Stock Up/Stock Down Big XII Week 6
We had a pretty chalk week in the Big 12 this week, with all ten teams locked in conference matchups. Only one of those ended in surprising fashion, as Texas Tech pulled out an upset win over Oklahoma State. Baylor and Oklahoma are still undefeated, with the Bears facing Texas Tech on Saturday and the Sooners eyeing the Red River Shootout. Meanwhile, an unprecedented number of NFL teams (4) are winless through 5 weeks, meaning more fans than ever are thinking about the draft before Halloween. With that in mind, a lot (but not all!) of the big names in the conference have been relegated to honorable mention this week, so that fans of bad teams can find a glimmer of hope or quit on their team for good when one of these guys is their team’s pick on Day 3.
Stock Up: Jett Duffey, Texas Tech QB (junior)
This was the story of the weekend in the Big 12. With Alan Bowman having suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out for up to 8 weeks, Duffey was pressed into action for a team I said last week was not very good. Duffey clearly took offense to my slander of his team, as he torched the Oklahoma State secondary (more on them in a second) for 424 yards and 4 TDs without throwing a pick while also adding a rushing TD. Duffey thoroughly outplayed Cowboys QB Spencer Sanders in this game and may be the spark Texas Tech needs to turn their season around and play spoiler in the conference. As far as his draft stock, Duffey probably isn’t going to make a lot of teams’ radars even in 2021 when he’s a senior. However, with the Air Raid becoming less and less taboo in the NFL, I could see a team using a 7th rounder or picking him up as a UDFA to be a perennial backup. Don’t forget also that the XFL is looking for players. This Week: Baylor, 4pm EST
Stock Down: Oklahoma State secondary
Can you think of a more disappointing position group in this conference? I mean, TCU’s QB situation has been a disaster, but expecting good things from Alex Delton and a true freshman isn’t something I would consider sane. Oklahoma State is supposed to have two NFL-caliber corners! AJ Green and Rodarius Williams entered the year as a duo to watch in the secondary, with Green expected to be a second-tier corner and Williams a Day 3 pick. Now look, I know it’s the Big 12, and nobody plays defense, and they just played Texas Tech, an Air Raid team that scores a bazillion points a game when run correctly, but that doesn’t mean Big 12 teams don’t have good defensive prospects, I swear! The Cowboys secondary hasn’t helped me prove this point, and they’re putting a blemish on Chuba Hubbard’s season because everybody knows you can’t win the Heisman for a team with 3 losses, which means Oklahoma State has to win out for Hubbard to be considered. That’s not going to happen, which is why I’m going to boycott this secondary until they inevitably show up in a nationally televised game against a ranked Baylor team and have the sort of collective game, they were supposed to be having all year. Such is life. This Week: Bye
Stock Up: Deshaunte Jones, Iowa State WR (senior)
I’m sort of cheating here, because I’m really using Jones as an excuse to talk about true sophomore QB Brock Purdy, who had what I thought was one of the best games of his career. I’ll be honest with you: after watching Purdy at the beginning of this year, I thought he was overrated. But in this game, he showed dual-threat ability I hadn’t really seen from him this year and lit up a well-reputed TCU defense as Iowa State cruised to a 49-24 win. Don’t get me wrong, though, Jones was a huge part of this: he had 10 catches for 110 yards and had double-digit targets for the third time this year. Usually when a receiver is getting 10+ targets a game, it’s because he’s a premier receiver surrounded by a decent at best supporting cast. While I’m not sure that’s exactly true of Jones, he’s clearly got the talent to be playing on Sundays, even if he does slot into the back half of draftable receivers from the Big 12. I can tell you this, though: Jalen Reagor and CeeDee Lamb aren’t seeing 10+ targets a game on a consistent basis. Take that as you will. This Week: West Virginia, 4pm EST on ESPN
Stock Down: Tarique Milton, Iowa State WR (r. sophomore)
Milton has struggled pretty badly the last two weeks, reaching a new low of just 1 catch for 30 yards against TCU. I’m a bit confused as to how this happened, because watching Milton against Iowa and UL-Monroe made me think he was the most dynamic player on the Cyclones offense. In those two games, he had 11 catches for 286 yards and the only 2 TDs he’s collected this season, but since then he’s had just 4 catches for 70 yards. The explanation for his game against TCU that I hope is most true is that his speed and athleticism were negated by Jeff Gladney, the speedster TCU corner who I’m falling more and more in love with as a prospect. Another explanation is simply that Milton is a prototypical number 2 deep threat receiver, and those kinds of players naturally are up and down, even at the next level. Milton is at least an intriguing name to keep in mind in 2021 and possibly 2022 depending how things break for him, and his talent shows that the Big 12 will still be deep at receiver even after sending 5 or 6 guys to the NFL in 2020. This Week: West Virginia, 4pm EST on ESPN
