With Week 5 of college football in the books, it's time to take note of who saw their stock rise and fall based on the weekend's action.
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson: The freshman sensation continues to live up to the hype as a spectacular playmaker for the Tigers. Watson notched a 400-yard game in his first official collegiate start, completing 27 of 36 passes for 435 yards and six touchdowns. Although Watson tossed an interception on a poor decision, the rookie bounced back to drop several dimes that will have NFL scouts salivating over his immense talent and potential. With a young, explosive crew of pass catchers around him, Watson could be the premier quarterback prospect to watch over the next few seasons.
RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska: It's time to throw Abdullah's name into the Heisman Trophy mix after the Nebraska standout notched his third 200-yard game of the season. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound senior rumbled for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries against Illinois. While the output was certainly expected against an Illini defense that's struggled against elite competition, Abdullah's consistent production and outstanding skills are quickly making him one of the fastest risers in the 2015 draft class.
DE Shane Ray, Missouri: Pass rushers are always coveted at a premium, particularly when they routinely deliver disruptive plays at critical moments. Thus, Ray could be a hot commodity in the 2015 draft when scouts take a close look at his early-season performance. The energetic pass rusher recorded eight tackles and two sacks against South Carolina, exhibiting the first-step quickness and burst that scouts desire in elite edge players. Additionally, Ray displayed solid run-stopping skills against an offensive line that is considered one of the best in college football. With Mizzou developing quite the reputation for putting out top defensive line prospects, Ray is squarely on the radar of scouts looking for a difference-maker off the edge.
PR-KR Kaelin Clay, Utah: There is always a place in the NFL for dynamic returners with home-run potential. That's why scouts are buzzing about Clay's emergence as the top returner in college football. The 5-10, 193-pound senior has scored four times on returns (three punt returns and a kick return) while exhibiting the speed, quickness and power to run through arm tackles in traffic. Additionally, Clay flashes the wiggle to makes defenders miss, which is critical to thriving as a returner as a pro. With Clay matching a notable Pro Bowl receiver-returner's (Steve Smith) record as a punt returner, there will be a lot of interest in the Utes' playmaker when the 2015 draft rolls around in the spring.
WR Laquan Treadwell, Ole Miss: Keep an eye on the Ole Miss pass catcher because he has all of the tools to blossom into a No. 1 receiver at the next level. Treadwell is a big-bodied playmaker with outstanding hands and ball skills. While he is not a blazer, he is a fluid athlete capable of separating from defenders with subtle dekes and fakes at the top of routes. Against Memphis, Treadwell showcased his polished game on the way to a five-catch, 123-yard effort that included a pair of touchdowns. He snuck past the Tigers' defense on a deep post for a 63-yard score and followed it up with a 17-yard touchdown on another post route. Throw in a couple of first downs on in-breaking routes, and Treadwell put enough on tape to intrigue evaluators looking for a future pass catcher with the potential to develop into a top option in a pro passing game.
QB Sean Mannion, Oregon State: The prolific passer was expected to use his appearance against the Trojans to spark a surge up the draft charts, but he put on a disappointing showing (15 of 32 passes for 132 yards and two interceptions) that will lead to questions about his athleticism, mobility and functionality within a collapsing pocket. Mannion looked out of sorts against the Trojans' aggressive tactics and his ineffectiveness suggests that he could struggle as a signal-caller without a strong supporting cast. Given the expectations that come with being a franchise quarterback, Mannion needed to exhibit the ability to carry an offense as a playmaker from the pocket.
QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State: The heralded signal-caller is mired in a sophomore slump this season as he transitions to a new offensive scheme under James Franklin. Hackenberg is only connecting on 57.9 percent of his throws and sports a 4:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio through five games. The 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year hasn't been as accurate as anticipated nor shown the poise expected of a second-year starter touted as a future top pick. While it is completely reasonable to expect a young quarterback to struggle a bit while adjusting to a new coaching staff, Hackenberg's performance against Northwestern (22 of 45 for 216 yards and an interception) was not up to par and he has been a mild disappointment this season.