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Dynasty Watch: Week 8 Prospect Review

Deuce Vaughn

Deuce Vaughn

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

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In a week that had several powerhouse teams and top prospects on bye, we’ll start this article with a brief injury announcement.

One of the more frustrating things about college football is how teams treat injuries. Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, who we’ve touched on in previous articles, exited last week’s loss to Duke with an “upper-body injury” which appeared to be an injury to his throwing shoulder.

There’s a good chance we’ll know more about it later in the week, but for now, head coach Mario Cristobal has yet to offer any major update on Miami’s star quarterback.

After a slow start to his season, Van Dyke has thrown for 920 yards, six touchdowns and one interception in his last three games -- including Saturday’s loss to Duke -- and has quickly re-inserted himself into the conversation as a solid NFL prospect.

Van Dyke’s injury will be one to monitor in the coming days as we wait to know the severity of it. As we wait to learn more on his status ahead of the team’s Week 9 matchup against Virginia, let’s take a look back at some of the top prospect performances from last week.

Note: Stats and information courtesy of PFF.com, CollegeFootballData.com and Sports-Reference.com.

D.J. Uiagalelei, QB (Clemson)

Passing: 13-of-21 passing, 138 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs
Rushing: 8 carries, 13 yards, 0 TDs

After a down-bad 2021 in which he threw for 2246-9-10, D.J. Uiagalelei had rebounded for a line of 1665-17-2 heading into Saturday’s game against Syracuse.

Uiagalelei has been one of the more aggressive passers in the nation, ranking 10th in deep passes (48) and 12th in passing yards on deep balls (636). Even with his early-season success, it’s safe to say that Uiagalelei’s draft stock hasn’t skyrocketed, but it likely took a hit in last week’s win over Syracuse.

Playing host to the Orange, Uiagalelei struggled in the team’s 27-21 win and found himself getting benched for true freshman Cade Klubnik with five minutes to go in the third quarter. Uiagalelei is likely to remain the team’s starter despite the benching, but Saturday’s game was a brief reminder of the junior quarterback’s inability to live up to the hype that had him ranked as the No. 1 overall quarterback of the 2020 recruiting class.

DJ Ugialelei 2022 Stats

DJ Ugialelei 2022 Stats

It’s unlikely that Uiagalelei will draw much draft capital next spring. However, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound quarterback could catch the eye of some scouts during the pre-draft process and work his way into conversations he probably shouldn’t be in.

Last week’s game against Syracuse should serve as a reminder to temper expectations for Uiagalelei even if scouts find a way to hype themselves up on him next spring. Don’t forget, we’re only a few years removed from the Jets making Christian Hackenberg a second-round pick despite his career line of 8457-48-31 while completing 56.1% of his passes at Penn State.

Deuce Vaughn, RB (Kansas State)

Rushing: 12 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: 4 catches, 38 yards, 0 TD

Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn continues to build on his NFL draft resumé. Through seven games, Vaughn has rushed for 131-749-4, adding an additional 20 receptions for 107 yards. In Kansas State’s Week 8 loss to TCU, the junior running back broke off a beautiful 47-yard touchdown run to give the Wildcats their second touchdown of the first half -- outrunning several defenders on his way to the end zone.

Deuce Vaughn 2022 Stats

Deuce Vaughn 2022 Stats

I touched on Vaughn early into the season, but his performance through the first seven weeks is worth noting. His 856 yards from scrimmage rank 21st in the nation among running backs, while his 384 yards after contact are good for 33rd. Vaughn lacks ideal NFL size at 5-foot-6, 172-pounds, but makes up for it with good speed and elite pass-catching abilities. Currently ranked as the 11th-best running back of the 2023 NFL Draft Class, Vaughn could catch on as a third-down back with the right team and turn into a valuable asset in PPR leagues.

Rakim Jarrett, WR (Maryland)

Receiving: 8 receptions, 82 yards, 1 TD

Heading into 2022, Maryland was thought to have one of the better receiving cores in the nation. After Rakim Jarrett’s solid 2021 campaign (62-829-5), Maryland was also looking forward to the return of Dontay Demus, whose 2021 season was cut short by a devastating knee injury suffered in Week 5 against Iowa. Demus was on the verge of a breakout through the first five games of last season, going for 28-507-3 in that span while topping 100 receiving yards in three of those games.

After Jarrett’s injury, it was Jarrett who stepped up as the Terps’ WR1, and in 2022 both were viewed as a dynamic duo in the Big Ten. To date, Demus has managed just 13 catches for 146 yards and one touchdown on the season, while Jarrett has enjoyed a bit more success with a line of 33-371-3.

In the Terps’ Week 8 win over Northwestern, and with starting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa sidelined, Jarrett turned in one of his best performances of the season. His longest play came on a 30-yard touchdown, as he found a hole in Northwestern’s coverage for the easy catch and score.

Per PFF.com, Jarrett has seen 214 of his 371 yards come after the catch -- good for 71st in the nation. NFL Mock Draft Database has Jarrett ranked as the 12th-best receiver of the 2023 class, with Demus ranking a spot ahead of him as the 11th-best receiver.

Maryland has churned out some solid wide receivers products in recent years -- the most notable being Stefon Diggs, D.J. Moore and Torrey Smith. Jarrett and Demus have underperformed expectations for this season, but both have shown flashes as potential NFL talent.

Parker Washington, WR (Penn State)

Receiving: 7 receptions, 70 yards, 1TD

After Jahan Dotson departed for the 2021 NFL Draft, scouts began setting their sights on another Penn State receiver in Parker Washington. Washington, who is a stocky 5-foot-10, 215-pounds, ranked second on Penn State in receiving last season, going for 64-820-4 and led the team in receiving percentage, hauling in 74.4% of his targets (min. 50 targets).

This season, Washington has underwhelmed to the tune of 30 receptions for 388 yards and one touchdown, but his 6.1YAC/REC is identical to his 2021 numbers, while his 2.16 YPRR is marginally better than his 2.00 YPRR from last season.

In Week 8, while playing host to a solid Minnesota defense, Washington and the Lions put out a 45-17 beatdown of the Golden Gophers, with Washington turning in one of his best receiving performances of the season. Washington found pay dirt for the first time in 2022 when he went up to haul in a contested catch for a 35-yard score, which was also good for his second-longest reception of the season.

Washington has served almost exclusively as a slot receiver throughout his career. However, his 79.1% slot rate this season is the lowest of his career, as the Lions look to work him a bit more on the outside. Washington’s underwhelming 2022 can also be blamed -- at least somewhat -- on quarterback Sean Clifford, who will have his doctorate degree in football by the time his career is finished.

Clifford has thrown for 1,445-13-3 on the season, ranking 80th in total passing yards and 69th in the nation with a 9.3 aDOT. Penn State is also running a near 50/50 split of run and pass plays, which won’t help Washington’s receiving upside, but the junior receiver is ranked one spot behind Maryland’s Rakim Jarrett on NFL Mock Draft Database and should be viewed as a legitimate prospect at the NFL level.