The Devy 100 Countdown: 21-30

Rob Willette


Editor’s Note: This article is a Dynasty Scouts exclusive. Remember, our new Dynasty Scouts section focuses on the stars of tomorrow, with a laser focus on High School recruits and College players who look to have the talent to be future assets in dynasty leagues and have value today in devy leagues.

One of the more intriguing aspects of devy leagues is the number of opinions they inspire.  With over 100 Division I programs and regional broadcasting, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and vice versa.  Outside of the elite prospects known to all, it is really a matter of personal preference. In the Devy 100 series, we’ll look at the top 100 developmental prospects in college football.  This is catered to those in deep leagues in which a lot of players are already owned – a majority of devy leagues only allow a few players to be rostered at a time.  A few important notes:

  • I’ll give the nod to a true freshman I view to have a high ceiling versus an upperclassmen who may top out as a complementary player at the next level.  I’d rather swing for the fences in these cases. I feel many talents who are safe bets to reach the NFL yet never make a huge splash are easily replaceable via rookie drafts and savvy transactions.  This strategy certainly has its flaws; it does, however, account for the lower ranking of a few players.
  • This list will surely omit several worthy talents.  I don’t claim to have an omniscient grasp of the college football landscape.  There are players I have never heard of who will emerge as top draft picks over the next few years.

*The year following each player denotes the first year they will be draft eligible, or, for seniors, their final draft opportunity.

The next set of ten in the Devy 100 is a blend of young players with ridiculous tools as well as proven studs available in the 2015 NFL Draft.

#30 – Ricky Seals-Jones, WR Texas A&M Aggies (2016)

We only got a small, delectable taste of what Ricky Seals-Jones could do in 2013, as a majority of his season was washed away due to a knee injury that cost him 12 games. His 71-yard touchdown in the season opener was intended to portend a big freshman year. Instead, the Aggies leaned heavily on Mike Evans to carry their passing offense following the malady suffered by their gifted freshman. A physically imposing receiver that uses defenders like a ladder on his way to the ball, Seals-Jones has the highest upside of any member of the Aggies gifted offense.

#29 – Sammie Coates, WR Auburn Tigers (2015)

The maturation of Sammie Coates in the Auburn offense was overshadowed by the Tigers’ dominant ground game in 2013. Often labeled as a one dimensional deep threat, the junior receiver started the season simply running by people and ended it as one of the more dynamic weapons in all of college football. With a well-defined frame complimented by quick feet and fearlessness, Coates figures to continue his ascent in 2014.

#28 – Shock Linwood, RB Baylor Bears (2015)

The devy landscape is littered with Baylor Bears, in large part due to the offensive juggernaut that Art Briles has brought to town. While the offensive scheme plays a major role in the outlandish numbers being produced in Waco, they have also done an excellent job of identifying talent. One such talent is redshirt sophomore Shock Linwood, who finished seventh in the Big 12 in rushing despite running behind Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin on the depth chart. A compact runner with eyes that seemingly protrude out the sides and back of his helmet, Linwood will have an opportunity to be lead dog in the Baylor backfield and elevate his stock in the same fashion that Melvin Gordon did in 2013.

#27 – Kelvin Taylor, RB Florida Gators (2016)

College football sidelines require a red carpet these days and Florida’s Kelvin Taylor is another gifted young athlete following in the footsteps of a famous father. While not as big as Fred, the younger Taylor shares his father’s innate ability to pick up the extra yard and shows an understanding of the subtle nuances of the position. Thrust into a large role following a season-ending injury to Matt Jones, the true freshman closed the season strong, earning All-SEC freshman honors. His sophomore campaign should serve as a true breakout season as the Gators search desperately for an offensive centerpiece.

#26 – Quinshad Davis, WR North Carolina Tar Heels (2015)

[inlinead]The Tar Heels have put a lot of talent in the NFL, despite a mixed bag of on-field results. The next in line is Quinshad Davis, who falls in line with many receivers listed in the Devy 100 as a tall, rangy receiver with springy legs and plenty of room to grow. With continued physical maturation, Davis will rival fellow Tar Heel Hakeem Nicks as a NFL prospect.

#25 – Racean Thomas, RB Auburn Tigers (2017)

There is plenty of room for error when analyzing high school talent. Level of competition and a prospect’s state of physical maturation often conspire to paint an incomplete picture of said prospects wares for the next level. In some cases, however, there are talents that scream “five stars” and Auburn’s Racean Thomas is one of them. He could find running lanes within a keyhole and is effortless when pirouetting through defenders in the open field. More importantly, Thomas is equipped to pick up the tough yards when needed and is not a back who limits his north-south running. While another incoming SEC freshman back garners serious accolades, Gus Malzahn may have recruited the best freshman runner in the nation.

#24 – Malachi Dupre, WR LSU Tigers (2017)

Replacing two of the nation’s top receivers is an impossible task, but Les Miles and crew went to work on the recruiting trail and added arguably the nation’s best offensive talent in Malachi Dupre. Time seems to stop when the Louisiana native elevates himself over defenders and his ball skills and leaping ability stand as the hallmarks of his game. Long, athletic leapers are matchup nightmares and Dupre has the look of an elite college receiver.

#23 – T.J. Yeldon, RB Alabama Crimson Tide (2015)

Between bouts of fumbleitis, T.J. Yeldon has been an uber-productive back within Nick Saban’s offense. A crafty runner with a unique skill-set, he’s established himself as one of the best backs in the nation and has been on the devy radar since the first game of his college career. With a less than economical running style and dearth of elite traits, his hype surpasses his true value at this point. He’s a safe bet to find a role in the NFL; he just lacks the ceiling of many other prospects.

#22 – Duke Johnson, RB Miami Hurricanes (2015)

Blistering speed can create chaos amidst even the most disciplined defense and Duke Johnson has the type of wheels that put a defense on its heels before the ball is even snapped. With a small yet compact frame, the Hurricane back is a high level athlete that runs with a purpose. A dynamic talent with gamebreaking ability, Johnson will be a weapon at the next level, even if he is not a true bellcow.

#21 – Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon Ducks (2015): The running prowess of Marcus Mariota makes him a bit underrated as a true passer. Even with unorthodox mechanics, he’s able to spray the ball all over the football field and has the requisite arm strength to make NFL throws. The definition of a dual-threat quarterback, Mariota may need a bit of time to mature at the next level but his blend of skills make him a high upside fantasy play.

We’ll continue soon as we’ve finally hit the top 20!


rob willette