Three quarterbacks have been staples in our weekly stock watch but the other two spots have been rotating. Clemson's DJ Uiagalelei and Washington State's Cameron Ward were in the spotlight for the first time last week. This week, Washington's Michael Penix Jr. is featured in an effort to determine whether or not he has been worth all of the early season hype. 

Through the course of the season, will be doing stock up and stock down for top NFL Draft quarterback prospects. The designations come with heavy context, however, because it is more of a weekly evaluation rather a reflection of actual draft prospects, which is based on each player's collegiate body of work.   

Will Levis, Kentucky: Stock Down

Stats (22-19 Loss at No. 14 Ole Miss): 18-of-24 passes completed, 220 yards, 2 TD; 9 carries, -19 yards

Saturday was a disappointing day for Kentucky fans. They had every opportunity to win that game multiple times and failed each. Throughout the game, Levis was pretty efficient. He was ripping the ball into tight coverage and extending drives. Two of his incompletions were accurate, but difficult throws down the right boundary. The Kentucky offensive line allowed a lot of pressure and had some crucial penalties that killed drives. Levis contributed by bringing his eyes down early when pressured and locking onto his first read meaning he inevitably held onto the ball too long. It was clear there were some trust issues with the offensive line. UK also has a tendency to take the play clock all the way down before snapping and that brings some predictability for the defense. 

The issue with Levis' performance is how he finished. Each of the final two offensive drives ended with fumbles from the quarterback. The Penn State transfer went flying through the air and a second defender was able to dislodge the first fumble because it was not tucked against his body. The second never would have happened if there had not been a penalty for illegal motion off-setting a touchdown on the play prior. A pass rusher was able to get around the right tackle and strip it free to end the game. Talent evaluators want to see a quarterback will the team to victory and Kentucky fell short. 

Michael Penix Jr., Washington: Stock Down

Stats (40-32 Loss at UCLA): 33-of-48 passes completed, 345 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT; 6 carries, -1 yard

Saturday was the first exposure to Penix after the hype had been building all season long. The Indiana transfer has a long and athletic frame. The left-handed thrower has a long release and his arm strength is not going to stack up well against the other top throwers in the 2023 NFL Draft class. Penix is a relatively conservative decision-maker that is not afraid to take his check down option. Both of his interceptions were bad decisions, however, rather than tip your helmet plays by the defensive back. His play was not enough to keep the Huskies undefeated. 

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State: Stock Up

Stats (49-10 Win vs. Rutgers): 13-of-22 passes completed, 154 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 2 carries, -1 yard

Stroud did most of his damage on slants. He was throwing with anticipation and allowing his skill talent to make plays after the catch. He never looked rattled and that is probably because he wasn't. Ohio State has won their five games by an average of 34 points per game. Stroud did force some throws, which he does once or twice a game. In these blowout settings, he may be a little over confident in certain moments. Below is one example of a tight window in which Stroud tried to fit a pass. 


DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson: Stock Up

Stats (30-20 Win vs. No. 10 N.C. State): 21-of-30 passes completed, 209 yards, 1 TD; 14 carries, 73 yards, 2 TD

Uiagalelei has looked more in control of the offense over the past few games. He is standing up to pressure and throwing with improved accuracy, touch and anticipation. Working through his progressions and finding an open target is just one example of that growing confidence. One of his throws may as well have been a handoff 26 yards downfield as he was able to lay the ball in running back Will Shipley's hands in stride between two defenders. The California native also showed off his mobility on a 38-yard run in the third quarter setting up a two score lead. His motions, in general, looked more fluid. Arm strength has never been an issue and the rest of his game is starting to catch up. 

Bryce Young, Alabama: Stock Stagnant

Stats (49-26 Win at No. 20 Arkansas): 7-of-13 passes completed, 173 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 2 carries, 4 yards, 1 TD

Young unfortunately left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury. His wide receivers could have helped him on a few plays, most notably the interception. Cornerback Dwight McGlothern was more physical through the route and won when the ball arrived. Young did a good job of extending plays and moving the chains. He had some beautiful downfield throws so it was not like he was nickle and diming the Razorbacks defense before leaving. 

It does not sound as though the injury is serious so the hope is to see Young back in the near future.