National signing day is upon us and what better way to deliver you the top 24 incoming freshmen than by doing it with a mock draft? (Hint: there’s not a better way) The @DevyWatch team went two rounds, 12 freshmen per round, to help you get to know the players you will be watching on Saturdays in the near future.
1.01 – RB Cam Akers, 5’11” 213 lbs, Committed to Florida State
Akers is the top offensive threat of all incoming freshmen in my opinion. He’s very powerful with great feet and leg drive. His vision and cuts are next level stuff. Akers will have to compete with a handful of other recruits as well as Amir Rasul but ultimately I think his talent will win out.
1.02 – RB Najee Harris, 6’2″ 224 lbs, Signed with Alabama
Listed at 6’2″ and 224 pounds, Najee is walking into a loaded Alabama backfield but that won’t keep him off the field this coming year. Najee has more speed and elusiveness than you would expect out of a guy with his size. Don’t expect to see another Derrick Henry type player in the Alabama backfield but with his combination of size, elusiveness, and receiving abilities out of the backfield he could add a new dynamic to the Crimson Tide’s offense. Three straight years of 2,200+ rushing yards and 20+ rushing touchdowns to finish up his high school career.
1.03 – WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, 6’2″ 200 lbs, Signed with Michigan
He’s a natural playmaker with the hands to catch the ball in traffic, the frame to fend off aggressive cornerbacks and the speed to be a deep threat. He was the WR MVP of the Rivals’ Camp Series as a sophomore. Michigan only returns 27 receptions from the 2016 team so look for Peoples-Jones to make an immediate impact.
1.04 – WR Trevon Grimes, 6’4″ 202 lbs, Enrolled at Ohio State
Was debating taking Jerry Jeudy here, but I think Grimes’ size, 6’4″ 202 lbs, combined with his aggressive high pointing was too much to pass on here. He displays a high level of tenacity at the catch point and uses his frame well. He can shift his hips for a fluid transition in his route, which is really impressive for his size. He will make a name for himself very early in his college career at Ohio State.
1.05 – WR Jerry Jeudy, 6’1″ 180 lbs, Enrolled at Alabama
Jeudy has an elite set of hands and quickness. Based off what I have watched he has the top route running ability in the nation. Has a chance to be the next great Alabama WR.
1.06 – WR Tee Higgins, 6’5″ 191 lbs, Committed to Clemson
Tee Higgins is in line to be another top-notch wide out at Clemson. Standing 6’4″, Tee has good leaping ability that allows him to defeat defenders on jump balls. His time on the hardwood looks to have aided him in this area of his game. With the departures of Mike Williams & Artavis Scott, Higgins will have the opportunity to try and make a name for himself this season.
1.07- RB Khalan Laborn, 5’11” 199 lbs, Committed to Florida State
Laborn made the jump from a 4-star recruit to a 5-star recruit in the last set of rankings mainly because he was able to bulk up to nearly 200 pounds and not lose any speed. He’s a better outside runner than inside and that will be a nice compliment to Cam Akers at Florida State. He’s tough, durable, quick, has a low center of gravity and rarely takes a direct hit.
1.08 – RB Stephen Carr, 6′ 203 lbs, Committed to Southern Cal
Carr is a powerful north-south runner who shows no mercy to anyone trying to take him down. Very good between the tackles and shows good vision to the hole. I love how he runs angry and is out to prove he is the best everytime he has the ball.
1.09 – RB Trey Sermon, 6’1″ 214 lbs, Enrolled at Oklahoma
Sermon is an all around solid RB. He has good hands out of the backfield and brings power to his game as well. He can make guys miss or run through them. He has a chance to split time with Abdul Adams now that Mixon and Perine are out of the picture.
1.10 – RB J.K. Dobbins, 5’10” 201 lbs, Enrolled at Ohio State
JK Dobbins had the highest SPARQ score at “The Opening” this past summer. With a 4.44 40 yard dash & 43.1″ vertical jump, Mr. Dobbins is one of the top athletes in the entire class regardless of position. Dobbins could put up some monster numbers in the Ohio State offense.
1.11 – WR Joseph Lewis, 6’2″ 207 lbs, Undecided
Lewis has the height and frame to be a physical presence out wide. He has good downfield speed. He doesn’t lose many 1-on-1 situations. He regularly saves his QB by making difficult catches on poorly thrown balls.
