Every week of college football is filled with big performances and disappointments alike. Here, our writers react to some takes around the CFB world to help distinguish between recency bias and take lock.
Too Cold (agree with the take) or Too Bold (disagree with the take)
1. The Top Two 2023 RBs are Locked In: Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs
Alabama 2023 RB Jahmyr Gibbs (5’11/200) set career-highs with 206 rushing yards while also recording the 2 longest touchdown rushes of his career (72 & 76).— Eric Froton (@CFFroton) October 4, 2022
Here are all Gibbs’ touches from his banner game against Arkansas. #2023NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/KFdWJhpLI3
Bijan Robinson has long been the consensus RB1 in the 2023 class. There has been continuous debate over who should follow him. Now, Alabama’s new rusher Jahmyr Gibbs is pulling away – from defenses and from the rest of the competition in the class. His performance has solidified him as the clear RB2 in the 2023 draft. Cold or Bold?
Justin – Too cold. I am a big fan of the skillset that Zach Evans will bring to the NFL, but Gibbs looks like a lock for top-50 draft capital. For me, he is the best undersized running back prospect in years. Gibbs hit a maximum speed of 22.8 mph against Arkansas. If there has been a faster time recorded than that, I sure haven’t come across it. The pass-catching upside Gibbs offers has him a tier above Evans in my rankings. NFL teams want to invest in that modern-day running back, and Gibbs fits the bill.
Andrew – At this point, too bold for me. Gibbs is electric, and he has played great. But eventual NFL landing spot matters way more than we devy players care to admit once it’s time for rookie drafts. There are plenty of running backs in this class besides Robinson and Gibbs. They could rise boards if they land in one of the glamorous situations for 2023, especially if it looks like they will be given a workhorse role, something I’m not sure Gibbs will be afforded, given his skill set.
Erik – cold, I guess? I’ve been back and forth on this. I had Evans ranked above Gibbs as I thought he offered a bit more between the tackles, but now I’m wondering if the ascension of Quinshon Judkins will ding Evans.
Plus, the NFL seems to be telling us lately that it’s more willing to invest in the profile of the pass-catching running back (look at James Cook and Rachaad white this year). As much as I would like to be contentious, it’s likely that Gibbs will go as the RB2.
The Verdict: Too Cold (2/3)
2. D.J. Uiagelelei – First-Round Draft Capital is Back on the Menu
Time to put 2021 DJU comments to rest. Whatever happened in the past is over with. This guy has progressed into so much more of a complete QB and is playing at a level that can lead Clemson back to the CFB Playoff@MDavidHood pic.twitter.com/njBfnJb4jR— Mike Glennon (@Mike_Glennon) October 3, 2022
DJU disappointed many devy managers with a horrid performance in 2021. He’s bouncing back this year under a new offensive coordinator, and the first-round buzz is picking up again. Too Cold or Too Bold?
Justin – Too bold. I was on the record all off-season telling folks that DJU would rehabilitate his stock, and he has to an extent. The numbers are much better, and he is playing with more confidence. That is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. DJU still looks like a shell of his former self, though, and not remotely close to the prospect he was at one time. Evaluating his film is infuriating because he struggles to process it quickly and makes questionable decisions. Plenty of prospects have physical tools. DJU needs to continue making strides in every other facet of his game. The revolving door of quarterbacks auditioning to be the 2023 QB3 is wild.
Andrew – Way too bold. DJU has been so bad for so long, that I’m not inclined to welcome him back with open arms based on a few decent showings with the level of talent around him. Get back to me in December.
Erik – too bold for me, bro. His processing speed is still pretty tough to project for NFL success. Maybe if he returns for a year and has superstar output, DJU can get into the first round for me, but I can’t see it happening right now.
The Verdict: Too Bold (3/3)
3. Jordan Addison is the 2023 WR1
Jordan Addison is diffy 👿 pic.twitter.com/nO2SJZ60om— The Transfer Portal CFB (@TPortalCFB) October 2, 2022
Going into the year, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Kayshon Boutte were the consensus top 2 WRs in the 2023 class. JSN has played just two games and recorded just four catches this year. Boutte has appeared in four matches, only managing 11 catches and failing to reach 100 total yards or a TD yet on the season. Meanwhile, Jordan Addison is following up his Biletnikoff campaign by averaging 88 yards and 1.25 TDs per game. Some are moving him up to WR1 in the class. Cold or Bold?