Stock Up: Stephon Robinson Jr, Kansas WR (junior)
The last Kansas WR to be drafted by the NFL and actually catch a pass is Dezmon Briscoe, who went in the 6th round in 2010. Briscoe had 43 catches for 502 yards and 7 TDs in his 3-year NFL career. What I’m trying to say here is that Kansas is not known for producing talent at wide receiver, much as they aren’t known for producing talent at any position. However, I think this is changing under Les Miles. I wrote (negatively) about Andrew Parchment last week, who has a game with 5 catches, 132 yards, and 2 TDs this year. Robinson Jr almost exactly matched that line against Oklahoma, putting up 5 catches, 131 yards and 2 TDs. That also means that Robinson Jr had more receiving yards than QB Carter Stanley had total passing yards last week, which is a marked improvement against the best team in the conference, so of course their offensive coordinator got fired the day after the game. There’s still hope out there for Jayhawks fans, and a lot of it starts with what is beginning to look like a dynamic, if not at least good, receiving duo in 2020. Neither Robinson Jr nor Parchment should declare this year, if they do it’s either a curse on Kansas or it’s because half of the Big 12 was sent to Mars. This Week: Bye
Stock Down: Austin Kendall, West Virginia QB (r. junior)
Can you imagine what life would be like right now if Kendall was the Oklahoma quarterback and Jalen Hurts had gone anywhere else? Would we be talking about Kendall winning the Heisman, or would we be talking about how disappointing Oklahoma has been? Fortunately for Sooners fans, they have Lincoln Riley, who has been anointed as football’s new greatest wizard, so I’d lean towards the former. Kendall, on the other hand, has been struggling as West Virginia tries to move on from the Dana Holgerson era, and simply didn’t look ready to play against a team of Texas’ caliber. He went 31/46 for 367 yards and 3 TDs, but threw 4 interceptions, a couple of which were admittedly more about great plays by a young Longhorns secondary than about Kendall’s mistakes. Kendall finally showed some chemistry with his receivers, hitting 3 players 5+ times, including freshman Sam James, everyone’s new favorite player. My issue with Kendall, and why I think he’s going to be floating around UDFA territory in 2021, is his accuracy is abysmal, something you can’t see all of when you see the 65.8% completion rate, he’s posted this year. Kendall has yet to put up a QBR or more than 73, which in college football with games against James Madison and Kansas is near-inexcusable. This is clearly a transition year for the Mountaineers, but I honestly can’t see them being much better without significantly better play from their quarterback. This Week: Iowa State, 4pm EST on ESPN
Stock Up: Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech LB (senior)
19 total tackles, 3 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 QB hurry. I’d argue those are decent stats for an entire linebacking corps in a game, but Brooks put that up all by himself. With 7 total pressures, he forced Spencer Sanders to improvise and make plays on the run, something I’ve seen him struggle with especially late in games this year. Brooks also had 12 stops in the run game, which “limited” Chuba Hubbard about as well as you can limit the Cowboys RB (4.6 YPC). I was going to use this spot-on Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray, who I really like as a prospect and hope my hometown Chargers take to learn behind an aging Thomas Davis, but stats like Brooks’ are hard to ignore. The easy comparison is to fellow Texas Tech LB Dakota Allen, the Last Chance U star who went in the 7th round of the 2019 draft. Allen was also a tackling machine for the Red Raiders and has leveraged those stats into an NFL roster spot in Oakland. Brooks could be on a similar trajectory, although I have a feeling a few more games with stats like last week’s and he’ll be shooting for much higher than the 7th round. This Week: Baylor, 4pm EST
Stock Down: Armand Shyne, Texas Tech RB (senior)
