Every Friday, we take a look at the games within the games of college football and try to shine a spotlight on some of the elite positional matchups for the upcoming weekend.
Here's some battles that are on tap for the upcoming weekend:
OT MITCH HYATT VS EDGE KENDALL COLEMAN
Coleman was a player that wreaked havoc against Florida State and has caught my attention so far in 2018 with four sacks. I don't envision another big-time ACC upset for the Orange against Clemson this week, but this is an opponent that has really given Dabo Swinney fits over the years. The senior leader on the offensive line, Hyatt will be protecting the blindside of a new quarterback in Trevor Lawrence this week and should be more effective blocking for a quarterback who is less prone to scrambling.
QB RYAN FINLEY VS SS JUAN THORNHILL
ACC barn burner this week between NC State and Virginia. Defensive back Juan Thornhill has taken over for Quin Blanding as the "Sabre" back and has been all over the field thus far in 2018 with 24 tackles and a pick. On the other side, the undefeated Wolfpack have yet to play a challenging opponent due to the cancellation of their game against West Virginia from Hurricane Florence, so this will be a good litmus test on whether they can challenge in the conference. Finley already has over 1,000 passing yards on the season and is completing close to 69% of his passes, and the former Boise State quarterback is currently ranked as the top quarterback in Todd McShay's positional rankings for the 2019 draft.
WR MARQUEZ CALLAWAY VS CB DEANDRE BAKER
Marquez Callaway is the first round wide receiver in the country who is not getting enough buzz due to the fact that his quarterback is a toaster. There, I said it. Callaway gets his biggest challenge of the year going against sure-fire first rounder Deandre Baker this week and needs to have some production to get the attention that his game deserves. Callaway has only 14 catches for 210 yards this year and Baker already has two interceptions, one forced fumble and 16 tackles.
WR COLLIN JOHNSON VS CB DUKE SHELLEY
Collin Johnson was a player that flashed last year, but I really wanted to see him more dominant on contested catches and better use his 6'6" frame and catch radius to his advantage, especially in the red zone. Last year, 5'9" cornerback and current San Francisco 49er DJ Reed absolutely ate Johnson's lunch in the red zone, and the not much taller Shelley will need to do the same for the Wildcats to challenge the suddenly-back Longhorns. Johnson has evolved into a more complete receiver so far this year and has showed off his circus catch radius over the first four weeks of the season.
RB KYLIN HILL VS LB DAVID REESE
One of the most impressive runners thus far in 2018, sophomore Kylin Hill may not be eligible for the draft but will certainly be the player to watch in the Dan Mullen revenge game. As for the Gators defense, they have looked like a brand new unit with linebacker David Reese in the line up, and he can follow up a strong performance against Tennessee last week to shut Hill and the Clanga running game down.
WR DK METCALF VS CB GREEDY WILLIAMS
Despite Ole Miss getting spanked by Alabama last week, the Rebels have a royal flush of potential first round skill position players in receivers Damarkus Lodge, AJ Brown, DK Metcalf and tight end Dawson Knox. Only a redshirt sophomore, Metcalf is the best talent out of all of them and gets to go up against the best cornerback in college football in Greedy Williams. While this is the marquee positional match up that most will hone in on, this game is rife with interesting battles when the Rebels are on offense, including Dawson Knox against sophomore safety Grant Delpit.