With college football's Week 3 in the books, here's a look at who's on the rise and who's in decline based on the weekend's action.
Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State: Brown had five catches in 15 career games heading into the Buckeyes' big game Saturday at Oklahoma, and he went off against the Sooners. He caught five passes -- four for touchdowns -- in the game. Folks have been waiting for Brown to truly break out since his freshman year, when he played all 13 games but had only one catch. A leg injury he suffered last fall kept him off the field for the entire 2015 season. Now healthy again, Brown used his strong, 6-foot-2, 218-pound frame to separate from Oklahoma cornerbacks in the end zone, and made an amazing catch for one of his scores. Brown also is fluid off the line and challenges defenses with very good speed for his size. He and QB J.T. Barrett will be a dangerous combination throughout the rest of the season.
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State: Washington connected with a fellow junior, quarterback Mason Rudolph, nine times for a whopping 296 yards and two scores against Pittsburgh on Saturday. A busted coverage on the opening play led to a 91-yard score, as Washington snatched a pass on the run and kept his feet moving as he secured the ball. Rudolph found him on two other occasions for big plays, but Washington had to high-point the ball over a defender both times. While he's not the tallest receiver (listed at 6-0), his ability to win those 50-50 opportunities is enticing to NFL scouts. Washington's ability to work the middle of the field, as well, makes him a versatile talent who's capable of being a playmaker at the next level.
Johnny Caspers, OG, Stanford: The Farm has produced two first-round guards since 2012 -- Josh Garnett (49ers) and David DeCastro (Steelers). Don't be surprised if Caspers joins that duo as a first-rounder next April. He showed the upper-body strength to move his man out of a hole for All-American running back Christian McCaffrey to run through on Saturday vs. USC. Caspers also pulled from his right guard spot to create holes on the left side of the field for McCaffrey and others to exploit. He can anchor in pass protection against larger defensive tackles, and is a durable performer. In other words, he checks all of the boxes NFL teams look for in a longtime starter.
DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State: It might be surprising to some to see Walker listed as a riser, considering the Seminoles defense gave up 63 points against Lamar Jackson's Louisville squad. However, Walker deserves credit for his consistent performance in a blowout loss. He wasn't credited for a tackle for loss among his seven stops Saturday, but Walker had a consistent presence in the backfield. At 6-3, 281 pounds, Walker plays under the pads of most offensive tackles on the edge, and has the agility to play to his containment responsibilities. In passing situations, Walker's combination of strength and quickness was often too much for Louisville's guards. He was way too much for Ole Miss to handle a couple of weeks ago, when he recorded 4.5 sacks. Walker is letting NFL scouts know that he's a legitimate top-50 prospect.
Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss: Kelly has the physical traits NFL scouts want to see in a QB. He threw for more than 400 yards against Alabama, showing off his arm and toughness. However, scouts haven't been impressed with his decision-making, as some costly calls by Kelly contributed to the Rebels' loss to the Crimson Tide. He made nice deep throws throughout the game, allowing his receivers to run under the ball for big plays. But his failure to unload the ball near his own goal line resulted in a strip-sack fumble that resulted in a touchdown for Alabama early in the third quarter. Kelly tried throwing while backpedaling in the fourth quarter, but the pass was deflected and resulted in a 75-yard touchdown for Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, who made the interception. The loss wasn't all on Kelly, but, to his credit, he was accountable for his miscues. Kelly has a great arm and plenty of toughness, but he'll be sliding down draft boards if he can't make the right calls for his team, especially in big moments.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC: There's no question that Smith-Schuster's lack of production comes partially from a general malaise in USC's offense. He scored twice in Week 2 against Utah State, but against Alabama and Stanford, he had a total of four catches for 44 yards and no touchdowns. Scouts are not enthralled with his ability to separate from better defenders, nor were they happy to hear that he fought with a teammate in practice out of frustration after that Alabama game. Unless Smith-Schuster and QB Max Browne start connecting like Smith-Schuster and Cody Kessler did in previous years, Smith-Schuster could be mired in a funk.