Draft season is over and now it’s time to gear up for the 2018 season. Preparing for next year’s rookie drafts will get you a step ahead of the competition. It will also make you a more well-rounded devy owner.
The NFL Draft siphoned away a some of the top wide receivers in college football. We are now left with a lot of younger players who are looking to step up and emerge as the next hot draft prospect. By using 247.com’s recruiting ranks, we can look back and analyze some of the current players.
I am taking a class-by-class approach by examining all the four and five-star prospects in each recruiting class. This will help us gather our bearings before we start the season and provide insight into players who could potentially breakout. Also, we will get a good feel of which players are falling through the cracks.
Here are the receivers from the 2015 recruiting class who have entered the NFL:
1. CALVIN RIDLEY, WR ALABAMA – FIVE STAR
2. DEON CAIN, WR CLEMSON – FIVE STAR
4. CHRISTIAN KIRK, WR TEXAS A&M – FIVE STAR
18. EQUANIMEOUS ST. BROWN, WR NOTRE DAME – FIVE STAR
30. AUDEN TATE, WR FLORIDA STATE – FOUR STAR
43. ANTONIO CALLAWAY, WR FLORIDA – FOUR STAR
The 2015 recruiting class should be more than established at the college level. Most of these players won’t develop into high-end draft prospects. Some players breakout later than others and that could be the case with some of the players listed below. You will notice the farther you get down the list the less optimism you will have. Don’t blow all the longshots off, because there’s a chance some of them could gain value down the road.
3. GEORGE CAMPBELL, WR FLORIDA STATE – FIVE STAR
Injuries caused Campbell to play in just four games in the last two seasons. With only nine catches to his name and next year being his redshirt junior season, time is starting to run out on the former five-star recruit. Campbell stands at 6-foot-4 and clocked a 4.36 40-yard dash at The Opening in 2014. If he can get healthy, there’s a good chance he can be a major contributor for the Seminoles.
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5. TYRON JOHNSON, WR OKLAHOMA STATE– FIVE STAR
Johnson originally signed his letter of intent with LSU, but after one season with the Tigers, Johnson decided he wanted to play in a spread offense with more firepower. In 2016, he transferred to Oklahoma State where he will get more opportunities to demonstrate his skill set. Last season he caught 18 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns.
James Washington and Marcel Ateman are no longer on the team, therefore there will be more targets to go around in the offense this year. Johnson is a tremendous talent in an ideal situation. He will be playing with a new starting quarterback and will need to establish a new rapport with him. If he maximizes his opportunities, then he could be a big riser by the end of the season.
6. DAMARKUS LODGE, WR OLE MISS – FOUR STAR
There are no questions about it, A.J. Brown is the wide receiver to own on Ole Miss’ roster. Last year, Lodge caught 41 passes for 698 yards and seven touchdowns. During his entire career, he was lost in the shuffle, playing behind Cody Core, Laquon Treadwell, Damore’ea Stringfellow and now Brown. He needs to step up his game during his senior season if he wants to sniff an NFL roster.
7. PRESTON WILLIAMS, WR COLORADO STATE – FOUR STAR
Williams started his collegiate career at Tennessee, but after two seasons he decided to take his talents to Colorado State. Now he looks to take over where Michael Gallup left off. Keep an eye on him because he could be a high-volume producer who comes out of nowhere.
8. TRENT IRWIN, WR STANFORD – FOUR STAR
Irwin was second on the team with 43 receptions for 461 yards and two touchdowns. With limited production during his career, he needs to step up his game this season. The stars will need to align perfectly for him if he ever wants to be a fantasy relevant asset once he reaches the NFL.
9. DAYLON CHARLOT, WR KANSAS – FOUR STAR
He started his career with Alabama but transferred to Kansas after his freshman season. Charlot caught just one pass last season for the Jayhawks. Keep an eye on him, because he could be a late bloomer.
10. DA’VANTE PHILLIPS, WR FLORIDA STATE – FOUR STAR
Phillips parted ways from the team after being suspended indefinitely. He was suspended last year after being arrested for multiple felonies. His devy stock is dead.
