Category Archives: 2018

2018 Recruiting Recap: Quarterbacks

The 2018 recruiting class at quarterback was a star-studded group that has already had two of its quarterbacks, Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars, 2021 NFL Draft, 1st Round, 1st overall) and Justin Fields (Chicago Bears, 2021 NFL Draft, 1st Round, 11th overall), hear their names called in the NFL Draft. Today, we take a look at the trajectory of the rest of the group. For the purposes of being fair in compiling our Top 10 lists by position group, we continue to use aggregate rankings from three of the top recruiting services (Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN). We also used the most prevalent designation for each quarterback (pro-style or dual-threat) when they came out of high school.

Trevor Lawrence (Pro) Clemson: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, Rivals, & ESPN
Consensus No. 1 recruit coming out of high school who exceeded the many expectations that were placed upon him. Lawrence showed ultimate poise as a true freshman going undefeated and winning the national championship with 347 yards passing and three touchdowns. He won various awards during his time at Clemson, finishing his career with a 34-2 record. Lawrence was taken first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft (Jacksonville Jaguars) and he was widely regarded as the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012 (Indianapolis Colts).

Justin Fields (Dual) Ohio State: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, Rivals, & ESPN
Fields committed to the Bulldogs and played in 12 of 14 games as a freshman. However, with Jake Fromm being set as the starter, he decided to transfer to Columbus. Fields became the third Buckeye QB in the last 50 seasons to win his first 13 starts. He threw for over 3,000 yards in his first season as a full-time starter with a 41-to-3 touchdown-to- interception ratio. He added over 1,000 rushing yards with 19 touchdowns in his career. Consistency was a concern for many when it came to Fields at the next level, and he ended up going 11th overall in the first round to the Chicago Bears. Many seem to have forgotten when he was a supposed 1A to Trevor Lawrence. I haven’t.

JT Daniels (Pro) USC Trojans: Ranked #2 by 247Sports & Rivals, #3 by ESPN
Daniels enrolled at USC in 2018 and started every game he played. He showed some promise, however a knee injury in the 2019 season opener ended his campaign prematurely. Kedon Slovis took over and played exceptionally well, causing Daniels to transfer to Georgia. He finally got his opportunity late in the year, starting the final four games, all wins for the Bulldogs. In those contests, he threw for over 1,000 yards with 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Daniels returned to Georgia for the 2021 season and, if he can build on last year’s momentum, may very well set up his pathway into the NFL.

Tanner McKee (Pro) Stanford: Ranked #3 by 247Sports, #4 by Rivals, & #5 by ESPN
McKee spent most of the last two years in Brazil as a missionary. He made his collegiate debut in 2020, but appeared in just one game. The highly-touted 6-foot-6, 228-pounder will look to solidify his collegiate career in 2021 as a first-time starter. To do so, he will have to fend off senior Jack West.

Justin Rogers QB UNLV
Rogers, pictured, completed 14-of-22 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown for UNLV in 2020. Most of those yards came against an impressive San Jose State defense.

Justin Rogers (Dual) TCU: Ranked #2 by 247Sports & Rivals, #4 by ESPN
Rogers entered the Horned Frogs program as the highest rated recruit of the Gary Patterson-era. However, a devastating injury suffered as a senior in high school never really opened an opportunity at TCU. He threw just one pass for Texas Christian and -after seeing no game action in 2019- Rogers transferred to UNLV. He appeared in two games last season and will look to compete for the starting job in 2021. Standing in Rogers’ way is left-handed 6-foot-5 sophomore Doug Brumfield.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson QB UCLA
Thompson-Robinson -a three-year starter- has already accounted for 47 total touchdowns heading into 2021.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson (Dual) UCLA: Ranked #3 by 247Sports, #2 by Rivals & ESPN
Thompson-Robinson has seen consistent action in all three seasons for the Bruins. In 2020, he was named second-team All-Pac-12 after completing 65% of his passes with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions in five contests. DTR also displayed his dual-threat rushing capability by accounting for over 300 yards and three touchdowns on 55 attempts. Facing a brutal schedule in 2021, the strong-armed veteran has a legitimate chance to become the high-riser of the 2022 NFL Draft’s quarterback class. Thompson-Robinson has first-round talent.


Jarren Williams QB-USF
Williams, pictured, was more than capable in 2019 for the Hurricanes but is now entrenched in a quarterback battle at USF.

