Week 7 of the college football season is in the books. Which prospects boosted their draft capital? And which saw it take a tumble? Here are five prospects who saw their stock shift after this weekend.
Stock UP: Devontez Walker - WR, North Carolina
There was plenty of excitement entering the season about the connection that Walker could form with Drake Maye in North Carolina. The former Kent State pass catcher had excelled in the MAC and looked primed for a breakout season with the Tar Heels. Unfortunately NCAA eligibility rules saw him miss the first five weeks of the season and he’s only now able to make an impact.
It is safe to say that Walker is making up for lost time. He was practically unstoppable against Miami, going for 132 yards and three touchdowns on his six receptions. He was a real threat downfield, but also showed that he is capable of creating his own yardage, with 5.7 yards after the catch per reception. It remains to be seen whether Walker will declare after an abbreviated 2023 season, but if he keeps putting up numbers like this he’ll find himself flying up draft boards.
Stock UP: Landon Jackson - EDGE, Arkansas
If you want to get noticed by NFL scouts, you have your biggest performances against top competition. That’s exactly what Jackson did this weekend. The Arkansas edge rusher was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and began his collegiate career at LSU, before joining the Razorbacks ahead of the 2022 season. He has largely been a solid, if unspectacular part of their defense since then, but had a true breakout game against Alabama this weekend.
Jackson finished the game with five pressures, four of which he turned into sacks. He also managed to amass a whopping 10 defensive stops. In doing so he became just the second player to achieve that milestone in a single game against the Crimson Tide over the past three years. He’s definitely a name to watch down the stretch.
Stock UP: Taliese Fuaga - OT, Oregon State
One of the most interesting matchups to watch in Week 7 was how Fuaga would fare against highly-touted UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu. Both have been earning first round consideration in recent months, and it felt like a big opportunity for both to show what they are made of. In the end, Fuaga came out on top.
He looked absolutely exceptional all game as the Beavers ran out 36-24 winners. He gave up just one pressure on 29 pass blocking snaps and extended his run without a sack or hit allowed to seven games. Fuaga was also predictably excellent as a run blocker. He is definitely a name that is on the up in scouting circles.
Stock DOWN: Caleb Williams - QB, USC
Let’s be clear. Williams was the betting favourite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft before this weekend he continues to be even after USC's Week 7 clash with Notre Dame. That said, it is tough to ignore the performance he put on tape this weekend. It was a game that will no doubt be dissected multiple times over by scouts up and down the country.
WIlliams threw three interceptions for the first time in his career. He also fumbled the ball whilst taking a sack, although the Trojans managed to recover that. He finished the game with just 199 passing yards, averaging 5.4 yards per attempt. There were still plenty of impressive flashes on tape, but for the second time in as many weeks, Williams struggled. For a player being touted by some as a generational quarterback prospect, that is noteworthy.
Stock DOWN: Will Sheppard - WR, Vanderbilt
Seeing how players perform against top competition in college is always a good indicator of what we might be able to expect at the NFL level. Collegiate competition doesn’t come any tougher than Georgia, so seeing how Sheppard fared was always going to be interesting. In the end, his performance fell fairly flat as Vanderbilt lost 37-20.
Sheppard had been averaging five catches and 78.6 yards per game coming into this weekend. Against the Bulldogs he was almost entirely marginalised. He finished the game with a single catch, which he took for 24 yards. He had three other targets, one of which he dropped on a key third down that ended the Commodores’ drive. You’d have liked to have seen a little more from him in this one.