11. VAN JEFFERSON, WR OLE MISS – FOUR STAR
With suboptimal production during his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, Jefferson is looking to raise his draft stock by exceeding expectations this season. There are too many mouths to feed in this offense and A.J. Brown is going to command a large market share of the targets. Don’t be surprised if Jefferson finishes the season with a suboptimal stat line.
12. ALEX OFODILE, WR MISSOURI – FOUR STAR
After catching four passes in two seasons, Ofodile will be transferring to Missouri to finish his career. His dad is a coach there which means he should get extra opportunities to land a starting role. Jot his name down on your watch list, but don’t expect much.
13. JUWAN JOHNSON, WR PENN STATE – FOUR STAR
Johnson has the prototypical size of a starting wide receiver at the next level. With Mike Gesicki and DaeSean Hamilton both gone, he should receive a large market share of the passing targets. He has the chance to be ‘the guy’ for Penn State this season. Expect his stock to go through the roof this season. He’s a player I wouldn’t mind taking a gamble on.
14. JOHN BURT, WR TEXAS – FOUR STAR
Burt has plenty of speed to burn but has issues when it comes to catching the football. He also has experienced a few injuries during his tenure at Texas. 2018 needs to be a big year for Burt if he wants to get drafted next year.
15. DARIUS SLAYTON, WR AUBURN – FOUR STAR
He ranked third on the team with 29 catches and second with 643 receiving yards. Slayton owned a 21.90 percent of the team’s passing offense. Next year he will be looking to take a larger command of the team’s offensive output. He’s a player to keep an eye on next year.
16. K.J. HILL, WR OHIO STATE – FOUR STAR
Hill’s role in the offense is slowly growing. Unfortunately, the Buckeye’s offense is stacked with wide receiver talent. He will need to play exceptionally well if he wants to increase his target share next year.
17. JOVON DURANTE, WR FLORIDA ATLANTIC – FOUR STAR
After two seasons with the West Virginian Mountaineers where he caught 60 passes for 726 yards and seven touchdowns, he decided to transfer to Florida Atlantic and sit out the 2017 season. He will get to play with his new team this year and only time will tell if he will completely gel and be productive with his new team.
19. CARLOS STRICKLAND, WR KANSAS STATE – FOUR STAR
Strickland originally signed his letter of intent with Cal, but he decided to transfer to Kansas State in 2016. He is struggling to carve a role with the team. There’s a good chance he might get lost in the shuffle.
20. DERRICK DILLON, WR LSU – FOUR STAR
He’s currently competing to be the team’s main slot receiver. Dillon’s lack of production is an indicator that he’s more than likely not going to make it at the NFL level. LSU has a low volume passing attack, but he’s still unable to gain a large market share of the team’s passing targets.
21. RYAN DAVIS, WR AUBURN – FOUR STAR
Davis showed promise last year when he caught 84 passes for 815 yards and five touchdowns. He led the team in yards and receptions and owned a 24.95 percent market share of the team’s passing production. He profiles as a slot receiver at the next level and if he can improve his production then he could find himself as a late round pick when he comes out for the draft.
22. JF THOMAS, WR TRINITY VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE – FOUR STAR
After having academic issues at Texas Tech, Thomas had to travel the community college route.
23. BLAKE LYNCH, WR BAYLOR – FOUR STAR
Lynch switched positions and is now playing cornerback for the Baylor Bears.
24. MILES BOYKIN, WR NOTRE DAME – FOUR STAR
With Equanimeous St. Brown heading to the NFL, Boykin now has the chance to compete to be the team’s main wide receiver. At 6-foot-4 and 225-pounds, he has the prototypical size for a true WR1 at the NFL level. Keep an eye on him this year, because he’s a serious breakout candidate.
25. DESEAN HOLMES, WR FLORIDA ATLANTIC – FOUR STAR
Holmes started his collegiate career at San Diego State where he had a cup of coffee before he decided to take his talents to Southern Utah. Things didn’t go so well for him at Southern Utah, so he transferred again, this time to College of the Canyons. There he scored seven touchdowns and averaged 17.5 yards per catch. Now he’s making his way back to the “big stage’’ where he will try to make an impact for the Florida Atlantic Owls.
