The 2017-2018 season was not only the first season to feature a National Championship with interconference teams, but also the first season with two signing periods. With the late signing period quickly approaching, it’s time to preview the top players who could make a fantasy splash in 2018.
Devon Williams, Antelope Valley
ESPN 300: 16th; Rivals: 47th; 247Sports: 40th
Outlook: Devon Williams provides the ability to play on both sides of the ball. At 6-foot-4, he is a long and athletic wide receiver from Southern California with the ability to make plays down the field. After losing Willie Taggart to Florida State, Oregon lost a lot of momentum on the recruiting trail, but they are currently thought to be leading in the Devon Williams Sweepstakes. With Charles Nelson graduating, the Ducks are in need of a new weapon, and if Williams signs with Oregon, he will be one of the largest receiving options for the Ducks. The USC Trojans are also considered contenders along with Utah and Alabama.
Prediction: Signs with Oregon
WR Jacob Copeland, Escambia High School
ESPN 300: 40th; Rivals 132nd; 247Sports: 69th
Outlook: A receiver who has been compared to Percy Harvin is sure to make a splash on the recruiting trail. Jacob Copeland is a 6-foot-1 route runner with great footwork and impressive breakaway speed. His decision is likely coming down between Alabama and Florida. He was committed to Florida but de-committed when Jim McElwain was relieved of his duties as coach. Alabama gained ground during this time, but the Dan Mullen hire for Florida has his attention. Florida is already building a program-changing class with Jaylon Watkins and Emory Jones, and Copeland will do nothing but make the Gators better. If Florida lands him, expect him to be used similarly to Percy Harvin in his college days.
Prediction: The Prodigal Son returns to Florida
WR Jaylen Waddle, Episcopal
ESPN 300: 77th; Rivals 31st; 247Sports: 39th
Outlook: Killer athleticism and quick-burst speed are just a couple of the things the Jaylen Waddle can bring to the table. He is under 6-foot-0, which can be discouraging, but being the athlete that he is, he has the ability to highpoint the ball over a taller corner. He also provides the ability to take the top off of defenses with how quick he plays. From a fantasy standpoint, he probably won’t make an impact until later in his college career given that he’s small and needs to hit the gym a bit before he hits the field. It seems as though Alabama and Texas A&M are the finalists, and Alabama really needs a receiver to join in this recruiting class with Calvin Ridley leaving.
Prediction: Jimbo leaves Saban looking for a new prospect
QB Tanner McKee, Centennial High School
ESPN 300: 76th; Rivals: 78th; 247Sports: 46th
Outlook: Tanner McKee has made tons of headlines for more than one reason this offseason. Whether that’s finishing 11th in the Elite 11 or throwing for 6,000+ yards in his high school career, McKee will be a game-changer for whichever school he picks. From a fantasy standpoint, McKee is poised to be a team leader and score a lot of points through the air. However, he won’t be touching a football field for another two years due to his promise to his church of a two-year mission. Stanford seems to be leading, but Alabama and Texas are key players for McKee. Stanford would benefit the most from McKee, but with Hurts and Tagovailoa, the Crimson Tide are in the best position to bring on a quarterback who won’t play for two seasons.
RB Maurice Washington, Trinity Christian School
ESPN 300: 93rd; Rivals: NR; 247Sports: 207th
Outlook: If this article were written three weeks ago, Washington may not have made this list. Maurice Washington shot up recruiting boards after a big performance in the Under Armor All American game in which he was declared the MVP. Washington is an elusive back who looks to make plays in the passing game in open space. He can make people miss and has the potential to be a game-changer for the team that picks him up. Arizona State is leading the race for Washington, but he could potentially go with Nebraska on signing day. Arizona State needs a new back with Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage both declaring for the draft. I’m sure that Scott Frost wouldn’t mind having a newly crowned four-star recruit join him at Nebraska.
Prediction: Nebraska steals one in the final hour