The sixth week of the college football season featured several top matchups for NFL Draft prospects. At this point, there is a strong consensus on the top prospects – Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, LSU defensive linemen, Star Lotulelei, etc.
In Week 6, we kept a keen eye on players who are likely second day selections in the 2013 NFL Draft. Here are a few who helped and hurt themselves:
Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford
In Stanford's first four games this season, Toilolo was very much looking like a prospect who remained more potential than production. Before Stanford's 54-48 win against Arizona Saturday, Toilolo had just eight receptions for 137 yards. But against Arizona, Toilolo was quarterback Josh Nunes' favorite target. He broke out with five catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. Toilolo worked the seam throughout the game, looking very much like a Rob Gronkowski-style tight end. He missed a couple passes, but picked apart man coverage. The pure talent is there for Toilolo to be the first tight end drafted, as long as he continue progressing.
Matt Elam, S, Florida
Elam doesn't have great size, nor is he a stellar athlete. But his stock is on the uptick because he makes plays. In the second half, Elam had a key strip against LSU's Odell Beckham. It was a play that stopped LSU from taking the lead against Florida and it helped shift the momentum back to the Gators.
Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
Forget most of the the high scoring games from last week, the LSU/Florida game was the best of the weekend. Defense ruled the day and Minter stood out. Despite having first-round picks in the secondary and along the defensive line, Minter looked like the Tigers' best player on defense. Particularly in the first half when he had 13 tackles, Minter made plays all over the field. He finished the game with 20 tackles with three for loss and two sacks.
Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
Florida has never been known as a school that produces NFL talent at running back. Gillislee is going to change that trend. At Boise State, Brent Pease helped turn Doug Martin into a first-round pick with a run game heavy on tough running. As Florida's new offensive coordinator, he's doing the same with Gillislee. The senior is starting to put together a break out year, showing he can carry a majority of runs. On Saturday, he had 34 carries for 146 yards and both of Florida's touchdowns. It was the first time since the 2011 Cotton Bowl that LSU allowed a 100-yard rusher.
Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina
Williams is a powerhouse of an offensive tackle, and he showed as much versus Virginia Tech. Williams pushed Hokies end James Gayle around and looked like a player who could work at right tackle or inside at guard in power blocking NFL schemes.
EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
The following tweets from Tomahawk Nation's Bud Elliott should say all you need to know about the Florida State senior quarterback:
Manuel has already said a few weeks ago that he doesn't want to run. You wonder if he is trying to prove NFL things at team's detriment.— TomahawkNation.com (@TomahawkNation) October 8, 2012
@freshfromfla I'm sure Manuel realizes that he cost himself a lot of money because he can't read a defense. Time is ticking— TomahawkNation.com (@TomahawkNation) October 8, 2012
In summation, after looking bad losing to North Carolina State, Manuel's draft stock is falling. Manuel won't be challenged again until he plays Virginia Tech and Florida in November. Don't get too excited when he picks apart the likes of Duke and Boston College.
Alex Hurst, OT, LSU
Admittedly, Hurst is playing out of position at left tackle. A natural right tackle, Hurst is playing the left side with Chris Faulk out for the season. Against Florida, Hurst was beaten badly on several plays. He was getting either pushed back or knocked around by smaller defenders. Hurst is clearly a right-side only player as a prospect.
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
Coming into a season loaded with expectation, few have dropped faster than the Arkansas running back. He was barely on the field against Auburn and carried the ball just three times for minus-4 yards. Because of ball security issues, Davis has become an afterthought in the most afterthought of seasons for Arkansas. Davis is a junior, and it looks like he'll need another year in college to boost his draft stock back to being a top 100 player.