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College Football Breakout Candidates

@dynasty_god gives an early look into some under the radar devy prospects before they become household names.

In 2019 we saw plenty of players burst onto the college football scene, making an immediate impact. Just look at last year’s LSU team as an example. Joe Burrow went from somebody who wasn’t supposed even to be drafted to having the best statistical college football season ever, before becoming the imminent first overall pick. Ja’ Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire all destroyed their production from the prior season, jumping their draft stock sharply. Other teams had breakout stars as well, such as Justin Fields at Ohio State, Breece Hall at Iowa State, and Sam Howell at North Carolina. So, what players will shake up the college football world in 2020?

The potential for a breakout season at all levels of football comes from two main areas, talent, and opportunity. The deep pool of talent in this 2020 draft class leaves a lot of vacant roles for players to fill. With all of this opportunity out there, let’s look into some players that have the talent to produce big numbers this season.

Inevitable Breakouts

These players are likely to become household names this season and should be drafted early in devy leagues.

Spencer Rattler-Oklahoma QB, 2022

Oklahoma has quickly become the QBU out of all the NCAA. In the past three seasons, they produced two Heisman Trophy winners, and a Heisman finalist. Baker and Kyler have quickly become NFL studs, and Jalen Hurts hopes to join them as he enters this year’s draft. So, who will fill Hurts’ void and be the next great OU quarterback? Spencer Rattler, the star of Netflix series “QB1”.

There is a reason that Spencer Rattler was the only 5 star QB in the 2019 recruiting class. Rattler’s arm talent is simply phenomenal and is the main reason scouts gave him such a good grade. Rattler slings the ball like a bullet with pinpoint accuracy on his short and intermediate routes. On the deep ball, Rattler has unlimited arm strength. A video emerged of him tossing the ball 75 yards as a senior in high school, after gaining 25 pounds since then, so it’s likely he can throw even farther now. Other than the arm talent, Spencer Rattler is mobile enough to extend plays and has the utmost confidence. There are a few minor concerns with Rattler’s game, such as that he is slightly undersized at 6′ 0″ 200lbs. Another is that his confidence may cause him to throw some interceptions at the next level.

Zamir White-Georgia RB, 2021

Georgia cannot stop pumping out top tier NFL running back prospects. Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and now DeAndre Swift have continued Georgia’s deep history of RB talent in recent years. 2020 is Zamir White’s opportunity to add himself to this list. We have seen flashes of how special this guy is this past season, despite playing behind Swift and coming off a torn ACL in 2018. Zamir is going to take the NCAA by storm when he becomes Georgia’s premier back this season.

In high school, this 5-star recruit scored a touchdown once every four times he touched the ball. White is as fast as any back in the NCAA. In high school, White ran an electronically timed 4.4 40 yard dash. At 5’ 11” 215lbs, he shows a powerful leg drive allowing him to run right through arm tackles and fight for extra yards each play. The combination of size and speed is elite. However, the most impressive part of White’s game is his vision with the ball in his hands. White does not come without risk. Durability is his biggest concern as he has torn his ACL multiple times and was limited by this throughout the 2019 season.

Joe Ngata-Clemson WR, 2022

“He’s as hard a worker as I’ve ever been around, seniors included.” – Dabo Swinney on Joe Ngata

This is some high praise from a guy who has coached quarterbacks such as Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence, and wide receivers the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, and Tee Higgins. With the 6’ 4” 210lb Tee Higgins leaving for the NFL, it opens a perfect opportunity for 6’ 3” 210lb Ngata to step into his role. Clemson’s offense looks much the same from last year other than Higgins. With Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne returning, and Justyn Ross missing all of 2020 due to injury Joe Ngata has the opportunity to pick up right where Higgins left off in that dynamic offense. He certainly possesses the talent to do so.

Joe Ngata is a bully with the ball in the air. In jump ball situations, he can go up and take the ball from any defensive back. With strong hands, a big frame, and elite jumping ability, Ngata is a real red-zone threat. Ngata has few flaws in his game. He possesses good speed for his size and showed significant improvement on his routes as last season progressed. Ngata struggled for playing time in that loaded Clemson wide receiver core last season but still ended the year with 17 receptions for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns. Joe Ngata is a complete receiver with a diligent work ethic. He will make the most out of his golden opportunity this coming season.

