While Purdue lost to Minnesota on a controversial offensive pass interference call Friday night, from a draft perspective, the return of Rondale Moore was magnificent. He looked twitchy as ever and forced missed tackles all over the field. We also were treated to the return of Devonta Smith and Alabama after a few weeks off, and they came out firing on all cylinders in the 63-3 throttling of Kentucky. As per usual, Smith was silky smooth and productive. At this point, unless he measures in absurdly light at the combine despite being around 6-foot, Smith is a first-round lock. Or, he should be.
After an amazing Saturday last week for top wide receiver prospects, a few big names had disappointing performances that weren't altogether crushing for their draft stocks but reminded us of some red flags.
Devonta Smith, Alabama: Stock Up
Smith had nine catches for 144 yards with two touchdowns in the demolition of Kentucky. His first score was a diving grab in the back portion of the end zone, a place where he seemingly makes a difficult catch every week. With the score 35-3 in the third quarter, Smith demonstrated his speed catching a punt on the left side of the field and accelerating all the way across it for a huge return.
While he wasn't able to knock away an underthrown deep ball that was intercepted earlier in the game, Smith rebounded by showcasing his phenomenal ball-tracking skills on a go ball with the contest completely out of hand in the fourth quarter. Smith is the man.
Rondale Moore, Purdue: Stock Up
Moore is diff-er-ent. Even though he averaged just 7.7 yards per grab, he caught 15 passes and had three carries for 20 yards and a touchdown, and I thought he was going to score every time he touched the ball. He's built low to the ground with thick legs so he clicks into top gear insanely fast and his contact balance is elite. It's like you can see the fear in oncoming defenders eyes when Moore has the football in his hands. While he never hit the big, over-the-top play, Moore made a sizable impact on the Boilermakers offense. Can't wait to watch more of him this season. He is first-round talent despite his smaller size.
Chris Olave, Ohio State: Stock Steady
Late in the second half, Olave displayed something I've been wanting to see from him for a very long time -- YAC talent. On a third and short, Justin Fields got him the ball quickly, he nearly ran into his blocker then cut off him back to the inside before hitting the gas pedal to accumulate big yardage. Other than that, it was a ho-hum, classic possession-receiver outing for Olave, who looks like one of the most reliable wideouts in college football early in his junior campaign.
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota: Stock Down, Slightly
Outside of a shallow cross that went for a sizable gain in the first half, Bateman was held in check in the win over Purdue. He finished the game with four passes for 59 yards, his lowest offensive output of the season. While not overly concerning from Bateman, with legitimate first-round buzz, I'd like to see more consistent dominance, especially against an opponent like Purdue in the Big Ten.
Ty Fryfogle, Indiana: Stock Up
Time for Fryfogle to get the attention he deserves. After an 11-catch, 200-yard, two-score effort in the blowout win over Michigan State, he erupted again for seven catches and 218 yards with three scores in the thriller against Ohio State. The 6-2 senior set the tone on the first drive of the game by tracking a back-shoulder toss downfield before dropping a pass on drag route that would've moved the chains on fourth-and-short a few drives later.
Late in the third, Fryfogle got the Hoosiers back into the game by getting behind the defense -- after a free release off the line -- and got his feet in bounds in the back part of the end zone. His biggest play occurred in the fourth when he plucked another back-shoulder ball at the last second before shaking off the cornerback in man coverage and scooting into the end zone. It was a very impressive effort from Fryfogle against high-level competition. He's a sculpted downfield threat.
Terrace Marshall, LSU: Stock Down
Consecutive games now from Marshall lacking any semblance of a splash play. On Halloween, he averaged 7.0 yards per grab in the loss to Auburn. This past weekend? Seven grabs for 57 yards in the narrow victory over Arkansas. Marshall is a little boom-or-bust, it's just that at his size with his speed and physicality at the catch point, a three-touchdown outing is never out of the realm of possibility for him. Marshall's unlikely to be a consistent, volume target.
Khalil Shakur, Boise State: Stock Up
Shakur had 11 receptions for 130 yards with two touchdowns in Boise State's exhilarating victory over Hawaii, which is his third 100-plus yard, two-score contest of the season. He was unable to corral the football away from a defender on a long ball down the sideline that was intercepted. Not completely his fault, but it really was a 50-50 ball he wasn't strong enough to pull away. Shakur redeemed himself on the following Broncos drive by plucking the ball above his head while coverage around him over the middle and scampering into the end zone. He made the dagger reception on a third and five late in the fourth quarter by elevating and boxing out the perimeter corner on a deep shot. Shakur was a productive slot a season ago and has flashed with quality releases and deceptive YAC on the boundary this year.