I usually like to watch college football spring games before I dig too deeply into recruits so I can get a feel for the early enrollees and how they are meshing with their college teammates. Obviously that isn’t going to happen this spring, so I’m basing my evaluations off of the UA All-American game and videos from high school.
#11 Demond Demas – WR – Texas A&M
Demas did not play high school football as a senior but the all star games allow us to get a look at the future TAMU player. 6’3” and right at 200 pounds gives him a good start but still could put on 10-15 pounds easy on his frame. 4.43s forty with the long strides means the player is usually behind the defense in a short amount of time. High points the ball with his 41” high jump and moves through the defense with ease. Texas A&M has a ton of talent that will push Demas and not just give him a starting spot. Likely an NFL talent, so keep an eye out for him in Devy draft.
#12 Chris Tyree – RB – Notre Dame
The fastest verified forty time of the 2020 top 20 at 4.38 seconds. Size is a worry that 5’10” and 179 pounds will not hold up in college. The hope is he can put on 25 pounds of muscle, and doesn’t lose his speed. I don’t see a player breaking many tackles, but instead uses his speed to break pursuit angles and leave the high school kids in the dust. Really an interesting case for Notre Dame because they graduated their leading rusher, but will they play Tyree until he gets some weight on him? Not an early enrollee and no spring sports might hinder his early college career.
#13 Ja’quinden Jackson – QB – Texas
Played in a high school scheme similar to Lamar Jackson. Has some serious arm strength and enough accuracy to hit the open receiver. Strong runner able to stiff arm defensive players and keep them from making the tackle. Will step into a scheme at Texas that will emphasize his strengths. Tore (partially) his ACL in his last high school game, so likely to start off slow and possibly take a redshirt as a freshman due to the lack of spring preparation and allowing the injury to fully heal while learning the offense. Due to the appeal of dual threat QBs, he has some real possibility to score fantasy points once he gets on the field. Already 220 pounds at 6’2” means he doesn’t need more weight, just finish healing and learn the offense from Sam Ehlinger.
#14 Hudson Card – QB – Texas
I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the freshman quarterbacks will not be on the Texas roster for all four years. My previous comments about Ja’quinden redshirting was not only for health reasons, but early-enrollee Hudson Card might be making a heck of an impression on the Texas staff. Hudson was a bright spot of QB play at the UA All-American game and if Ehlinger was to get hurt, there isn’t a lot of experience behind him. Hudson is thinner at 183 pounds according to the Texas roster, and a tenth of a second slower than Ja’quinden Jackson in the forty. Coming from one of the best high schools for developing quarterbacks means there are a lot of expectations and I think Card can meet them.
#15 Jase McClellan – RB – Alabama
McClellan switching from OU to Alabama was a surprise, but his comments about getting playing time as a freshman made it understandable. McClellan has a college ready body at 5’11” and 200 pounds. Unfortunately for him, Najee Harris decided to return. With #2 rusher Brian Robinson also a senior, and Trey Sanders coming back from his medical redshirt, the opportunities might be small his first year. McClellan is an early enrollee, so he should be putting muscle on and learning the playbook. His 4.55s forty isn’t blazing fast, and high school video shows him being caught on long runs, so muscle will be needed to keep stiff-arming the defenders as he is prone to do. Not a huge receiving threat, but Alabama hasn’t thrown the ball to running backs very often, so it’s a good fit scheme wise.
#16 D.J. Uiagelelei – QB – Clemson
Clemson has a starting QB for 2020. Clemson has highly recruited redshirt freshman Taisun Phommachanh. Clemson did lose backup Chase Brice to Duke as a graduate transfer. If Trevor Lawrence was to get hurt, as he did last year, would Uiagelelei step in over Phommachanh? Uiagelelei is an early enrollee so he has some time with the playbook and Clemson has historically run up the scores early so younger players get time on the field. D.J. is massive at 6’5” and 245 pounds but is not a burner with a 5s forty, though that is not a huge issue for quarterbacks. #16 is a conservative ranking based off of waiting for playing time, but Uiagelelei might run up the rankings when looking back in 2021.
#17 Marcus Rosemy – WR – Georgia
Marcus Rosemy doesn’t have extreme numbers for height, weight, speed, or vertical but seems to catch the ball in any situation. I panned Garrett Wilson last year due to a smaller size and slower forty. Rosemy is taller at 6’2”, heavier at 187 pounds and faster at 4.59s in the forty, but I feel like they have similar skills. If that comes true, Rosemy will see a jump in the rankings but there are a lot of young wide receivers at Georgia who are hoping the new QB can throw enough to keep them all happy.
#18 Haynes King – QB – Texas A&M
Texas A&M is returning the first, second, and third string QB from 2019. Haynes did not look particularly comfortable during the UA All-American game. While back at home he threw 20 TDs and ran for 10 more, he was scrambling all night in the all-star game. Listed at 6’3” but only 190 pounds of course means he will need to add muscle in college. Shows good touch on passes and can run from pressure but it looks like he will be waiting for playing time until 2021.
#19 Arian Smith – WR – Georgia
Speed kills in football. Arian Smith beat Chris Tyree (who had the fastest official forty) during the UA Fastest Man challenge. My concern is there are a lot of young stud wide receivers at Georgia and Smith might be a better corner or safety than a receiver. His high school video shows some impressive cover skills along with special teams ability. Devin Hester eventually worked his way into being an NFL receiver, so maybe at a bit over 6’0″ and 170 pounds, so can Marcus.
#20 E.J. Smith – RB – Stanford
E.J. Smith looked like the best running back during the UA All-American game. Stanford is returning their senior Cameron Scarlett and talented youngster Austin Jones. 5’11” and 200 pounds gives E.J. good size to go along with his great hands. Invoking the name Christian McCaffrey is probably premature, but I have my short list of Devy players I want on all my rosters and E.J. is one of them. Talent to line up in the slot, speed to return punts, balance to be hit behind the line and still score, speed to run away from most secondaries, the label all purpose back is apt.