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Stock Report: Kendell Beckwith rising, Bryan Cox in decline

Bob Levey/Associated Press

With college football's Week 8 in the books, here's a look at who's on the rise and who's in decline based on the weekend's action.

Stock up

Kendell Beckwith, LB, LSU: When your team's stud tailback goes for 287 yards and three scores on 16 carries, your 9-tackle performance might go under the radar. That's the case for Beckwith this week, but scouts saw how he seemed to appear wherever Ole Miss went with the ball on Saturday night. If the Rebels ran inside, he was there. If they threw short throws outside, he was there. His hustle, instincts and powerful tackling were fully on display for everyone to see. Beckwith might be pegged as an inside-only linebacker, limiting his draft value. But if he lasts until the middle of the second round, a team will get an absolute bargain.

Cole Hikutini, TE, Louisville: As Heisman favorite Lamar Jackson has become more comfortable as a pocket passer this season, Hikutini is bearing the fruits. The former Sacramento State and junior college tight end exhibited his athleticism, running down the seam against North Carolina State on Saturday. He also showed his ability to work over the middle and adjust to passes on the run. He's been a bit up and down this year with his consistency catching the ball, but he didn't have issues Saturday, catching 6 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. He's had 80 or more receiving yards in three of his last four games. Teams utilizing move tight ends or H-backs will have interest in Hikutini, as he has shown enough effort as a blocker to be worth a shot in that role.

Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa: The Hawkeyes haven't had a great season, but Johnson's play stood out Saturday vs. Wisconsin. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound tackle regularly held up multiple blockers to hold the line and eat up space inside. He recorded sacks on consecutive plays at the end of the third quarter, flashing the pure power he possesses when choosing to bull his man with explosive movement off the ball. Johnson has 5.5 sacks on the year (he had 3.5 in 2015).

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Shalom Luani, S, Washington State: The conversation about Washington State tends to revolve around head coach Mike Leach and quarterback Luke Falk. But I'll tell you a secret -- Luani is an all-around playmaker with an NFL future. During the team's five-game winning streak, he's made three pass breakups, an interception, and 20 tackles, six of which went for losses. His 6-1, 200-pound frame and relentless play have earned him All-American honors at the junior college level as well as honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors. NFL teams will like what they see, if they haven't already given him a starter's grade. Teams will investigate the August incident that led to his arrest, but a prosecutor opted not to pursue assault charges against Luani in the case and wrote that "no reasonable jury could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Luani was not acting in self-defense."

Erik Magnuson, RT, Michigan: Magnuson was facing a top prospect on Saturday afternoon in Illinois defensive end Dawuane Smoot, and the Wolverines senior took control of the situation on nearly every snap in which the two were matched up. Magnuson is not an overpowering lineman, using technique and foot quickness to wall off defenders in pass protection and as a run blocker. His ability to stop Smoot this week, a powerful and quick-off-the-ball strong-side end, shows scouts that he could have a future as a starting right tackle in the NFL.

Stock down

Bryan Cox, DE, Florida: This was supposed to be a breakout year for Cox, the son of former NFL linebacker Bryan Cox. However, he hasn't made a big impact, and Florida coach Jim McElwain has said he might not play again this season due to a thumb injury. McElwain said on Monday that Cox ran during practice on Sunday, and that he would have a better sense of his status later this week. Cox had just 2 tackles for loss and no sacks in 6 games heading into the Missouri game on Oct. 15 and suffered the thumb injury during pre-game warmups. He had been battling knee tendinitis and an ankle injury, as well. There's no doubt that he has the natural athleticism to play at the next level, but a relatively unproductive season that ends with the thumb injury would be a disappointing way for the senior to go out.

Darren Carrington II, WR, Oregon: In the last three weeks, Carrington has 6 catches for 93 yards, with no scores for the Ducks, who have lost 5 in a row. It's not as though Oregon hasn't scored points this year -- they've averaged 34.6 points in their five recent losses. In the team's last loss, an overtime effort against California, Carrington had 1 catch for 22 yards and fumbled a punt return. NFL scouts will understand that his team has struggled on offense this year, but he'll have to show them a lot more to get his stock moving in the right direction.

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter @chad_reuter.



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