1.12 – RB D’Andre Swift, 5’10” 214 lbs, Committed to Georgia
Pass catching is what makes Swift special. He has good knowledge of route concepts and can make people miss in space. He is a quick twitch, explosive athlete who runs well between the tackles and to the outside.
2.01 – RB Salvon Ahmed, 6′ 191 lbs, Committed to Washington
Ahmed is one of the most electric players in this class. His 4.32 laser timed 40 topped the charts at The Nike Football Ratings Championship. He can be used in a variety of ways and he has elite quickness to him. His jump cuts are some of the best I’ve seen.
2.02 – RB Ty Chandler, 6′ 190 lbs, Committed to Tennessee
Ty Chandler isn’t the biggest running back but he is full of explosion and potential game breaking speed. He does a great job of making defenders miss. Tennessee loses three of their top four rushing options from 2016 so Ty should have a chance to get carries along with John Kelly in the Tennessee backfield.
2.03 – WR Jeff Thomas, 5’10” 167 lbs, Undecided
Thomas caught 3 passes for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns at this year’s edition of the Under Armour All-American game. He’s only 5’10” and maybe 170 pounds, but he’s electric with the ball in his hands. He ran a 4.38 forty at The Opening. He’s just as likely to get behind the defense as he is to take a screen pass the distance. He should contribute in the return game as well.
2.04 – WR Jhamon Ausbon, 6’3″ 217 lbs, Enrolled at Texas A&M
What makes Ausbon special is his physicality. He uses his frame well to box out defenders and is has very good ability to break the jam against press coverage. He is not sudden but uses very good lower and upper body gestures to force defenders to into the wrong route. His size and speed combo are just icing on the cake for the upside he brings to Texas A&M
2.05 – WR Henry Ruggs III, 6′ 175 lbs, Undecided
Ruggs is one of the most explosive athletes in the nation. He starred in both football and basketball in High School, and his athleticism shined bright on the court. Ruggs is a legit deep threat who also has the ability to rack up a ton of yards after the catch. He’s a smooth receiver who has legit body control and hands.
2.06 – WR Tyrell Shavers, 6’6″ 202 lbs, Enrolled at Alabama
Shavers is listed at 6’6” and ran a reported 4.38 at one of the Nike Opening combines over the summer with a 138 SPARQ score. With that size and speed, Shavers could be an absolute matchup nightmare down the road.
2.07 – WR Tarik Black, 6’4″ 206, Enrolled at Michigan
Black is one of the many well put together wide receivers in this freshman class. He seems to get off the line of scrimmage and into his routes with ease and he has soft hands. At 6’4” and 206 pounds, he has the size that every college covets but he could stand to be a little more physical.
2.08 – WR Jeremiah Holloman, 6’2″ 192 lbs, Enrolled at Georgia
Holloman has the skillset to be a very special player. He has an NFL frame already and shows he can use his frame very well to fight off defenders when catching in traffic. He has strong hands and shows nice concentration. He is not necessarily a deep threat but can stretch the field if asked to.
2.09 – WR DeVonta Smith, 6’1″ 157 lbs, Undecided
Smith is a player with a ton of quickness and a great release off the line of scrimmage. Throughout his routes, he is very sudden and knows how to set defenders up to create the separation needed. Smith has very good tracking skills, hands, and He really excels after the catch. He’s very light so that might hinder him when facing physical corners in college.
2.10 – WR Jalen Reagor, 5’11” 183 lbs, Committed to TCU
Reagor’s is a shifty receiver with big play potential. Could make an immediate impact in the return game for TCU. Big 12 defenses will have their hands full with Jalen once he gets into open field.
2.11 – RB Jonathan Taylor, 5’11” 208 lbs, Committed to Wisconsin
Taylor is an underrated runner with a thick base. He’s able to keep his feet underneath him while shedding tackles. He has a knack for finding cutback lanes even if it means coming to a stop in the backfield. He has enough burst to get through the line but lacks the breakaway speed needed to outrun defenders in the secondary.
2.12 – QB Davis Mills, 6’4″ 198 lbs, Committed to Stanford
Mills on tape has the confidence in the pocket that is special for a young QB. His ability to maneuver in the pocket with excellent pocket awareness will get scouts excited about him in the early stages of his career. He has above average accuracy and puts very good zip on the ball. He can facilitate YAC for his receivers showing excellent ball placement. He landed in the perfect location as Stanford’s future star QB.
We hope you enjoyed our special National Signing Day mock draft. Please reach out to us and tell us what you think. You can also check out more detailed descriptions of the top incoming freshman running backs and wide receivers right here.
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