National Signing Day 2019: Ranking the Top 25 Offensive Prospects

Brad Shepard@@Brad_ShepardFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2019

National Signing Day 2019: Ranking the Top 25 Offensive Prospects

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    Credit: 247Sports

    A year after a bumper crop of quarterbacks highlighted the 2018 recruiting class, the position is nowhere near as stocked with instant-impact talent.

    Instead, the 2019 class is loaded with wide receivers, offensive linemen and a few marquee running backs. Sure, there are several signal-callers worth your attention, but there isn't a Trevor Lawrence.

    There are, however, plenty of playmakers ready to break onto the national stage.

    After watching recruiting videos and all-star games, reading zillions of words and giving some credence to how guys performed when the lights were the brightest, we ranked the offensive prospects in the '19 class.

    From receivers like Frank Ladson and Jadon Haselwood to a loaded group of offensive linemen led by a massive star who is already in Tuscaloosa, there are a lot of reasons to laud this group.

    There's also a running back at the top of the list, and it's not the one you think.

25. Joe Ngata, Wide Receiver (Clemson)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'3", 205 lbs

    High School: Folsom High School; Folsom, California

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 9 wide receiver, No. 52 overall

    Enrolled at Clemson on Jan. 6


    The Clemson brand is going strong, and there's reason to believe Dabo Swinney can go into any living room in the country and convince a high school prospect they need to come to rural South Carolina.

    Especially a wide receiver.

    That's why there are two on this list: because of the way Swinney and his elite group of offensive coaches have developed players recently and with Trevor Lawrence flinging them the ball.

    One guy with a high ceiling is Joe Ngata, who hails from the same high school as former Washington standout Jake Browning and Alabama star offensive tackle Jonah Williams.

    He is the complete package with great size, speed and athleticism as well as soft hands. He will team with Frank Ladson to ensure the Tigers will continue to churn out elite pass-catchers who can learn from Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, Amari Rodgers and that bunch.

    It's an embarrassment of riches for Lawrence and crew.

24. Pierce Quick, Offensive Tackle (Alabama)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'5", 287 lbs

    High School: Hewitt-Trussville High School; Trussville, Alabama

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 7 offensive tackle, No. 40 overall

    Enrolled at Alabama on Jan. 7


    Pierce Quick isn't like a lot of those mauling, imposing linemen Nick Saban has brought to Tuscaloosa who are day-one starters and household names right away.

    That doesn't mean he will be a bust. As a matter of fact, just the opposite.

    What makes Quick impressive is his upside, and he can probably add 30 pounds and still be a force. He actually needs to and will be a multiyear starter.

    Crimson Tide fans are excited about IMG Academy offensive tackle Evan Neal, and rightfully so, but Quick should develop into an interior lineman who will help pave the way for some of those dynamic running backs.

    He isn't the best technique-wise yet, and he should get better at the point of attack, but Alabama doesn't need him to play right away. He'll be fun to watch develop—unless you're an opposing defender.

23. Bo Nix, Quarterback (Auburn)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'1½", 207 lbs

    High School: Pinson Valley High School; Pinson, Alabama

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 1 dual-threat quarterback, No. 33 overall

    Enrolled at Auburn on Jan. 8


    Also in the state of Alabama and just 20 minutes down the road from Quick is Bo Nix, who wants to make Auburn forget about the Jarrett Stidham era quickly. The former Baylor Bear didn't have a great final season on the Plains, so it may not be too hard to do that.

    Yes, there are a couple of older players in Nix's way, but there are also reasons to believe the nation's top-ranked dual-threat quarterback and a legacy Tiger can be a program savior and make an immediate impact.

    The best part about Nix's game is his headiness—he's been around the sport his whole life with his father, Patrick, a former Auburn signal-caller. He's a winner who has enjoyed a great high school career, though he's not the biggest quarterback with the best arm.

