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.
60. JD Spielman, WR Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Skinny: Spielman is one of college football’s best entertainers. Despite measuring in at a meager 5’9” and possessing a slight frame along with it, Spielman is a fearless competitor who treats traffic like a welcome committee. His toughness allows him to operate at a high level over the middle, and his speed and athleticism allow him to be more than just your run-of-the-mill catch and fall receiver.
While size concerns will certainly dot the profile of Spielman, there is little reason to believe it will prevent him from carving out his niche at the NFL level. He’s simply got too many tools and too much passion to fall flat due to a concern which becomes more arcane by the day.
2019 Outlook: The arrow is pointing straight up for Spielman. Stanley Morgan departs and takes over 1,000 yards with him, while the offense figures to be improved in year two of the Scott Frost/Adrian Martinez Era, and it was pretty good last year. Spielman is the centerpiece of the offense with no more Morgan or running back Devine Ozigbo, and his final season on campus should be one to remember.
59. Cody White, WR Michigan State Spartans
The Skinny: The Michigan State offense was simply an abomination in 2018. It was injury-riddled and shackled by the regression of quarterback Brian Lewerke, who was dealing with a shoulder injury himself. One player who did not contribute to the team’s struggles was Cody White, who posted 18 grabs for 260 yards through the season’s first three weeks prior to succumbing to a hand injury.
A smooth athlete with a natural ability to separate, White had the look of a breakout star; his misfortune was the start of a rash of injuries for the Spartans. While he’s on the thin side and lacks elite athleticism, White is a savvy route runner with excellent body control. He’s quietly one of the BIG’s better receivers and an underrated devy prospect.
2019 Outlook: Felton Davis has departed, and the Spartans are thin on playmakers. Similar to the start of 2018, Brian Lewerke could lean heavily on White. It should be a rejuvenated offense on the whole, with White putting together a big campaign as the Spartan’s top receiver.
58. Justin Herbert, QB Oregon Ducks
The Skinny: An early favorite to be the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Justin Herbert has returned to Eugene and should produce his best season to date. Oregon has loaded up on the recruiting trail and despite losing Dillon Mitchell, Herbert may have his most decorated group of receivers since stepping on campus.
Herbert’s size jumps out as the axiomatic prototype, and he can make throws from virtually any platform which will create excitement. I don’t see Herbert as having the poise/polish of a Trevor Lawrence nor the flair for playmaking of Tua Tagovailoa, but he is undoubtedly a premier quarterback prospect and a better athlete than you may expect.
2019 Outlook: A season of good health is pivotal for Herbert, as the rising Senior has had his last two seasons truncated by injury. Herbert is well-known in NFL circles and there’s little he can do erase the goodwill he has created over his first three seasons. However, if he wants to challenge Tagovailoa at the top of the draft, he will need a strong finish.
57. Nico Collins, WR Michigan Wolverines
The Skinny: The least ballyhooed of the triumvirate of hyped receivers Michigan brought in as part of the 2017 recruiting class (it grows to four if you include Oliver Martin), Nico Collins paced the Wolverines in receiving in 2018 and is still an afterthought in devy circles despite his strong sophomore campaign.
At 6’4” and 218 pounds, Collins is blessed with size and understands how to utilize it; he routinely uses his body to shield defenders and has strong hands at the catch point. Despite a large frame, Collins can scoot and creates natural separation, even if his testing in the agility drills may be mediocre. Collins is a natural fit on the outside for an offense, with immense red zone upside at the very least.
2019 Outlook: As is the case for the entire Michigan offense, the 2019 gameplan with new Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis is a mystery. At the very least, some fresh eyes should help invigorate an offense which had grown stale under Jim Harbaugh’s watchful eye. While Collins may not have the raw athleticism of Donovan Peoples-Jones nor the RAC skills of Tarik Black, he has proven to be an efficient receiver with an underrated toolkit overall. He was a long-term project out of high school, and his progress has already been accelerated. Don’t sleep on Collins when discussing Michigan receivers.
56. Zack Moss, RB Utah Utes
The Skinny: I don’t know if Zack Moss does anything at an elite level, but he does a lot of things at a high level, and those types of backs tend to stick around in the league for a long time. Moss can physically dominate the Pac 12 but I don’t see power being his calling card at the next level.
While he can easily eschew arm tackles, simply being a hammer who wears down defenses over four quarters is an archaic style in the NFL. Instead, utilizing balance and his surprising burst to get to the second level and finish tough runs is his best bet to be a feature runner. A capable pass-catcher, Moss has the three-down skillset to be a prominent contributor within an offense. Testing will be key for Moss if he is to establish himself as a premier runner in 2020’s deep class.
2019 Outlook: Moss has led the Utes in rushing the past two seasons and there is nobody acting as an obstacle as he goes for three in a row. He figures to surpass his career high in touches from 2017 (243) given a full slate of games. Adding to his already impressive production profile should be no issue for one of the nation’s more unheralded runners.