26. RYAN NEWSOME, WR ARIZONA STATE – FOUR STAR
I hope you’re noticing a theme here. Newsome is another four-star recruit who transferred colleges during the early stages of his career. He caught five balls for the University of Texas during his freshman season before transferring to Arizona State. Last year, he appeared in eight games, catching seven passes for 96 yards. This will be his redshirt junior season and he will need to make a big statement if he wants to own a larger share of the passing offense.
27. CORDELL BROADUS, WR UCLA – FOUR STAR
I couldn’t imagine being Snoop Dogg’s son. I completely understand why Broadus left the team to pursue other passions. When you have opportunities constantly knocking at your door, it’s hard to pursue something that doesn’t provide instant monetary gratification. Don’t smoke a roster spot away on Broadus.
28. JAYSON STANLEY, WR GEORGIA – FOUR STAR
Stanley is looking to work his way up the depth chart this year. A good year for him may not be good enough to make him a heavy hitter. I’ll never say never, but the odds are stacked against him.
29. TRISTAN PAYTON, WR UCF – FOUR STAR
He missed six games last year due to failing a drug test. The production hasn’t been there, and he will need to severely turn things around if he wants to be taken seriously.
31. KEMAH SIVERAND, WR TEXAS A&M – FOUR STAR
Siverand switched positions to defensive back two years ago. Now he plans to switch schools as a graduate transfer. He’s been off the devy radar for a long time.
32. JAYLINN HAWKINS, WR CALIFORNIA – FOUR STAR
Hawkins switched to safety once he got to Cal, which means he’s no longer playing wide receiver. However, he could become a functional asset in devy leagues in a few years.
33. AHMAD WAGNER, WR KENTUCKY – FOUR STAR
After committing to play football at Kentucky, Wagner changed his mind and decided to play basketball at the University of Iowa. He just finished his junior season with the Hawkeyes and now he’s going to try his hand at playing football again. The kicker here is that he’s going to transfer back to Kentucky to make his return to the gridiron. Wagner is an intriguing athlete because he’s 6-foot-7 and has the quickness to create separation from defenders.
34. CJ SANDERS, WR NOTRE DAME – FOUR STAR
Sanders played in 12 games an only caught one pass last year. Notre Dame primarily only used him on kick returns last year. He’s best left on the waiver wire and off your watch list. Don’t waste your time here.
35. L.J. REED, WR FRESNO STATE – FOUR STAR
Reed ballooned to 250-pounds during his redshirt freshman year. He obviously never gained traction with the team. There were talks that he was going to transfer to San Jose State, but that never really materialized.
36. JAZZ FERGUSON, WR NORTHWESTERN STATE – FOUR STAR
After his sophomore season, he decided to transfer to FCS Northwestern State. Ferguson didn’t gain enough steam with LSU and it’s easy to say he won’t gain enough steam to be a blue-chip draft prospect.
37. ALEX STUMP, WR VANDERBILT – FOUR STAR
He didn’t have what it took to play meaningful snaps with the Buckeyes, so he’s going to finish his career at Vanderbilt. Stump has two years to make something happen, but more than likely he’ll be just another player you can forget about.
38. IRVIN CHARLES, WR PENN STATE – FOUR STAR
Charles is no longer with the team due to violating team rules. Penn State cut ties from Charles right before the Fiesta Bowl last year.
39. BRANDON POLK, WR PENN STATE – FOUR STAR
Polk will be playing the Z this year for Penn State. He has a chance to move up the ranks if he plays well this year. Polk lacks the requisite size and profiles more as a slot receiver at the next level.
40. DEVANTE PEETE, WR LOUISVILLE – FOUR STAR
He missed the entire 2017 season with a torn right ACL. Time will tell if he will ever develop into a must-get devy asset.
41. KANYA BELL, WR SAN JOSE STATE – FOUR STAR
San Jose State released him from the team after being arrested for domestic battery.
42. CHAD PRESIDENT, WR TULSA – FOUR STAR
President was a dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school. He entertained the thought of switching to receiver during the recruiting process. He should start at quarterback for the Golden Hurricane.