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College football Saturday (part one) – Peach and Belk bowls

Part one of your Saturday line-up

The final Saturday of the year 2018 is absolutely jam-packed with some potentially excellent college football action.

In fact, there is just a bit too much action — and too many draft prospects — for one post. So, I’ll be highlighting the first round of the College Football Playoffs in a separate post this afternoon.

But for now, let’s take a look at the early games.

Peach Bowl – (10) Florida vs. (7) Michigan

ESPN – noon

If you want the Giants to draft an EDGE rusher, this might be the game to watch. No, I’m not talking about Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary — he is skipping the game. I’m talking about Florida EDGE Jachai Polite.

Polite isn’t the most highly rated EDGE prospect in the upcoming draft, but if you are looking for pure, explosive, blistering, greasy-fast speed off the edge, then he might just be your guy. Polite is a slightly undersized rusher (listed at 6’2”, 260 pounds), and his play strength isn’t where you would want it to be. However, he offers the kind of burst and bend off the edge that we haven’t seen since Osi Umenyiora’s 2010 campaign. He doesn’t yet have the technique to be a completely consistent pass rusher, but this year Polite has 11.5 sacks, 18.0 tackles for a loss, 5 forced fumbles, and 4 passes defensed.

Unfortunately, Michigan linebacker Devin Bush Jr. joins Rashan Gary in sitting out the game. Both players could be of interest to a Giants’ defense which needs help at all three levels.

Players to watch

Florida

Michigan

Belk Bowl – South Carolina vs. Virginia

ABC – Noon

If you want to scout defensive backs for the Giants, the other game to be played at noon might be the one you watch. Virginia boasts a good cornerback – safety duo in CB Bryce Hall and S Juan Thornhill. Both players fit the Giants’ mold of bigger, longer defensive backs and could fill holes on the defense. Hall has been a starter since his freshman season and has plenty of experience in Virginia’s off-man coverage scheme. As a junior, he still has a year of eligibility remaining, and while he has made his decision with regards to 2019, he won’t announce it until after the game. Thornhill is an active and productive safety who could go a long way toward shoring up the back end of the Giants’ defense. He has a reputation as a smart player and has the experience at corner which the Giants seem to value highly in their free safeties.

Unfortunately, top South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel is sitting the game out, and would have provided an excellent test for Virginia’s secondary — and vice versa. However, that does give Bryan Edwares, SC’s number two receiver, a chance to shine. Edwards needs to show that he has the athleticism to be a true “X” receiver in the NFL, but if he doesn’t, he could still be a good Flanker at the next level.

players to watch

South Carolina

Virginia

Original article: https://www.bigblueview.com/2018/12/29/18159458/college-football-saturday-part-one-peach-and-belk-bowls-2019-nfl-draft-prospects

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