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We are nearing the beginning of conference play with three weeks of the college football season now in the books.
Prospect evaluation can be tough during the early part of the college football season, with so many powerhouse programs running up the score on inferior competition. You may recall in Week 1 that Alabama defeated Utah State 55-0 in a game that everyone thought Alabama could win 55-0. Then they had a close call against Texas in Week 2 but ran over UL Monroe in Week 3.
How Bryce Young, the potential 1.01 of the 2023 NFL Draft class, performs against these duds is far less meaningful than how he performs against conference foes like Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, etc.
The real competition is about to begin, as prospects prepare to show scouts and coaches what they're capable of against some of the nation's toughest teams.
Even with some bad mismatches early on, there are still some meaningful takeaways to be had from the first three weeks -- some of which are red flags for high-end prospects. So let's have a look at what we saw in Week 3 of the CFB season!
Tyler Van Dyke, QB (Miami)
Passing: 21-for-41 passing, 217 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
Rushing: 5 carries, 14 yards, 0 TDs
Tyler Van Dyke burst on to the season in 2021, throwing for 2931-25-6 in 10 games after opening the year as Miami's backup. His 9.0 YPA ranked fifth among Power Five quarterbacks that season, while his 10.7 ADOT was good for 14th. He also ranked 10th in big-time throws per PFF -- which is defined as, "a pass with excellent ball location and timing, generally thrown further down the field and/or into a tighter window," for those curious.
Van Dyke's 2021 season led to high expectations for him heading into 2022, with some projecting him as a potential 2023 first-round draft pick.
With three games now under his belt this season, Van Dyke has thrown for 671 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, with two "easy" games against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Mississippi on his ledger. Van Dyke didn't need to do much through the first two weeks, as Miami outscored Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss 100-20.
However, in Week 3 against Texas A&M, Van Dyke struggled in a big spot. He completed just 51.2% of his passes, missed on all three of his deep ball attempts, and was 5-of-11 on passes that traveled 10+ yards downfield.
We'll get a better gauge on Van Dyke as the season progresses, but it's safe to say we expected more from him at this point. He and the Hurricanes have a bounce-back game this weekend at home against Middle Tennessee.
Devon Achane, RB (Texas A&M)
Rushing: 18 carries, 88 yards, 0 TDs
Receiving, 4 receptions, 42 yards, 1 TD
Devon Achane was on the low-end of a split with Isaiah Spiller last season but is the Aggies' RB1 this season. At 5-foot-9, 185-pounds, Achane could stand to add some size at the next level, but the do-it-all back had a solid outing in Week 3 against the Hurricanes.
Achane was held to just 71 yards of offense in the Aggies' Week 2 loss to Appalachian State but erupted for 130 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown last week.
A running back with legitimate track speed, Achane found the end zone on an impressive 25-yard receiving touchdown, shaking several Miami defenders on his way to the end zone.
Also serving as the Aggies kick returner, Achane has returned five kicks for 198 yards thus far, averaging an impressive 39.6 yards per return -- which is buoyed by a 95-yard kick return touchdown against Appalachian State.
Achane is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hand and will be a coveted fantasy asset in dynasty leagues next season. NFL Mock Draft Database ranks him as the No. 6 back in next year's draft class.
Mohamed Ibrahim, RB (Minnesota)
Rushing: 23 carries, 202 yards, 3 TDs
When he enters the draft next season, Mohamed Ibrahim will be one of the oldest rookies in the class. The Minnesota product turned 24 earlier this month and was a member of the 2017 recruiting class.
With that being said, his name is worth monitoring given his impressive body of work and strong start to this season.
Ibrahim broke out as a redshirt freshman in 2018 when he rushed for 202-1160-9 and had over 2,800 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns to his name at the conclusion of the 2020 season. He opted to return to Minnesota for the 2021 season and immediately suffered a ruptured Achilles in Week 1 -- leading to his return for the 2022 season.
Prior to his injury, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper had Ibrahim ranked as the No. 7 back in the 2022 NFL Draft class. With good size, vision and burst, Ibrahim has done more than enough to earn the respect of scouts. The question heading into this season was whether or not he could recover from last year's injury.
Through three games, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.
Ibrahim wrecked an overmatched Colorado team last week on his way to 202 yards and three scores on the ground -- which included a dominant 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Ibrahim's longest run on the season is a 34-yarder that also came last week against Colorado, but he's averaging a solid 4.70 YCO/ATT and has forced a missed tackle on 26.9% of his carries. He's yet to be held under 100 yards this season, totaling 67 carries for 464 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.
If Ibrahim can slip into the top three rounds of next year's draft he'll be an interesting player to target in dynasty drafts. He'll still be a worthwhile stash even without the NFL draft capital, given his impressive resumé as a Power Five player.
Kayshon Boutte, WR (LSU)
Receiving: 3 receptions, 31 yards, 0 TDs
This could be much ado about nothing, but we have to talk about Kayshon Boutte's slow start to the 2022 season.
Ranked as the consensus No. 1 wide receiver of the class by NFL Mock Draft Database, the junior has caught 10-of-19 targets for 93 yards and no touchdowns and is averaging a dismal 0.97 Y/RR that's accompanied by three drops.
Boutte leads LSU with a 12.1 ADOT, but his slow start against the likes of Florida State, Southern University and Mississippi State is concerning. Boutte posted a 45-735-5 receiving line as a true freshman in 2020, good for a 25% dominator rating. Before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in 2021, Boutte caught 38 passes for 508 yards and nine touchdowns in six games -- good for a 41% dominator rating.
It's still early, and there's plenty of time for him to bounce back, but Boutte's slow start can't be ignored.