    Nix is a great decision-maker, throws well while moving the pocket and is a sturdy runner who can take and deliver blows. Perhaps a good comparison would be LSU's Joe Burrow, who isn't an overwhelming athlete but can make things happen.

    The future is in good hands with Nix joining Gus Malzahn's offense.

22. Dominick Blaylock, Wide Receiver (Georgia)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'1", 195 lbs

    High School: Walton High School; Marietta, Georgia

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 5 wide receiver, No. 36 overall

    Signed with Georgia on Dec. 19


    Dominick Blaylock is another player who has been around elite athletes his entire life, only in his case, it was with a different sport. He's the son of former Atlanta Hawks guard Mookie Blaylock.

    In a class loaded with dynamic pass-catchers, Blaylock gets overshadowed, but that's a mistake.

    He may not be the biggest, fastest receiver, and he isn't going to stand out against marquee guys. But Blaylock belongs in the top 25 regardless. He's going to be a player Georgia tries to get integrated into its offense quickly.

    Blaylock moves well in space and runs terrific routes. With Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman and Terry Godwin heading to the NFL draft along with tight end Isaac Nauta, there are catches to be made.

    Some of those should go to Blaylock.

    As DawgNation's Connor Riley wrote, UGA fans should be excited about the skill set Blaylock displayed when he caught two touchdowns and threw another one in the All-American Bowl. That type of play will make him a force in the SEC.

    Don't sleep on Blaylock even though several receivers are ranked ahead of him.

21. Jayden Daniels, Quarterback (Arizona State)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'3", 175 lbs

    High School: Cajon High School; San Bernardino, California

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 2 dual-threat quarterback, No. 35 overall

    Enrolled at Arizona State on Jan. 7


    One of the quarterbacks with the most upside in the 2019 class is Jayden Daniels, a lanky, dual-threat signal-caller who will be a force once he fills out. He may get the opportunity to learn on the job right away at Arizona State with Manny Wilkins out of eligibility.

    Herm Edwards has his quarterback of the future, and Daniels will have some competition with Joey Yellen coming in, too.

    It will be tough to bet against Daniels winning the job, though. He's the best athlete in the quarterback class, and he possesses an elite arm and can make all the throws. He isn't the best fundamental signal-caller yet, and he may look like he's all knees and elbows until he puts on some weight.

    But there's no question Daniels could be one of the top newcomers in the Pac-12 in 2019.

    There's a reason why UCLA wanted him, and Alabama, Utah and others extended offers, too. But Daniels found a home in the desert, and he will have the chance to step right on the field.

    Things aren't always going to be great if he learns on the job, but Daniels has greatness ahead of him.

20. Baylor Cupp, Tight End (Texas A&M)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'6", 240 lbs

    High School: Brock High School; Brock, Texas

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 1 tight end, No. 53 overall

    Enrolled at Texas A&M on Jan. 7


    It's hard for a tight end to make a list of top offensive players, but Baylor Cupp is one of the best athletes in the class, could play a lot of places on the field and arguably should be ranked higher.

    With Jace Sternberger heading to the NFL and expected to be a coup for some team in the near future, there is a wide-open spot for Cupp to immediately make his presence felt. After all, Sternberger had 832 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

    There's no question Jimbo Fisher likes utilizing tight ends, and Cupp can do it all. He is big and physical and shouldn't be a liability in run blocking. He also is faster than most kids his size and possesses the soft hands and great route running needed to be a force in the passing game right away.

    When it comes to playmakers, he is a good bet to be one of the top freshmen in the country because of his situation. Quarterback Kellen Mond's skill set lends itself to featuring the tight end, and there will be a bunch of playmakers around him in the receiving corps.

    Look for Cupp to earn playing time and eventually a starting spot and be a huge part of an offense that could make a lot of noise in the SEC.

19. Clay Webb, Center (Georgia)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'3", 295 lbs

    High School: Oxford High School; Oxford, Alabama

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 1 center, No. 26 overall

    Enrolled at Georgia on Dec. 19


    Teams don't just come into the Alabama and pull away players the Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers covet. When it happens, it's big news.

