College football is back, and so is the scouting process for the NFL Draft. As teams teams begin compiling notes for the 2014 selection process, college football players will try to impress each week. Some will, and some won't.
Arguably no college football player had a more impressive season debut than Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack. He looked like a first-round pick against Ohio State. Read more about him here. This season we'll be tracking the progress of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Read the first installment here about his struggles against North Carolina.
In this weekly feature, here are some players whose stock is up and some whose stock is down.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Forget the vomit on the field. Or the missed catch that ultimately ended any type of comeback Vanderbilt could have mustered against Ole Miss last Thursday night. Matthews dazzled in his season debut with 10 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown. Currently rated as our fourth wide receiver, Matthews showed more speed than he typically does and made a few tough catches.
Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
Recruited as an athlete out of high school, Beasley still looks a little out of place as a 235-pound defensive end for Clemson. He wins with his burst. That critical initial first step allowed him to beat Georgia offensive linemen to the edge. Playing 47 snaps (kudos to Clemson for keeping that stat), Beasley's two tackles came on sacks. Beasley's sack in the first half came on pure speed, as you'd expect with him. The one at the start of the second half came on power and determination. He was disruptive throughout the game. NFL teams will likely want him at outside linebacker, so his show of athleticism will have scouts interested.
Jordan Taylor, WR, Rice
Taylor burst onto the scene with a strange tipped touchdown catch in the first half against Texas A&M. When there is a play like that by a player on a lesser team, the research begins. What you find with Taylor is a big target at 6'5 who can make difficult catches. Taylor is a junior, and it's highly unlikely he goes pro after the season. But he's a name to keep in mind for 2015. As is Rice redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Christian Covington, who beat Jake Matthews on a stunt to sack Johnny Manziel.
Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Mettenberger looked more comfortable in the pocket Saturday against TCU than he did at any point last season. That could be because he has a better understanding of the offense. While he did only complete 50 percent of his passes, he made several impressive downfield strikes. Mettenberger may only get better as he and new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron get comfortable with each other. It's a step forward for Mettenberger, and next he needs to show more consistency on his throws.
Chuckie Keeton, QB, Utah State
In a loss to Utah, Keeton looked pretty legit, completing 77.5 percent of his passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns. He even tacked on 85 yards and a touchdown rushing the ball. Cue the Russell Wilson comparisons, because they are inevitable. Keeton made several clutch throws, especially over the middle. Keeton needs to throw the ball with more velocity to the outside. If he does that, his draft ceiling is high.
James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
Hurst wasn't matched up with star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney all night, but he still had a noteworthy performance. Hurst smartly used Clowney's aggression against him, driving him around and out of the pocket on more than one occasion. Hurst's footwork was on display most of the night, even in a big loss.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Considering win-loss totals may be a stupid idea, but you can't help but be amazed by Murray's poor record against Top 25 teams. He was ordinary for Georgia Saturday night, and that's not good. The quarterback class for the 2014 NFL Draft is jam-packed. Being ordinary will get Murray passed over.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
As you'd expect losing three starters to the NFL, Alabama's offensive line had its struggles against Virginia Tech. Even Kouandjio, the best player up front for the Crimson Tide, had an off night. Flagged for two holding calls, Kouandjio didn't look as quick to the edge as he did last season. Quarterback AJ McCarron saw pressure most of the game partly because Kouandjio looked a step slow. In a hotly contested offensive tackle class that features Michigan's Taylor Lewan and Tennessee's Antonio Richardson, Kouandjio can't afford too many average-to-bad performances.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Is it possible that Thomas is regressing as a prospect? Yes, anyone is going to have a long night against Alabama, but Thomas' play was abysmal. If he weren't 6'6 and 257 pounds, would we still be talking about him as a legit NFL prospect? Nope. Unless he can dramatically turn his game around -- set his feet, place the ball properly, stay in the pocket -- it's hard to consider Thomas a legit prospect. Of course, the Virginia Tech offense that has him run too many option plays doesn't help. As Kevin Weidl of ESPN also pointed out, Virginia Tech's wide receivers aren't necessarily giving him much help either.
Who impressed you and who let you down in the first week of college football? Let us know in the comments.