It’s hard to believe the FBS college football season is one game away from wrapping up. Almost every team’s year is in the books, which means we can begin digging deeper into tape and player evaluations. I’m planning on writing a stock up, stock down article for the National Championship Game, but this is the last edition that’ll cover a wide expanse of teams.
Let’s see which prospects stood out the most during bowl season. Keep in mind plenty of the top stars opted out to avoid injuries and focus on preparing for the pre-draft process (and there’s nothing wrong with that).
Information on height, weight, and sacks comes from ESPN.
Feel free to tell me in the comments or on Twitter @Sam_Teets33 if you saw a player over the weekend that belongs on this list.
UP: DaMarcus Fields, CB Texas Tech
Texas Tech cornerback Zech McPhearson went in the fourth-round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Fields could join his former teammate in the NFL very soon. The fifth-year Red Raider found himself targeted by Mississippi State nine times in the Liberty Bowl. Fields allowed four receptions for 30 yards. He finished the game with three tackles, a pass defensed, and a fumble recovery.
Fields hasn’t intercepted a pass since 2019, and he’s allowed seven touchdowns over the past two seasons. However, the 6'0", 200 lb. Texas native faced 123 targets over that span and only surrendered 66 receptions.
DOWN: Malik Cunningham, QB Louisville
Cunningham had a historic performance against Duke in mid-November, but his two games since then drove home the point that he’s likely a Day 3 draft pick. The dual-threat third-year starter completed 13 of 21 pass attempts for 207 yards and a touchdown in a 31-28 loss to Air Force in the First Responder Bowl. He also ran 12 times for 63 yards and a score.
Cunningham could succeed in the right system at the next level, but his lack of consistent, explosive plays in the passing game limit his ceiling.
UP: Coney Durr, CB Minnesota
Durr is an older prospect. He’s a sixth-year player for the Golden Gophers with four years of significant playing time. The Louisiana native ended his college career on the right note. Durr allowed four receptions on seven targets for 14 yards in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. He also recorded two tackles and a pass breakup.
DOWN: Skyy Moore, WR Western Michigan
Moore is one of the most productive under-the-radar prospects you’ll find this draft cycle. The third-year 5'10", 195 lb. Pennsylvania product had six games with over 120 receiving yards this season.
Moore entered the Quick Lane Bowl against Nevada with 24 receptions for 387 yards and five touchdowns in his previous two outings. Unfortunately, Western Michigan’s pass attack didn’t play a massive role in the team’s win. Moore struggled when quarterback Kaleb Eleby went his way. The star receiver finished the day with four receptions for 36 yards on eight targets.
UP: Cedric Tillman, WR Tennessee
Tillman is more than deserving of some attention after a breakout season with the Volunteers. The former three-star recruit only had eight receptions in his first three seasons before rising to prominence in 2021.
Tillman finished his fourth year with 64 receptions for 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 6'3", 215 lb. receiver hauled in seven of his ten targets for 150 yards and three touchdowns in the Music City Bowl. He was excellent in contested catch situations this season and could generate significant mid-round hype in the draft.
I originally planned on writing about Jaelyn Duncan for this spot, but the Maryland tackle plans on returning to school for his redshirt senior season.
DOWN: Troy Andersen, LB Montana St.
You don’t see many NFL players suit up for Montana State, but Andersen’s draft stock is gaining speed down the stretch. Technically the game I’m writing about was the FCS semifinal matchup against South Dakota State, not a bowl game, but let’s not get too picky about the little things.
Andersen has the size (6'4", 235 lbs.) of a MIKE linebacker, but that sometimes comes with drawbacks. The Montana native surrendered six receptions for 67 yards on six targets in the semifinal game. That’s not bad enough to earn a stock down mention most weeks, but it stuck out during a weekend where very few top linebacker prospects saw action.
UP: Mario Goodrich, CB Clemson
Everyone in the draft community knows Andrew Booth Jr., but his running mate also has an NFL future. Goodrich made several game-changing plays for Clemson in the Cheez-It Bowl. The senior had a pick-six on one of the craziest plays from last weekend. Goodrich also clinched the game for Clemson by forcing Iowa State’s Brock Purdy to fumble and turn the ball over on downs.
