Justin Herbert might have had more at stake than any other player at the Senior Bowl this week, with the Oregon quarterback trying to prove he is worthy of a top-10 draft pick.
He responded by being named as both the "Practice Player of the Week" and the MVP of Saturday's game.
Herbert's South team wound up losing the game 34-17. But he staked them a 7-0 lead while completing his first seven passes, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Florida running back Lamical Perine on the game's opening drive. Herbert also showed off his legs with a 19-yard run on that opening drive.
He completed 9 of 12 passes for 83 yards with one TD and no interceptions and ran the ball three times for 22 yards before calling it a day.
"We could've won. That's one thing that could've gone better. But I had a lot of fun this week," said Herbert, who said his main focus between now and the combine and his pro day is "getting better."
"I love competing, and that's one of the things I wanted to come here and do," Herbert said. "It was so much fun, it was such a great learning experience, and I've really enjoyed it."
Herbert said at the beginning of the week that he was well aware of how the Senior Bowl boosted the profile of recent top QB picks like Carson Wentz, Baker Mayfield and Daniel Jones. But he insisted that more than anything, he was honored to be invited because he grew up watching this game.
"Not a whole lot of people get this invite. To come here, it's special," Herbert said.
It has to feel even more special after the way this week went. The 6-foot-6, 227-pounder showed off his big arm throughout the practice week. But he also showed consistency and drew praise for his leadership with a group of new teammates -- something Herbert said he knew NFL teams wanted to see after he had a reputation for being a quiet personality.
The biggest knock on Herbert is that he needs to do a better job of working through his progressions. But he did as much as he could in this type of format to help his stock.