As the 2011 college football season gears up, we polled our writers for their top sleepers, busts and newcomers. Here are the results:
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin - Wilson will begin his first season with the Badgers after transferring from North Carolina State this offseason. He is coming off a strong campaign last season, totaling 3,563 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions with 435 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns. That combination of great passing skills and his ability to score on the ground makes him a strong fantasy option and a great value in drafts this season.
John Brantley, QB, Florida - Brantley could be one of college football's top sleepers this season as Florida switchs to an offense finally suited to his talents. After floundering in last year's spread-option attack, Brantley will be unleashed in Charlie Weis' new pro-style offense. Weis' scheme should suit Brantley much better, and Weis has had success with quarterbacks at every stop.
Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State - With all the preseason talk being about Landry Jones, Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III, Collin Klein may give you the most bang for your buck in fantasy drafts. Klein is the very definition of a duel-threat quarterback. Last season, he was primarily used in the running game, rushing for 432 yards and six touchdowns. This preseason he lit up the Kansas State spring game, throwing for 358 yards and five touchdowns. Klein is a great sleeper because you won't have to draft him as high as the top-tier Big 12 quarterbacks, but he could potentially offer similar numbers.
Ryan Radcliff, QB, Central Michigan - Radcliff had an up-and-down 2010 in his first season as full-time starter, with five 300-yard games and five games in which he threw at least two interceptions. But three of those 300-yard efforts came in the last three games of the season, over which he had five touchdown passes and just two interceptions. He will have wide receiver Cody Wilson, who had a breakout campaign with 83 receptions and 1,137 yards last season, to throw to again and tight end David Blackburn should also provide a reliable target. Radcliff should at least be a useful player in favorable matchups, with upside to be more than that.
Sean Renfree, QB, Duke - Renfree was a disappointment last year, proving to be a turnover machine, particularly early in the season. He threw 15 interceptions in the first seven weeks, though he only threw two in the next five. Renfree's usefulness might primarily be limited to matchups with favorable defenses, but one thing is for sure: he will throw many passes for Duke. He also has ability as a runner (four rushing touchdowns last year) and has two standout receivers in Conner Vernon and Donovan Varner. It's up to Renfree to take the next step, and he could be a fantasy factor nationwide if he does.
Jeremy Wright, RB, Louisville - Victor Anderson may be atop the depth chart for now, but he has not been able to stay healthy since his 1,000-yard freshman campaign in 2008. Enter the sophomore Wright, who averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season playing behind the departed Bilal Powell. With inexperience at quarterback, the Cardinals are going to lean heavily on the running game in 2011. Wright should be in for increased work even in his current role, but particularly if Anderson falls to injury yet again.
Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee - Although he had 1,000 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last year, Poole doesn't get the respect he deserves. Poole will be at least a good draft-day value, if perhaps not a sleeper in the truest sense of the word. Expect him to have a big year behind Tennessee's big offensive line. As such, 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns is not outside the realm of possibility, and Poole should be a nice mid-round grab.
De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon – Nicknamed "The Black Mamba" by rapper Snoop Dogg at age 12 after he watched Thomas participate in a local youth football camp, Thomas ditched his nine-month commitment to USC and bolted for the greener pastures (forests?) of the Pacific Northwest. The 5-9, 160, No. 1-ranked nationally all-purpose athlete from Crenshaw High School was described by former USC All-American safety Rahim Moore as "probably the best player to come out of [Los Angeles], ever." Thomas is noted for his extreme speed and athleticism and climbed Ducks depth chart at tailback, reaching No. 3 spot behind LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, and seemingly establishing himself as the future of Oregon's backfield. He'll likely see limited time on the field in his first year with Oregon, but should develop into the next coming of LaMichael James (if not better). Keeper leagues take note.
Tevin Drake, RB, Western Michigan - Drake led the Broncos in rushing with 405 yards in 2010 despite playing in just six games. He has acknowledged he was out of shape last season, but this season he's starting tailback after beating out Brian Fields and others during camp. An increased workload should make him appealing to fantasy owners. The Broncos are clearly a pass-oriented offense led by quarterback Alex Carder and a solid, experience group of wide receivers, but Drake could become a dependable fantasy play as long as he is the team's primary ballcarrier. If he can get involved in the passing game some, that would obviously only enhance his value.
