After two frantic weeks to open the season, Week 3 offered fewer fireworks, but plenty of great prospect matchups. We got a few intriguing non-conference games, which sets the stage for conference play on the horizon. While the AP poll likely won’t change as much, many players saw their draft stock move significantly.
I had a chance to watch a bunch of games over the weekend and there were a bunch of players who really impressed me and several others who fell short of the mark. I won’t pretend I watched every game, but here is my watch list so far from the weekend:
Miami at Texas A&M
Purdue at Syracuse
BYU at Oregon
Penn State at Auburn
Mississippi State at LSU
Georgia at South Carolina
Colorado at Minnesota
I still have several more that I want to watch, including Ohio State-Toledo, USC-Fresno State, Texas-UTSA, SMU-Maryland and Utah-San Diego State.
Each week, I am going to write this column to highlight which players I think boosted their draft stocks and which players are trending in the wrong direction. Not every player that I liked is going to get a shoutout and not every player that I was underwhelmed by will be mentioned. I am also limiting this to draft-eligible players for 2023. So while Brock Bowers and Caleb Williams definitely impressed, they won’t be featured here.
Without further ado, here is my stock up and stock down after Week 3. If you missed last week’s entry, you can find it here.
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
Week 3 stat line: 2 tackles, 2 pass breakups
I was pretty down on Gonzalez after watching him against Georgia, but he really impressed me against BYU. By my count, he was targeted four times, allowing just one catch for about 15 yards. He can line up on either side of the field and routinely won at the point of attack. It thrived in press man situations on Saturday, but looked comfortable dropping into zone as well. He closes well and uses his hands to disrupt receivers at the catch point, which led to a pair of pass breakups against the Cougars. At some point, I want to go back to his film at Colorado to really see how he has developed, but this was a really strong performance that makes me believe he has top 50 potential.
Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota
Week 3 stat line: 23 carries, 202 yards, 3 touchdowns
I have been waiting to promote Ibrahim for years. He popped on my radar back in 2019 in the Outback Bowl, where he ran over a talented Auburn defense. He dominated in 2020, but opted to return to school for his senior season. Unfortunately, his 2021 season did not last even three quarters. He gashed Ohio State for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but suffered a season-ending injury. Ibrahim once again flashed his ability against Colorado this weekend, posting his fourth career 200-yard game. From a scouting perspective, he is way to old to be an elite prospect, especially as a running back. He also does not have much receiving production. I view him as a late Day 3 flier for a team that needs a short yardage back, but I am just happy to see him back on the field.
Ainais Smith, WR, Texas A&M
Week 3 stat line: 4 receptions, 74 yards
At first glance, Smith’s stat line might not seem overly impressive. However, it is important to add a little bit of context. New Texas A&M quarterback Max Johnson managed just 140 yards passing, which means that Smith accounted for over half of A&M’s receiving yards. He is a talented slot receiver who is very difficult to bring down in the open field. I would like to see him continue to improve as a route runner or see Texas A&M use him in some different ways. Getting the ball into his hands in space is a good way to create chunk plays.
Adisa Isaac, EDGE, Penn State
Week 3 stat line: 3 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 quarterback pressures
Isaac is draft eligible this season, but it seems like he might be a prospect for the 2024 cycle. Still, it was nice to see him step up in a big way against Auburn. Isaac missed the entire 2021 season due to injury, so this is his first time really getting a chance to be a major contributor. He regularly pushed the pocket and found ways to be disruptive in the backfield. He still seems very raw from a pass rushing perspective, but there is enough physical talent apparent that I think he has room to grow in that department. I could have picked several players from this Penn State front seven given how much they dominated Auburn, but I thought Isaac really stood out.
Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami
Week 3 stat line: 21/41, 217 yards, 5 carries, 14 yards
For a second straight week, Van Dyke appears on this side of the list. For a player that I had going in the top 10 of preseason mock drafts, he has fallen well short of expectations. He missed receivers all night long and never looked comfortable against Texas A&M’s defense. He did not get a ton of help from his supporting cast, but this was still disappointing. There is still a long season ahead, but I have a tough time seeing Van Dyke as a first-round prospect at this stage.
Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
Week 3 stat line: 10 tackles, 2 pass deflections
It was a tough test, but one that Williams did not pass on Saturday. He matched up with Purdue’s Charlie Jones regularly in the contest. He racked up 11 catches for 188 yards and a touchdown. Williams was not responsible for all of that allowed production, but he did very little to limit Jones. It was not a terrible outing, with a few pass breakups and double-digit tackles. However, Williams was bordering on Round 1 territory and it seems like he might need to prove himself a bit more to really warrant that type of hype.
Ameer Speed, CB, Michigan State
Week 3 stat line: 3 tackles
It was a rough day for the entire Michigan State secondary, but Speed in particular disappointed me. The Georgia transfer got burned early and often. He surrendered a number of big plays, and got beat on several more that were overthrown. Expectations for Speed at Michigan State were high given his experience playing in the SEC. In the Spartans’ first big test of the season, he fell well short of the mark. As a sixth-year senior, he needs to prove he is NFL ready. There will be very little runway for a 23 or 24-year-old prospect.
Follow the Aftermath via email to get every article delivered right to your inbox. Enter your email in the text box to subscribe. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also check out our weekly podcast Draft Season Never Ends with new episodes every Friday, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.