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10 Prospects to Watch in the 2017 Pac-12 Championship Game

View images of the coaches and top prospects in the 2017 Pac-12 Championship between USC and Stanford.

College football is set to take over the home of the San Francisco 49ers this Friday as the No. 10 USC Trojans square off against the No. 12 Stanford Cardinal in the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi's® Stadium.

Traditionally, the winner would go on to play the BIG 10 Champion in the Rose Bowl, but that game is reserved for a College Football Playoff semifinal game this year. There's still plenty on the line in this matchup as the victor will be ensured a spot in a “New Year’s Six” bowl game.

For those of you who don't have a dog in the fight, there are still plenty of reasons to tune in on Friday night. Beyond two top-15 teams squaring off, there will be a number of NFL prospects taking the field from both teams. CBS draft expert Dane Brugler is back with scouting reports for the top five draft-eligible prospects on each team. Be sure to follow Brugler on Twitter @dpbrugler for unparalleled draft coverage.

Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m. PT, and the game will be televised on ESPN.

Here's Brugler's analysis of the players you should know as draft season is drawing near…USC

1. QB Sam Darnold, redshirt sophomore (6-4, 220, #14)

Brugler: "He's following the Jameis Winston path a little bit, meaning he had such a remarkable redshirt freshman year followed by a lot of hype as a sophomore and also a lot of mistakes. I think a lot of that is a result of Darnold trying to do too much with an average supporting cast. But he's still very young. He's only 20 years old. There are going to be growing pains. He's still figuring out the throws he should or shouldn't make. The reason why scouts love him so much is because he's so advanced in several key areas – managing the pocket, anticipating throws downfield and the overall mental battle that young quarterbacks face. He gives you a foundation that you can feel really good about. The only caveat here is that he may return to USC in 2018 rather than declare for the NFL Draft. If he does declare, he could be the No. 1 overall pick."

2. RB Ronald Jones II, junior (6-0, 200, #25)

Brugler: "You can't help but have Jamaal Charles flashbacks when you watch Jones. They have similar body types and are both explosive runners. They even have the same No. 25 jersey number. He's not the biggest guy and doesn't have an ideal build at the running back position – he's a little taller and leaner. But he runs physical despite that size. I love the way he keeps speed through contact, and he's always finishing forward. With his lower body, his feet and his explosiveness, he can make those open-field moves to create his own yardage. He's tough. He'll meet a blitzer in the hole in pass protection. He's going to be able to help you out as a receiver. With Ronald Jones, he's in that top 50 conversation. He has the potential to get into the late first round."

3. WR Deontay Burnett, junior (6-0, 170, #80)

Brugler: "He's Darnold's favorite target. He's maybe the best catch-and-go receiver at the college level. He's so good at using his explosive speed out of the slot. I'm really impressed by his ball skills. He'll make the diving catch. He'll go up and get the ball away from his body. He'll bail out Darnold on some arrant throws. He always works to get open. He's a very good route runner because of his burst at the top of routes. He'll have an interesting decision, whether to declare for the NFL or not, that might hinge on whether Darnold stays or goes."

4. OLB Uchenna Nwosu, senior (6-2, 240, #42)

Brugler: "He's the rare player who is towards the conference lead in passes defended as an edge player. He has a knack for finding the passing lane, timing his jump and knocking the ball out of the air. He doesn't have the ideal size and length that you look for in a pass rusher, but he doesn't hurt you out there. He's not going to be a consistent sack guy at the next level, but he's very smart and a very good player against the run. He might be a "tweener" for some teams depending on the scheme. He's definitely a draftable player on Day 3."

5. LB Cameron Smith, junior (6-2, 250, #35)

Brugler: "He's not that elite athlete, but he's highly instinctive. He's a very good downhill player. He can shed blocks and make tackles. He does a good job of reading the eyes of the quarterback and finding the passing lanes. He won't wow you with his physical skill set. His range is average, but he's at the right place at the right time. That kind of makes up for his lack of explosive movements." STANFORD

6. RB Bryce Love, junior (5-10, 196, #20)

Brugler: "He's a guy who doesn't look like much, physically. He's sub-200 pounds, but with the ball in his hands, the first thing that stands out is speed. He's so quick with his feet. He's patient. He allows the offensive line to do its job and create lanes. He's so quick at seeing the hole, making his cut and getting north and south. The explosive runs on his tape can't be ignored. He's not the ideal build of a running back, and we don't see many running backs in the NFL that are below 200 pounds. But when you watch him play, he's tough. He's got a low center of gravity and can bounce off tackles. He's likely to be a Day 2 draft pick if he comes out."

7. DT Harrison Phillips, senior (6-4, 295, #66)

Brugler: "He's competing with Love to be the best player on Stanford's roster. He's a rare nose tackle who leads his team in tackles. You just don't see that from that position. He's a bully. He's strong at the point of attack. He clogs up the middle. He's a very smart, alert player. He's another guy who's in the right place at the right time, and it's not a coincidence. He recognizes screens. He has the athleticism to chase down ball carriers from behind. He's just a very instinctive football player. He has the total package to be a starting defensive lineman in the NFL."

8. CB Quenton Meeks, junior (6-2, 197, #24)

Brugler: "You've got to love his attitude and his on-field demeanor. He's got what you're looking for from a corner. You want to see that swagger, and Quenton Meeks definitely has that. He's always looking to press and get the route off it's timing. He has good speed to keep up with receivers. He's a guy who has ball skills. He'll go get an interception or at least knock the ball down. This is a good draft at the cornerback position, and if Meeks declares, he has the chance to be one of the first 10 corners off the board."

9. OL David Bright, redshirt senior (6-5, 299, #64)

Brugler: "He's one of the more veteran players on Stanford's offensive line. He's a guy who has shown position flexibility. He can play tackle, and he can play guard. I think he's probably best inside as a left guard. He's an efficient puller. He can use his feet to move in the run game. He moves laterally well and can get down the line. He needs to use his hands better, but it's more technique issues. When you look at the traits, he has a skill set that you want to have at the next level. He can provide depth and then maybe down the line can compete for an NFL starting job."

10. SS Justin Reid, junior (6-1, 204, #8)

Brugler: "San Francisco 49ers fans know his brother Eric Reid very well. Justin has been an all-around safety. He can play the pass, and he can play the run. You want a safety who shows he can do a little bit of everything. He can play in the box. He can play a deep centerfield. He has a violent playing style, but at the same time, he's very athletic and is a quick reactor. He's football smart. He understands his surroundings and understands angles. He's constantly hunting. He diagnoses play speed well, and I think he's shown that he can be an extra coach on the field."

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