While most of the fanfare and conversation about NFL Draft prospects traditionally surrounds high-profile FBS programs, schools at the FCS generate high-end talent every year, and prospects from those schools should not be overlooked. Each week, The 33rd Team highlights a handful of FCS standouts from small schools around the country. Here are 5 players who caught our eye in Week 6.
(Sr.) Garrett Sayegh, LB, Charleston Southern
A week after posting his lowest grade of the season, Garrett Sayegh rebounded nicely against Robert Morris. He posted 11 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, a sack, 2 pressures, 10 stops (8 of which occurred in the run game), and 2 forced fumbles. In coverage, Sayegh was targeted 3 times and allowed 3 receptions for -1 yard. He earned the highest PFF grade at his position this week at 90.9.
His presence was most felt in the run game where his contributions helped hold Robert Morris to just 55 yards on the ground on 29 carries. His 94.3 run defense grade was the second highest of any player in a game this season. With his performance Saturday, Sayegh now enters the top 10 overall grades at linebacker.
(R-Jr.) Garret Fairman, EDGE, Robert Morris
The highest graded EDGE rusher in the FCS last week was Robert Morris’ Garret Fairman. Fairman recorded a season high 6 pressures (highest total of the week) with 2 tackles, 5 hurries, 1 forced fumble, and 1 sack. Additionally, Fairman had a pass rush win rate of 29.6% and a pass rushing productivity score of 17.9 which were both in the top 5 for week 6. His 88.6 overall grade against Charleston Southern was the highest mark of his career.
After posting his most disruptive day as pass rusher, Fairman and his Robert Morris team will take on winless North Alabama.
(R-Sr.) Eric Barriere, QB, Eastern Washington
The FCS’ top performance at quarterback this week belongs to Eastern Washington senior Eric Barriere. On 41 attempts, Barriere threw for 347 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception while completing 78% of his passes. He walked away with both the highest passing grade and overall grade this week at 92.7 and 93.2. Furthermore, Barriere had the most big time throws this weekend with 4 and is now on pace to smash the 18 he put up last season. It was his fourth game this year with at least 3 three, which gives him the FCS lead at 15. A lot of Barriere’s success on Saturday came in the intermediate passing game where he compiled 144 yards and a 93.6 passing grade despite having three drops.
Through 6 weeks, Barriere is on track to have yet another strong season. After being the second-highest graded quarterback in 2020, Barriere has now claimed the top spot for the first time in his career. His next matchup will be against an Idaho defense that has allowed over 30 points per game.
(R-Sr.) Tanner Conner, WR, Idaho State
Despite receiving only 7 targets, Idaho State wideout Tanner Conner was able to impact the game as much as anyone. He finished their upset victory over UC Davis with a game high 150 yards receiving, 5 catches, and 1 score. His highlight of the day came early in the first quarter when he caught a 6-yard curl, broke the initial tacklers, and ran into the end zone for a 71-yard score.
At the halfway point of the season, Conner has struggled to replicate the success he had the last two seasons. Saturday’s victory over UC Davis was his first game all season with over 100 yards and only his second with over 75. In week 7, the former first team all-conference selection will face a Portland State secondary with a cumulative grade of 50.1.