Prospect Stock Watch | Biggest Risers and Fallers in the Tumultuous Class

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Risers

Hendon Hooker | Tennessee, QB

Big Board: 51

The breakout star has led the Tennessee Vols to the top spot of the initial CFP rankings with a trip to conference rival UGA this weekend. Hooker has thrown for 21 TDs with just one interception and has established a strong connection with fellow breakout prospect Jalin Hyatt. I am still a bit hesitant to rank Hooker as a 1st round prospect due to his 25th birthday approaching before this year’s National Championship, but if he keeps winning it will be hard to ignore considering Hooker inside the top 32.


Blake Corum | Michigan, RB

Big Board: 38

There were a lot of questions surrounding a Michigan team that lost many key starters from a year before and a QB battle that ran several weeks into the start of the season, but they now sit on the edge of CFP contention with a clear path to make the playoff. A massive part of their success has been due to Corum, who now has 1,078 yards and 14 TDs, while average 170 yards per game in each of his last five outings. There is no question that Corum has been one of the best players in college football, but he also has legitimized himself as an early-round NFL prospect. Corum has flashed elite speed, agility and athleticism that has him locked into my top 3 RBs.


Paris Johnson Jr. | Ohio State, OT

Big Board: 4

When we entered this season, the one position group that I had some serious doubts about was offensive tackle. Now, 9 weeks into the season, there have been several players that have both significantly improved and legitimized their draft stock. Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. had been a successful offensive lineman with great game tape, but he also had never played a snap at left tackle until this season (and just 7 snaps at right tackle). Johnson has stepped up in a major way and has allowed just 8 pressures and 0 sacks on his 257 pass blocking snaps.


Jalin Hyatt | Tennessee, WR

Big Board: 19

Jalin Hyatt is one of the best stories of the entire season and certainly one of the biggest risers in the draft class. The junior receiver entered the season with back to back years with under 300 yards receiving and a total of 4 TDs. Through 8 games this season, Hyatt has 907 yards and 14 TDs while taking over as the Vols WR1 due to Cedric Tillman’s ankle injury. Hyatt not only has been a high caliber producer, but he has put out clean tape showcases many elite traits that has elevated his stock to being a 1st round receiver prospect.


Clark Phillips III | Utah, CB

Big Board: 23

Clark Phillips III doesn’t strike you as a 1st round prospect when you look at him. He’s short and small at just 5’10” 185 lbs and he’s been spotty in coverage this year allowing a 68% target completion rate for 355 yards and 3 TDs. However, he’s flashed some of the best ball skills in the nation and leads the country with 5 interceptions. I am unsure if that type of cornerback is the one who will be a 1st round pick, but Phillips has become a known commodity within scouting circles and the homerun hitter his risen from being a relatively unknown prospect.


Jared Verse | Florida State, Edge

Big Board: 25

Not even Florida State knew what they were going to get from the Albany transfer who recorded 36 pressures and 7 sacks last season. Verse has been a key attribution to the Noles defense and has emerged as a breakout 1st round candidate. In 118 pass rush snaps, Verse has recorded 16 pressures and 5 sacks.


Ivan Pace Jr. | Cincinnati, LB

Big Board: 30

The Miami of Ohio transfer has had another phenomenal season this year and has elevated his stock into the 1st round discussion. Not only has Pace been one of the best pass rushers in the country, but he has been a dominant run stuffer and very much improved in coverage. I am not exactly sure what scheme that Pace would fit best, but the versatile LB is quickly gaining steam.


Olu Fashanu | Penn State, OT

Big Board: 15

Fashanu entered the season as a relative unknown who had just played 84 career snaps before taking over the left tackle spot from veteran Rasheed Walker. So far this season, he has dominated and has been one of the best pass blocking tackles in college football. He has allowed just 7 pressures and 0 sacks this year and most recently shutout the Ohio State defensive line last weekend. Fashanu is a great story and went from being a 1st year starter to potentially a 1st round pick.


Rome Odunze | Washington, WR

Big Board: 59

The redshirt sophomore played a significant role last year, but was just a complementary target in a stagnant pass offense. This year, largely due to the addition of QB Michael Penix Jr., the Huskies offense has been revitalized and Odunze has broken out for 756 yards and 6 TDs. Odenze has at least 6 receptions in every game this season except for one and has been the core of their offense. I give major props to Michael Penix Jr. for his big season, but a lot of that credit belongs with Odunze as well.


