For the second year, our Reese’s Senior Bowl scouting team will be on 10-plus college campuses around the country every week during the 2023 college football season. This year’s scouting team includes 10 former NFL scouts with more than 200 years of league experience. The Senior Bowl has had 100-plus players drafted, accounting for more than 40 percent of the past three NFL draft classes.
Follow @JimNagy_SB on Twitter on Saturday to see up-close, field-level videos on the following players:
Scouting College Football Week 5
Utah at Oregon State — 9 pm ET (Fri.), FS1
Utah CB Zemaiah Vaughn (6-foot-2 1/8, 175 pounds, 32 7/8-inch arm) — Vaughn isn’t a name you see out there much in draft rankings right now, but he’s one of the top height/weight/speed (HWS) corners in the 2024 class. After sustaining a season-ending injury in 2021, Vaughn returned last year and steadily improved over the 2022 season as the team’s third corner. While he’s still somewhat raw and inconsistent, Vaughn possesses one of the best combinations of length and speed in this year’s draft. He’s gotten run past a few times early this season against Florida and Baylor, but those are the instances where the speed jumps off the tape.
Washington at Arizona — 10 pm ET, PAC12
Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. (6-foot-2 1/2, 221 pounds, 10 5/8-inch hand) — Penix is off to another fast start this season, basically picking up where he left off a year ago. Washington has one of the most explosive and fun-to-watch offenses in the country, and it’s because of Penix’s ability to hit deep shots to his trio of future early-round wide receivers (Odunze, McMillan, Polk). Penix’s ability to drive the ball to all parts of the field excites NFL scouts the most. Our staff started watching Penix during his injury-plagued 2021 season at Indiana and his overall development over the past two years since transferring to UW has been impressive.
Georgia at Auburn — 3:30 pm ET, CBS
Georgia WR Ladd McConkey (5-foot-10, 185 pounds, 30 1/2-inch arm) — McConkey hasn’t played a single down yet this season due to a back injury, but head coach Kirby Smart said this week that his go-to receiver should get on the field Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. McConkey was an easy player to like over the summer when we watched his junior tape because he can get open and make plays at all three levels of the field. He’s quick and fast, knows how to run routes and can create for himself after the catch. McConkey is one of the highest-graded receivers on our Senior Bowl board and getting him back in the mix will be a huge boost to the Bulldogs’ offense.
Baylor at UCF — 3:30 pm ET, FS1
Baylor DE Gabe Hall (6-foot-5, 290 pounds; no verified measurements) — Hall is a classic “if you grade the flashes” type of prospect because the tools and tape don’t match up nearly consistently enough. Hall can be a disruptive inside player on all three downs when he wants to, but too often this season, he’s simply looked disinterested. It’s not too late for Hall to show NFL scouts what he’s capable of, but it needs to happen soon. We were at a Baylor practice during fall camp, and there won’t be many defensive linemen in this year’s draft that look the part more than Hall, but teams would rather draft players that play the part. October will be a big month for this enigmatic prospect.
Alabama at Mississippi State — 9 pm ET, ESPN
Alabama CB Malachi Moore (5-foot-10 3/4, 199 pounds, 29 5/8-inch arm) — Moore just seems like one of those guys who has been playing in Tuscaloosa forever. The four-year starter burst onto the scene as a true freshman with a team-high three interceptions, which earned him second-team All-SEC honors, but he wasn’t the same type of playmaker the past two years for the Tide. Based on the two live exposures (vs. Texas and Ole Miss) and tape we’ve watched from the first month of the season, Moore is playing the best football of his career. He’s a smooth and disciplined player who sees things quickly underneath and he’s tough enough to be a factor versus the run from his star position. Former secondary mate Brian Branch’s early success for the Detroit Lions should help Moore because while they’re not the same exact athlete, they both have been well-schooled in coverage in Nick Saban’s defense. Thus, NFL teams could see Moore as a player who could transition quickly to the next level as a nickel/free safety, a spot every team wants to find in the draft.
Michigan at Nebraska — 3:30 pm ET, FOX
Michigan OG Zak Zinter (6-foot-5 3/8, 314 pounds, 33 1/2-inch arm) — The player drafted from Michigan’s reigning two-time Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line will likely be Zinter, who has started 35 career games during the past four seasons (all but one at right guard). Every NFL team is looking for big, smart, tough, dependable offensive linemen, and Zinter checks all those boxes. There are certainly flashier athletes in this year’s interior offensive line group, but Zinter is a steady and heady player who should play at the next level for a long time. In many ways, he reminds us of former Michigan standout and 2020 Senior Bowl alum Ben Bredeson, who starts now for the New York Giants.
Missouri at Vanderbilt — 4 pm ET, SEC Network
Missouri LT Javon Foster (6-foot-5 1/2, 309 pounds, 34 1/4-inch arm) — We did plenty of work on Foster last year. We liked him enough for him to land around the cut line for last year’s Senior Bowl, but he decided to return to school for another season and, after looking at some early-season tape, that decision should benefit him in April. Foster has always been an athletic pass protector, but he’s taken a big step forward this year as a run blocker. Through four games, the biggest difference in Foster mostly has been with how much better he’s coming off the ball. Foster was more of a basketball guy in high school and didn’t start playing football until his junior year, so the late-bloomer progress makes sense. Foster has an “arrow up” designation on the Senior Bowl board right now as an ascending prospect.
Before taking over as executive director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl in 2018, Jim Nagy was an NFL scout for nearly two decades, having worked for five teams that won a combined four Super Bowls. Follow him on Twitter @JimNagy_SB.