College Football is back and so is Stock Watch. Week 0 is in the books, and it was just a taste of what is to come. It also means that we can go back to scouting players for the 2024 NFL draft with fresh tape!
Each week, I will put together a list of the players that did the most to boost their draft stock as well as those trending in the wrong direction. It would be easy to put Caleb Williams in Stock Watch, he played great against San Jose State, but how much higher can his draft stock really go? Instead, let’s get familiar with some lesser-known names.
Sam Wiglusz, WR, Ohio
I highlighted Wiglusz as a player to watch this weekend and he delivered on the hype. The MAC’s leading slot man was at it again on Saturday. He tore up San Diego State’s secondary for 10 catches and 103 yards. He showcased his ability as an excellent possession receiver. There is no question he has his limitations. Wiglusz is listed at 6’0″, 183 lbs by Ohio. I have a feeling he is probably a little bit shorter than that. If he continues to play like this, he should put himself firmly in the early Day 3 conversation.
Shomari Lawrence, RB, FIU
Not a name that I had on my radar heading into the weekend, but the former South Dakota back transferred to the FBS and hit the ground running, literally. Despite the loss, Lawrence racked up 139 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries. What’s even more impressive is that FIU showed no threat of passing the ball, completing five passes for just four yards. Lawrence has NFL size, listed at 6’0″, 200 lbs. He is technically a redshirt sophomore, but he is already in his fourth college season. Far from a guarantee he will come out, but he is at least putting himself on the radar.
Jordan Botehlo, EDGE, Notre Dame & Jack Kiser, LB, Notre Dame
I had to feature Notre Dame somewhere on the positive side of Stock Watch after such a dominant win. Navy did not offer much of a test of the Irish, but that does not mean that Notre Dame does not deserve credit for taking care of business. I went back and forth between shouting out Kiser and Botehlo. They both had difficult jobs on Saturday, playing against the triple option. I figured I should highlight both of them. Botehlo looked strong setting the edge and getting off blocks against the run. Meanwhile, Kiser was a heat-seeking missile, flying all over the field and wreaking havoc. I am excited to watch both of them a bit more against better competition.
Nick Nash, WR, San Jose State
Unquestionably, Caleb Williams stole the show in this game. However, Nash probably turned the most heads. I don’t think many outside the Bay Area were familiar with his game. What’s even more interesting is that Nash is actually a former quarterback who changed positions after losing his starting job to Chevan Cordeiro. Nash hauled in six receptions for 89 yards and three scores against the No. 6 team in the country. Given how new he is to the position, he flashed more than enough to earn the attention of scouts all over the country moving forward.
Solomon Byrd, EDGE, USC
If Saturday was the first test for USC’s new make-shift defense, I don’t know if I can say they passed. San Jose State kept this game close much longer than it should have been, even if USC was rotating players on both sides of the ball. I am willing to give several players a pass with this being their first game in a new defense, but Byrd already spent a year playing under Alex Grinch. The Trojans struggled to keep contain all game long. Put on the tape and see what I mean. Byrd also had a few rough snaps when he was put into conflict, taking too long to read his keys. He is athletic, but he is going to need to the little things right to win over NFL scouts.
Kurtis Rourke, QB, Ohio
Stock Watch is more fun when you get to be positive. I feel bad putting Rourke in this category. He is an incredibly talented player playing in his first game since tearing his ACL in November of 2022. He started Saturday’s game against San Diego State and was described as being ahead of schedule in his recovery. However, he suffered a lower-body injury in the first quarter and then the coaching staff held him out the rest of the game. Ohio Head Coach Tim Albin admitted postgame that Rourke was unhappy with the decision. Rourke is a fifth-year senior coming off a major injury. If the coaching staff continues to cast doubt over his health, that is not going to help his prospects of being drafted. I believe Rourke is primed for a huge season and I really like the player, but this is not the start to the season he would have hoped for to boost his draft stock.