High Ceiling Potential Breakouts

These players are not a lock to breakout but have the potential to become top tier NFL prospects. These players should be drafted in the early to middle rounds of your devy leagues.

Jerrion Ealy-Ole Miss RB, 2022

Ole Miss freshman Jerrion Ealy has the potential to outperform any running back in the country in 2020. As a true freshman, he has shown flashes of greatness earning Freshman All-SEC Honors and averaging 6.9 yards per carry on just over 100 attempts. Now imagine that production on 125 more attempts vacated by the departure of NFL prospect Scottie Phillips. With the exciting freshman quarterback, John Rhys Plumlee returning, and as the well known offensive mastermind Lane Kiffin takes over as head coach. Jerrion Ealy is ready to make a statement in the top conference in the nation.

Before becoming a football and baseball star at Ole Miss, Ealy ran a 4.48 40 yard dash… At the NFL combine, only five backs outran Ealy’s highschool 40. Jerrion Ealy is a blazer, first and foremost. His long speed and short burst can compete with any running back in the nation. Since he is very explosive in space, he is a threat in the receiving and return game.

Along with this, Ealy shows greatness in his contact balance. He frequently bounces off of hits stealing extra yardage. The question mark surrounding Ealy’s game is his size. At just 5’ 9” 180lbs, it is uncertain that he will be able to handle a full workload. If Jerrion Ealy can prove to be an every-down back, his potential is unlimited, and he will produce top tier numbers this season.

Jadon Haselwood-Oklahoma WR, 2022

With Spencer Rattler poised for a big season at quarterback, the question remains who is going to be on the receiving end of all those passing yards? Baker had Dede Westbrook and Mark Andrews, Kyler had Marquise Brown, Hurts had Ceedee Lamb, and Rattler has… Jadon Haselwood the five star, top wide receiver prospect in the 2019 recruiting class. As a freshman, Haselwood took a backseat to Ceedee Lamb and Charleston Rambo, finishing the season third on the team in receptions. With Lamb, the top receiver in the country, making his move to the league, Rambo continues his role as a deep ball playmaker. Haselwood is set to become the short to intermediate route workhorse this season.

In high school, Jadon Haselwood was a five star, top-ranked wide receiver in the nation and ranked over studs such as George Pickens and Garrett Wilson. Haselwood is a confident competitor that plays with an attitude. At 6’ 2” 206lbs, he plays with a lot of physicality. Whether it be getting off of press coverage or winning the jump balls, Haselwood welcomes the contact and regularly dominates his defenders. As a route runner, Haselwood has shown improvement with his footwork during his freshman year at Oklahoma, and his quickness allows him to create separation frequently. Jadon Haselwood is a defensive backs greatest fear and is set to make gigantic strides this season.

Out of Nowhere

These players are unknown to most but have the potential to jump onto the college football scene and turn NFL scouts heads. These players should be drafted in the final rounds of your Devy draft in deeper leagues.

Joey Gatewood-Kentucky QB, 2021

When I say that Joey Gatewood is under the radar, I mean way under the radar. There is a good shot that he isn’t even the starter next season due to his eligibility situation and the competition with Terry Wilson. However, Gatewood the 4 star, 6’5”, 233lb Cam Newton look-alike, has a chip on his shoulder heading into Lexington. At Auburn. Gatewood backed up Jarrett Stidham in 2018 then lost the starting job to Bo Nix before the 2019 season. Joey Gatewood transferred midseason from Auburn to Kentucky, and this seems like the perfect fit. Terry Wilson and Lynn Bowden have had huge success as dual-threat quarterbacks in the past two seasons. Joey Gatewood is a great runner and can pass better than both of them.

Cam’ron Harris-Miami RB, 2021

The Nerds have gotten friendly with the 2020 NFL running back prospect Deejay Dallas out of the U. When I got the chance to ask him about his former backup Cam’ron Harris, he told me exactly what I wanted to hear, “He’s gon’ tear it up in that new offense!” Harris is now the featured back with Dallas off to the NFL, and he is very under the radar even in deep devy leagues. Miami has speedy playmakers all over the field at quarterback, wide receiver, and even tight end. What better compliment to the new up-tempo style offense than a bruising, tough runner in the backfield.

The physicality that the 5′ 10″ Harris plays with is intimidating, even to linebackers. Combine this with possessing a blazing short burst and great vision. Cam’ron Harris is going to produce big numbers, especially in the touchdown area this season, and this will be your last chance to get him cheap.

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