Texas Longhorns star Bijan Robinson continues to impress, and with his consistent play, his NFL Draft stock is also on the rise. However, he is not the only one showing up this college football season.
With just one more week of the regular season remaining, many eyes will be on the college football stars as they decide their fates. With conference championships and the College Football Playoff at stake, those players will show the world they are the real deal.
Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud have been getting a lot of attention for the past two years. Because of that, both are expected to be top selections in the 2023 NFL Draft.
While players such as Young and Stroud were considered big names for a long time, others are battling to gain recognition. Fortunately, some of them are doing just that. Their games this past week were essential to make NFL teams notice them and take notes on their potential.
With that being said, here are three players whose 2023 NFL Draft stocks are skyrocketing and should appear as early as Day 1.
3. Bijan Robinson, Texas
While the Texas Longhorns are having their ups and downs in 2022, one player has been a bright spot all along. Bijan Robinson has cemented his name as one of the best running backs in college football.
For the season, the junior has 229 carries for a total of 1,401 yards, the sixth-best in FBS. His 16 touchdowns on the ground place him in the top five in the country. Additionally, he has 19 receptions for 314 yards and one score.
Against the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday, Robinson had his best game of the season. The junior rushed 25 times for a total of 243 yards and four touchdowns. It was his eighth 100-yard game this year, as well as the second time he surpassed 200 yards. Notably, earlier this season, Robinson had a seven-game stretch of rushing for more than 100 yards.
Heisman contender Blake Corum is getting most of the attention among running backs, but Robinson is not far behind. The Longhorn is projected to be selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Should he close the season well, he might even crack the top 10.
2. Jordan Addison, USC
Jordan Addison is having another solid season for the USC Trojans in 2022. The junior has 51 catches for a total of 765 yards and eight touchdowns. Last season, he earned All-American honors and won Fred Biletnikoff Award, presented to the top receiver in the nation. While many already considered him one of the best wideouts in college, he might jump to No. 1 after his performance on Saturday.
In the thriller win over the No. 16 UCLA Bruins, Addison had 11 receptions for a season-high 178 yards plus a score. After dealing with injuries, the wideout showed the health setbacks did not affect his game. Since he performed that well in one of the most anticipated games of the season, Addison is seeing his name skyrocket in NFL Draft conversations.
Many now see him as the top wideout in the 2023 class. Not only he is playing well, but he is showing he is not afraid of big moments. Two of his best games in 2022 came against ranked opponents, including UCLA on Saturday. Because of that, do not be surprised if Addison becomes the first wide receiver off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft.
1. Cam Smith, South Carolina
Facing the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers was something that most schools would like to avoid in 2022. In the biggest upset of the week, the unranked South Carolina Gamecocks made some noise with a huge 63-38 victory. While South Carolina’s offense deserves a lot of credit, the defense was also an X-factor.
Standout wide receiver Jalin Hyatt was held to only six catches for 65 yards on Saturday. He has five 100-yard games this season. A big reason why Hyatt was not as dominant as usual was the presence of Cam Smith. The cornerback took the assignment of guarding Hyatt, and he didn’t allow the wideout to shine.
Smith finished the day with seven tackles, six of them being solo, and a tackle for loss. But his contributions go beyond his individual numbers. He forced Tennessee to avoid passing to Hyatt as much as usual, plus not allowing any big plays when the Volunteers had the ball. Smith showed his physicality and awareness for all four quarters, which helped the Gamecocks to not allow a comeback.
For the season, the cornerback has 26 tackles including 23 solo ones. He also has five pass deflections and an interception. The matchup versus the Volunteers was not only his best performance statistically, but it also gave him a chance to shine on a bigger stage.
Due to his elite display, especially against a high-ranked team in Tennessee, Smith is becoming one of the top defensive prospects of the 2023 class. He is carving his name as a potential first-round pick after being in the bubble for most of the season.