NEW Monday morning series to get your week started off right! Each Monday I’ll be taking a look at five prospects who elevated their stock with a fine performance during the past weekend’s games, and five who struggled through disappointing showings on Saturday.
1. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
This was Haskins first big test, and boy did TCU test him. After barely being touched in Ohio State’s first two games, Haskins took a few hits on Saturday against a complex Horned Frogs’ pass rush. He definitely needs to improve pre-snap at recognizing coverage and pressure, but Haskins stepped up after some first-half struggles, making a couple of impressive throws in key moments for the Buckeyes.
The physical tools, quick release and ability to vary velocity and touch are all there for Haskins. His arrow is pointing up, and if he leads Ohio State to the playoffs and has success there, don’t be surprised if he rides that wave into an early exit to the draft.
2. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Only two catches for Metcalf on the day, but he was a monster even when Jordan Ta’amu couldn’t find him. His releases off the line of scrimmage are next level, and his long speed and length to make plays outside his massive frame are salivating traits for a vertical threat. I wish he ran more routes, but he’s clearly taken the next step in what Ole Miss asks him to do. We’ll see if he declares as a redshirt sophomore or not, but his stock is definitely on the rise.
3. Devin White, LB, LSU
It’s been a monster start to the season for White, who looks much-improved in his ability to key-and-diagnose and play downhill from the second level. He’s hitting and wrapping with authority right now, and while his mental processing is still a bit inconsistent, White seems to be seeing things much cleaner in 2018. His tackle-for-loss on 4th-and-short against Auburn will likely be one of the most important plays of LSU’s season.
4. Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU
I don’t want to load up on LSU guys, but Lawrence was too good to leave off this list. He harassed Auburn’s offensive line throughout the game, showing good mental processing and an explosive first step. He’s tough, physical and becoming much more technical with his play. If he can finish some of these almost-sacks, the production that NFL teams want to see will be there.
5. Darius Anderson, RB, TCU
Anderson was awesome against Ohio State, churning 154 yards and two touchdowns out of 12 carries. His 93-yard touchdown showed off his game-breaking speed, but Anderson also broke plenty of tackles on his way to averaging almost 13 yards per carry. TCU seems to be trying to get him more involved as a receiver this season, which would be huge for his stock.
1. Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
I don’t know, man. Whenever Auburn tries to put the offense or the game in Stidham’s hands to go win it, he falls flat on his face. His pocket presence, progression work, situational awareness, decision-making and field vision were all terribly lacking on Saturday, as Stidham’s lackluster performance was the clear-cut main reason that Auburn came up short in a huge game. The QB1 talk needs to end. To be honest, the first round talk is way too bold for me.
2. Jordan Ta’amu, QB, Ole Miss
I knew this would be a huge test for Ta’amu, but I was hoping it could be a game where he established himself as at least a legit prospect. A 7-for-22 performance for 133 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions was about as bad an outcome as could have been expected.
After Ta’amu went yard to Metcalf on a 75-yard score on the first play from scrimmage, he completed just six passes for 58 yards the rest of the game. Underthrown deep balls, struggles moving through progressions from the pocket and a couple of poor decisions resulted in Ta’amu’s stock dropping back into the undraftable range.
3. Travis Homer, RB, Miami
16 carries for 62 yards isn’t all on Homer, as Miami’s offensive line is far from perfect. But Homer just isn’t decisive or explosive enough to take advantage of slight creases up front, and he’s not the type of playmaker to create yardage on his own outside of structure or at the second level. He’s currently losing carries to true sophomore DeeJay Dallas, which could hurt Homer’s chances to build a resume that would suggest an early entry to the draft.
4. Garrett Brumfield, OG, LSU
Brumfield is a highly athletic guard with the ideal temperament and movement skills for the position, but his technique hasn’t come as far as I’d hoped this season. He was late with his hands in pass protection a few times against Dontavius Russell, giving up interior penetration throughout the game. Brumfield will face a lot better pass rushers than Russell at the next level, so the 1v1 losses on Saturday were concerning.
5. Saivion Smith, CB, Alabama
Smith is a junior playing in his sixth college football game, so I’m not going to be super hard on the kid. But he was consistently beaten off the line of scrimmage in press coverage against Ole Miss, showing a lack of technique and patience when rolled up. True freshman Patrick Surtain Jr. actually replaced him frequently during the game, including right after Smith was toasted for a 75-yard score on the first play of the game. Smith has a lot of promise, but declaring early doesn’t seem like a wise decision right now.