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2024 NFL Draft: 5 Players With Most To Prove Over Next Month

Michigan's quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates after beating Michigan State on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

With the college football season making its way down the home stretch, it’s the perfect time to key in on a few 2024 NFL Draft prospects who need a big end to their seasons to boost their draft stock.

Today, we’ll highlight three players who have plenty to prove in the final month of the college football season.

>> READ: 2024 First-Round Mock Draft

5 NCAA Players With Most to Prove

J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Coming into the year, you would have been called crazy to have Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy in the first-round conversation. However, with three games left to play, he has absolutely earned the right to be considered that high.

McCarthy hasn't faced a tough test yet, but that will change in the next three weeks with Penn State coming up this weekend and Ohio State coming up on Nov. 25.

The Wolverines' signal-caller is right in the conversation to be the third quarterback drafted in the 2024 NFL Draft with Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix. With a strong finish against those solid Big 10 opponents mentioned earlier, he could solidify himself as the clear-cut QB3.

Kalen King

Kalen King, CB, Penn State

Coming into the 2023 NCAA season, many believed Kalen King was primed to run away with the CB1 title ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft. While it would be ridiculous to call King's season in its entirety disappointing, we have seen more struggles from him than we saw in the past two seasons at Penn State.

King has allowed 290 yards on 25 receptions in nine games this season. He’s allowing a passer rating of 88.7 when targeted and has yet to record an interception. 

With no real consensus at the top of the cornerback board heading into November, King has every opportunity to snatch that title back with high-level performances to close out the year against Michigan, Maryland and Ohio State.

Spencer Rattler

Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina

We’re just a few years removed from many people thinking Spencer Rattler had blue-chip potential. Since then, we’ve seen some good, some bad and a lot of inconsistencies in Rattler’s game. 

Once touted as a potential top-five pick, Rattler has a lot to prove even to be considered in the top 100 overall players, especially considering this year’s loaded quarterback class. Before putting up an impressive performance against Jacksonville State, Rattler was coming off three rough showings in a four-week stretch.

In losses to Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee, Rattler posted an average QBR of 29.3. He has had major struggles handling pressure and creating off-script in 2023, and he has turned the football over far too much. Rattler has six interceptions and three fumbles this season. 

Rattler and the South Carolina offense have a mixed bag of defenses on their schedule to close out their year. Still, if Rattler wants his name to be cemented among the top 10 quarterbacks in this coming draft, he needs to have some good showing against Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Clemson.

Nov 4, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) runs through Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Flip Dixon (10) during the second half of the NCAA football game at SHI Stadium. Ohio State won 35-16.

TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State

There are a few guys on this list who need a strong finish to the season because they have not played as expected. There are a few guys on this list who need a strong finish to the season because they can solidify themselves in a ranking. For TreVeyon Henderson, he just needs to prove he can remain healthy.

Henderson is penciled in as the top running back in this class, but questions surrounding his health are one of the few concerns in his evaluation. Henderson has played in just 27 games in his three years at Ohio State due to injuries. When on the field, there is no better running back in the country.

While we should not expect a running back to be drafted in the first round, with a strong ending to the season, we should expect to see Henderson be the first back selected come April.

Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Like McCarthy, Keon Coleman wants to close out the season strong to solidify himself in the top half of the first round. Coleman has had a tremendous season for the Noles. Closing out the season on a high note could go a long way toward sorting things out at the wide receiver position behind Marvin Harrison Jr.

Coleman is looking to separate from other receivers like Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze, and he has shown he can compete with those guys. Coleman's size and ball skills should make him one of the more sought-after receivers in this draft class. If he continues the track he is on, he could hear his name called much earlier than expected.

Connor Livesay breaks down and covers the NFL and NFL Draft year-round using film and data to support his opinions and takes. You can follow him on Twitter (X) at @ConnorNFLDraft