Week 1 of the college football season did not leave us disappointed as the draft eligible players showcased themselves for the NFL Draft. In this edition of Stock Up, Stock Down & Names to Watch, I will dig into the games I watched and prospects who made an impact or lagged behind. These are only taken from the games I watched for Draft Countdown, but we will discuss even more prospects on our Podcast. If you want to see where I think players are in terms of their overall stock, head over to my Rankings, and if you want more specifics, sent me a tweet @ShanePHallam
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Going up against a Top Ten team in Utah, Florida had a big test on their hands and passed with flying colors under new coach Billy Napier. Richardson’s size and athleticism were known, but his first real start in college showed how he can be a true weapon. Richardson looks like Cam Newton running the football and Utah could not hang. Though he needs to continue improving his passing mechanics and accuracy, the first round is possible for ARich.
Nick Hampton, LB, Appalachian State
I mentioned Hampton on our podcast as a name to watch in this game against North Carolina. Hampton was used as a pass rusher throughout the game and lived in the backfield hitting Drake Maye numerous times, including 2.5 sacks (and a force fumble). Though App State isn’t known for its NFL prospects, Hampton is a Top 100 possibility with his pass rushing and big hitting abilites.
Brant Kuithe, TE, Utah
Kuithe has been a TE name with NFL buzz for a long time, and he showed why against Florida. The most reliable target for QB Cam Rising, Kuithe hauled in 9 passes for 105 yards and a TD. Kuithe could be a FB/H-Back type at the next level and creates a mismatch with good short area quickness. Though still a likely Day Three pick, he could sneak into the Top 100 when all is said and done.
Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
The Buckeyes showed some real physicality in the second half running the football, and Johnson was a big reason why. The hulking LT had a solid pass blocking game throughout the day against Notre Dame, handling EDGE rusher Isaiah Foskey pretty well. Then, in the second half, Johnson showed his strength and push in the run game. With high end tools, Johnson could become a high draft pick if he continues playing like this.
Dante Stills, DL, West Virginia
Brother of former Mountaineer Darius, Dante Stills is showing that he is a better prospect for the NFL. With an explosive get off and great tenacity, Stills got interior pressure often against Pitt this week. He ended the game with 1.5 sacks and an additional .5 TFL. The penetration ability is there to be an NFL player.
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
It was a rough game for Boutte who was double covered by Florida State for much of the first half then became fairly disinterested, missing an easy TD catch. This led to him riding the bench for a bit before seeing a few quick passes late in the game. As a hyped prospect competing to be the top WR in the NFL Draft, this did not showcase his abilities.
CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Stroud is still my QB1, and that isn’t changing, but this was not the amazing game everyone expected from Stroud against a Top 5 opponent. Timing with his WRs were off, and Jaxson Smith-Njigba getting hurt did not help. Stroud did help manufacture a few drives to put the game away in the second half, so his stock isn’t falling too far. That benign said, the gap between Stroud and Alabama’s Bryce Young is very small at this point.
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
The big, fast WR was a casualty of poor QB play by TCU all around. He wasn’t targeted much, despite an easy TCU victory. The fear is there that Johnston’s production won’t match his talent this season and that could be detrimental to his draft stock. 3 catches for 22 yards looks worse than it is since Johnston actually had 35 receiving yards after the catch, meaning he was catching everything behind the line of scrimmage.
Names To Know
Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
The absolute biggest riser was Verse, an Albany transfer who absolutely dominated the LSU offensive line. With 2 sacks and numerous pressures, Verse was allover Jayden Daniels in the back field. He flashed a variety of pass rush moves with elite stacking ability. It was reminiscent of Jermaine Johnson’s game last year against Notre Dame, coming out as a potential first round NFL Draft talent.
Clarence Lewis, CB, Note Dame
Lewis had a rough season last year and tumbled down my board, but he picked up his play and was very effective against the Buckeyes. Mostly covering Marvin Harrison Jr, Lewis was smooth in transition and never caught out of position. He made Harrison work for the catches he got, and didn’t allow yards after the catch. If Lewis shows this massive improvement through the season, he is a name to know.
Richard Gouraige, G, Florida
The Florida OL had a great game, but Gouraige at LT was the most consistent in protecting Richardson. Listed as a Guard on our site, Gouraige won the LT job and flashed actual Tackle talent. Light on his feet with good change of direction ability, Gouraige had a solid game against Utah on the biggest stage.
Major Burns, S, LSU
The LSU safeties generally played well against Florida State (even on the insane TDs they gave up). Burns had a few nice tackles in the game and complimented his 2024 eligible counterpart Sage Ryan. A tenacious in the box tackler who played deep some in this game, Burns could be a solid Day 3 name to know.