team to an 11-1 record in 2020. Prior to injury in 2019, Wilson faced what proved to be the stiffest competition of his career. In a three-week span, BYU took on Tennessee, Southern Cal and Washington. He found a way to win two of the three contests. We look back at some of best moments during the stretch.
Tyre Gaines takes a look back at the top offensive line recruits from the 2018 class and how they’ve progressed thus far. Who’s surpassed expectations and who may still have work to do.
Jamaree Salyer OG-Junior Georgia: Ranked #1 by 247Sports and Rivals, and #2 by ESPN
Played in a reserve role in 2018, appearing in 13 of 14 games and he then played in 13 contests during the 2019 campaign. This past season, he started the first nine games at left tackle before moving to guard for the 2021 Peach Bowl. Playing in 92% of all offensive snaps for the Bulldogs last season, he showed some promise. Right now, Salyer is slated as a mid-round draft prospect in 2022.
Nicholas Petit-Frere OT-Junior Ohio State: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN
Played in all 14 games in 2019 but didn’t start. Off the field, however, he achieved Academic All-Big Ten honors. He is currently the starting right tackle at Ohio State. Petit-Frere’s intriguing reach, length and athleticism make him a legitimate prospect for either the 2022 or 2023 NFL Drafts.
Brey Walker OT-Junior Oklahoma: Ranked #2 by 247Sports, #4 by Rivals, #5 by ESPN
Walker played in 13 of 14 contests during the 2019 campaign, with two of those appearances being starts at the right guard spot. He appeared in three games in 2020, backing up projected 2021 NFL Draft pick Adrian Ealy at right tackle. Walker will compete for a starting job in 2021.
Rasheed Walker OT Penn State Ranked #3 by 247Sports, #7 by Rivals, & #13 by ESPN:
Walker appeared in four games as a freshman and then became a starter as a redshirt sophomore. In 2019, he started 13 games at the left tackle spot. He again started all nine games for the Nittany Lions in 2020. Walker is already considered to be a surefire tackle at the next level, as he has appeared in 26 games with 22 starts, all at left tackle.
Cade Mays OT-Junior Georgia: Ranked #3 by 247Sports, Rivals, & ESPN
Mays received Freshman All-American honors in 2018, playing in 11 of 14 games with seven starts at Georgia. He saw action at every offensive line position during the 2019 season, when he started 11 of 14 contests. He decided to transfer to Tennessee prior to the 2020 season, as he is from Knoxville. Mays started all seven games for the Vols and was projected as a potential early round pick before deciding to return for the 2021 season.
Justin Dedich OC-R-Soph USC Trojans: Ranked #2 by 247Sports, #1 by Rivals, & #3 by ESPN
Dedich saw brief action as a redshirt in 2018 and was the team’s backup center in 2019 before starting the last two games. He’ll have work to do to solidify his draft position with only eight appearances thus far in his career.
Jackson Carman OT-Junior Clemson Ranked #2 by 247, Rivals, & ESPN
Carman saw action with 209 snaps in 13 games in 2018. Earned third team All-ACC honors in 2019. He started all 12 games at left tackle in 2020, collecting second-team All-American honors and second-team All-ACC accolades. Carman declared for the 2021 NFL draft and is projected to be a starting guard at the next level.
Matthew Jones OC-R-Soph Ohio State: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, #7 by Rivals, & #1 by ESPN
Redshirted in 2018 and backed up All-Big Ten guard Jonah Jackson for most of 2019. Started the 2021 CFP national championship game against Alabama as a redshirt sophomore after helping fill gaps during an unorthodox Big Ten season. With continued reps and progression, Jones could be a prospect in either the 2022 or 2023 NFL Drafts.
William Barnes OT-Junior UNC: Ranked #5 by 247Sports, #2 by Rivals, & #4 by ESPN
Barnes made appearances in 12 games in each of the last two seasons. Known for quick instincts off the line and solid pass protection coming out of high school, he should look to both establish and improve his draft position in 2021. As of now, all five of the starting spots along the UNC offensive front are filled by returning lettermen.
Penei Sewell OG-Junior Oregon: Ranked #2 by 247Sports, #5 by Rivals, & #6 by ESPN
He was the first offensive lineman in Oregon history to earn all-conference honors as a true freshman. Earned various awards and honors during his two seasons with Ducks. Sewell was the first sophomore and Oregon Duck to win the Outland Trophy. Opted out of the 2020 season to focus on the draft, and he is projected as a consensus top five pick in this year’s upcoming draft.
NOTE: All positional designations were marked according to their projections coming out of high school (see Sewell). In addition, we included the class of each player per the NCAA not counting this season as a used year of eligibility. If a player transferred (see Mays), we listed the original school who signed the recruit.
Two blue chip programs will matchup in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.
The Cotton Bowl will serve as a consolation prize for Ohio State (11-2 overall, 8-1 Big Ten) and USC (11-2 overall, 8-1 Pac-12), both of whom had College Football Playoff aspirations at the beginning of the season.
Both teams are led by star quarterbacks. Sam Darnold, a consensus Top 10 NFL draft prospect, leads the men of Troy. J.T. Barrett, one of the most decorated quarterbacks in college football history, leads the Buckeyes.
Both teams enter the game as conference champions as USC defeated Stanford and Ohio State beat Wisconsin in their respective conferences.
Players to watch
Ohio State Buckeyes
J.K. Dobbins RB- Freshman
Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins averaged 7.5 yards per rushing attempt and had six games this season with more than 100 rushing yards. After just one season, Dobbins is making waves and could find himself in the same breath as former Ohio State running backs Archie Griffin, Maurice Clarett and Eddie George. Dobbins took home the MVP award in the Big Ten Championship after finishing with 174 rushing yards on just 17 attempts.
Tyquan Lewis DL-Senior
Lewis is expected to be an early-round draft pick and will have to be accounted for by the Trojans offensive line. Lewis has 22 career sacks, 34.5 tackles for losses and four forced fumbles. When Lewis is at his best, he’s a relentless pass rusher who is never out of a play.
Ronald Jones II RB- Junior
Darnold might receive the air time but Ronald Jones II was the workhorse running back behind the Trojans offense. Jones II finished the season with 242 carries for 1486 yards. Like Dobbins, he had an impressive conference championship game. He finished with 140 rushing yards (4.7 YPC) and two touchdowns against Stanford.
Iman Marshall CB- Junior
Marshall has been as reliable as they come at USC. The junior cornerback stands 6’1″ 205 lbs, and he has the size scouts will covet in the NFL. Marshall has six career interceptions. A knee injury forced him to miss four games in the middle of the season. However, Marshall returned for the final two games of the season, finishing with two pass deflections.
Prediction: USC 21 Ohio State 35