    Look at Clemson's Justyn Ross, who wound up burning the Tide in the national championship game. Another player the in-state programs will regret letting get away is Clay Webb.

    The offensive lineman has the potential to be one of the top interior linemen in the country pretty quickly, and he'll learn from one of the best line coaches in the game in Georgia's Sam Pittman.

    UGA has plenty of young, capable offensive linemen thanks to the way Kirby Smart has recruited, and Webb should fit in nicely, perhaps sliding to the center of the line. He's tough and gets great leverage, but he needs a year or two in the weight room.

    Webb won't be a star in 2019, but he'll anchor the Bulldogs line as a multiyear starter and has all-conference potential.

18. Graham Mertz, Quarterback (Wisconsin)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'3", 205 lbs

    High School: Blue Valley North High School; Mission, Kansas

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 3 pro-style quarterback, No. 65 overall

    Signed with Wisconsin on Dec. 19


    Nobody has Graham Mertz as high on their list as this, but if you watched him in the All-American Bowl, it was impossible not to be impressed. You don't normally hear about star prospects from Kansas, but Mertz is going to change Wisconsin football.

    He may even do it in 2019.

    Mertz can make every throw, though he isn't the best athlete. With the way Alex Hornibrook struggled in 2018, Mertz will have every chance to step right in and start.

    It wasn't just the all-star game, either. Mertz was strong throughout practices, and he is a bit of an unknown because he didn't play against powerhouse high school competition.

    Even his 247Sports profile projects him as a Day 3 NFL draft pick down the road; that seems like a slight.

    Mertz is going to be a centerpiece for coach Paul Chryst's offense, and with Jonathan Taylor entrenched as one of the top offensive playmakers in all of college football, Mertz won't have a ton of pressure on him right away even if he takes some lumps.

    That's why fan Badger of Honor's Tanner Nestle wrote Mertz deserves a shot to win the job. It may be a gamble to rank Mertz this high, but there are plenty of reasons to believe he is the real deal.

17. Jerrion Ealy, Running Back (Undecided)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 5'10", 200 lbs

    High School: Jackson Preparatory School; Flowood, Mississippi

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 3 running back, No. 29 overall

    Undecided: Ole Miss, Clemson, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn


    For a while, it looked like Jerrion Ealy was going to play for coach Matt Luke and Ole Miss despite the uncertainty in Oxford. Then, when he decommitted, it caused quite a stir.

    Now, there are plenty of suitors for the compact, speedy running back who looks like a star in the making.

    The 247Sports crystal ball points to the national champion Clemson Tigers as the likely destination, and he'd fit brilliantly. Travis Etienne is entering his junior season, and he will be a possible early departure to the NFL draft after next season.

    Lyn-J Dixon is a future game-breaker, too, but coach Dabo Swinney uses multiple runners to keep fresh his playmakers on a loaded offense.

    If Ealy joins it, it'll add to an embarrassment of riches. He is a dynamo in space and is the best one-cut runner in the class. He can do a lot of things with the ball and looks like he'd be a capable pass-catcher as well, though that wasn't necessarily his game in high school.

    Several high-profile Magnolia State prospects look like they may leave the state (see Nakobe Dean) this year. So, while Ealy certainly still has a spot with the Rebels or the Mississippi State Bulldogs, he may seek other pastures.

    Somebody will get a future star.

16. Kyle Ford, Wide Receiver (USC)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'2", 212 lbs

    High School: Orange Lutheran High School; Orange, California

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 6 wide receiver, No. 38 overall

    Committed to USC on Jan. 5


    Kyle Ford is an elite prospect, one of the nation's best.

    He teamed with South Carolina commitment and signal-caller Ryan Hilinski to form an incredible connection for Orange Lutheran. But a torn anterior cruciate ligament in September threw things off-kilter for Ford.

