Three quarterbacks have separated themselves as top 2022 NFL Draft prospects. Those three -- Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud and Kentucky's Will Levis -- are staples in our weekly stock watch with the other two spots rotating in and out based on notable performances.
Here is a rundown of how the top quarterback prospects fared this weekend:
Will Levis, Kentucky: Stock stagnant
Stats (31-23 win vs. Northern Illinois): 18 of 26 passes completed, 303 yards, 4 TD; 9 carries, -10 yards
Coming into the weekend, Levis had been blitzed more than any other starting quarterback in college football, according to TruMedia. The tendency continued on Saturday against the Huskies, who sacked the Penn State transfer five times. However, the aggressiveness did not come without consequence. Levis stood tall in the pocket and hit true freshmen wide receiver Barion Brown and Virginia Tech transfer Tayvion Robinson in stride across the middle for long touchdowns. His most impressive throw was a 40-yard attempt to Dane Key where the freshman started tracking it a bit too early and was not in a position to complete it.
The consistent pressure may be impacting the quarterback's confidence a bit, however. There are times when he anticipates pressure before it actually arrives. There have been other moments where he has drifted into pressure. Three of Kentucky's four games have come against non-Power 5 competition but Levis will have a platform next weekend as the No. 7 Wildcats travel to Oxford for No. 14 Ole Miss.
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State: Stock up
Stats (52-21 win vs. Wisconsin): 17 of- 27 passes completed, 281 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT
Stroud was crisp early in this contest. The Buckeyes scored on each of their first five possessions amounting to 31 points. They led the Badgers 31-7 at halftime. The first eight pass attempts from Stroud were completions. On the second possession, he showed a little nuance on a rollout to his right. The California native brought his eyes down indicating that it was a run all the way, which drew defenders toward him. Instead, he pulled up short of the line of scrimmage and popped a pass over the top for a 13-yard touchdown to tight end Garrett Stover.
Stroud was credited with one interception and nearly threw a second; perhaps a result of overconfidence from his hot start to this game. Wisconsin has historically been a competitive program and currently has a respected defensive coordinator at the controls. Stroud rose to the occasion.
D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson: Stock up
Stats (51-45 OT win at Wake Forest): 26 of 41 passes completed, 371 yards, 5 TD; 14 carries, 52 yards
Uiagalelei arrived at Clemson as a highly anticipated recruit. His career began as a backup to Trevor Lawrence before starting two games in 2020. In that brief exposure, the California native offered evidence as to his talent throwing for 439 yards and two touchdowns against No. 4 Notre Dame. His performance unfairly fast tracked expectations. He was still a young quarterback in need of experience. In his first full season as the starter, the Tigers disappointed and many wrote off Uiagalelei.
There is a long way to go in regards to being an NFL Draft prospect but Saturday was a positive development. His strength in the pocket, arm strength and playmaking ability were on display. Uiagalelei was also throwing with touch. His mechanics and mannerisms still look a bit robotic. He needs to relax and let the game develop organically.
Cameron Ward, Washington State: Stock up
Stats (44-41 loss vs. Oregon): 37 of 48 passes completed, 2 TD, 2 INT; 9 carries, 4 yards, 1 TD
Saturday was admittedly my first exposure to Ward, who transferred in from Incarnate Word this offseason. He is a natural athlete that is capable of extending plays with his legs. The Texas native is capable of throwing from different arm angles and is able to keep the ball down and drive it to all levels of the field. At times, he will unnecessarily throw off-platform in a clean pocket. Decision-making has to improve for Ward to reach his full potential. He completed the Brandon Weeden underhand toss but the consequences of that play outweigh the advantages. It is easy to see why talent evaluators are drawn to Ward so it is on him to stack positive performances.
Bryce Young, Alabama: Stock stagnant
Stats (55-3 win vs. Vanderbilt): 25 of 36 passes completed, 385 yards, 4 TD; 1 carry, 6 yards
Young met little more resistance than he had in the first three games. He operated more like a point guard distributing the football with precision. Most of his damage was done in the first half before he was able to turn the assignment over for freshman Jalen Milroe to finish.
One of his four touchdown passes went to sophomore Ja'Corey Brooks. The California native's eyes began left before finding Brooks on a skinny post down the right sideline. Although not perfect, Young brings a level of consistency that is difficult to match.