Now that we have played all but the College Football Championship game it's time to look at what NFL Draft prospects had the top performances in this year’s bowl games. This group is led by Michael Penix Jr. who looked unstoppable in the Sugar Bowl. Another Pac-12 quarterback who had an elite performance is Oregon’s Bo Nix. On the defensive side of the ball Iowa’s Joe Evans had one of the best games in Hawkeye history despite his team getting blown out.
All ten of these NFL Draft prospects used this game to help their draft stock. Players like Michael Penix Jr. will likely see where they go in the 2024 NFL Draft be higher than it would have been if not for how they performed in these contests. Other players like Georgia State running back Freddie Brock who is eligible for the 2024 NFL Draft, put themselves on the map for their strong efforts which will hopefully propel them to a great college season next year.
2024 NFL Draft prospects shine in on the big stage
1. Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
The most impressive performance from the college football bowl games was Washington’s Michael Penix performance against Texas. In this game, he torched the Texas secondary for 430 yards, which is the most the Longhorns gave up all season by 52 yards. He also completed 77% of his passes including 11 straight in the third quarter. If that were not enough he also looked terrific on the deep ball throwing several beautiful passes downfield including one to Ja’Lynn Polk for 77 yards on his second pass attempt. If he can play at this level against Michigan look for the Huskies to be holding the National Championship at the end of the night.
2. Freddie Brock, RB, Georgia State
One of the more interesting bowl performances of the year came from Georgia State running back Freddie Brock. Going into this game Brock never had more than 19 yards in a game this season, and had a total of 31 yards. However, in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, he set the school's single-game rushing record with 276 yards averaging 11.5 yards per game. Brock has one year of eligibility left and if he can play anywhere near the level he did in this game, he should get looks as a day three back in the 2025 NFL Draft.
3. Joe Evans, DE, Iowa
The top defensive performance in bowl games this year, came from a team who lost 35-0. Despite Iowa being blown off the field, defensive end Joe Evans had one of the best games in Iowa history. In this game, he set a school bowl record with four sacks on the day. He also finishes his career with 28 career sacks which is the fourth highest total in school history.
4. Seth Henigan, QB, Memphis
Another prospect eligible for the 2024 NFL Draft yet is returning to school next year is Memphis’s Seth Henigan. In Memphis’s 36-26 win over Iowa State, he threw for 364 yards and accounted for a total of five touchdowns. In this game, he also set the Tigers' record for career passing yards and also led Memphis to their first ten-win season since 2019. Going into the 2024 season, look for Henigan to be considered one of the top quarterbacks in the Group of Five.
5. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Bo Nix capped off one of the best careers in college football history with a great game against Liberty in the Fiesta Bowl. In this game, he completed 80% of his passes for 363 yards and five touchdowns. His highlight of the night was when he completed 14 straight passes. This performance also allowed Nix to have the single-season completion percentage record, and also become Oregon’s single-season leader in passing yards and touchdowns. Not bad for a kid people thought was a bust when he left Auburn.
"“I played good football this year because of the opportunity and the situation that I was in. It wasn’t difficult to go out there and play with the guys that I was around.”"- Oregon quarterback Bo Nix
6. Lawrence Arnold, WR, Kansas
Kansas had two standout performances from their wide receivers in the team’s 49-36 win over UNLV. While his teammate Luke Grimm had the better stat line Lawrence Arnold had the better overall performance. In this game, Arnold made several spectacular catches including an impressive jump ball touchdown reception and another touchdown where he took a screen pass for a 56-yard score evading several defenders along the way.
7. Jack Sawyer, DE, Ohio State
Ohio State has a long list of elite NFL players, but one of the best performances ever put on by a Buckeye defender happened in the Cotton Bowl. In this game defensive end Jack Sawyer tied the school record for sacks in a bowl game with three and accounted for a total of four tackles. Ohio State also got good news when Sawyer said he will likely be returning next season, despite having a day two grade on my board.
8. Caden Prieskorn, TE, Ole Miss
One of the better tight ends in the SEC next season will be Ole Miss’s Caden Prieskorn who has already announced he will return to school for one more season. The 6-foot-5 255-pound tight end has impressive size and ended his season on a high note catching 10 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the Peach Bowl. This gives him 20 receptions for 243 yards and four touchdowns in his last three games.
9. Isaac Guerendo, RB, Louisville
Louisville running back Isaac Guerendo spent the year backing up Jawhar Jordan who currently carries a 2024 NFL Draft fifth-round grade. However, with Jordan missing this game Guerendo stepped up big time rushing for 161 yards and also catching five passes for 42 yards. He also finished the day with three touchdowns. While it is undetermined if Guerendo will enter the 2024 NFL, his best bet will be to return next year and be the Cardinals lead back.
10. Luke Grimm, WR, Kansas
Another prospect who is hoping a strong bowl performance can move up his NFL Draft stock going into the 2024 college football season is Kansas’s Luke Grimm. Against UNLV he caught four passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns. While one of these touchdowns was the benefit of blown coverage, it is still one of the better performances from any wide receiver in this year’s bowl game.