Jarren Williams (Dual) Miami: Ranked #4 by 247Sports, #8 by Rivals, & #6 by ESPN
Williams saw brief action as a freshman, with most of his playing time coming in 2019. He completed 61% of his passes with 19 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. However, Miami finished the year 6-7 and put out a futile effort in their bowl game (2019 Independence Bowl). Williams transferred to Garden City CC following the year and their season was cancelled due to COVID-19. He then enrolled at USF, where the former U.S. Army All-American is entrenched in a four-way battle for playing time amongst four contenders. The list includes former UNC quarterback Cade Fortin.

Matt Corral (Pro) Ole Miss: Ranked #5 by 247Sports, #3 by Rivals, & #6 by ESPN
Corral took over as the Rebels starting QB last season following limited action in his first two years. He finished the year completing nearly 71% of his passes with 29 touchdowns, while also adding over 500 rushing yards and four more scores to his season totals. Corral displayed his ability as a big-time thrower of the football in 2020. He passed for at least 300 yards in seven of 10 games, but he needs to cut down the turnovers (14 INTs, 4 fumbles-3 lost).

Tyler Shough QB-Texas Tech
Shough transferred to Texas Tech for the 2021 campaign despite compiling a 13:6 TD/INT ratio for the Ducks in 2020. Shough also had two games with over 80 yards on the ground.

Tyler Shough (Pro) Oregon: Ranked #6 by 247Sports & Rivals, #15 by ESPN
Shough appeared in five games as a redshirt freshman in 2019. In 2020, he took over as the team’s full-time starter, completing nearly 65% of his passes with 13 touchdowns in seven games. Following a disappointing end to the season, Shough decided to transfer to Texas Tech, where he’ll look to help turn a program around and build his draft stock over the next few years.

Phil Jurkovec (Dual) Notre Dame: Ranked #5 by 247Sports & Rivals, #9 by ESPN
Jurkovec saw minimal snaps during his first two seasons with the Fighting Irish due to a depth chart that included 30-game winner Ian Book. He transferred to Boston College and became the team’ starting QB in 2020. He threw for over 2,500 yards with 17 passing touchdowns and added another three rushing scores on the ground. Another impressive campaign in 2021 could land him as a mid-round selection in next year’s draft. He has certain characteristics that attract evaluators at the next level, including an ability to fit the ball into tight windows.

2018 Recruiting Recap: Running Backs

This group has largely proven to be a hit-or-miss proposition for many of the schools who were certain they were getting home runs at each position. Some of them carried the dreaded All-Purpose label, meaning that there was no guarantee they could carry the full-time load at the collegiate level. Others ran into a litany of issues and have found their footing at different schools.

Zamir White RB Georgia
White averaged 5.4 yards per carry for the Bulldogs in 2020.

Zamir White RB-Junior Georgia: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, Rivals, & ESPN

White redshirted in 2018 after suffering a knee injury in preseason practices. However, in 2019 he made 13 appearances with 78 total touches, displaying some of his highly-touted potential. He started all ten games for the Bulldogs this past year, finishing with three 100-yard rushing outings and 11 touchdowns. The rising junior made the most of the opportunity, displaying his abilities as a true workhouse back. If the devasting injuries are behind him, odds are he’ll be taken in the first two rounds of next year’s draft.

Lorenzo Lingard RB-Junior Miami (Fla.): Ranked #2 by 247Sports & Rivals, #4 by ESPN

Lorenzo Lingard RB Miami (Fla.)
Before transferring to Florida, Lingard eight yards per carry for the ‘Canes in 2018 (17 carries).

Lingard spent his first two seasons playing for Miami (Fla.), and appeared in six games as a freshman before a leg injury ended his season. Following his sophomore season, he transferred to the University of Florida. Lingard is known for a good mix of extreme lateral quickness, explosiveness, and bruising running power. He’ll look to expand on only five rushing attempts for the Gators last year as he heads into the 2021 season.

Ricky Slade APB Penn State: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, #2 by Rivals, & #2 by ESPN

Slade was a highly touted five-star recruit coming out of high school. However, he saw limited playing time with the Nittany Lions, grabbing 92 total touches in two seasons. He transferred to Old Dominion following his sophomore season, but it has been reported this year that he is no longer with that program either. Slade dealt with some off the field issues last year and will need to land somewhere and produce mightily on the field to re-establish his football career, if that’s what he still wants.