Goodrich played a flawless game outside of a 34-yard play he allowed to Xavier Hutchinson. The former four-star recruit didn’t allow a touchdown this season and is trending towards Day 2 of the draft.
DOWN: Matt Corral, QB Ole Miss
You have to feel bad for Corral. Despite entering the draft, the third-year starter decided to play in the Sugar Bowl. He wanted one more game with his college teammates and coaches. Things went wrong from almost the beginning. Corral threw an ugly pick into double coverage before suffering a painful injury late in the first quarter.
X-rays on Corral’s leg and ankle came back negative, meaning he avoided a serious injury. However, the Sugar Bowl was only the latest instance of Corral battling lower-body injuries. Any team doing its due diligence might question if the former four-star’s frame (6'0", 200 lbs.) and playing style can hold up long-term.
UP: Wan'Dale Robinson, WR Kentucky
Robinson is a former four-star recruit who transferred from Nebraska to Kentucky for this season. The move potentially netted Robinson a top 100 spot in the 2022 NFL Draft. After totaling 914 yards in his two years with Nebraska, Robinson snagged 104 receptions for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
Robinson hauled in ten of 12 targets in the Citrus Bowl for 170 yards. He beat Iowa’s Riley Moss twice for 58 yards. Moss decided to return to school for another year, but I viewed him as a fringe third-round selection.
DOWN: Jarrett Patterson, IOL Notre Dame
Patterson is a redshirt junior who might lean toward returning for his senior season. Notre Dame’s offensive line struggled early in the college football season, but Patterson served as a beacon of consistency. Unfortunately, the 6'4", 307 lb. California native allowed three pressures in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State.
Patterson hadn’t surrendered more than two pressures in a game entering the Fiesta Bowl. He didn’t allow a sack in 2021.
UP: Kevin Harris, RB South Carolina
Harris is another intriguing player flying under the radar. The true junior rushed for 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2020 but saw those totals plummet to 660 yards and four touchdowns this season despite only having 32 fewer carries. From what I’ve seen, Harris doesn’t have elite breakaway speed, but he has some explosiveness. Plus, his 5'10", 220 lb. frame is difficult to tackle.
Harris only had two 100-yard performances in 2021, and one of them came in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. The former three-star recruit carried the ball 31 times for 182 yards and a touchdown. We’ll see how scouts analyze Harris’ significant decline in production.
DOWN: Myron Cunningham, OT Arkansas
Cunningham had another solid season with the Razorbacks, but his production remains average. The 6'6", 325 lb. senior allowed 26 pressures and five sacks over the past two years while playing 780 pass blocking snaps almost exclusively at left tackle. Unfortunately, Cunningham surrendered three pressures and a sack against Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
UP: Joshua Ezeudu, IOL North Carolina
Ezeudu had an up-and-down fourth year with the Tar Heels. North Carolina swung the 6'4", 325 lb. lineman between left tackle and left guard, sometimes asking him to play over 20 snaps at both positions in the same game. Ezeudu persevered and had a standout performance in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl against South Carolina.
North Carolina didn’t win the game, but Ezeudu took 40 snaps at left tackle and eight at left guard. He didn’t allow a single pressure, earning his only clean sheet of the season. The former three-star recruit allowed 16 pressures and two sacks this year.
DOWN: Devin Lloyd, LB Utah
I gave Troy Andersen a hard time earlier for his struggles in coverage, so it’s only fair that Lloyd gets the same treatment. At 6'3", 235 lbs., Lloyd isn’t in the Nakobe Dean mold. He’s your typical inside/middle linebacker. The redshirt junior made plenty of plays in coverage this season (four interceptions and two pick-sixes), but those splash plays didn’t show up in the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State targeted Lloyd six times, and the former three-star recruit allowed six receptions for 87 yards. Lloyd’s size and ability to cover in space could cause some teams to steer clear of him in the top 50 selections.
Honorable Mentions Stock Up
Kennedy Brooks, RB Oklahoma
Travis Dye, RB Oregon
Sam LaPorta, TE Iowa
A.T. Perry, WR Wake Forest
Ricky Stromberg, IOL Arkansas
Kellen Diesch, OT Arizona St.
Matthew Butler, IDL Tennessee
Isaiah Foskey, EDGE Notre Dame
Jacub Panasiuk, EDGE Michigan St.
Grant Morgan, LB Arkansas