College Football season is finally here! Think of Week 0 as the appetizer that sets you up the monster entrée known as Week 1. It will be exciting to watch the Heisman winner Caleb Williams open his campaign to be the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL draft, but there are plenty of players flying under the radar that you should be paying attention to. These players likely won’t be Day 1 or even Day 2 picks, but the Group of 5 still has plenty of draft eligible talent. We have some slim pickings with such a small slate of games, but here are my five Group of 5 players to keep an eye on in Week 0.
Let’s give some love to the big guys up front. Crenshaw-Dickson is a fifth-year senior and is heading into his third year as a starter. He played right tackle in 2021 and left tackle in 2022, so there is some great experience for him in multiple spots on the offensive line. He is big at 6’6″, 310 lbs, which bodes well for an NFL future. His play strength is apparent, but he needs to improve his technique and footwork. Ohio was not a good defensive team in 2022, so Crenshaw-Dickson should have a big game.
Like just about every other player in college football, this is not Edwards’ first school. He spent three years at Iowa State before transferring last year to Hawai’i. He did not see much action with the Cyclones, appearing in only seven games, but proved he is capable of competing on the outside with a strong debut for the Rainbow Warriors. He tied for the team lead with three interceptions and had five pass breakups. His size is also worth noting, listed by Hawai’i as 6’2″, 210 lbs. He needs to put together another strong campaign to earn more draft consideration. Opening the year against an SEC opponent, even if it is Vanderbilt, is a big opportunity to showcase his ability.
Unless you watch a lot of MACtion or keep very close track of Ohio State football, Wiglusz probably is not a name you are familiar with. He is a former walk-on for the Buckeyes who spent four years in the same receiver rooms as Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr., and Emeka Ebuka. He transferred to Ohio before last season and proceeded to finish tied for the most touchdown catches in the conference with 11. He is a solid route runner with good anticipation and better-than-expected ability on contested catches. You won’t see him in many mock drafts, but Wiglusz is an intriguing option out of the slot and his potential rise starts now in week 0.
The nightcap of the C-USA doubleheader features the worst run defense in the league from a year ago against the worst run offense in the league. Something has to give. This Louisiana Tech defense is led by Davis. The undersized redshirt senior spent three years at Boston College before transferring. He led the team with 79 tackles a year ago and will be fighting to hear his name called on draft night next April. In a light week of action, this is an excellent chance to stand out.
Lots of receivers on this list. In the age of extra COVID eligibility, we have a lot more prospects like Pope. He spent four years at Miami, where he was heavily criticized for his uneven play. In 2022, he announced he was transferring to Jackson State, but never actually played for Deion Sanders and the Tigers. Now, he lands at UMass with his last chance to make an impression on NFL teams. He is a former four-star recruit from Miami with blazing speed. He will likely be catching passes from former Georgia Tech and Clemson quarterback Taisun Phommachanh as well, so the opportunity is there for Pope to impress, but this is his very last chance and it starts in week 0.