Jaelen Gill Ohio State
Gill, pictured, had six catches for 104 yards and one TD vs. Virginia Tech in 2020.

Jaelen Gill APB-R-Soph Ohio State: Ranked #2 by 247Sports, #3 by Rivals, & #4 by ESPN

Gill appears to have played primarily receiver while on the collegiate level. He redshirted for the Buckeyes in 2019 and had just seven receptions through two seasons. Following the year, Jaelen transferred to Boston College seeking more playing time. He logged 29 receptions for 435 yards and one touchdown, returned seven punts and had four kickoff returns this past season with the Eagles.

James Cook APB-Senior Georgia: Ranked #3 by 247Sports, #1 by Rivals, & #3 by ESPN

Cook followed top-ranked running back recruit Zamir White to Georgia after an early commitment to Florida State in 2016. He’s amassed 117 carries for 775 yards and seven touchdowns in three years as White’s primary backup. Cook has also shown capabilities out of the backfield with 40 receptions for 446 yards and two touchdowns in his career.

Brian Snead RB-R-Soph Ohio State: Ranked #3 by 247Sports, #4 by Rivals, & #12 by ESPN

Brian was dismissed six months after enrolling at OSU due to an investigation (https://saturdaytradition.com/ohio-state-football/report-ex-buckeye-rb-brian-sneads-2018-suspension-stems-from-sexual-assault-accusation/). He appeared in two games with 11 rushing attempts prior to his dismissal. After spending 2019 at a community college, he transferred to Austin Peay State University. He is currently playing for the Governors as they are in midseason. Snead looks to be trying to put his unfortunate situation behind him, coming off a 227-yard, three-touchdown performance last weekend.

T.J. Pledger RB Oklahoma
Pledger caught nine passes in 2020.

T.J. Pledger APB-Junior Oklahoma: Ranked #4 by 247Sports, #5 by Rivals, & #6 by ESPN

Through three seasons with the Sooners, Pledger has had opportunities to display some of his dynamic playmaking ability. After playing in more of a reserve role his first two years, he had 95 rushes for 451 yards and five touchdowns last season. He put up big games against Texas and TCU, rushing for over 100 yards in both contests while also scoring at least one rushing touchdown. Despite a broader role in 2020, Pledger decided to transfer following the season and is now a member of the Utah Utes football team.

Ricky Person RB-Senior NC State: Ranked #4 247Sports & Rivals, & #20 by ESPN

Person has had a productive career since joining the Wolfpack, despite dealing with injuries his first two years. He rushed for 112 carries as a true freshman, and then an ankle injury limited him to only 61 rushes in 2019. Person had 147 carries last season (643 yards, 4 TDs) while starting every game. He’ll look to remain healthy and have a solid senior season. If so, it could land him on some draft boards for next year.

Harold Joiner RB-Junior Auburn: Ranked #5 by 247Sports, # 24 by Rivals, & #10 by ESPN

Joiner saw limited action in two seasons suiting up for the Tigers, posting only 15 carries through two seasons. It led him to enter the transfer portal last year. He is now committed to Michigan State and looks to compete for a starting role with two years of eligibility remaining.

Keaontay Ingram RB-Senior Texas: Ranked #4 by 247Sports, #7 by Rivals, & ESPN

Ingram totaled over 140 carries in each of his first two seasons for the Longhorns. However, this past year (with the emergence of two underclassmen in the backfield), his carries dwindled drastically. Ingram recently announced his transfer to the USC Trojans, where he looks to regain a starting role in his senior campaign.

NOTE: All positional designations were marked according to their projections coming out of high school (see APB-All-purpose back). In addition, we included the class of each player per the NCAA not counting this season as a used year of eligibility. If a player transferred (see Snead), we listed the original school who signed the recruit.

2018 Recruiting Recap: Offensive Line

Tyre Gaines takes a look back at the top offensive line recruits from the 2018 class and how they’ve progressed thus far. Who’s surpassed expectations and who may still have work to do.

77 Cade Mays and 69 Jamaree Salyer at Georgia
Cade Mays (No. 77 pictured, write-up below) and Jamaree Salyer (No. 69 pictured) were teammates at Georgia in 2019.