    There's all the reason to believe he will recover and be a star for USC, but there is always uncertainty with such an injury.

    Before he was hurt, Ford was a dynamic force who was almost a lock to be an instant-impact contributor for his program of choice. He and fellow playmaker Puka Nacua give the Trojans an exciting duo for the future.

    USC won't rush Ford back, and he probably won't be ready for the 2019 season unless he makes a quick recovery. But he is a big, physical receiver who runs polished routes and has no trouble overpowering cornerbacks.

    He won the MVP at The Opening finals in the summer and should be one of the top players in the Pac-12 before his career is over. But there needs to be some evidence of a full recovery before he is ranked higher.

    Still, Ford's ceiling is as high as anybody's in this group.

15. Zach Charbonnet, Running Back (Michigan)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'2", 215 lbs

    High School: Oaks Christian School; Westlake Village, California

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 4 running back, No. 46 overall

    Enrolled at Michigan on Jan. 6


    Several big-name running backs are sprinkled throughout this list, and one of the best ones is Michigan signee Zach Charbonnet, a tall, explosive player who could wind up being a Najee Harris type.

    Both are California high school products, and both left the West Coast to play for big-name programs across the country.

    With Karan Higdon heading to the NFL draft, there is a starting spot available, and Charbonnet is good enough to play right away. He's a power runner who doesn't look like it because of his tall frame, but he runs over defenders with ease.

    His long strides allow him to cover ground in a hurry, and he can do everything with the ball in his hands. He's got NFL written all over him and is as close to a can't-miss prospect in this class as you'll find.

    Charbonnet comes from a great academic school that is also a football powerhouse, and he'll become a Michigan Man pretty quickly. It's possible he'll be the best recruit in the Big Ten when everything is said and done.

    The only reason he's this low on the list is because of the other elite players ahead of him. The Wolverines got a really good one in Charbonnet.

14. George Pickens, Wide Receiver (Auburn)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'3½", 190 lbs

    High School: Hoover High School; Hoover, Alabama

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 4 wide receiver, No. 24 overall

    Committed to Auburn on July 21


    One of the best prep receivers in the nation is 5-star prospect George Pickens, who is committed to Auburn but could visit other programs before national signing day.

    He was the only player in the Tigers' class who was committed in December but did not sign, and other programs have turned up the heat on him.

    The Vols have former Hoover High School assistant Jeremy Pruitt as their head coach, and Pickens has a relationship with new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, too, according to A to Z Sports Nashville's Zach Ragan.

    Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley has built a strong bond with the prospect, too, according to Dawn of the Dawg's Kyle Funderburk, and Pickens has stardom written all over him.

    The big, athletic receiver isn't the fastest of the bunch, but he showed out in Orlando for the Under Armour All-America Game. And with Darius Slayton declaring for the NFL draft a year early along with quarterback Jarrett Stidham, Pickens could team with signal-caller Bo Nix for a sturdy freshman duo.

    Pickens has a lot of key attributes you look for in an elite receiver prospect such as breakaway speed, great hands, the ability to high-point the ball and performing on big stages such as high school all-star games. He is the kind of player who can step in and make an immediate impact.

    It will be an upset if Pickens goes to any of the programs on his list but Auburn.

13. Kenyon Green, Offensive Tackle (Texas A&M)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'4½", 322 lbs

    High School: Atascocita High School; Humble, Texas

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 3 offensive tackle, No. 15 overall

    Signed with Texas A&M on Dec. 19


    There are few players as ready to step in and make an impact as offensive tackle Kenyon Green, who can be a star right away for Texas A&M. He proved how good he is against the best in the Under Armour All-America Game.

    The best thing about Green is his athleticism. For someone his size, he can get to the second level with authority, which would make him a great pulling guard. The thing is, he also has the skill set to play on the exterior of the line.

    It is a good bet Green will play tackle for the Aggies because of his size and athleticism.

