In this week’s version of College Football “Game of the Week” we have two of the top schools in the ACC set to face off in a very important showdown. Both of these teams are potential national championship candidates, and both teams are playing great football to start the season. We did a comprehensive list of Florida State prospects prior to the season, and some of the big names we’ve been watching out for have shown up in big ways. Specifically, defensive end Bjoern Werner has busted out with 6.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss through the team’s first three games.
Werner and the FSU defense are going to have to stomach the loss of defensive end Brandon Jenkins, and he looks more than capable of being a disruptive force in Jenkins’ absence. Here is our pre-season report on Werner, a junior from Germany:
Werner is a German-born, former foreign exchange student who didn’t begin playing football until he was 15 years old, when he immediately fell in love with the game. That love for the game shows up on every single play you see from this guy, and might be his greatest asset. Not only is Werner a hard worker off the field, but he will make you pay for taking a play off on the field. His intensity and passion for the game are nearly unmatched, and on Florida State’s star-studded defense he was named MVP after Spring last season. That hard work translated to the field where he was second on the team with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He emerged as a very good run stuffer but also showed development in his pass rush skills. What’s great about Werner is, he is a dynamic player who is a very good athlete and plays with great speed. He is relentless in pursuit and I think he could emerge as a potential first round pick this year, though many are already talking about him as such. When it’s time to turn on the jets and get to the quarterback, he is tough to miss when you watch FSU games.
The Seminoles are going to have their hands full with Clemson’s wide receiver duo of Sammy Watkins (true Soph, not draft eligible) and DeAndre Hopkins, who is currently blowing away Watkins’ numbers. Hopkins leads the team with 26 catches for 314 yards and four touchdown grabs. He’s been a big play waiting to happen so far this season, and is averaging over eight receptions per contest. The 6’2″ junior had 71 receptions a year ago, and was second on the team in receiving. He looks like he’s having a breakout season of his own in 2012.
Another player you’re going to want to keep an eye on for the Tigers is running back Andre Ellington, in case you didn’t already know that. Ellington could well be Clemson’s top NFL prospect on the roster right now, and he has delivered so far this season. Ellington’s carried the ball 54 times for 331 yards and four touchdowns, averaging over six yards per carry. He is built a lot like Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, and while I’m not sure he’ll run a 4.24 second 40 yard dash, I’d be willing to bet he’s pretty fast and should be taken within the first three rounds of next year’s draft.