Rivalry week lived up to everything people hoped for and more. It also had a profound effect on the stocks for many 2014 NFL draft prospects.
Carlos Hyde – RB – Ohio State – Stock: Up
Thanks to the improbable victory by Auburn, Ohio State is one win away from playing in the BCS championship game. However, they never would’ve gotten that chance without the big day running back Carlos Hyde had in Ann Arbor. He finished the afternoon with 226 yards and a touchdown for an average of 8.6 yards per carry. The truly scary part about the whole thing is the Buckeyes needed that performance in the worst way. If he and Braxton Miller hadn’t dominated on the ground, Michigan could very well have pulled the first big upset of the day rather than coming up just short on a two-point conversion. Hyde is a fully capable back who can carry the full load of an offense at the next level and still maintains enough athleticism to catch passes as well.
Marcus Mariota – QB – Oregon – Stock: Down
His timely quick strike to beat OregonState can’t mask how inefficiently Marcus Mariota has played over the past few weeks. He finished the night with two interceptions that almost cost his team another game after their painful losses to Stanford and Arizona. There is nothing wrong with his arm or athleticism. At this point it’s just clear that Mariota isn’t ready to carry an offense to that next level beyond simply beating up on inferior opponents. He needs to learn to play in high pressure situations with better consistency. That would come with another year in college. For the time being his stock is down in the 2014 draft.
Tre Mason – RB – Auburn – Stock: Up
Beating Alabama can be good for the stock of any player on the opposing team but in the case of running back Tre Mason, he earned every bit of it. Against a Crimson Tide defense that only surrendered an average of 91 yards per game on the ground for the year, Mason gutted them for 164 yards and a touchdown. His steady presence on the ground allowed quarterback Nick Marshall to hit some big passes down the field, none bigger than a 39-yard strike that tied the game 28-28, setting up the dramatic missed field goal finish. Often overlooked in the grand scheme of the Auburn offense, Mason has proven himself a very dependable back who can create big plays when he gets openings.
Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State – Stock: Down
Rising tides may lift all boats, but it also can sink them too. Bradley Roby wasn’t directly responsible for what happened against Michigan, but he had a hand in the pitiful effort OhioState made trying to stop Devin Gardner through the air. The Wolverines quarterback, despite suffering from injuries to his legs, shredded the OSU defense for 451 yards and four touchdown passes. Already scrutinized for underachieving in 2013 in spite of obvious talent, this latest inability to give his defense some impact plays against a quarterback that had been reeling until recently is a clear sign he may not have that first round potential many thought.
Jordan Matthews – WR – Vanderbilt – Stock: Up
Ugly games often produce ugly results like a 23-21 affair for Vanderbilt as they barely edged out WakeForest. By and large their offense was inconsistent and lacked explosiveness. Yet they were able to muster enough thanks almost solely to the receiving prowess of Jordan Matthews. He was the clear go-to guy the entire game, hauling in 11 passes for 125 yards. His catches proved crucial on three Vandy drives that produced 13 points including two catches for 34 yards on the game-winning march. The kid is rounding himself into the form of a first round prospect in the 2014 NFL draft.