    He isn't the best technician, though, and though he is thick up top, he needs a year to strengthen his legs to be a force and reach his maximum potential.

    "They just told me that, 'You've got a good chance to play.' I don't know where for sure," Green told 247Sports' Brian Perroni. "They were saying that it could be left or right—whatever they need me at. I'm just going to come in ready to go and compete."

    With spots open in College Station, Green could earn a starting role. He'll get better as the year progresses and be a star by the time his college days are done.

12. Bru McCoy, Athlete (Texas)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'2", 205 lbs

    High School: Mater Dei High School; Santa Ana, California

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 1 athlete, No. 9 overall

    Committed to Texas on Friday


    Bru McCoy shocked the college football world when, after mere weeks of being enrolled at USC, he reportedly decided to enter the transfer portal and will head to Texas, according to USC247's Chris Swanson.

    McCoy moved on after former Trojans offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury was hired as the Arizona Cardinals' head coach. It's an unprecedented situation that intensified the spotlight on the transfer portal.

    When it comes to talent, McCoy could be ranked higher on a list of top recruits than 12th. After all, he is the top-ranked athlete in the class and the No. 9 player overall.

    So, why is he this low on an offense-only list? It's because McCoy's highest ceiling is on defense.

    He has the ability to be an every-down receiver with adequate speed to be a downfield threat and a physical frame to get off blocks. Everybody who has watched him in camps raves about his body control, too.

    But those attributes would make him a great defender, and though he could be an elite safety, he looks like an outside linebacker who can get after quarterbacks and wreak havoc on opposing offenses.

    Regardless of which side of the ball he plays, McCoy will make an impact and be a collegiate star with high-round NFL draft capability.

11. Wanya Morris, Offensive Tackle (Tennessee)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'6", 312 lbs

    High School: Grayson High School; Loganville, Georgia

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 6 offensive tackle, No. 28 overall

    Enrolled at Tennessee on Jan. 15


    Tennessee has so many needs that the opportunity for anybody to come in and play right away is there. That's especially the case along the offensive front, where coach Jeremy Pruitt needs an overhaul.

    Enter Loganville, Georgia, prospect Wanya Morris, who is one of the most talented offensive linemen in the class. He is big, athletic and looks ready to be a multiyear starter as long as he's on Rocky Top.

    A lot of times, offensive tackles who are physically ready to play on Saturdays still need strength to be productive run blockers, but that isn't the case with Morris. He already is ready to be a force in that aspect of the offense.

    Morris isn't ready to dominate is pass blocking, but that's something he will learn pretty quickly and improve on under O-line coach Will Friend. Most importantly for Morris and the Vols, he is a midterm enrollee, so he will get to go through the strength and conditioning program and spring practice.

    Morris chose UT over offers from Auburn, Florida State, Alabama and virtually any other program, and he is as close to a can't-miss talent at the position as there is. The Vols need him to be physically ready, and he can be a cornerstone for Pruitt's program.

    If Tennessee can team him with Darnell Wright, it'll be a major coup and go a long way in rebuilding the offense.

10. Logan Brown, Offensive Tackle (Wisconsin)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'6", 305 lbs

    High School: East Kentwood High School; Grand Rapids, Michigan

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 4 offensive tackle, No. 17 overall

    Signed with Wisconsin on Dec. 19


    If you could sculpt the perfect left tackle prospect, it would be Wisconsin signee Logan Brown, who has the best frame of anybody in this class and looks like he could add 20-30 pounds without it being a big deal.

    The strong, athletic prospect was a major steal for coach Paul Chryst, and he has the ability to be a future first-round draft pick. But he'll do a lot of blocking for Jonathan Taylor and Co. before that. Brown could step right in and play.

    The Badgers lost a ton of talent from an offensive line that was supposed to be special in 2018 but that didn't live up to expectations in a disappointing year for the program.

