Welcome back to another week of the MVP Draft! We are over halfway done, and the competition is intense as ever. We have a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard, with Cade still in striking distance.
Standings after Week 8:
T1 - Dustin: 9
T1 - Micah: 9
T1 - “Pete”: 9
4 - Joel: 7
5 - Cade: 5
We have a minor change to the game this week and going forward. No player will be picked twice, because let’s be honest, it got boring reading Mason Rudolph, James Washington and Justice Hill every week. Seeing Malik Jefferson’s name (rightly) picked four times last week made me bored as I compiled the picks, so I can’t even imagine how bored you, as readers, were.
With that, let’s get to this week’s picks!
Offense: Mason Rudolph
I'm gonna go with QB1 again this week. WVU'S defense is bad on those intermediate slant routes. Rudolph thrived against Baylor on those same type plays and I think that continues this week.
Defense: Ramon Richards
I didn't pick him last week and he got the game-winning interception so I'm back on the Richards train. He's been so solid at safety. I think he'll be able to have another good game.
Offense: Will Grier
He's been a solid quarterback for the 'neers this season. I think he's gonna be able to make so good throws. He makes the mountaineer offense run.
Defense: Al-Rasheed Benton
Benton is the statistic leader for this defense. I think he's gonna be the one to step up against the Cowboys.
Offense: James Washington
After being taken away for much of the game against Texas, he'll need to break out against the Mountaineers this week. Even if WVU takes away the deep ball, he needs to find a way to get open in the short to intermediate routes.
Defense: DeQuinton Osbourne
The defensive line has been incredible this year, and Osbourne has been at the head of that. Osbourne not only can stop the run, but he's been getting after the quarterback. He needs a big game again this week.
Offense: David Sills
He leads the FBS with 15 touchdown catches, second place has 8. He has been the go-to target for Will Grier this season, and he will get this targets and catches this week.
Defense: Kyzir White
He has been all over the stat sheet this year. He has 41 tackles, 3 picks, 3 quarterback hits, and a forced fumble. With his ability to fly around the field, he'll have his named called quite a bit on Saturday.
Offense: Justice Hill
West Virginia boasts the 99th ranked rush defense in terms of yards per game. They also let Kansas rush for over 350 yards against them… yes... Kansas. And, we definitely know MG and MY aren’t afraid to run the football. I think Hill has a huge day against this defense, especially if he keeps getting close to the amount of carries he has in recent weeks.
Defense: Jordan Brailford
The dude is an absolute freak. He imposed his will against Texas finishing with 1.5 sacks and 1.5 TFL’s on his way to a six-tackle day. It seems like he keeps getting better as the season goes on, so he’s my pick this week.
Offense: Gary Jennings
The 6’1 junior is second on the team in receptions and yards. However, he only has one touchdown, but has had several solid games yardage-wise. If the Cowboys try to take David Sills out of the equation like they did with Denzel Mims of Baylor, I could see Jennings having a big day. He’ll normally be lined up as the inside receiver, and you’ll see him running a lot of these short, quick routes.
Defense: Adam Shuler II
West Virginia will need big games out of their defensive ends Shuler and Reese Donahue if they want to win this game. They need to pressure Mason, and contain Justice Hill as much as possible. Shuler has been having a solid season, and he’s going to have to show up in this one.
Offense: Jalen McCleskey
I could see this being a big game for McCleskey. If the Cowboys can get the run game going, it should open up everything else. I think the Pokes try to get the intermediate passing game going early and often, and if that happens, look for Jalen to have a big game.
Defense: Chad Whitener
I talked to Jeff Postus of ESPN Radio 102.3 The Ticket in Morgantown, and he seemed very concerned about West Virginia's ability to run the football on Oklahoma State. I could see the front seven dominating in this game. If that's the case, it means Whitener racks up the tackles.
Offense: Marcus Simms
I should have acted earlier, because David Sills was the obvious pick for me. That being said, Marcus Simms is no slouch himself. On the season, he's only got 20 catches, but he's averaging 19.3 YPC. That's really solid. If Oklahoma State can contain Simms, it means good things for the Pokes.
Defense: Dravon Askew-Henry
Not only is Askew-Henry the captain of the West Virginia All-Name team, he's a dang solid safety as well. He's only got one interception on the season, but I love the way he plays in run support. If Oklahoma State gets the run game going, which I believe they will, expect to hear Askew-Henry's name a lot on Saturday.
Offense: Marcell Ateman
Marcell Ateman was just added to the Biletnikoff watch list, and for good reason. Ateman was just 13 yards away from extending his 100-yard game streak to five last week against Texas. Rudolph should be looking for a strong comeback after last week's disaster, and I expect Ateman to be on the receiving end of a lot of it. Ateman has size, good hands and is able to break tackles for big gains.
Defense: Tre Flowers
Will Grier is going to want to throw the ball despite facing the Cowboys (the No. 1 pass defense in the Big 12). If the Oklahoma State defense ends up slowing down WVU's air raid, you can bet Tre Flowers was a big reason why. The senior safety is Mr. Reliable for the Cowboys.
Offense: Justin Crawford
After a strong start to the season, Crawford has gone two straight weeks without gaining 50 yards on the ground. I expect Dana will want to get the run game back rolling so that Will Grier will have more space to throw into.
Defense: Mike Daniels Jr.
The senior corner has done some nice things in his first season starting. He's a smart football player and a good tackler for a defensive back. He will be chasing down receivers all day long against the Cowboys and will be in position to make some game-changing plays on Saturday.