NFL Draft Notebook: Michigan’s Blake Corum and Fordham’s Fotis Kokosioulis shine in week four

Sep 24, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) rushes in the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) rushes in the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Week four of college football action saw several outstanding performances from prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. This group was led by Michigan running back Blake Corum who put on one of the most impressive rushing performances of the season.

In addition to taking a look at the top performers from last week, this week’s NFL Draft Notebook also looks at Fordham quarterback Tim DeMorat, checks in on the rookies class, and much more.

Top Ten Performances of Week Four

1. Blake Corum, RB, Michigan
Blake Corum had one of the best days in Michigan history running for 243 yards, which was the seventh highest total in school history. In this game, he showed both the toughness to run inside and the speed to burst the big play. Corum should be a high day-three pick in the 2023 NFL Draft due to this combination and could move into the third-round area if he proves he can be a reliable receiver out of the backfield.

2. Fotis Kokosioulis, WR, Fordham
The most eye-opening numbers of the week may belong to Fordham wide receiver Fotis Kokosioulis. Against Ohio, Kokosioulis caught 13 passes for 320 receiving yards and four touchdowns. While it might be hard for him to get drafted he should get a good look in an NFL training camp next season as a slot wide receiver.

3. Jalon Daniels, QB, Kansas
In just four games this season Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels has already thrown for more passing yards and touchdowns than he had all of last year. In his latest game against Duke, he completed 83% of his passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 83 yards. When watching his film two positives stand out with his game: his impressive accuracy and also the mobility to make plays with his feet.

4. Sam Hartman, QB, Wake Forest
Wake Forest almost upset Clemson last weekend, and one of the main reasons why was the play of quarterback Sam Hartman. Hartman threw six touchdown passes, which tied the ACC single-game record and was the most in Wake Forest history. He was also able to account for 337 passing yards while completing 69% of his passes, which were both season highs for him.

5. De’Corian Clark, WR, UTSA
UTSA wide receiver De’Corian Clark had quite the afternoon against Texas Southern. He set the school record for receiving yards in a game with 217 yards and also tied the school record for touchdown receptions, which he set last year against Western Kentucky.

6. Tim DeMorat, QB, Fordham
Fordham quarterback proved why he is a prospect worth watching and this week’s prospect of the week with his performance vs. Ohio. He ended the day by throwing for 503 yards, which is the second time this season he has thrown for over 500 yards, and six touchdowns, which he has also done twice this year.

7. Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
One of the more underrated wide receivers in college football is Rome Odunze. He has proven to be a go-to target for Michael Penix Jr. this year, with his best game of the year coming last weekend. Odunze came away with eight receptions, for 161 yards including one tough touchdown reception against Stanford.

8. Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati
Tyler Scott proved to be a deep threat who can take any reception to the house. Scott caught three touchdowns vs. Indiana, including one that went 75 yards.

9. Ivan Pace Jr, MLB, Cincinnati
The second Cincinnati Bearcat to make the list is linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. Against the Indiana Hoosiers, Pace had 15 tackles including 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. This effort is just his latest stellar performance as he already has 46 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks in just four games.

10. Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan
One of the main reasons why Blake Corum was able to rush for 243 yards against Maryland was the blocking of Olusegun Oluwatimi. Oluwarimi consistently won at the point of attack and was also routinely able to get to the second level creating massive running lanes.

2023 NFL Draft Prospect of the Week

Every year, a quarterback earns an All-Star game invite and gets drafted on day three of the NFL Draft. This year that QB might be Tim DeMorat of Fordham. So far this season DeMorat has thrown for 1,805 yards and 22 touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions in just four games.

If he continues to play at this level, he will be someone NFL teams strongly look at in the 2023 NFL Draft. DeMorat has been an impact player since stepping on the field at Fordham. As a freshman he set the school record in touchdown passes after just starting eight games that season.

He followed that up with another strong season in 2019, earning a spot on the All-Patriot team after leading the conference in both passing yards per game and touchdown passes. In a shortened 2020 season he also had a stellar year and led the FCS in completion percentage, completing 72% of his passes.

His best two seasons, though, have been his last two years. In 2021 he was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and team MVP for the third straight season. This season he is already putting up video game-like numbers with several big games on the year.

In the second game of the season, he threw for 452 yards with six touchdowns, which was enough for him to be named the FCS player of the week. He was able to top that in the third game of the season when he was responsible for 464 passing yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions.