Jamaree Salyer OG-Junior Georgia: Ranked #1 by 247Sports and Rivals, and #2 by ESPN

Played in a reserve role in 2018, appearing in 13 of 14 games and he then played in 13 contests during the 2019 campaign. This past season, he started the first nine games at left tackle before moving to guard for the 2021 Peach Bowl. Playing in 92% of all offensive snaps for the Bulldogs last season, he showed some promise. Right now, Salyer is slated as a mid-round draft prospect in 2022.

Nicholas Petit-Frere OT-Junior Ohio State: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN

Played in all 14 games in 2019 but didn’t start. Off the field, however, he achieved Academic All-Big Ten honors. He is currently the starting right tackle at Ohio State. Petit-Frere’s intriguing reach, length and athleticism make him a legitimate prospect for either the 2022 or 2023 NFL Drafts.

Brey Walker OT-Junior Oklahoma: Ranked #2 by 247Sports, #4 by Rivals, #5 by ESPN

Walker played in 13 of 14 contests during the 2019 campaign, with two of those appearances being starts at the right guard spot. He appeared in three games in 2020, backing up projected 2021 NFL Draft pick Adrian Ealy at right tackle. Walker will compete for a starting job in 2021.

Rasheed Walker OT Penn State
Walker (No. 53 pictured vs. Minnesota in 2019) earned Honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2020.

Rasheed Walker OT Penn State Ranked #3 by 247Sports, #7 by Rivals, & #13 by ESPN:

Walker appeared in four games as a freshman and then became a starter as a redshirt sophomore. In 2019, he started 13 games at the left tackle spot. He again started all nine games for the Nittany Lions in 2020. Walker is already considered to be a surefire tackle at the next level, as he has appeared in 26 games with 22 starts, all at left tackle.

Cade Mays OT-Junior Georgia: Ranked #3 by 247Sports, Rivals, & ESPN

Mays received Freshman All-American honors in 2018, playing in 11 of 14 games with seven starts at Georgia. He saw action at every offensive line position during the 2019 season, when he started 11 of 14 contests. He decided to transfer to Tennessee prior to the 2020 season, as he is from Knoxville. Mays started all seven games for the Vols and was projected as a potential early round pick before deciding to return for the 2021 season.

Justin Dedich OC-R-Soph USC Trojans: Ranked #2 by 247Sports, #1 by Rivals, & #3 by ESPN

Dedich saw brief action as a redshirt in 2018 and was the team’s backup center in 2019 before starting the last two games. He’ll have work to do to solidify his draft position with only eight appearances thus far in his career.

Jackson Carman OT-Clemson

Jackson Carman OT-Junior Clemson Ranked #2 by 247, Rivals, & ESPN

Carman saw action with 209 snaps in 13 games in 2018. Earned third team All-ACC honors in 2019. He started all 12 games at left tackle in 2020, collecting second-team All-American honors and second-team All-ACC accolades. Carman declared for the 2021 NFL draft and is projected to be a starting guard at the next level.

Matthew Jones OC-R-Soph Ohio State: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, #7 by Rivals, & #1 by ESPN

Redshirted in 2018 and backed up All-Big Ten guard Jonah Jackson for most of 2019. Started the 2021 CFP national championship game against Alabama as a redshirt sophomore after helping fill gaps during an unorthodox Big Ten season. With continued reps and progression, Jones could be a prospect in either the 2022 or 2023 NFL Drafts.

William Barnes OT-Junior UNC: Ranked #5 by 247Sports, #2 by Rivals, & #4 by ESPN

Barnes made appearances in 12 games in each of the last two seasons. Known for quick instincts off the line and solid pass protection coming out of high school, he should look to both establish and improve his draft position in 2021. As of now, all five of the starting spots along the UNC offensive front are filled by returning lettermen.

Sewell earned Freshman All-American honors in 2018 despite missing six games due to an ankle injury.

Penei Sewell OG-Junior Oregon: Ranked #2 by 247Sports, #5 by Rivals, & #6 by ESPN

He was the first offensive lineman in Oregon history to earn all-conference honors as a true freshman. Earned various awards and honors during his two seasons with Ducks. Sewell was the first sophomore and Oregon Duck to win the Outland Trophy. Opted out of the 2020 season to focus on the draft, and he is projected as a consensus top five pick in this year’s upcoming draft.

NOTE: All positional designations were marked according to their projections coming out of high school (see Sewell). In addition, we included the class of each player per the NCAA not counting this season as a used year of eligibility. If a player transferred (see Mays), we listed the original school who signed the recruit.