The deadline to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone. While numerous stars declared their intentions to go pro in a loaded draft class, others decided to stay and improve their future NFL draft stock. With NIL money and another year of eligibility on the table, we are witnessing a different road map for players within the college football landscape.
Let’s look at some top college football players who have decided to stay for one more year and might soon be on our dynasty radars.
Michael Penix Jr. QB Washington
This is such a crazy and confident throw from Michael Penix Jr., steps up, avoids the rush, is on the move and fires a dart across a defender closing to the ball. McMillan doesn’t pull it in but that kind of arm talent and subsequent trust in that talent is pretty rare. pic.twitter.com/YEeKICJqhb— Ben Glassmire (@BenGlassmireNFL) January 21, 2023
Penix thrived in his new surroundings in 2022, transferring from Indiana to Washington and teaming back up with his former offensive coordinator, now head coach Kalen Deboer. He led the Huskies to an 11-2 record and was second in the nation in passing yards with 4,641 and 33 total touchdowns. One drawback will be that Penix Jr. will be 24 years old by the time he steps on an NFL football field. Despite that, the Washington signal caller will be encompassed with lofty expectations having his top two pass catchers returning and Heisman Trophy acclaim.
Blake Corum RB Michigan
Corum might have been the greatest surprise return of them all. After posting 1,000 total yards plus in his true sophomore season, he took his game to another level with over 1,500 yards and 19 total touchdowns in 2022. A knee injury late in the season cost Corum the ability to play in the BIG10 Championship Game and the College Football Playoff matchup between TCU. The star Michigan tailback will look to return to form in 2023 and solidify his standing as one of the top running backs in the 2024 draft class.
Rome Odunze WR Washington
I talked about Washington’s quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Now, let’s get to one of his top weapons Rome Odunze. Odunze broke out in 2022, hauling in 75 receptions for 1145 yards and 8 total touchdowns. A well-rounded receiver and fluid mover with good body control and route-running technique. Rome carries good size at 6’3 200. Another productive season paired with Penix Jr. should help Odunze spring into day-two draft consideration.
Jase McClellan RB Alabama
Jase McClellan took it ALL. THE. WAY. ✌️⚡️ pic.twitter.com/ksptD0MNfJ— The Draft Network (@TheDraftNetwork) September 10, 2022
McClellan enjoyed his most productive year during his Alabama career in 2022, with 829 total yards and 10 touchdowns. The Tide tailback has good size at 5’11, 215 pounds, can run between the tackles, and is a capable option in the passing game. With Jahmyr Gibbs moving to the NFL and Nick Saban’s propensity to lean on running backs that have waited their turn, McClellan could be in store for a monumental leap in 2023.
KJ Jefferson QB Arkansas
This is my sleeper player for next year’s draft cycle. Jefferson’s accounted for 60 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions over the last two seasons in the SEC. He’s completed 67 percent of his passes during this span, along with rushing for over 600 yards in 2021 and 2022. Jefferson has wrecking ball size for the quarterback position at 6’3 245. It’s a deep class at the position next year name-wise, but KJ Jefferson has the tools to climb draft boards.
Other Names To Monitor
Bo Nix QB Oregon
Spencer Rattler QB South Carolina
Sam Hartman QB Notre Dame
Jordan Travis QB Florida State
Riley Leonard QB Duke
Cameron Ward QB Washington St
Grayson McCall QB Coastal Carolina
Trey Benson RB Florida St
Jacob Cowing WR Arizona
Johnny Wilson WR Florida St
Jalen McMillan WR Washington
Austin Jones RB USC