The last time Southern Mississippi was on national television, star junior wide receiver DeAndre Brown (No. 5) made a fool of himself. He showed little to no effort and didn't catch a pass for the first 50 minutes of the game.
Brown had a good game last week against Prarie View A&M with five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. But head coach Larry Fedora lit into his top player following an opening week loss to South Carolina. Brown could come out motivated against Kansas tonight on ESPN. Or, he could lay another egg.
It's clear, though, that Brown controls his own draft future. He has the talent of a first-round pick, but the maturity of an undrafted free agent.
Other than a November game against Boise State, tonight is the best chance all season for Nevada defensive end Dontay Moch (No. 55) to show his pass rush skills. In wins over Eastern Washington and Colorado State, Moch hasn't had to do much. As such, he only has one sack and one tackle for loss.
Don't expect the speed specialist to get much time off against the Golden Bears. Cal might not have a top-flight offensive tackle, but the team has enough talent to give Moch trouble. Moch should benefit from lining up wide over the right tackle, but running back Shane Vereen (No. 34) is good on chip blocks.
Nevada offensive lineman John Bender (No. 62) has some upside as a power blocker. He could player tackle or guard at the next level.
Nevada has few other pro prospects to speak of. Vai Taua (No. 34) is an undersized and speed deficient. Quaterback Colin Kaepernick (No. 10) looks like he'll have to switch to wide receiver to make it in the NFL. In a weak tight end class, watch the Wolfpack's Virgil Green (No. 85). He has good size at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds and the team's lead receiver.
Moch isn't the only impressive pass rusher in tonight's game. California senior Cameron Jordan (No. 97) is a talent. Jordan is a true end at 6-foot-4 and 282 pounds. Jordan is disruptive and could have as big of an impact as Moch.
Linebacker Mike Mohamed (No. 18) is one of the better inside men in the nation. His athleticism isn't off the charts, but Mohammed gets by. Add his high football IQ, and Mohammed could crack the first three rounds come April.
Quarterback Kevin Riley is a developmental backup quarterback with poor size for the next level. Vereen is somewhat talented, but only a junior. Same with strong safety Sean Cattouse (No. 11).