    Though Brown may have to wait his turn behind guys like redshirt junior Cole Van Lanen, redshirt freshman Michael Furtney, and redshirt sophomores Logan Bruss and Tyler Beach, he also could be too good to keep off the field.

    With Chryst's recruiting system, he normally leans toward redshirting if he can, and it's why Wisconsin has a deep group of linemen from which to replace departures. But Brown could buck that trend. He's massive with a projectable frame and may wind up as the best lineman in the class.

    That's saying something considering how deep and good this group is.

9. Frank Ladson, Wide Receiver (Clemson)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'3", 190 lbs

    High School: South Dade Senior High School; Miami

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 7 wide receiver, No. 39 overall

    Enrolled at Clemson on Jan. 6


    There aren't six receivers in this class better than Clemson signee Frank Ladson.

    Ladson is a star in the making who will be one of the beneficiaries of long-time stalwart Hunter Renfrow's departure. That's all the national champion Tigers need, right? Another superstar for quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

    Ladson was a huge win for coach Dabo Swinney, and he will fit right in with Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, Amari Rodgers and classmate Joe Ngata.

    He is another deep threat who will be made better because of the supporting cast around him. He also will blossom because of all the competition, and he'll get plenty of opportunities in this offense.

    Ladson is a quiet kid who could play meaner, but he can run by defenders and is great on 50-50 balls, using his length and athleticism to catch the pigskin in traffic.

    There more physically ready receiver prospects, but Ladson's size and speed plus the excellent situation at Clemson make him a no-brainer as the top overall receiver.

    He's going to make an impact right away, and he'll be an NFL player if he stays healthy.

8. Spencer Rattler, Quarterback (Oklahoma)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'1", 192 lbs

    High School: Pinnacle High School; Phoenix

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 1 pro-style quarterback, No. 11 overall

    Signed with Oklahoma on Dec. 19


    With Austin Kendall having transferred to West Virginia, 2019 was supposed to be the year Spencer Rattler fought Tanner Mordecai to be Oklahoma's next great gunslinger.

    But that's not like coach Lincoln Riley, is it? He's added a pair of transfers in recent years that he turned into Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts will try to do the same in his final season of eligibility.

    That will give Rattler and Mordecai another year to develop.

    Rattler has the ability to be a star, and while he doesn't have elite size, that can't be held against a Sooners quarterback.

    He resembles Murray when throwing the ball with his quick release, precision and sneaky strong arm. He isn't going to wow you with athleticism, and he's nowhere near as fast as Murray, but he still has high upside.

    Rattler is the kind of ball-distributor to make others shine, and he can make plays when the pocket breaks down, too.

    He won't make an immediate impact, but he still projects as a multiyear starter and multiyear star.

7. Jadon Haselwood, Wide Receiver (Oklahoma)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'2½", 195 lbs

    High School: Cedar Grove High School; Ellenwood, Georgia

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 1 wide receiver, No. 4 overall

    Signed with Oklahoma on Jan. 6


    Another dynamic athlete who is ranked a little lower on this list than he is on several others is Oklahoma signee Jadon Haselwood. That doesn't mean he won't eventually be a star, of course.

    There are a lot of things to like, including his jump-ball ability, route-running capability and ball skills. But he lacks top-level speed and didn't churn out huge numbers in high school. Are those red flags, or does he just need to be in the right offense?

    It's not a question he's in the right place to shine in Norman, but with fellow stars like Theo Wease and Trejan Bridges also coming in, he's going to have to fight for reps even with his own class.

    Haselwood is an excellent prospect; he's just not the best receiver in the class or even in Oklahoma's class.

    Like Bru McCoy, he could be an elite defender. In Haselwood's case, that would be as a safety, and he could be a day-one starter for new coordinator Alex Grinch.

    The offense is crowded under Lincoln Riley, but who wouldn't want to be a receiver in that system, especially with Jalen Hurts coming in?

