The decision by Marcus Mariota to return to school wasn't much of a shock. After he hurt his knee about a month ago, he looked frustrated with his movement, and it clearly affected him as a passer. I think another year of college football will be good for him because it will allow him more time to develop as a passer who, while he can move incredibly well, is less reliant on movement to maximize his throwing.
That said, Mariota's return to school takes him off the Big Board, which only reflects prospects who could enter the 2014 NFL draft. It's also good news for other quarterbacks, who just saw the herd thinned a little more. Scarcity creates value, and between Mariota's decision and Zach Mettenberger's injury, some other QBs will have an opportunity to move up draft boards. Elsewhere, the biggest move of the week is by Carlos Hyde, who is a pretty distinct entity in this class, with a rare combination of size (240-plus pounds) and explosiveness at running back.
As always, scouting reports remain similar week to week, with updates on matchups. Asterisks denote juniors; two asterisks denote redshirt sophomores.
Jadeveon Clowney *
He picked up another sack this weekend, but his stat line will draw some scrutiny. I just don't think the scrutiny will hold up when people really watch the tape. Clowney has the quickness to beat people at the point of attack, the strength and strong hands to shed blocks and can pursue all over. He's not just an edge rusher looking to quickly turn the corner, as he beats average tackles both inside and outside, which prompts many double-teams. Teams make a great effort to neutralize him.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 1 | PLAYER CARD
His return has been a success, and he seems destined for the top five. He's remained a disruptive force even with added attention, and become a better player. He's a good pass-rusher, but I love his pursuit when the play runs away from him. A former fullback, he has a powerful lower half and has a long frame and reach. He could have left for the NFL in the spring, but more seasoning has him in great shape for 2014.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 2 | PLAYER CARD
Another good story of a player returning and improving his draft status. A complete left tackle prospect with experience and a feisty, competitive nature. He's an intense worker and has great NFL bloodlines; his father, brother and two cousins have played in the league. Has strong skills as both a pass-protector and a finisher in the run game.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 3 | PLAYER CARD