Week 6 of the college football season saw several outstanding contests that went down to the wire in the SEC and Big 12. We also witnessed LSU unexpectedly lose its second game of the season. From a scouting perspective, two skill players and one edge rusher saw their NFL draft stock take off in Week 6, while a well-known quarterback continues to plummet. Here are this week’s risers and sliders.
NFL Draft Stock Report: Week 6 Risers
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The matchup everyone looked forward to this weekend was a lopsided affair with Clemson coming out on top. But while it was a team effort, Travis Etienne’s performance must be singled out as spectacular. He rushed for 149 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns and added another 73 yards on eight receptions. His 223 yards of total offense was slightly less than half of what Clemson produced against what is a tough Miami defense.
Etienne surprised many by returning to college for his senior season, but his bet looks like it will pay off. He’s established himself as a three-down player with a terrific combination of speed, power and instincts.
Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Since the summer, I gushed over Azeez Ojulari, and I immediately stamped him as a second-day prospect. The redshirt sophomore seems to improve almost weekly, and his NFL draft stock is heading towards Round 1. During Georgia’s drubbing of Tennessee, Ojulari finished with five tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks. In three games this season, his stat line reads 13 tackles, six TFLs, three sacks, three forced fumbles and nine hurries.
He’s athletic and explosive and cannot be stopped. Ojulari makes plays up the field, in backside pursuit and in space when asked. He has huge upside and can be used out of a three-point stance as well as standing over tackle.
Kenny Yeboah, TE, Mississippi
Saturday was a coming-out party of sorts for Kenny Yeboah. The athletic tight end wallowed in anonymity at Temple the past three years before he took the graduate transfer route to Ole Miss. It’s a move that could be worth millions for Yeboah.
Against a tough Alabama defense Saturday, Yeboah caught seven passes for 181 yards and found the end zone twice. That pushed his three-game total this season to 15 receptions, 355 receiving yards and four TDs. He entered the season with late-round grades, as Yeboah was perceived as more athlete than football player and really needed a breakout season. That’s exactly what’s happening, and Yeboah is watching his NFL draft stock take off as a result.
Zach Quinney, OL, Georgia Tech
Zach Quinney was rated as my top-prospect on the Yellow Jacket depth chart entering the season, and the left tackle looked terrific during Tech’s drubbing of Louisville. His blocking helped pave the way for more than 450 yards of offense and 46 points. Quinney is a mobile lineman who could ultimately be pushed into guard for a zone-blocking system.
Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston
It took Houston a while to kick off the season, as several earlier contests were postponed due to COVID-19. Yet when they finally started, the Cougars displayed their usual explosive offense during a comeback victory over Tulane. Marquez Stevenson, universally graded as a second-day selection, finished the game with five receptions for 118 yards (23.6 yard average) and one touchdown.
Stevenson, who seriously considered entering last April’s draft, is a true vertical receiver who is expected to run the 40 in the 4.3s at the combine. He’s also a solid receiver who can line up in a variety of schemes.
NFL Draft CFB Week 6 Sleeper Prospect
Ralfs Rusins, DT, Liberty
Don’t look now, but Liberty is one of the few remaining undefeated programs in the nation. It’s been a balanced attack by LU, as both sides of the ball have stepped up when necessary. The defense took center stage during this week’s trouncing of Louisiana-Monroe, holding its opponent to just 78 rushing yards.
Ralfs Rusins, the large mauler in the middle of the line, had a big hand in stopping ULM. Rusins finished the game with three tackles, but more importantly, he used his 6-foot-5, 320-pound frame to clog the line and allow teammates to run to make plays on the ball.
Rusins offers potential at nose tackle or on the inside of a four-man line. He entered the season as a fringe late-round pick, but his rising NFL draft stock will get consideration near the end of the draft from a defense that needs a wide-bodied lineman who can occupy the gaps.
Small School Riser
Raleigh Webb, WR, Citadel
The Citadel finished a shortened college season on Saturday, losing a close contest to Army. For Webb, it was his best performance during the shortened four-game schedule, as he caught two passes for 55 yards. Those are outstanding numbers considering the Bulldogs rushing game outpaces its passing game by a 3-to-1 margin.
Webb, graded as a priority free agent by scouts, comes with outstanding size (6-foot-2 and 210 pounds) as well as speed (4.45 40-yard dash). He does a good job catching the ball on the few occasions when The Citadel goes to the air. I doubt Webb is selected in the draft, but he’s a practice-squad prospect with big upside.
NFL Draft Stock Report: Week 6 Slider
K.J. Costello, QB, Mississippi State
Multiple times since the start of the season, I’ve mentioned Costello’s awful interception totals in our gameday blog and wondered how long it would be before Mike Leach pulled him from the lineup. Regardless of whether he remains the starter at MSU after being pulled late in Saturday’s game, his NFL draft stock is taking a beating.
Costello threw multiple interceptions in a game once again this weekend. This time he tossed four picks and never led the Bulldogs into the end zone. For the season, Costello has thrown nine interceptions compared to just six touchdowns. Those numbers will lead to a precipitous tumble down draft boards for anyone.