Cowboys CFB Watch: Oregon-UCLA gives midday glimpse of 7 top prospects on top-10 teams

No. 9 UCLA (6-0) versus No. 10 Oregon (5-1) sees two of the best the Pac-12 has to offer this season go at it as both top-10 ranked teams vie for the top spot in the conference. In what easily could be a bowl or championship game later in the season, this matchup has a lot to offer. Kickoff time is 2:30 pm Central, so fans looking for Pac-12 After Dark glory will have to get acclimated sooner than usual.

Both schools are noted for their ability to churn out high-level prospects. The number of players who have made an impact at the next level are could make this a 30-minute read.  Dallas doesn’t currently have any former Ducks on their roster but Osa Odighizuwa and Anthony Barr rep the Bruin blue. Here’s a look at seven players across the two schools who look to have plus pro potential and should be closely watched in Saturday’s clash.

Oregon | LB Noah Sewell

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Jersey: No. 1
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 250 pounds

Younger brother to Penei and Nephi Sewell, Noah was an impact player on both ends of the ball in high school before coming to Oregon as a consensus 5-star recruit. He started immediately for the Ducks and has won numerous awards and honors on his way to being the leader of the Oregon defense.

Sewell has made his name rummaging through traffic and laying the wood on running backs hitting the second level or on receivers coming across the middle. His has good size, athleticism and technique while lacking refinement in coverage. As a true junior his inexperience can show occasionally however Sewell is the obvious beating heart of the Ducks defense. This resumé sees him as an instant two-down starter next to Leighton Vander-Esch for Dallas, allowing Micah Parsons to rush the passer more often.

UCLA | RB Zach Charbonnet

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Jersey: No. 24
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 220 pounds

Zach Charbonnet was the fourth best running back in his recruiting class as a 4-star recruit and chose to attend Michigan. In two years there he would see more time as a freshman than sophomore which ultimately led to his transfer to UCLA. As a Bruin he has shown that the flashes from his time as a Wolverine were not a fluke. In 2021 he posted over 200 carries for over 1100 yards and 13 scores on the ground, adding 24 receptions and just under 200 yards through the air. In 2022 he has only improved this pace, averaging almost two full yards per carry and 30 yards per game on the ground with just under five yards per catch and a 12 yard increase per game through the air.

Charbonnet runs with ferocious intent on every down. He is not afraid of contact while also being shifty enough to cut through holes or shake defenders out of their cleats. He also provides solid ability as a third down option making him an all-around threat on offense. Charbonnet lacks top-end athleticism but would be a great complimentary back to Ezekiel Elliott should Tony Pollard not resign this offseason.

Oregon | QB Bo Nix

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Jersey: No. 10
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 215 pounds

Bo Nix was a highly touted and recruited QB coming out of high school and had a great freshman year but took a step back. His struggles lasted as long as his Tigers tenure as injuries and inconsistent play spiraled his reputation. As a graduate transfer he has taken the PAC-12 by storm with Oregon in 2022. The change of scenery has clearly helped as Nix has soared to the best numbers and team success of his career thus far.

Although he has his flaws, there is still extreme amounts f untapped potential based off his athletic profile alone. This season he has shown what he can do which projects him as a fantastic developmental backup at the NFL level. Nix may not steal the backup position from Cooper Rush anytime soon but would make his name in camp and the preseason.

UCLA | QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson

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Jersey: No. 1
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 205 pounds

Dorian Thompson-Robinson was a 4-star recruit from Bishop Gorman in his hometown of Las Vegas. As a freshman he saw action in 10 games, upping that to 11 starts as a sophomore in 2019. Throughout the following 2019 and 2020 seasons, he would suffer a flurry of injuries that would hurt his development ten fold. Although he has battled to stay on the field, he still has held down the starting spot as a leader for the Bruins offense.

Thompson-Robinson is an experienced QB in the Bruins system and brings a lot to love through the air and on the ground. There is improvement to be made in regard to three-level accuracy as well as cleaning up his footwork but the natural ability is there. This is a player to take in the later rounds of the draft and compete with the likes of Will Grier and Ben DiNucci prior to the start of the regular season.

Oregon | CB Christian Gonzalez

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Jersey: No. 0
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 200 pounds

Originally from The Colony in Texas, which is just ten minutes from The Star in Frisco, before signing on with Colorado and finding a home in Oregon this season. He received All-PAC-12 Honorable mention in 2021 as a Buffalo and has continued to find success as a Duck. The interception production has not been there for him but he has had steady pass defensed numbers which show there is potential there.

Gonzalez is a prototypical outside CB in the Dallas defensive scheme. He has the length, size and athleticism to play press-man but also the instincts and speed to cover ground in zone. Although he’s been blessed with these physical gifts, they limit him to an outside only corner that may get spun around by smaller, quicker WRs. His ball skills need some development as well but that should not be hard to improve with Trevon Diggs opposite him.

UCLA | WR Jake Bobo

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Jersey: No. 9
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 215 pounds

Jake Bobo, grandson to former Dallas Cowboy Keith Bobo, made his name as a Duke Blue Devil, appearing in 43 games, before transferring to UCLA. His 2018 -2020 seasons were quiet, only catching 52 passes in three years but burst onto the scene as a senior in 2021. In this season he caught 74 passes for just under 800 yards and one score which practically doubled all of his career stats prior to that season. In his first season with UCLA he is already on pace to match that receiving numbers while also vastly improving his scoring production.

Bobo is a tenured and extremely productive receiver at the collegiate level. At 6-foot-4 he has fantastic length while also possessing nuanced route running techniques. He is a smooth mover but not a dynamic athlete leaving him as an outside receive exclusively and a serious jump-ball threat. In Dallas he likely plays the backup role to Michael Gallup as the player who provides a large catch radius for his QB to throw into.

Oregon | IDL Brandon Dorlus

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Jersey: No. 3
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 285 pounds

A former 3-star recruit, Dorlus played in 16 games in his first two years as a Duck. He has been a consistent presence in the opposing backfield garnering over 16.5 tackles for a loss and over 60 pressures between 2020 and 2021. The sack production has not completely been there but those will come in time with the insane pressure rates he has managed over his career.

Dorlus typically deploys as a 3-technique in an even front but can but possesses enough versatility and athleticism to be able to play in an odd front as well. This combined with his pass-rush upside projects as the type of player Dan Quinn loves to utilize lined up all across the defensive front.

HBCU Spotlight: North Carolina Central v South Carolina State

Shaq Davis

North Carolina Central has been one of the best HBCU programs this season while South Carolina State have been a respectable opponent to all six teams they’ve played. These two powerhouses matchup in what could be the battle for the Carolinas.

On the NCCU side of the field, they’re led by juniors QB Davius Richard and RB Latrell Collier on offense that have scored over 40 points in all but two games. Juniors IDL Quantez Mansfield and CB Khalil Baker leading the way to some outstanding defensive performances for the Eagles.

For SCSU their offense is led by senior QB Corey Fields and junior WR Shaquan Davis who stands at a staggering 6-foot-5 and has dominated the conference thus far in his career. Defensively, junior LB BJ Davis leads the way with four interceptions, one which went 94 yards the other way for a score along with a forced fumble and a team leading 23 tackles.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire