With Week 9 of the college football season in the books, here's a look at who's on the rise and who's in decline based on the weekend's action.
Deshaun Watson, Clemson, QB: It's time to throw Watson's name into the Heisman Trophy race after watching the spectacular sophomore put on a fantastic show against N.C. State in the Tigers' 56-41 win on Saturday. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder accounted for six touchdowns and more than 400 yards of total offense against the Wolfpack. It was the seventh time Watson has tossed at least two touchdowns in a game this season. Most importantly, it's the fifth time the Tigers have topped the 40-point mark. Given the impact of style points on the Heisman voters' decisions, Watson's sizzling play could create some momentum for his candidacy.
Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss, WR: The Rebels' No. 1 WR is starting to dominate games on the perimeter in a way that forces the NFL to take notice. The 6-2, 210-pound junior topped the 100-yard mark and scored a touchdown for the four straight game, exhibiting soft hands and spectacular ball skills in traffic vs. Auburn. Treadwell is a classic possession receiver capable of doing the dirty work between the hashes and delivering game-changing plays in the red zone. Treadwell's stock is definitely on the rise for teams looking for a big-bodied pass-catcher to anchor the passing game.
Kyler Murray, Texas A&M, QB: The freshman standout certainly lived up to the hype in the Aggies' 35-28 win over South Carolina. Murray completed 20 of 28 passes for 223 yards and a score, while also tallying 156 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. The 5-11, 178-pounder joined Cam Newton to become the second SEC quarterback in the last 20 years to post a "100/100" game (100 pass yards/100 rush yards) in his first career start. Although Murray's substandard physical dimensions will turn off some scouts, evaluators interested in acquiring winners should keep an eye on the diminutive playmaker based on his knack for guiding his team to the winner's circle at every level.
Travis Feeney, Washington, LB: Scouts love high-motor defenders with a knack for finding the ball and creating disruption at the point of attack. Freeney flashed his dominant potential in an 11-tackle performance that included 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a pass breakup. The sensational effort sparked the Huskies' defense in a 49-3 win over Arizona that has Pac-12 opponents fretting over the team's resurgence under Chris Petersen.
Quenton Meeks, Stanford, CB: Coaches and scouts covet playmaking cover corners with spectacular ball skills and instincts. Thus, Meeks is already on the radar of scouts after his terrific performance against Washington State. The 6-2, 195-pound freshman picked off a pair of passes and notched six tackles in Stanford's 30-28 win. The combination of instincts, awareness, tackling skills and length will make Meeks an intriguing developmental prospect down the line.
Faton Bauta, Georgia, QB: Whenever a quarterback makes his first start in a rivalry game, there is always concern about whether he can handle the pressure of performing in the spotlight. Based on Bauta's horrendous performance against Florida (completed 15 of 33 passes for 154 yards and four interceptions), the 6-3, 215-pound junior is destined to serve as a backup for Bulldogs going forward. He simply lacks the moxie, confidence and poise to guide a team against a stifling defense in a hostile environment. While Bauta could improve with more reps and experience, the lackluster performance of the Bulldogs' offense under his direction makes it hard to believe in his skills as a franchise quarterback.
Maty Mauk, Missouri, QB: The Missouri standout will go down as one of the season's biggest disappointments based on his scattershot play and questionable leadership skills. The 6-1, 200-pound junior has completed just 51.8 percent of his passes this season despite being a returning starter in a system that is tailored to his skills. However, it's most disappointing that Mauk has been suspended for the remainder of the season due to disciplinary issues and looks nothing like the five-star recruit who was expected to take the program to the next level.