I’ve been harsh on Shyne this season, considering he’s a running back in an Air Raid on a team that has either been blowing teams out or losing games. However, getting out-touched by both freshman SaRodorick Thompson and sophomore Ta’Zhawn Henry isn’t ideal for the senior. Shyne took 6 carries for 25 yards and added a catch for 23 more but was outgained on the ground by both Thompson (12/69) and Henry (7/50). It’s a shame, too, because I think Shyne is a decent back that could flourish in another situation, and perhaps an NFL team will see that and take a flier on him developing. At the end of the day, though, it’s the same problem I’ve had with Baylor’s JaMycal Hasty, in that playing a largely reserve role in your senior season generally isn’t good for your NFL draft stock. I think both Shyne and Hasty are good candidates to pop up in the XFL after their cup of tea in the NFL ends during training camp this summer, but there’s still time to turn it around. Let’s hope one of them does in their head-to-head matchup this week. This Week: Baylor, 4pm EST
Stock Up: Creed Humphrey/Sam Cosmi, Oklahoma IOL/Texas OT (r. sophomores)
We’re back in the Offensive Line Spotlight of the Week, and this week brings us a two-for-one! I was originally going to write about Humphrey, who’s been the best part of a very solid Oklahoma line all season and would be the best interior prospect in 2020 if not for Tyler Biadasz of Wisconsin, but then my favorite offensive lineman in the history of the universe caught (technically ran, but it was a lateral) a touchdown pass. Let’s talk about Humphrey first, though, since readers already largely know how I feel about Cosmi. Creed Humphrey has a wrestling background, which is a lot rarer than I thought it would be for linemen, since the skills seem pretty transferable, but it works in Humphrey’s favor almost every time he lines up. He’s been the rock of one of the best offensive lines in the country, which has allowed Jalen Hurts the time to operate he grew used to at Alabama. Humphrey is, rather obviously because of the system he plays in, a pass blocker first, but that works out perfectly for modern offenses. My hope is that my hometown Chargers snag him, play him at guard for a season or two while Mike Pouncey ages out, and then move him back to center, where he can play for 10+ years at a Pro Bowl level.
Samuel Cosmi is back in the spotlight, baby! He allowed just one QB hurry against West Virginia and still hasn’t given up a QB hit or a sack this year. A reminder: this guy hadn’t ever played left tackle before this year! Cosmi has been flying up boards, and rightfully so, which makes me a little worried the Chargers won’t be able to grab him in the later rounds like I hoped when I first wrote about him in Week 1. Keep an eye on Cosmi for the rest of the year, but pay special attention to Texas’ eventual bowl game, when he’ll most likely face the best edge defender this side of K’Lavon Chaisson (who he dominated, by the way).
Stock Down: Sewo Olonilua, TCU RB (senior)
It’s against the law to talk negatively about Darius Anderson here at Whole Nine Sports, and I like this job, so I picked Anderson’s running mate Olonilua instead. Neither back had a great day, combining for 62 yards on 20 carries, with Olonilua contributing 9 carries for just 13 yards. TCU’s offense revolved around the passing attack for the first time this year, a sentence I never thought I’d have to type, and Jalen Reagor finally showed some flashes of the player everybody has been saying he is, but TCU still ultimately lost this game rather handily. Olonilua in a broader context has kind of fallen by the wayside as the hype train for Anderson has taken off: at the beginning of the year, I and I think many people saw them as relatively equal prospects, but with Anderson showing out over the first half of the year, Olonilua has stayed stagnant in that Day 3 spot while Anderson is in the conversation of this year’s second tier of backs. Olonilua did outpace Anderson in the receiving game, something to keep in mind as the year progresses, but his steadily declining role and production should be cause for concern for his draft supporters. This Week: Bye
Jalen Reagor (TCU WR) found the endzone twice on 4 catches for 69 yards as his QBs are finally learning to throw the ball; Brian Griese (ESPN commentator) is the first non-player to make my article, after what I thought was a dumbfounding call about an Austin Kendall INT where he blamed poor ball placement on a hit from a Texas defender that just didn’t occur; I can’t talk about Chuba Hubbard (OKST RB) or Jalen Hurts (OKLA QB) unless they have absolutely monstrous games at this point because they’ve both been so consistently good; Skylar Thompson (KSU QB) had a bad game against Baylor where Kansas State as a whole got pretty exposed; Kenneth Murray (OKLA LB) is the conference’s best coverage LB and one of the best in the country; CeeDee Lamb (OKLA WR) was the victim of a weird day where no Sooner had more than 2 catches against Kansas.