Geraldo Boldewijn, WR, Boise State - Last season, Boldewijn, who at that time went by the name Geraldo Hiwat, finished with just 11 catches for 160 yards and no touchdowns. That production should skyrocket this season, after the exits of Titus Young and Austin Pettis to the NFL. Boldewijn has looked great in camp, solidifying his spot as the team's No. 2 wide receiver and one of its top playmakers with home-run ability. Given his name change and the fact that most will look to draft his teammate receiver Tyler Shoemaker because of his experience, Boldewijn will be overlooked by many on draft day.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC – While all the hype at USC's wide receiver position entering preseason camp surrounded incoming prized-recruit George Farmer, it has been fellow-freshman Lee who has garnered the attention of teammates and coaches as a potential playmaker opposite Robert Woods. With Woods out for much of fall practice recovering from a high-ankle sprain suffered last spring while playing a pickup game of basketball, Lee, a 6-1, 190-pound receiver out of Serra High School in Gardena, Calif., (same school as Farmer) completely embraced the opportunity to show USC's coaching staff what he's made of, with coach Lane Kiffin acknowledging to members of the press that Lee has often been "the star of … practice by far, with nobody even close to him." In a scrimmage held last weekend, Lee was outstanding, catching seven passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, a performance which has led to talk of the Trojans redshirting Farmer this year in favor of starting the talented Lee. If in fact that happens, expect that Lee potentially emerges as the 2011 version of Robert Woods, with the freshman serving as a fantastic secondary target for junior quarterback Matt Barkley.
Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia - Bailey will start opposite No. 1 wideout Tavon Austin for the Mountaineers to begin the season. First-year head coach Dana Holgorsen brings his high-octane spread offense to Morgantown, which should make fantasy owners salivate. With Jock Sanders now in the NFL, Bailey should get plenty of looks his way in 2011. He was no slouch as a freshman in 2010, catching 24 balls for 317 yards and four TDs.
Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa - McNutt had a solid season in 2010, accumulating 861 yards receiving with eight touchdowns. He will look to improve on those numbers going into his senior year, as this will be his last chance to make an impression on NFL scouts. The loss of Ricky Stanzi hurts, but James Vandenberg should fill the void nicely and will target his most reliable receiver often. Look for McNutt to improve on last year's numbers and be a good draft value.
Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma - Stills comes off of a good freshman season as Oklahoma's No. 2 receiver. While Ryan Broyles is obviously the go-to-guy in Norman, you can't go wrong with the No. 2 receiver on the nation's No. 1 team. Stills won't require a high pick like teammate Broyles and is almost certain to increasehis 786 yards from a year ago.
Billy Ray Stutzmann, WR, Hawaii - While quarterback Bryant Moniz is still at the helm of Hawaii's high-powered passing offense, its top two receivers from last season, Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares, are gone. Stutzmann only had 13 catches last season, but the sophomore is going to see the field a lot more this season, which means he is likely going to see a huge jump in his receiving numbers. He probably won't have the best numbers among Hawaii's receivers, but he doesn't have to to rack up fantasy points.
Stanley Morrison, WR, Utah State - Two seasons ago, coming out of the slot, Morrison tallied 33 receptions for 616 yards and three touchdowns. Then, he missed all of last season with a serious injury. Now, he's healthy and all set to line up as the Aggies' slot receiver once more. With a new quarterback taking the snaps, he could be a nice safety valve, which will really help his numbers, especially in PPR leagues.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami (Fla.) - Benjamin seems a bit hit-or-miss as a player (just 43 catches last year), but the fact that he averaged 17.3 yards per catch in 2010 shows he has lots of potential. With Leonard Hankerson leaving the offense, Benjamin is fully expected to be the team's top receiver in 2011. Of course, uncertainty at quarterback is an issue, but Benjamin still has a good chance to surpass 1,000 yards this year.
Donovan Varner, WR, Duke - Varner's 60 catches for 736 yards and one touchdown from last year are hardly impressive. But the same player caught 65 passes for 1,047 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009, so Varner simply can't be counted out. It's a real possibility that he's been passed by Conner Vernon as the team's best receiver, but his 2009 numbers speak for themselves. It all comes down to which season was the fluke, but that's anyone's guess.
Colin Larmond, WR, Boston College - Larmond missed all of last year with a knee injury, but he was turning into one of college football's better big-play threats at receiver before that. He returns to the offense with a fairly promising young quarterback in Chase Rettig who should improve significantly this year. Larmond is a risky pick in any scenario, but he could pay off as a later-round gamble in ACC-only leagues.
Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State - As a freshman, Escobar was second in the Mountain West last season in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns among all TEs. Now that wide receivers Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson have graduated, expect Escobar's numbers figure to only get better as he becomes one of the team's main vertical threats. Toss in quarterback Ryan Lindley's experience, and Escobar should be a solid tight-end pick with a lot of upside in what is a shallow talent pool for the position.
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan - It might seem crazy to call Robinson a "bust," but there are a few factors working against him this season. First, Michigan's new pro-style offense, which coach Brady Hoke already stated would limit Robinson's designed runs, could decrease his rushing totals. Also, Robinson has made a personal commitment to become more of a pocket passer, which could also put a cap on his most valuable asset, his legs. Robinson will still be one of college football's top quarterbacks, but don't be surprised if he underperforms his draft position this season.
Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee - Bray has potential up to the brim, but his inaccuracy makes him a liability to fantasy owners. Bray has the ability to throw for 30 touchdowns ... and 25 interceptions. His build is also a concern because if he gets hit hard it could mean injury. Bray is a good quarterback, but fantasy football is a whole different monster, and Bray is too large of a liability in which to invest.
Stephen Garcia, QB, South Carolina - The only thing that has Garcia keeping his starting job is apparently the Ole Ball Coach has a man crush on him. Garcia lacks discipline, and backup Connor Shaw is too good to sit in his shadow all year. Coach Steve Spurrier already announced the two will split time in the season opener, so it would be a waste to draft Garcia - he could be out of a starting job by Week 3.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State - Moore was a fantastic fantasy option last season due in part to his great wide receivers, Titus Young and Austin Pettis, who have both since graduated. Their departure leaves the Broncos passing attack with less experience and overall less talent. Given that, a repeat of Moore's 3,800 passing yards and 35 passing touchdowns is rather unlikely. So while Moore may be one of the best quarterbacks in college football, that doesn't mean he's an elite fantasy option for this season.
B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida - Daniels' superior athleticism has not translated into football skills just yet. After a dazzling freshman campaign in which he tossed 14 touchdowns and rushed for nine more, Daniels struggled in 2010, tossing just 11 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions for the Bulls. His completion percentage increased, but it was still low overall at 58.4 percent. An exceptional athlete, Daniels was largely held in check rushing the ball as well. With stout defenses across the Big East, the junior will have to show improvement in decision-making or risk another less-than-stellar campaign.
Michael Nebrich, QB, Connecticut - The UConn quarterback situation is one to stay away from, as no less than four players have a shot at starting the opening game for the Huskies. Nebrich, a true freshman, is the current favorite, but coach Paul Pasqualoni refuses to name a starter until arriving at the stadium on game day. With Johnny McEntee, Scott McCummings and even Mike Box in the mix, it is best to see who emerges from the dust before even considering a move. Even then, UConn has not exactly been a passing powerhouse over the years anyway.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State - Contrary to popular belief, stud receiver Justin Blackmon was not the key to Weeden's 2010 success. The man that was resposible for Weeden's numbers, offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, has headed to West Virginia. Also, standout running back Kendall Hunter has left Stillwater for the NFL, so Weeden will have to try and duplicate 2010 with a new offense and a new backfield.
Matt Schilz, QB, Bowling Green - Schilz started 10 games as a freshman last season, passing for 2,223 yards with eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He missed two games with a shoulder injury as well, leading to a competition with redshirt freshman Trent Hurley for the starting job this preseason. Schilz has been named the starter for the season opener against Idaho, and coach Dave Clawson said Hurley will only play if he is injured or ineffective. That's where the downside is for fantasy owners, as Schilz was both of those things at different points in 2010.
Danny O'Brien, QB, Maryland - O'Brien is a very promising player, but his fantasy value probably won't parallel his on-field utility. This is almost solely because of the offensive scheme his team is likely to run. O'Brien averaged 32.7 pass attempts per start last year, but new coach Randy Edsall's Connecticut offenses averaged only 27.1 pass attempts per game over the last five years. O'Brien's talent gives him a good floor, but his upside is limited in Edsall's offense. You might be better off gambling on the likes of Logan Thomas, Tajh Boyd and Mike Glennon - all of whom might come at a lower draft cost than O'Brien.
Florida State RBs - Florida State won't have any trouble finding production on the ground this year. For fantasy owners, the Seminoles will find it a bit too easy, in fact. Chris Thompson, Jermaine Thomas, Ty Jones, James Wilder and Devonta Freeman are capable of burning any given defense. The problem, of course, is that all five might be in the active lineup. No Florida State back averaged 10 or more carries per game last year - Thompson came closest with an average of 9.5. For that reason, Thompson is the Florida State runner to target if you want one.