    Haselwood needs some work to be great, but that's no knock on him. He still has a ridiculously high ceiling on either side of the ball. It's going to be fun to watch him develop.

6. Darnell Wright, Offensive Tackle (Undecided)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'6", 320 lbs

    High School: Huntington High School; Huntington, West Virginia

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 2 offensive tackle, No. 10 overall

    Undecided: Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, West Virginia


    Whoever winds up getting Darnell Wright is going to get an offensive tackle who is big, strong and athletic enough to play right away and throughout his collegiate career.

    He was an Under Armor All-American, and though he wasn't in the best shape, he'll be fine in college. It's nothing a few months in a college strength and conditioning program won't fix, and Wright has the highest upside of any offensive lineman in this class.

    He plays lighter than he is, is a great athlete for his size and plays mean—exactly the mentality you want in an offensive tackle.

    Wright doesn't possess the greatest technique, and it may take him time to adjust to a high level of play after not playing against the best competition, but he has the potential to be great soon.

    There's a reason why most of the top programs in the nation wanted him, and though Georgia and Alabama came calling and recruited him hard, this feels like a Tennessee-West Virginia battle.

    The Vols have a long-standing relationship with Wright, who has made multiple visits to Knoxville, and the thought of teaming him with Wanya Morris is tantalizing to UT fans. He'd likely start right away for an offensive line in need of reinforcements.

    Wright visited West Virginia on Jan. 18, and if he elects to stay close to home, he'd be the centerpiece of new coach Neal Brown's class.

5. Theo Wease, Wide Receiver (Oklahoma)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'3", 202 lbs

    High School: Allen High School; Allen, Texas

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 3 wide receiver, No. 21 overall

    Signed with Oklahoma on Dec. 19


    Everybody wants to talk about Jadon Haselwood, and there's nothing wrong with that; Haselwood has a load of talent and was a major coup for coach Lincoln Riley and OU.

    But the best receiver in the Sooners' recruiting class is Theo Wease, who is physically ready and was plucked out from under the noses of Texas and Texas A&M. That's saying something, too, as well as those two programs recruited in the 2019 cycle.

    The best thing about Wease is he is nowhere near his peak physical potential. His frame could easily hold 15-20 more pounds, and getting stronger will help him through the rigors of the game.

    In the Big 12, though, Wease shouldn't have an issue. The league isn't known for physical defensive backs, and he already has the finesse part down. Wease is a long-bodied, fast deep threat who high-points the ball as well as anybody in the country besides perhaps Haselwood.

    Wease is the kind of receiver who can be a first-down machine.

    Since Marquise Brown declared for the NFL draft, Wease could slot into the lineup along with CeeDee Lamb and be an immediate-impact weapon for Jalen Hurts.

    The exciting thing for the Sooners is any of these guys (or all of them) could be stars right away.

4. Trey Sanders, Running Back (Alabama)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'0", 214 lbs

    High School: IMG Academy; Bradenton, Florida

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 1 running back, No. 6 overall

    Signed with Alabama on Dec. 19


    If you don't think Trey Sanders will be a superstar, you're in the minority. He is as physically gifted and ready as any runner in the country.

    He's also an ideal fit for what Alabama wants to do on the ground.

    Sanders didn't shine in the All-American Bowl, and he may not make a splash right away, but he will be a star for the Crimson Tide in the mold of Josh Jacobs. Tuscaloosa will be home to Najee Harris' backfield in 2019, though.

    The running back said he wanted to win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman, which made the target on his back even bigger. That perhaps wasn't the wisest move, but there's no question he has plenty of confidence.

    Sanders is a complete running back with the ideal combination of power and speed. He is ready to carry the load, and though he may not be an all-conference back right away, those days aren't far away.

    He is one of the top three backs in this class, but he may not be the best incoming freshman in the SEC West in 2019.

3. Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver (Ohio State)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 5'11½", 175 lbs

    High School: Lake Travis High School; Austin, Texas

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 2 wide receiver, No. 20 overall

    Signed with Ohio State on Dec. 19


    The Ohio State Buckeyes must replace a generational talent in quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who made everybody in the passing game better with his ability to open up the offense and do things that hadn't been done in an Urban Meyer-coached offense.

    Though there will be tons of questions on that side of the ball if Justin Fields isn't immediately eligible thanks to the transfer of Tate Martell, there are plenty of capable pass-catchers to make the signal-caller better this year.

    Austin Mack, Chris Olave, Binjimen Victor return, but even with them back, there's room for a game-breaking speedster like Garrett Wilson. He isn't the biggest receiver, and though there are some things in his skill set that still need to be ironed out, he can be an immediate contributor.

    Ohio State must replace a pair of talented outside receivers in Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin, who combined for 77 receptions, 1,370 yards and 19 touchdowns. Some of those catches should go to Wilson.

    He has good hands and runs quality routes, and though he lacks size and needs to be more physical at the line of scrimmage, there are a lot of things to love about OSU's latest steal out of the Lone Star State. It's a place where the Buckeyes have experienced good luck, and it'll continue with Wilson.

    Wilson is the most polished receiver in a loaded class of them.

2. Evan Neal, Offensive Tackle (Alabama)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 6'7½", 360 lbs

    High School: IMG Academy; Bradenton, Florida

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 1 offensive tackle, No. 7 overall

    Enrolled at Alabama on Jan. 7


    The biggest jewel in the best offensive line class in a long time is Trey Sanders' teammate at IMG Academy who will join him in Tuscaloosa and pave the way for his yards for years to come.

    Mammoth offensive tackle Evan Neal should be the starting left tackle for a national championship contender after Jonah Williams heads to the NFL. Coach Nick Saban already showed with Williams and Cam Robinson that he isn't scared to throw freshmen linemen into the fire.

    Neal is ready.

    He's already enrolled at Alabama, and strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran will help him shed some of the bad weight he's carrying, though there really isn't all that much on such a huge frame. If he plays 2019 at 340, that would be fine.

    Neal is a big, physical, long-armed tackle who can keep defenders off his person, and his strength also is a major asset in the running game. He doesn't bend quite as well as some other linemen in this class, and he may be a step slower, but he's so powerful it won't matter.

    It's nitpicking to point out flaws in Neal's game; he's the top lineman in the class and also the most ready to dominate at the highest college level. He has the potential to be an All-American right away and will be a force as a freshman and throughout a career destined to be just three years long.

1. John Emery Jr., Running Back (LSU)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height, Weight: 5'11", 206 lbs

    High School: Destrehan High School; Destrehan, Louisiana

    247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 2 running back, No. 13 overall

    Signed with LSU on Dec. 19


    Rating prospects is all about evaluating potential, and when a player has the opportunity to be special, it's hard to focus on anything else. That's the case with John Emery Jr.

    The one-time Georgia commitment elected to stay close to home and play for LSU, which was a major win for coach Ed Orgeron, who landed seven of the top eight in-state prospects who've already made decisions. Defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher still is deciding between the Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, so it may be eight out of nine.

    Emery is physically developed in his upper body, looking like Derrius Guice, and he is special with what he can do with his feet. He's big enough to run between the tackles, but he's also an explosive home run hitter and possesses the traits to be a force in the passing game, too.

    Classmate Tyrion Davis can shoulder some of the heavy lifting between the tackles, and Emery can be the game-breaker the Tigers need on the ground.

    He can do it all, and his ceiling is even higher than Trey Sanders'. Both are physically ready to play in the SEC West, and both will get plenty of chances to help carry their programs. But Emery is the more complete back.

    It's going to be exciting to watch him develop, and there should be a fun competition between him and Sanders, who'll be compared to each other throughout their careers.


    Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of Sports Reference and All recruiting information from 247Sports.

    Brad Shepard covers college football for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.


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