CLEVELAND -- The college bowl season presents one final chance for players to show their skills in a game setting ahead of the NFL Draft, and this year's crop of athletes did not disappoint, all the way through the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between Georgia and Alabama Monday night.
Here is a look at four players who impressed so much so that they may rocket up the board in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith
Smith was one of the leaders of the Bulldogs' defense throughout the regular season, but when it mattered most, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound native of Montezuma, Georgia, stepped up his game and made enough plays to make an appearance in the National Championship Game.
Winner of the 2017 Dick Butkus Award, given annually to the best linebacker in the country, Smith registered 13 tackles, including 10 solo stops and one sack on the way to MVP honors against Auburn in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship Game.
Against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl Semifinal, Smith registered 11 stops, including a memorable hit late in the come-from-behind victory, and he followed it up with 13 total tackles, nine solo stops and one sack versus Alabama.
Georgia running back Sony Michel
Michel built an impressive resume through his first three years with the Bulldogs, but he saved the best for last.
Against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, Michel rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries, while turning four receptions into 41 yards and a fourth score. He finished his collegiate career with 98 yards on 14 carries against Alabama.
On 156 carries during the 2017 season, Michel rushed for 1,227 yards and 16 touchdowns. Michel's yards, 7.9 yards-per-carry average and touchdowns were single-season career highs, better than the 1,161 yards and eight scores he had during his sophomore season.
In four years at Georgia, Michel rushed for 3,638 yards and 33 touchdowns on 591 carries.
Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard
The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Hubbard burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2015 and was a mainstay on the defensive front for his entire career.
USC quarterback Sam Darnold was considered a lock for a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but had to get through a tough test from the Buckeyes before taking his game to the next level, and Ohio State had something for him.
The Buckeyes registered eight sacks against Darnold, and Hubbard had 2.5 of them, and when he did not get to the quarterback, the junior still found a way to wreak havoc in the backfield.
Over his three years with the Buckeyes, Hubbard registered 17 sacks for 121 lost yards and 29.5 tackles for lost yardage. Additionally, Hubbard forced three fumbles, recovered two more, defended three passes, corralled one interception and made 116 total tackles.
Hubbard caught national attention against Penn State when he tackled both running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley on a second-half stop that helped spur the Buckeyes to a come-from-behind win over the Nittany Lions.
San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny
For Penny, it was not so much about improving his draft stock as much as it was validating his collegiate production, and the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder lived up to the hype with a standout performance in a losing effort against the Army Black Knights in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
On just 14 carries, Penny rushed for 221 yards and four touchdowns against the Army. It was Penny's fifth straight 200-yard performance, and his four touchdowns were a single-game season high.
Penny rushed for 2,248 yards and 23 touchdowns on 289 carries in 2017, all of which were single-season career bests. Prior to 2017, Penny's previous single-season bests were 135 carries, 1,005 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2016.