James White, RB, Wisconsin - While White was a nice surprise last season, he isn't coming at a discount in this year's drafts. Combine that with the presence of Montee Ball, who is better suited for a lead-back role, and Russell Wilson, who will also steal some carries, and White could end up just being an explosive change-of-pace back who only gets 10-15 touches a games. White will still have value this season, but there is a good chance he will underwhelm.
Marc Tyler, RB, USC – The Trojans' leading returning rusher from 2010 when he totaled nearly 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns, Tyler is back at practice following more than a month spent on suspension after questionable (that's putting it kindly) remarks about the profitable nature of USC's football program and bedding down the now-married Kim Kardashian. He remains, however, a long way from getting back into the good graces of coach Lane Kiffin. USC's most veteran tailback has a ton of ground to make up and will have a hard time proving a more viable option carrying the ball than sophomore Dillon Baxter and redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan, both who are coming off of highly-regarded and productive preseason camps.
Isi Sofele, RB, California – Coach Jeff Tedford continues to maintain that Sofele, the presumed starting tailback for the Bears this season, will see 18-20 carries per game. But Sofele heretofore as been primarily regarded as a slot receiver and speciality back, leaving the normally dominant Cal backfield seemingly weaker than it's been in years. Notably undersized at 5-7, 188, Sofele is undoubtedly athletic, but through two seasons with the Bears, hasn't proven a durable ball carrier (career 69 carries for 338 yards), nor has he matched the average yards per carry (7.6 yards) of former standout Jahvid Best, netting 4.9 yards an attempt last season. The presence of a much larger and physical Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson as the other half of Cal's normal two-back rotation ought to assist Sofele in remaining fresh. Still, the junior just hasn't shown enough to warrant a tremendous amount of confidence in his ability to carry his team. Laney College transfer C.J. Anderson, walk-on Mike Manuel and highly-touted true freshman Brandon Bigelow all lurk in the background, and, especially in the case of the latter, could easily press Sofele for playing time if he remains healthy and Sofele doesn't produce immediately.
Jamal Womble, RB, Northern Illinois - With the graduation of two-time 1,000-yard rusher Chad Spann, it was thought Womble could step into his shoes and replace his production for the Huskies. But the North Carolina transfer was beaten out by Jasmin Hopkins for the starting job and failed to take hold of the job as his primary backup during fall camp. Womble could wind up settling into a short-yardage and goal-line role, so fantasy owners may want to at least keep him on their radar in case Hopkins is injured or unproductive. That said, there is a lot of downside in investing a draft pick in him.
T.J. Moe, WR, Missouri - Moe really took advantage of playing with Blaine Gabbart last season and turned that into a 92-catch season. At first glance, it'd be easy to ride Moe's bandwagon again this season, but the Tigers have a new duel-threat quarterback in James Frankin. While Moe should be one of the top targets with tight-end Michale Egnew, his production is almost guaranteed to drop as Franklin goes through growing pains.
Rashad Evans, WR, Fresno State - Evans has the second-best numbers amongst Fresno State's returning wide receivers, having caught 39 passes for 424 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games last season. However, Fresno State has a pretty deep receiving corps this season, Robbie Rouse is healthy and, most concerning for Evans, a new, inexperienced quarterback is the signal caller. All of these points raise concerns if you expect Evans to improve upon last season's numbers.
Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada - Matthews was Nevada's top receiver last season, and there is no reason to doubt his talent. The concern with him is who will be throwing him the ball. Colin Kaepernick, perhaps the best player in Nevada history, is gone, and that certainly is going to hurt Nevada's passing game. Plus, running back Vai Tua is gone as well, meaning opponents won't have to be as worried about the running game. Nevada's offense likely will take a step or two back this season, and that will hurt Matthews.
Virginia Tech WRs - These guys aren't listed because they lack talent. To the contrary, Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale are two of the nation's elite big-play threats, while Dyrell Roberts and Marcus Davis are also legitimate talents. In addition to the crowding, Virginia Tech receivers have to deal with an offense that has averaged just 23.3 pass attempts per game the last five years. If you do target a Hokie receiver, make it Boykin, who has surpassed 800 yards each of the last two years.