Justin – Too bold for me. I was waiting for this one after two weeks of Twitter hype. Maybe I’m just less reactionary than other draftniks, but there is no reason why JSN should be falling in the 2023 WR rankings. He was my 2023 WR1 heading into the season, and nothing has happened to change that. Addison has been phenomenal as a college receiver and has risen to WR3 in my rankings. He is a master route runner, but I prefer a couple of players with more complete NFL profiles.
Andrew – Too bold for now. Addison is great, but he’s also had the luxury of being the top target for two top NFL Draft picks at the quarterback position. Now, he should not be penalized for that, especially since he has been balling out, but I’m just not ready to say that JSN and Boutte should be moved down despite their respective circumstances this season. Gun to my head, if I were in a 2023 rookie draft today, I’m still taking JSN as the WR1.
Erik – cold as ice my friend. I’ve been saying this for weeks now.
I’m willing to change my tune if JSN or Boutte close the year supernova hot, but now Addison has been rock solid in two schemes, and the traits were close enough.
The Verdict: Too Bold (2/3)
4. Kendre Miller is a Top 10 Devy RB
In his first two years at TCU, Kendre Miller sat behind Zach Evans. He averaged over seven YPC in that span, but many chalked it up to small sample size. Now that Evans is gone, Miller is averaging… over seven YPC, leading the TCU backfield en route to a 4-0 start. He’s rising quickly up the ranks, even climbing into the top ten devy RBs for some. Too Cold or Too Bold?
Justin – Another one that is too bold. I like Miller in the RB14-17 range. Who can you possibly boot out of the top ten for Miller at this point? Will Shipley? Raheim Sanders? The top ten is full of guys establishing themselves as slam dunk prospects. The running back position is stacked over the next few cycles. Miller has excellent leg churn, and I hope that is on full display in this week’s showdown in Lawrence, KS. I have to pump the brakes on the top ten, though.
Andrew – Too cold. Miller is the real deal. He wasn’t a highly glorified recruit out of Mount Enterprise in Texas, but the 6’0″, 210-pound back has put the work in, and it’s paying off. He has scored at least one touchdown in every game this season while averaging more than 100 scrimmage yards each week. Also, Miller’s production has been increasing every week, even as TCU’s opponents have gotten stronger. After pedestrian outings against Colorado and Tarleton State, Miller rushed for 142 and 136 yards against SMU and Oklahoma over the last two weekends.
Erik – I’ll call this cold with the caveat that I haven’t written out my rankings. There are so many superstars breaking out in 25 and 24 that might be tough to get Miller inside the ten, but I agree here, as I love his talent and data profile. Give me that yards-after-contact monster profile with pass-catching upside
The Verdict: Too Cold (2/3)
5. Quinshon Judkins > Zach Evans
This is why Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin sat out in the rain all alone last year at a high school game.— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) October 4, 2022
He saw something no one else in the State of Alabama saw.
A game-changer running back.
Freshman RB Quinshon Judkins #OleMiss pic.twitter.com/LEG3uoODye
Zach Evans is now at Ole Miss and is considered one of the best RBs in the country. However, it’s true freshman Quinshon Judkins that is leading the Rebels backfield. The 3-star recruit has taken more handoffs, is averaging more yards per carry, and has scored more TDs than Evans. For some, it’s enough to call him a better prospect than Evans. Too Cold or Too Bold?
Justin – This is a fun one, but too bold. Evans has been an elite prospect for years, with production and pedigree to back up the hype. He profiles as an impact player at the next level and is 11 months away from producing on our dynasty teams. To his credit, Judkins is becoming one of the most exciting players in the 2025 class. He now has 535 rushing yards (6.3 average) and six touchdowns on the season. I love his patience and size. He should be a high-priority target in off-season drafts, as he is currently unrostered in nearly all devy leagues.
Andrew – Too bold. Evans is the real deal. He is currently my RB2 in this 2023 draft class due to his well-rounded skill set. The fact that Evans is losing touches to Judkins is something schools like Georgia are doing now with their top RB talent in recent years as top high school runners are looking to leave some tread on their tires for the NFL. I’m not concerned about that. Evans will need to prove he can play on third down at the next level, but right now, there’s nothing to suggest his NFL future is anything but bright.
Sam – Too bold. Judkins is looking like a legitimate stud, helping make the 2025 class already seem exciting. But Evans has put up multiple years of tape and production and is still performing fine this year. He’s a near lock for Day 2 draft capital and projects to be a starter at the next level, while Judkins still has a lot to prove. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but Evans is the much safer bet right now.
The Verdict: Too Bold (3/3)