Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins had a big game vs. Michigan to help his NFL Draft stock, but he isn’t the only one heating up.
What a wild week in college football. Rivalry week, which ended the 2018 regular season, gave us a great glimpse at some of the nation’s top prospects. There were points aplenty in some of these games, which is good news for the offenses. There are still conference championship and bowl games to play but this will be it for a handful of NFL prospects. With a lot of evaluation still remaining, let’s see how some of the prospects rounded out their final college seasons.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, which just passed, and the upcoming holidays this is going to be an all positive addition of NFL Draft stock watch. These are players that elevated their stock this final week.
6. Iowa State Duo (David Montgomery, Hakeem Butler) – Stock up
If you’ve kept up with this article every week you know there have been some frequent contributors to the list. Two of those names have been Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler and David Montgomery. Well, both finished the regular season on a high note. Butler, the big-bodied receiver, was his usual self making big plays. He beat down Kansas State’s corners with five catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. If he can run decent at the combine, he will hear his name called early. Montgomery was the star with 149 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He is still in the conversation for the top running back this year. Montgomery will also need to test well but what he does best shows up more on tape. Both of these guys will be making plays in 2019 in the NFL.
5. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford – Stock up
This may be the class for those NFL teams looking to find a wide receiver. Butler has already been discussed and will be an early draft pick with a good combine. There are two other receivers coming down the line on this list as well. A player in the similar mold as Butler is Stanford’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The 6-foot-2 senior wowed this weekend en route to three touchdowns and 106 yards on seven catches. Despite not being 6-foot-6 like Butler, Arcega-Whiteside just dominated corners in contested catch situations. He is very much in the mold of the traditional big-bodied red zone stud for the NFL. He, like Butler, will need a good combine to be a top-50 pick. The traits are all there, and Arcega-Whiteside adds to a stacked receiver class.
4. Joe Jackson & Gerald Willis, DL, Miami – Stock up
The Miami Hurricanes have had a disappointing season on the field. However, two players in their front four really helped themselves this year. Outside of Alabama’s Quinnen WIlliams there may be no defensive lineman that helped themselves more this year than Gerald Willis. The interior presence was once again a force on Saturday. Joe Jackson, the edge that compliments Willis, finished with 2.5 sacks as well in this game. Now it may not seem like much against Pittsburgh but the Panthers line was nominated as one of the top ten in the country. Willis and Jackson will still have a bowl game if they choose. If this is the last time they are seen on the field though, they certainly went out with a bang.
3. Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina – Stock up
In evaluating some of these prospects, it is important to look past the box score. One player that was clear about all season was South Carolina receiver, Deebo Samuel. The do-it-all receiver was hamstrung by terrible quarterback play all season. In his biggest test, against rival Clemson, Samuel made his quarterback look special. The Tigers boast a strong defense but that did not slow Samuel down. He finished with 10 catches for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns. There are still concerns about his health and elite athleticism but this game will quiet some of those concerns.
2. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma – Stock up
Speaking of elite athleticism, is there anyone that looks more like Tyreek Hill in college football than Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. With cousin Antonio Brown on the sideline, Hollywood was doing his best AB impression on the field. The speedster torched rival West Virginia for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Brown’s progression this season has been impressive. He needed to show the NFL that he is not just a deep threat but can create separation with route running. He’s still not an elite route runner but he has shown a knack on deep routes to subtly create space which will be important with his lack of size.
1. Dwayne Haskins, QB & Ohio State playmakers – Stock up
Going up against their toughest test of the season, the Ohio State Buckeyes passed with flying colors. The Michigan Wolverines entered Saturday’s game as the nation’s top pass defense. That did not matter to Dwayne Haskins, Mike Weber and Parris Campbell.
It starts with Haskins who’s previously been knocked for shrinking in big games. Saturday Haskins looked unstoppable, throwing for an easy 318 yards and five touchdowns. One of those touchdown throws was to Campbell who is looking more like the exact type of versatile player the NFL is searching for. He finished with almost 200 scrimmage yards to go with a rushing and receiving touchdown.
Finally, Weber, who’s had a great season in Columbus, capped things off with 96 rushing yards and a touchdown himself. He may not be a high draft pick but his playmaking ability will likely have him playing on Sundays. Haskins, with Justin Herbert shrinking, is seeing his stock rise. This game will go a long way in his eventual NFL evaluation, now we just need him to officially declare.