The second week of the 2021 college football season certainly did not disappoint. Despite a somewhat weak slate of top games with many ranked programs facing lower-end competition, we saw an Oregon Ducks squad upset the No. 3-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, the Hawkeyes defeating the Cyclones in the Battle of Iowa supremacy, and teams such as Oklahoma and Clemson bouncing back from shaky starts to the year. 

As the season progresses, it’s imperative to seek the trends displayed by these squads and point out their strengths and weaknesses, which of course comes down to how specific players perform. 

In this week's stock up/stock down report, I sought to highlight the young men who stood out either way, either having improved or disappointed. As such, here is my report following hte second week of college football.

STOCK UP: DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

One of the most anticipated one-on-one matchups of the past week happened in the Washington-Michigan game on Saturday, as Wolverine defensive end Aidan Hutchinson went toe-to-toe with Huskies left tackle Jaxson Kirkland. 

Both players needed to have big performances to maintain their standing as potential first-round draft choices, and Hutchinson may have done so after his monster performance.

With six pressures and three sacks, Hutchinson made life even more of a living hell for the Washington offense than it already has been in 2021. 

Using his combination of speed and power and the ability to use his fantastic first-step to his advantage, Hutchinson was a one-man wrecking crew and by far looked like the best player on the field, and having his main assignment being one of the better tackles in college football makes his day that much more impressive.

The projected 2022 NFL Draft pass-rusher class looks loaded, and for teams that need players (Giants), it is a great year to have that issue. 

For a guy like Hutchinson, however, you better be prepared to make that pick quickly, because he will not be there for very long if he keeps this level of play up.

STOCK DOWN: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

Let me enable the caveat by saying that despite some early-season struggles, Derek Stingley Jr. is simply too talented to not in all likelihood become a first-round draft selection. 

He possesses all of the traits and skills that NFL franchises want in a No. 1, shut-down cornerback. The issue is some other players may be catching up to him.

So far in the 2021 season, Stingley has only encompassed three tackles with zero pass-breakups and interceptions. It’s also not like he’s going against elite talent, as UCLA in Week 1 has had their turnover issues in the past and it was shocking to see such a little impact he put forward against McNeese State this past Saturday. 

The main reason Stingley looked so off his game last year was due to injuries and a bout with COVID-19. But for a guy who is self-proclaimed “fully healthy”, he’s been a disappointment through the early stages of the football year.

With guys such as Andrew Booth Jr. out of Clemson and Kaiir Elam out of Florida having elite starts so far, Stingley may not look like the clear-cut CB1 in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft class much longer. 

As previously stated, he has all the talent to be that individual, and one great performance will remind all of us how special of a talent he truly is. We just need to wait for that now.

STOCK DOWN: IOL Jarrett Patterson and Cain Madden, Notre Dame

For as reliable as Notre Dame has typically been during the Brian Kelly era, they have gotten off to a shaky start in 2021. Despite being 2-0, they’ve only won those two games by a combined six points. Last week in a nail-biter against Toledo, the main problem with the Fighting Irish offense remained the same as Week 1: pass protection.

The Irish's offensive line allowed starting quarterback Jack Coan to be sacked six times against the Rockets, primarily from the inside. That’s where the Irish houses two potential draftees in center Jarrett Patterson and guard Cain Madden are located. 

When it comes to maintaining leverage, both of these young players have issues staying stout when faced with brute force from defenders and it hurts the efficiency of not only the passing game but the inside run attack that Notre Dame favors using as well.

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STOCK UP: RB C.J. Verdell, Oregon

As stated in this article’s introduction, the biggest upset this week in terms of College Football Playoff implications was the Oregon Ducks defeating Ohio State in what was an offensive-powered game. 

While Ducks QB Anthony Brown played fairly well, the star of that offense was senior running back C.J. Verdell.

Verdell has been a starter for the Ducks since 2017 and began his collegiate career rattling off consecutive 1,000 yard years on the ground. Always noted for his reliability and overall solid-skillset, Verdell unleashed fury against the Buckeyes, putting forth a 20-161-1 rushing line with 34 receiving yards and another score through the air as well. 

Highlighted by a 77-yard touchdown scamper early in the third, Verdell was the head honcho for the Ducks that game, and made his mark against a top-3 ranked team, firmly putting his name on the map for the people that have doubted him in the past.

STOCK DOWN: RB Breece Hall, Iowa State

When comparing the 2021 running back class for the draft to the expected 2022 one, the former will likely have more top-end talent while the latter looks to have more depth. 

There’s no Najee Harris, Javonte Williams, or Travis Etienne in this class (yet), but one of the consensus top-ranked guys so far this year has put forth underwhelming production so far.

Breece Hall was a revelation for a fantastic Iowa State team in 2020, unleashing a fury of thunder and excitement for the Cyclone faithful to enjoy en route to nearly 1600 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. 

This year, he’s been a little cold to begin. After an inefficient performance in a nail-biter against Northern Iowa in Week 1 (Hall only averaged three yards per carry), he was expected to carry the load in the battle for the CyHawk Trophy this past Saturday. 

While the efficiency picked up with 83 yards on 16 carries, Hall committed a brutal fumble halfway through the third quarter that put the Hawkeyes up 21-10.

One of the biggest questions with Hall is his overall athleticism. He was never going to be touted as a super-speedy or agile guy, but his lack of burst and shiftiness so far has been concerning. 

For a bigger running back, his vision and efficiency through the tackles have been mediocre as well. Hopefully, Hall will be able to churn out so big performances coming up to put his stock back in neutral, at the very least.

STOCK UP: WR Dontario Drummond, Ole Miss

Last week’s edition of the Stock Report offered a glimpse into the potential rise of Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, and now we have one of his compatriots featured this week. 

Despite the loss of Elijah Moore to the NFL after last year, Corral looks to have a new breakout star in senior receiver Dontario Drummond.

After operating as a depth player his first trio of years as a Rebels, Drummond has operated as the Rebels’ clear-cut number-one pass-catcher in Lane Kiffin’s offense through the first two weeks of the 2021 season. He’s averaging 142 yards per game with an 18.9 YPC, and he’s on pace to obliterate his career-high 217 yards. 

Very different stylistically from Eliaj Moore, Drummond is a bigger receiver but has some legit route-running chops. He has the frame that allows him to out-muscle defensive backs and he’s sneaky fast in the open field.

This Ole Miss offense almost certainly isn’t done with monster offensive performances, and Drummond will likely continue to improve. He has a chance to be one of the biggest risers in the 2022 draft class if he keeps it up.


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