Bo Nix | Oregon, QB

Big Board: 100

I don’t know where to even start with Bo Nix, as the senior had been written off by everyone following a week 1 beatdown inflicted by the top ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Bo Nix has bounced back since by throwing for 20 TDs and running for 11 more, en route to an 8-0 streak and the 8th overall spot in the initial CFP rankings. Nix is a different QB than he was in the Auburn offense that he was trapped in for three seasons and now has showcased why he was rated as a 5 star dual threat QB. To add to his success, the film is even more impressive than the numbers as the late riser is starting to gain legit NFL buzz.


O’Cyrus Torrence | Florida, IOL

Big Board: 21

Every season, we see offensive lineman from smaller schools have to face the question of whether their production is due to being a great prospect or because of the lesser competition. Fortunately, that question will be much easier to answer about the Louisiana transfer. O’Cyrus Torrence was one of the best players in the Sun Belt throughout his early career and hasn’t skipped a beat since following Billy Napier to Florida. Torrence has graded out as my top interior offensive lineman and one of the best prospects at his position over recent years.


Fallers

Andre Carter II | Army, Edge

Big Board: 102

I know many are still sold on Andre Carter, but he has struggled to stay on the field this year and his production is much lower than it was last year. He is a twitchy athlete with incredibly length and size, but he doesn’t look the same on tape this year. I am not ready to write Carter off this year, but he is far away from being a safe 1st round pick.


Kayshon Boutte | LSU, WR

Big Board: 113

Boutte is another prospect that I am probably too low on, but I have been very disappointed in the way he has played this year as well as the way he has carried himself. The inner diva appeared to come out earlier in the year when Boutte wasn’t receiving the targets that he believed that he deserved, but he certainly hasn’t backed that up as he is second in the SEC with 6 drops, which is roughly 18% of his targets.


Anthony Richardson | Florida, QB

Big Board: 94

Richardson entered the season with so much hype, but he has looked just how he should…as an absolute project with just 8 games of starting experience. The SEC is the big leagues and QBs need so much more than freak athleticism to succeed. The Cam Newton comparisons were unwarranted, but natural as we are always looking for that next guy to breakout from nowhere. Richardson is not a sophisticated passer yet, but I expect him to return to school for at least another season and there’s a chance that one day he reaches his potential.


Jacoby Windmon | Michigan State, Edge/LB

Big Board: 76

The UNLV transfer shot up draft boards following his 2 game Michigan State debut where he registered 11 pressures and 6 sacks, however he has been ice cold since as a pass rusher. Since those games, which were against G5 Western Michigan and Akron, he has only managed to produce 6 total pressures. The NFL tweener is just listed as 6’3″ 230 lbs, which is much close to the size of an NFL Box defender than a down lineman…so much so that the Spartans have noticed that to the point where he is almost exclusively now playing all snaps inside the box. To add to the dilemma of being a position-less prospect, Windmon is now one of the four Spartans facing a suspension for jumping a Michigan player outside of the locker room last week. That will be a fun topic of conversation that every NFL team will be asking Windmon in every interview he has for the rest of his life.


Eli Ricks | Alabama, CB

Big Board: 96

This one is tough but if you consider how highly ranked Ricks was entering the season, it makes sense. Ricks started his career at LSU where he was an All-American and All-SEC cornerback as a true freshman before having his sophomore year cut down due to injuries. When he joined the Crimson Tide, he was thrown to the back of the depth chart and failed to gain much traction before he earned his first start in their last game against Mississippi State. Ricks shined and showed why he was so successful at LSU earlier in his career and may be resurrecting his draft stock with a late push. Right now, I have him graded as a day 2 prospect, but certainly could see him climb back into 1st round contention.


Nolan Smith | Georgia, Edge

Big Board: 65

Nolan Smith has always been a big name in the draft community, as most 5 star edge prospects usually are. 2022 was Smith’s chance to showcase himself as a top tier prospect, but his season has now been cut short due to a pec injury. Smith tallied 19 pressures and 2 sacks this season and has yet to live up to his 5 star hype. Don’t get me wrong, Smith has been a very good contributor on a very good team for two seasons in a row, but for a guy that was the top overall prospect in his class he has certainly not lived up to that hype. I see Smith as a solid day 2 option but wouldn’t be happy if my team used a 1st round pick on him.


Tyler Van Dyke | Miami, QB

Big Board: NR

I never bought into the preseason hype, but Van Dyke was a player that many invested in heading into the season. Perhaps the hype was more so looking to be early rather than right, but Van Dyke has looked horrible in every tape that I have watched. Sure, the arm looks to be solid at times and I’ve seen some traits flash, but Van Dyke is not where he should be at this point in his career if he is wanting to be a draftable prospect. I’d expect Van Dyke to return to college and potentially even transfer.

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