A few games in, and the Big Ten has shown a nice collection of fun pass catchers … and we haven’t even seen Purdue’s Rondale Moore yet. Imagine that. Ohio State’s Chris Olave gets something going on just about every play, Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman is one of the most complete receivers in the country, and a few others have started strong in 2020.

On the structure front for WR Watch, I decided it was essentially pointless to provide specific rankings of the wideouts prospects each week because everything is so fluid during the season from a scouting perspective. Instead, I’ll simply include “stock up,” “stock steady,” or “stock down” after each receiver’s name based on how well he played in the most recent contest. 

Devonta Smith, Alabama: Stock Up

All Smith does is catch the football. And score it. The soon-to-be all-time leader in all major statistical categories at Alabama is an animal. I no longer care he’s listed at 175 pounds. After dropping a touchdown early in the first half, Smith went ballistic on Mississippi State with 11 receptions for 203 yards with four scores. He was found by Mac Jones on two deep balls down the left sideline in the first half in which Smith ran in a lower gear before clicking into top speed to run away from the helpless defensive back trying to stay with him down the field. I’m really starting to think he’s a better (downfield) separator than Jerry Jeudy was. Seriously. 

Rashod Bateman, Minnesota: Stock Steady

Weirdly, Minnesota is 0-2, and Bateman is fresh off a five-catch, 62-yard pedestrian performance against Maryland. Most of his yards came on a deep over route in the second quarter. I found it strange Bateman wasn’t more heavily involved in a contest that ended 45-44, but here we are. While it’s a nightmare start for the Gophers, I firmly believe some high-production outings are coming for Bateman thanks to his fine skill set and connection with quarterback Tanner Morgan. 

Chris Olave, Ohio State: Stock Up

Olave’s route-running mastery was on full display in prime time, and boy is it ever pretty to watch. His first score was phenomenal. He found the football, jumped while contorting his body and somehow got his feet in bounds when it appeared there was no room on the side of the end zone. He broke the game open in the third quarter on a 49-yard out-and-up touchdown in which he smoothly ran past a cornerback before being hit in stride by Justin Fields, who, by the way, was spectacular in the win over Penn State. 

Marquez Stevenson, Houston: Frown

After a nine-grab, 128-yard, two-score eruption in the win over Navy, the Cougars’ most electric player went down with a lower body injury on his one grab — a 12-yarder — in the loss to the high-octane UCF Knights. He was spotted on the sideline in a walking boot after spending time in the locker room. Hopefully that was just precautionary, and Stevenson can get back on the field at some point this season. 

Dyami Brown, North Carolina: Stock Up

This was the bombs away game for North Carolina’s offense, which we haven’t really seen yet this year because of how punishing their backfield is. Sam Howell found Brown deep down the left sideline for a touchdown on the first series. But we knew he could take the lid off any defense. His third score came on a nasty jerk route underneath. Creating separation on a route in which he had to throttle down is not necessarily something Brown gets to showcase each week. Late in the fourth, Brown fought through a physical jam at the line and made an absolutely ridiculous contested-catch for a huge gain for the Tar Heels offense. He’s arguably the best downfield bully in college football. 

Whop Philyor, Indiana: Stock Up

The twitched-up, 5-11, 180-pound senior had five catches for 137 yards against Rutgers, including a 63-yard grab in which he was tackled inside the 5-yard line. He’s one of those smaller receivers who doesn’t turn into a running back after the catch — he looks like a threatening returner. He’s fast too. Beyond the 63-yarder, Philyor had was found deep down the field on a double move. His quarterback, Michael Penix Jr. is a legitimate dual-threat player, so Philyor’s statistics might not be through the roof like this every week, but he has NFL-caliber YAC skills from the slot. 

Terrace Marshall, LSU: Stock Down

Well, Marshall couldn’t score a touchdown every week. LSU’s tall, long-striding target had just four catches for 28 yards in the battle of the Tigers, a 48-11 Auburn beatdown. He’s still at nine scores on the year, and this was his first game since Nov. 30 of last year without a touchdown, which is absolutely bananas. He remains one of the premier scoring threats in the country because of his size, speed, and rebounding skills. LSU’s quarterback this year is just a little bit less efficient than Joe Burrow in 2019. Just a little bit.

Elijah Moore, Ole Miss: Stock Up

If you’re breaking a school record held by A.J. Brown, chances are you’re pretty darn good. That’s exactly what Moore did against Vanderbilt, setting the Ole Miss record for receiving yards in a game (238). He did it on 14 grabs with three touchdowns. No, the Commodores aren’t fielding a secondary bound for the NFL, but that stat line speaks for itself. Moore’s last score of the day was a nasty stutter-go from the slot. On the play, he demonstrated his outstanding twitch and acceleration from a standstill, and he tracked it over his shoulder beautifully. 

Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State: Stock Up

Wallace was a monster in the loss to Texas with 11 receptions for 187 yards and two scores, including a fantastic grab on a slant on the first possession of the game with a defender draped on him. In the second quarter, Wallace put on a fine display of his full skill set on a grab down the sideline by beating press coverage then finding the football on his back shoulder. On his second score, Wallace snatched the ball off the top of the helmet of a defender on a short fade. He is, once again, showing a very well-rounded game this season.


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