Texas Christian Defense - TCU's defense has finished No. 1 in the nation in average yards per game allowed three seasons in a row. Given that sort of production, the Horned Frogs defense has been among the top picks when selecting a fantasy defense on draft day. This season, however, the Horned Frogs return just five starters as they look to rebuild the defensive line and secondary. They're solid at linebacker with Tank Carder and Tanner Brock, but asking this unit to finish No. 1 again is an unrealistic goal. Drafting TCU early based on reputation likely will hurt many fantasy owners.
Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU - A lot of question surround LSU at this point, and the main one is what are the Tigers going to do at quarterback? Jarrett Lee has been named the starter for Week 1, but Mettenberger has a shot to take the position. He has a cannon for an arm and very good accuracy. He only threw four picks the entire season at Butler, from which he transfered to LSU.
Casey Pachall, QB, TCU - You've probably never head of Pachall because for the past few seasons Andy Dalton has been the TCU starting quarterback and the team's unquestioned leader. With Dalton now gone to the NFL, Pachall is being asked to step up and make this team his own. There's been some rumblings about him possibly losing the job in camp to redshirt freshman Matt Brown, but that was likely motivational tactics on coach Gary Patterson's part. Pachall probably won't be a top option for most fantasy owners on a weekly basis, but considering some of the friendlier defenses he'll face this season, he's someone owners will want to consider as a solid backup.
Zach Maynard, QB, California – To say that coach Jeff Tedford is taking a giant leap of faith in Maynard, a transfer from the University of Buffalo and half-brother of Cal all-purpose playmaker Keenan Allen, is an understatement. Attempting to rebound from a two-year span in which former quarterback Kevin Riley left the once unquestioned king of quarterback development with a very uncharacteristic 13-12 record, the Bears coach admits he's staking his "reputation as quarterback guru" on a quarterback who is stylistically different than most he's tutored. A dual-threat who can make plays with his feet as much as with his arm, Maynard will have to improve upon a sophomore season with Buffalo in 2009 in which he passed for 2,695 yards and 18 touchdowns but also threw 15 interceptions. But if anyone can get it out of him, it'll likely be Tedford.
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin - Wilson made the biggest splash in the Big Ten this offseason by transferring from North Carolina State to Wisconsin. Now he takes the reins of the Badgers offense and looks to put together another strong season.
Chazz Anderson, QB, Buffalo - Anderson is a transfer from Cincinnati, where he spent time with current Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn when Quinn was Cincinnati's offensive coordinator. Anderson has been named the Bulls starting quarterback, and his familiarity with Quinn's offensive system should allow a fairly seamless transition. He also has an experienced group of targets at his disposal, led by seniors Marcus Rivers and Terrell Jackson. The Bulls have a fairly tough early-season schedule with games against Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Tennessee in their first five weeks, so it could easily become necessary to throw the ball a lot. Keep an eye on Anderson early in the season, then be ready to add him if he shows he can be productive.
Nick Isham, QB, Louisiana Tech - Isham, a true freshman, was in a battle with Colby Cameron to be the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs this season. At least for now, he's won. Obviously, you don't know what you are going to get from a freshman until he takes the field, and it's not like he beat out Tim Tebow for the job. That said, Isham's got the chance to lead the team already, and at the very least that's intriguing.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech - Originally regarded as a blue-chip tight-end recruit, Virginia Tech has quietly groomed the big athlete as the quarterback to take over for Tyrod Taylor. With basically no experience to this point it's difficult to tell what's ahead for Thomas, but given his athleticism and the generally favorable Virginia Tech schedule, he should be able to put up some decent rushing numbers at least.
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson - Boyd is a former big recruit who has been puzzlingly quiet thus far in his college career. This year, though, he'll be thrown into the fire regardless of whether he's ready. It's a big opportunity from a fantasy football standpoint, as Clemson figures to install a Tulsa-style offense this year. That means a lot of work for Boyd, both as a passer and runner. Camp reports for Clemson's offense haven't been especially positive to this point, but Boyd's numbers should be useful by default because he'll be throwing and running often.
Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State - North Carolina State made the conscious decision to switch from Russell Wilson's unorthodox, running style of quarterbacking to Glennon's more prototypical, pocket-passing game. The team's spread offense will give Glennon many pass attempts, but it's not clear how much he's up for the task, and the supporting cast around him is not impressive. Still, the volume of pass attempts here could make him useful by default.
Mike Bellamy, RB, Clemson - Andre Ellington is the man at Clemson, but Bellamy is too fast and elusive to not see some time on the field this year as a true freshman. If Ellington misses time with injury like he did a year ago, Bellamy could be a big hit.
