three of the college football season saw some major upsets along with some almost major upsets. Along the same lines, some of the top prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft saw their draft stock rise or fall on the way. Today, we’ll look at who’s rising and falling in the early goings of the 2012 college football season.
Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia, Junior
I know, it was James Madison but I’ve been seriously impressed by Bailey in the first two contests of 2012. Bailey kicked off the 2012 season with 9 catches for 104 yards and 2 TD’s against Marshall. After an off week, he came out an lit up James Madison for 173 yards on 13 catches and 3 TD’s. The junior was spectacular his sophomore season (72 receptions, 1,279 yards, and 12 TD’s) and is picking up where he left off. Bailey is like a RB with the ball in his hands and could choose to enter the draft early with another breakout season.
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford, Senior
Taylor was a workhorse for Stanford on their way to defeating USC on Saturday. Taylor finished the game with 153 yards on 27 carries and a TD. He also added 5 catches for 60 yards and a TD. The senior is becoming the focal point of Stanford’s post-Luck offense and garnering serious attention from NFL scouts.
Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame, Senior
You had to be rooting for Te’o on Saturday. After a tragic week in which he lost his grandmother and girlfriend, Te’o came out and dominated the Spartans of Michigan State. Te’o made 12 stops, 1 TFL, had a fumble recovery, and broke up two passes to hand the Spartans their first loss. Te’o is a sideline to sideline backer that has excellent instincts and most importantly is the leader of the defense. He will be tested this week by Denard Robinson and Co.
Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama, Senior
Warmack gets the least attention on a line featuring Barrett Jones and D.J. Fluker. That said, he is the top pro prospect of the three. He showed why on Saturday against Arkansas. Warmack is an elite run blocker as he paved the way for 225 rushing yards and 6 rushing TD’s. Warmack is as physical as any blocker in the country and should be a first round lock in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State, Junior
Hankins was a force in the Cal backfield all game and a major reason the Buckeyes were able to stave off the Cal Bears. Hankins finished the game with 10 tackles, a sack, and a TFL. Hankins movement ability for his size is incredible to watch. He has a lightning quick first step and was unblockable at times on Saturday.
Ray Graham, RB, Pitt, Senior
Graham is coming off a devastating knee injury and looked to be healthy on Saturday against Virginia Tech. Graham was a major factor in Pitt’s upset victory over the Hokies. He scored three times (twice on the ground, once through the air) on his way to a workmanlike 94 yards on 24 carries. His 3.92 yards per carry won’t impress but it was against a pretty good defense. Graham is looking healthy and could be climbing up draft boards.
Matt Barkley, QB, USC, Senior
This is not a case of picking apart the hands down top quarterback in the draft (ala, 2012 with Andrew Luck). There are some legitimate concerns with Barkley that may keep him out of the top spot in April’s draft. Barkley was pressured all night by the Cardinal defense and his accuracy suffered. He finished 20-41 for 254 yards and 2 INT’s. After a so-so performance against Syracuse and poor contest against Stanford, Barkley has opened himself up to a lot (due) scrutiny.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech, Junior
With Barkley stumbling, a couple juniors could capitalize. Logan Thomas was expected to be one of those to push Barkley for the top spot. Thomas has gotten off to a shaky start this season and Saturday didn’t help. Thomas threw three picks in a loss to Pitt and his accuracy left much to be desired. There is not doubts about Thomas’ talents but he has yet to show them on the field consistently enough to be considered for top QB spot in the 2013 NFL Draft.