A sprained AC joint suffered in the national championship game loss to Ohio State could keep the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from throwing at the combine. That could put the pressure on Mariota to excel during his pro day in March, while giving NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated passer, Jameis Winston, an opportunity to build momentum as the draft approaches.
In the final game of his collegiate career, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley showed off the big arm, graceful running and improved poise in the pocket that could force a QB-needy team in the NFL to gamble early.
Sometimes too much is made by the performances of prospects during bowl season, as if that one game means more than any in the regular season. But bowl games present a unique opportunity to evaluate prospects in an unfamiliar setting against a formidable opponent.
The redshirt junior told Jim Rome in an interview Monday that "there's a really good chance" that Saturday's victory over rival Southern California will be his last game against the Trojans. Hundley is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 41 ranked prospect and has a second round grade. The value of QBs and Hundley's upside is tantalizing enough that he could earn a first round selection.
His name may not be as recognizable as some of the other superstars on the field in UCLA's 38-20 thrashing of Southern Cal, but scouts won't soon forget the Bruins' breakout redshirt senior or his two sacks against the Trojans.
Cody Kessler is staking his claim as the No. 3 draft-eligible quarterback in the country. Wideout Nelson Agholor and defensive lineman Leonard Williams also starred for the Trojans, who outlasted the Bears 38-30.
Marcus Mariota may have won the battle of the Heisman candidates but he certainly had some help in this one as an Oregon offensive line that had surrendered 12 sacks the previous two games blanked UCLA. The biggest difference? The healthy return of senior left tackle Jake Fisher.
Heisman hopeful Brett Hundley will get all of the buzz with five touchdowns to help beat Arizona State in Tempe but noteworthy performances from several UCLA defenders could prove just as memorable for NFL scouts.