Sterling Jackson, RB, Hawaii - While Hawaii is known for its passing game, its running backs get in the action quite a bit as well. Alex Green was great for the warriors last season, but now he's in the NFL. Jackson, a junior college transfer, will get a chance to step into Green's shoes. While he likely won't be as good as Green, any starter in Hawaii's offense has value.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Georgia - The freshman Crowell has been banged up a bit in the preseason, but returns to full speed in time for Georgia's season opener against Boise State. Georgia has possibly the best quarterback in the SEC so Crowell will get some decent looks and will have a large YPC due to the amount of pass defense he will surely see in his first year.
Savon Huggins, RB, Rutgers -
A true freshman, Huggins has impressed both coaches and teammates since stepping foot on campus. In fact, he has a legitimate shot at starting Week 1 for the Scarlet Knights. Incumbent sophomore starter Jeremy Deering is recovering from a head injury; Deering missed the spring game because of the injury, with the issue exacerbated when he was kicked in the head over summer during player workouts. Coach Greg Schiano recently said there is no timetable for Deering's return, giving the 6-0, 200, Huggins a golden opportunity to shine from the get-go.
Donovonn Young, RB, Illinois - Young isn't a 5-star recruit, but he has tremendous raw skill. He possesses a strong combination of strength and breakaway speed. Understandably, coming to Illinois as a freshman on a team with more experienced running backs, Young wasn't even considered in the starting equation. But he made such a strong impression on coach Ron Zook that he became a possibility. For now, he is behind starter Jason Ford on the depth chart, but he will definitely see touches. And if an injury occurs to Ford, or if Young outperforms Ford early in the season, he could put up big numbers.
Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas State - While he hasn't locked up the starting spot, the Tennessee transfer should be expected to get the nod by the end of the preseason. Brown could give fantasy owners SEC talent in a defensively-lacking Big 12 conference. Last season in Manhattan, Daniel Thomas, now with the Miami Dolphins, found the end zone 19 times for the Wildcats. While Brown might not be Thomas, the prospect of playing in the same offense definitely makes him an intriguing player.
Dan Buckner, WR, Arizona Wildcats – A transfer from Texas, wide receiver Dan Buckner has already turned heads at fall practice. Buckner caught 49 passes for 539 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons at Texas. After sitting out last season due to transfer rules, Buckner figures to be a key offensive weapon this season in a wide receiver corps already filled with outstanding talent.
LaDarius Brown, WR, TCU - As a WR/DB, Brown was ranked by Rivals.com as the fourth best "athlete" coming out of high school last season. At 6-2, 190, he's tall and physical, which are great attributes for any wide receiver to possess. Speed wise, he's deceptively fast for someone with his frame and has been clocked in the 4.4-second range for his 40-yard dash. Most wide receivers don't come in as freshman and contribute right away, but this is exactly what Brown is being asked to do as he fills the hole left by Jeremy Kerley, who graduated last year.
Devon Brown, WR, West Virginia - Not to beat a dead horse, but Dana Holgorsen's spread offense means increased numbers across the board for West Virginia's wideouts. Brown is a polished receiver from Wake Forest who transferred for one final season while he gets his master's degree. He's battling Tyler Urban and Ryan Nehlen on the depth chart, but 100 catches for 973 yards and seven touchdowns the last two seasons is hard to ignore. Sooner or later, Brown will reap the benefits of being a cog in this high-powered attack.
Cordale Scott, WR, Toledo - Scott transferred from Illinois to Toledo to be closer to home and his child. He had a good showing in the Rockets' spring game and his familiarity with quarterback Terrance Owens, a former high school teammate, should help him make an immediate impact. Scott has the size (6-4) to at least be a potential red-zone target for whoever is under center for Toledo, and the defensive attention fellow receiver Eric Page will draw should also benefit him. Fantasy owners could find a real under-the-radar bargain here.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson - Watkins is a big-shot wideout recruit who could have an immediate impact in Clemson's new, aggressive offense. DeAndre Hopkins is the top guy at receiver for sure, and there are a few others besides him that Watkins will have to deal with, too, but the opportunity is there for him nonetheless.
Jordan Najvar, TE, Baylor - Najvar sat out last season after transferring from Stanford and will jump into the starting tight-end role in Waco this fall. At 6-6, 260, Najvar adds great size to an already potent Baylor offense. He'll be a big target for Robert Griffin III and the Bears offense, which is looking for someone to fill the void left from wide receiver Josh Gordon - who left Baylor after being suspended earlier this offseason.