While the 2023 NFL Draft is still far off in the distance, players that will be drafted early are on the field now. Each week presents unique matchups for draft prospects and this week is no different. Here are NFL Draft prospects to watch in college football week 0.
1. Sam Hartman, QB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
After going 9-4 last season, Notre Dame opens up their season in Ireland against Navy. They were able to win nine games last year, despite not having a great passing attack. This offseason they have tried to address that by adding Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman, who has the most active passing yards in the FBS. He has 12,967 passing yards, 110 touchdowns and 41 interceptions on 59.1 percent completion.
There will be plenty of games to check out Notre Dame’s other prospects, but Hartman can show what he can do in a new offense. He will be going up against Navy, who didn’t do great last season against the pass. If Hartman can have a big game, he can start the process of improving his draft stock.
2. Calen Bullock, S, USC Trojans
A lot of attention will be on Caleb Williams this season, but USC has plenty of talented players who helped them go 11-3 last season. Their defense was a huge issue last season and if it improves they could win the Pac-12 en route to a CFP berth. One of their best defensive players is Calen Bullock who had 48 total tackles, five interceptions and five passes defended in 2022.
The week 0 matchup for the Trojans is the San Jose State Spartans, who ranked 25th in the country for passing yards. Bullock has shown good coverage and ball skills, which should help against the Spartans. He’ll need to work on his physicality and run defense this season. A good game against San Jose State could help Bullock show he is one of the best safeties in the country.
3. Avery Huff, LB, Florida International Panthers
Florida International had a rough season last year, finishing 4-8. They hit the transfer portal to try and improve. The Panthers were able to land Avery Huff, who transferred from Miami. He didn’t play all that much for the Hurricanes, registering eight total tackles in two seasons.
The former four-star prospect, will help FIU starting with their week 0 game against Louisiana Tech. Huff will get the chance to play the most since his high school days. He has plenty of work to do to build up his draft stock, but the athleticism is there.
4. Praise Amaewhule, EDGE, UTEP Miners
UTEP went 5-7 last year, missing out on bowl eligibility. They are looking to turn things around this season and so is edge rusher Praise Amaewhule. He had 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks last season after having 12 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2021.
This week, UTEP is playing Jacksonville State who is playing their first game at the FBS level after moving up from the FCS. Amaewhule has the chance to have a good game and help his draft stock, as Jacksonville State will be adjusting to the new level of play. If Amaewhule plays to his potential this season, he could be a late-round pick.
5. Cade Bennett, IOL, San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State won seven games last season and they are looking to make another bowl game this season. They have a solid offensive line, which should help them on their way. Cade Bennett is a huge part of that at guard after he was named Second Team All-Mountain West last season.
In their week 0 game, San Diego State will be taking on Ohio, which should be a competitive matchup. The Aztecs will try to establish the run behind their offensive line, which will give a good look at Bennett. If he improves this season, starting with a good week 0, he could put himself on the NFL Draft radar.
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