While there is no doubt DeMorat is a great college player, the question is: how will his game transition to the NFL? One of the biggest positives with DeMorat is his understanding of the game. When watching his film it is very evident he has a complete grasp of Fordham’s offense and does a good job of reading defenses.

Another positive with him is his size and athletic ability combination. Coming in at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, he has ideal size for an NFL quarterback. He also moves well for a pocket passer of his size and has even ran some option in college.

The biggest concern with DeMorat, other than his level of competition, is his arm strength. He struggles putting enough zip on his deep passes and also at times lacks accuracy on these balls. If he is going to make it in the NFL he will have to play in an offense that stresses the short to intermediate passing game.

While it is a stretch to give DeMorat a draftable grade currently, that could change if he shines at an All-Star game like the East-West Shrine Bowl. Even if he goes undrafted, he is someone who could challenge for a third-string job or make a team’s practice squad better.

Rookie Report

George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
It was nice to see Pittsburgh Steelers receiver George Pickens get more involved in the Steelers this week. In his game against the Browns, he came away with three receptions including an amazing one-handed catch. While three catches for 37 yards might not seem like a terrific day, it is more than he was able to record in his first two weeks of the season when he only caught 2 passes for 26 yards.

Jalen Pitre, S, Houston Texans
This week’s NFL Draft Notebook rookie of the week is Houston safety Jalen Pitre. In the Texans game against the Chicago Bears last week he made plays all over the field including picking off two passes, making two tackles for loss, and recording one sack.

Kyler Gordon, CB, Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon had his struggles last week against the Green Bay Packers allowing 10 receptions for 163 yards. Thankfully, he looked better against the Houston Texans this week though. His play of the day came in the third quarter when he did a nice job driving on the ball to break up a pass. While he still has a long way to go to be a solid NFL starter, he is at least moving in the right direction.

Drake London, WR, Falcons
Last week, NFL Mocks Jacob Schyvinck named Drake London the top rookie after the second week of action. His stock should only continue to rise after he was able to catch three passes for 54 yards in week three. His big impact should not be a big surprise though, as he was NFL Draft Notebook’s preseason pick to win Rookie of the Year.

NFL Draft Scouting Notes

— A team that you can take out of the 2023 NFL Draft quarterback market is the Miami Dolphins. The reason they likely won’t consider a quarterback on day one or day two of the draft is the stellar performance of Tua Tagovailoa. He has led the Dolphins to two impressive victories over Baltimore and Buffalo the last two weeks and has looked like an elite quarterback in both games. He tossed six touchdowns vs. the Ravens and against the Bills, he showed elite toughness, leadership, and accuracy.

— On the other hand, a team who may need to start looking at quarterback prospects is the Chicago Bears. Starting quarterback Justin Fields has looked awful this season, having completed under 50% of his passes in two of his three games this year. He also has thrown twice as many interceptions as he has touchdowns this year and has a QBR of under 20 in each of his last two outings. While it might be early to give up on Fields who was drafted only two years ago, if he doesn’t start turning his game around it will be hard to see new General Manager Ryan Poles and Head Coach Matt Eberflus seeing him as the long-term answer.

—One defensive tackle who is being overrated is Jaquelin Roy of LSU. While Roy has a quick step off the ball, he has some deficiencies that make it hard to see him worth a first-round pick. One of these is his undisciplined game, especially in the run game. In this area, he has trouble keeping his gap responsibility and does not have the power to overcome being in the wrong spot. He also has only average pass rushing numbers having recorded just two sacks in the last two years.

— Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong is seeing his NFL Draft stock fall since he has struggled most of the season. So far on the season Armstrong has only completed only 52% of his passes and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this year. One of the reasons he has seen his game drop this year is that Virginia is taking away one of his best assets which is to throw on the run and to be a natural playmaker. It also doesn’t help that he is playing behind a questionable offensive line and doesn’t have any big-time playmakers.

— A small school punter who is catching scouts’ eye is Jake Gerardi of Southern Utah. So far this season he has averaged 47.9 yards on 23 punts. He also has several punts going over 70 yards including a 72-yard punt vs. Western Illinois and a 71-yard punt against St. Thomas. If Gerardi continues to perform at this level he could get looks in the sixth or seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Quote of the Week

“This might be the deepest QB class in a long, long time. Maybe ever. Especially in terms of volume. We’re evaluating so many guys. It’s a great year to need a quarterback.”

-One NFC general manager told ESPN’s Matt Miller