Devy 100: 65-61

Rob Willette

The tagline here at DLF is telling: There is no off-season. The edict goes double for devy leagues. From the initial Signing Day in December through fall camps in August, there is an overwhelming amount of information to digest in order to make an informed decision. It is what makes it such a challenge yet so rewarding when a prospect you have invested in for years pays off.

The Devy 100 is intended to be a preliminary deep dive into the best dynasty assets college football has to offer. Even with a list this large, there will surely be omissions and plenty of movement throughout the year as players develop a more robust profile. This is not to hedge my bets (well – maybe a tad) but to illustrate the purpose of such a list. Alas, we get to the 100. Feel free to @RobWillette24 with your hate mail, which I will assuredly ignore.

65: Michael Carter, RB North Carolina Tar Heels (2021 Draft Eligible)

Profile: I am truly surprised by the lack of buzz surrounding Carter. The senior runner has put together a strong career in Chapel Hill, emerging as a premier weapon in his junior season with 1,157 yards for the suddenly exciting Tar Heels. A highly-touted recruit out of Florida, Carter is a bursty back who thrives in the passing game, showcasing soft hands and an easy transition from receiver to runner.

While a bit slight, Carter is compact and does an excellent job avoiding contact to churn out extra yards. Carter may never be an offensive centerpiece, but he is a gifted receiver who can contribute as a 1B type of player in a committee. We’ve seen this archetype carve out fantasy value countless times.

2020 Outlook: Carter and Javonte Williams quietly formed one of the nation’s best running back duos in 2019. Carter is more of a slasher whereas Williams brings the thump; they complement each other very well and both are plus players in the passing game. Carter will still be highly effective in what figures to be an elite offense, though the presence of Williams caps his upside.

64: Jerrion Ealy, RB Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels (2022 Draft Eligible)

Profile: Ealy is a fascinating study in devy drafts. On talent alone, you could make an argument for Ealy 30-40 spots higher. He’s an electric athlete, a great receiver, and has already produced a solid season in the SEC as a true freshman. The big hurdle is his baseball prowess.

Once his baseball career at Ole Miss is done, he is expected to be drafted highly in the MLB Draft, though we don’t have a large collegiate sample size due to a COVID-shortened season. I am not going to pretend to a great amateur baseball scout, but Ealy was flirting with first-round draft status out of high school before slipping to round 31, likely due to a commitment he made to play football and baseball at Ole Miss.

I am of the belief Ealy ends up playing baseball, but he is worthy of a pick in the mid-to-late rounds of devy drafts based on even the slightest possibility he plays football.

2020 Outlook: Ole Miss turns over a coaching staff and he shares the backfield with a talented runner in Scoop Conner, though it would be wise for old Joey Freshwater to feature Ealy as his centerpiece. A well-rounded back with game-breaking talent, Ealy is going to have people clamoring for him to play football after he illustrates his growth as a sophomore.

63: Pooka Williams, RB Kansas Jayhawks (2021 Draft Eligible)

Profile: From one risky asset to another, Williams is one of the ultimate wild-cards in devy drafts. Williams is an open-field magician who has carried the Jayhawk offense at times over the past two seasons. He’s also been suspended for a domestic issue and may not even tip 180 pounds on the scale.

Seldom does a back who has been so productive and possesses such special skills go overlooked in devy drafts, though the red flags are enough to keep Pooka out of the general consciousness. He’ll have questions to answer at the Combine but there is no doubting his raw talent.

2020 Outlook: Williams is already a decorated player and may be one of the best Kansas football players in history before his Jayhawk career is done. Another 1,000 season is on tap in 2020 in what could be his final year in Lawrence.

62: Kenan Christon, RB USC Trojans (2022 Draft Eligible)

Profile: While the 2019 Trojans will always be remembered for their revamped offense which made a star of Michael Pittman and spread the field with seemingly endless receivers, Christon made his presence known despite being a relatively obscure recruit for a school like USC. Christon is a true burner, a high school track star who translates his speed to the football field.

More than just a straight-line athlete, Christon can weave in traffic and shows a tremendous ability to be elusive. He checks a lot of boxes and is a plus receiver, but the sample size is small enough at this point to approach with caution.

2020 Outlook: The USC backfield is messy. One-time devy superstar Stephen Carr returns, as do Vavae Malepai and Christon’s more heralded classmate Markese Stepp. It is an issue as Christon looks to post a breakout season, though he’s the most athletically gifted (Carr has a case). It is likely Christon ends up in a full committee, leaving his NFL potential a bit murky.

61: Trey Knox, WR Arkansas Razorbacks (2022 Draft Eligible)

Profile: The 2019 Razorbacks were nothing short of a train wreck, but they fielded enough offensive talent to at least be intriguing. Arguably the best of the group was Trey Knox, a jumbo receiver who is a bit of a straight-line player but can dominate when the ball is in the air and he can go get it.

The move to Kendal Briles as offensive coordinator should give Knox the opportunity to make more plays in the vertical game, where he thrives. Knox is kind of a throwback at the position but if he can add a bit more flexibility and nuance to his game he could be the rare massive receiver to really thrive.

2020 Outlook: Knox will tangle with Treylon Burks to be the best receiver in Fayetteville, though there should be ample opportunity for both to thrive given Arkansas’ new scheme. It will be a telling season for both players as they took to work their way up the passing game hierarchy.

rob willette