Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins did a great job living up to the high praise from his Scout.com recruiting profile.
His ability to make the game "look easy" with his "size, speed, and tremendous hands" translated quite well to the college level. It's those same attributes that project Watkins as a top-5 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
Watkins was not the top wide receiver recruit in the Class of 2011, ranking fifth at Scout and third at Rivals.com. Which begs the question, what happened to the guys ahead of him on those lists?
The players ranked higher were:
- Trey Metoyer
- George Farmer
- Kasen Williams
- Jarvis Landry
Metoyer and Farmer were the top two wide receiver recruits for both sites, while Rivals rated Williams and Landry above Watkins.
Metoyer went to Oklahoma after spending a year in prep school to gain academic eligibility. While he flashed promise in his first spring game, his unfortunate habit of flashing other things (h/t Jason Kersey of NewsOK) led to his dismissal from the Sooners.
Farmer committed to USC but has struggled with injuries. He missed all of 2013 after blowing out his knee in spring workouts. There is still hope for Farmer, however. As noted by Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times, Farmer looked impressive in recent practices and could have a large role for the Trojans in 2014.
Williams ventured to Washington, where he has proven to be a good receiver. Injuries cut short his 2013 campaign, which led the big, physical receiver to stay in school for another year. He is the sixth-rated wideout of the 2015 NFL draft by CBS.
Landry is the only other member of this list who will be drafted in 2014. While he lacks size and speed, most projections peg Landry as a third or fourth-round talent.