As dynasty owners putter about the interwebs discussing short shuttle times and dissecting the nuances of the Dominator Rating, Devy owners are intently watching Spring Practices and eyeing key positional battles. They say dynasty football never sleeps, but devy football never even rests. From Signing Day (both of them) to fall camp, devy calendars are chock-full of important dates.
The Devy 100 is a breakdown of some of the best collegiate talent around. Players will be missed; others will emerge. My rankings will be cursed from Juneau, Alaska to Key West, Florida. Yet hopefully it provides a modicum of assistance to those navigating the murky waters of deep leagues, struggling to identify their tenth-round selection as they decide between Auburn’s third-string running back and an incoming freshman receiver at Ohio State. Without any further inane ramblings, on to the list.
85. JAMESON WILLIAMS, WR OHIO STATE (2022 ELIGIBLE)
The Skinny: Garrett Wilson rightfully garners a lot of hype as one of Justin Fields’ new toys on the perimeter, but he’s not the only gifted receiver starting his tenure in Columbus. Jameson Williams is a summer enrollee from St. Louis and spoils the Ohio State Buckeyes with a talent they’ve been overflowing with lately: speed. He has the type of easy speed that looks almost underwhelming until you see him breezing past defenders.
A premier athlete, Williams is more than just a burner; he is a natural fit to take on the Curtis Samuel or Parris Campbell role in the Ohio State offense. He’s got light feet and incredible burst. His high school team did not ask him to do too much in regards to route running, but he can make an early impact even as he refines the other parts of his game. He’s the kind of athlete who could demand touches early.
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2019 Outlook: The Buckeyes, as usual, are deep. K.J. Hill returns as Ohio State’s top receiver with fellow veterans Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor figuring to have significant roles, along with the aforementioned Wilson and ascending sophomore Chris Olave. Fortunately for Williams, he has a skill-set which is always in demand in Columbus. Even if the numbers are fairly modest, I expect Williams to make a push for early playing time.
84. BRIAN ROBINSON, RB ALABAMA (2020 ELIGIBLE)
The Skinny: Robinson helps broach the topic of how beneficial it is for talented recruits to join talented depth charts. He could start at a large majority of collegiate programs, yet has been stuck behind Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Najee Harris for two seasons despite possessing major talent. Of course, to each their own, and you cannot fault Robinson for signing up at a running back factory near his hometown. He’s also gotten enough run to flash his skill-set.
Robinson is a bully of a runner at 6’1”, 221, laughing at arm tackles and using his strength to power through the hole. Despite zero receptions through two seasons, Robinson has displayed soft hands in Spring Games and practice settings, indicating he can contribute in the passing game. Robinson has a well-rounded skillset, even if we have yet to see it for more than short stretches.
2019 Outlook: Gone are Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris, and they vacate 312 touches between them. Of course, this is Alabama; unless you’re Derrick Henry, you’re not hogging backfield work all to yourself. Robinson figures to be second in line for touches behind Najee Harris, however, and even with Trey Sanders and Jerome Ford sprinkled in, he should get enough work to expand his profile and set himself up for a potential entry into the 2020 NFL Draft.
83. T.J. PLEDGER, RB OKLAHOMA (2021 ELIGIBLE)
The Skinny: No stranger to crowded backfields himself, Pledger not only had to deal with Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks in 2018, he had to play apprentice to Trey Sanders at IMG Academy. Unfortunately for Pledger, he still has to deal with Sermon and Brooks, though his skill-set offers enough versatility to battle for touches despite the brutal competition.
Most notably, Pledger offers a lot of potential as a receiver. His soft hands and ability to transition from receiver to runner without missing a beat give him an attribute which Lincoln Riley could use to eviscerate defenses. He’s not the same level of runner as Sermon or Brooks at this point, though he could press for more reps given his receiving ability.
2019 Outlook: Even with optimism around his receiving skills and overall talent, it is tough to envision a ton of touches for Pledger in 2019. Of course, the same could have been said for Kennedy Brooks in 2018. All it takes is an injury ahead of him on the depth chart and Pledger’s stock soars as opportunity arises.
82. BREECE HALL, RB IOWA STATE (2022 ELIGIBLE)
The Skinny: Long an afterthought program for devy purposes, Iowa State has soared under the influence of Matt Campbell. The on-field product has improved greatly and in turn recruiting has been kicked up a notch. Hall looks like another find for Campbell and staff; he’s a big back who excels as a receiver, not dissimilar to the man he will attempt to replace, David Montgomery.
Hall actually offers more as an athlete, though it remains to be seen whether he possesses Montgomery’s insane drive and innate ability to make tacklers look like Pop Warner players. Coming from a small school by football standards, early returns may be fairly modest, though the long-term potential is enormous.
2019 Outlook: Montgomery’s departure fires a boulder through the running back depth chart. Only three other running backs earned work for the Cyclones in 2018, with the next closest back registering a mere 39 carries compared to Montgomery’s 257. While I wonder how quickly Hall can assimilate to the Big 12, the fact he is an early enrollee should help immensely. He figures to battle fellow incoming freshman Jirehl Brock for early touches and it would not be an upset if either ascended to the top of the depth chart.
81. DAMONTE COXIE, WR MEMPHIS (2020 ELIGIBLE)
The Skinny: Everything from his name to his game screams smooth with Coxie. He lit up the American Athletic Conference following Anthony Miller’s departure, demonstrating the ability to get open with ease and utilize his 6’3” frame to box out defenders. Lacking standout speed or quicks, Coxie wins with savvy and effortless catching technique. He’s one of the more impressive prospects in the Group of 5 ranks and simply dominated the receiver pecking order for the Tigers.
2019 Outlook: The Memphis offense is always effective under Mike Norvall, and he coaxed quality if inconsistent play out of Brady White in 2018. Coxie is the clear top weapon for the Tigers following the departure of Darrell Henderson, and his already huge numbers should continue to grow.
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