ASU WR N'Keal Harry, QBs, sleepers among Week One's NFL draft risers
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
The following five NFL prospects took that to heart in Week One of the 2018-19 college football season, enjoying dramatic debuts that already have scouts buzzing and eager for more.
5. Juwan Washington, RB, San Diego State, 5-07, 190, JR, # 29
It came back on Friday but any review of prospects boosting their draft stock in Week One has to include Washington, who out-shined Heisman Trophy favorite Bryce Love and gashed Stanford to the tune of 158 yards and a touchdown (on 24 carries), albeit in a losing effort. Washington lacks the size that helped earn his predecessor, Rashaad Penny, a first round selection (Seattle) but his naturally low center of gravity, toughness and balance certainly stood out against a normally-sound tackling Cardinal defense.
4. Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn, 6-2, 214, 4.68, rJR, # 8
If Stidham felt any pressure given the big stage of Saturday's top 10 showdown with Washington and their vaunted secondary, he certainly didn't show it, delivering confident, clutch throws to spark Auburn to an early lead and, ultimately, a 21-16 victory. Every team in the NFL is looking for a quarterback with the kind of intestinal fortitude to march his team down the field on the first drive of the season and score. Stidham did precisely that with this throw, which came on third down and goal and after a timeout.
3. Corbin Kaufusi, DE, BYU, 6-8, 285, 4.89, SR, # 90
This year's extraordinary defensive line class has already generated plenty of buzz with most of it, understandably, focusing on elite prospects like Houston's Ed Oliver (13 tackles, including 3.5 for loss Saturday against Rice) and Ohio State's terrific tandem of Nick Bosa and Dre'Mont Jones, among many others. The imposing and highly athletic Kaufusi rewarded scouts who stayed up late Saturday night, showing rare straight-line speed for a man of his size. His rare combination of length, strength and flexibility are demonstrated on this snap as he lassos highly elusive Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate for the sack -- one of Kaufusi's seven tackles (all solos) and two tackles for loss in the Cougars' 28-23 win over the Wildcats in Tuscon.
2. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia, 6-1, 214, 4.62, rSR, # 7
While Stidham enjoyed the best start to the day, Grier had the scorching finish, completing 14 of 19 passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns in the second half alone to blow away Tennessee 40-14 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Like Stidham, it wasn't just the accuracy Grier showed, but the composure as the game was delayed an hour due to weather and he had to work through some drops by receivers. Grier's touchdowns (he had five of them total) made all of the highlight reels but this throw was one of my favorites. Note Grier's quirky delivery. He has a bit of wind-up but a snappy release, creating impressive torque on the ball and the location couldn't have been better.
1. N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State, 6-3, 216, 4.52, JR, # 1
Harry entered his junior season already viewed as of the country's top talents (24th overall on my Big Board), rag-dolling smaller cornerbacks 140-2801-13) with his imposing size and strength. Electric moves like these Saturday against UT-San Antonio suggest that Harry has the potential to develop into a true No. 1 receiver in the NFL.