It was championship week in college football! We had some great play 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
Tyson Bagent, QB, Shepherd
It was great to get my first official look for the site at Bagent in the Division II playoffs, and he did not disappoint. Going up against IUP (PA) Bagent showed he is the real deal passing the football. A lightning quick release, decent arm strength and timing routes were more impressive than I expected. He threw for 231 yards and 4 TDs, giving him the most career TDs in college football history. The historic nature of his play could move him into Day 2 of the NFL Draft, but even as an early Day 3 pick, there is starting upside with Bagent.
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
An absolute dominant Clemson defensive performance to shut down a top tier North Carolina offense is largely in part to LBs Trenton Simpson and youngster Jeremiah Trotter Jr. Simpson had 1.5 TFL in the game and was flying all over the field. He was being used as a pass rusher often to put the screws to UNC QB Drake Maye. When dropping back in coverage or playing the run, Simpson’s closing speed and decision making were on display. With a great end of the season, Simpson has moved to be my top LB in the class and a potential Round 1 pick.
Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
Carter deserves to win the Heisman. Despite a lack of stats, he has been so dominant this year and is a big reason Georgia is the clear #1 team in the country. Against LSU in the SEC Championship, Carter had a picture perfect sack of Jayden Daniels, lifting him up like a child. He was two-gapping the run for much of the game and helped shut down the offense early. There will be quite a conversation among top teams that don’t need a QB between Carter and Alabama’s Will Anderson. Carter’s play has put him into that top tier category.
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
When LSU QB Garrett Nussmeier taking over midway through the SEC championship, Boutte exploded with over 100 yards receiving and a TD. The talent was apparent as Boutte took advantage of Georgia DBs playing off the line and causing missed tackles after the catch. Despite a rough season, the pure talent of Boutte was clear and even made a nice contested catch against Kelee Ringo. He could be a Day 2 steal.
Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, Southern Cal
Tuipulotu is one of my favorites of this class, but the Pac-12 title game was not his best effort. He did get a TFL early in the game, but was keyed in on by the Utah offense. Tuipulotu was really pushed out of the play too often for my taste as the rest of the Southern Cal defense struggled. Still a definite Day 2 player, seeing some physical domination at the line does give me pause.
Names To Know
Joey Fisher, OT, Shepherd
Bagent will get all of the Shepherd headlines, but don’t count out Fisher from being an NFL Draft pick. He showed a solid skillset as a pass blocker with decent feet and hand work. There was a definite mean streak in the run game, tossing defenders around and dominating them physically. Will love to see Fisher on the all-star game circuit as he can become a big riser.
Jordan Mims, RB, Fresno State
I’m a sucker for productive college players like Mims who may not have NFL athleticism. But, he has had a great career as an inside zone runner who flashes good vision. In their win against Boise State to take the Mountain West title, Mims had 2 TDs and was a focal point for the offense. With solid contact balance to boot, he could find his way onto an NFL roster.
Aubrey Miller, LB, Jackson State
With a surprising Senior Bowl invite, Miller is a name that has started rising up media boards. He was all over the field in the SWAC Championship game against Southern, racking up 3 tackles for loss and even getting a QB Hurry in there. He dropped back in coverage, blitzed, played the run, did it all. An impressive athlete with a high Football IQ, Miller should be an early Day 3 pick with upside.