In 2016, Jerod Evans emerged out of Trinity Valley Community College and led the Virginia Tech Hokies to an ACC Championship and a Belk Bowl win. JUCO transfers can boom or bust and this article will look at those who are set to boom in 2018.
Top Juco Transfers with Potential Fantasy Impact
Bryce Perkins, UVA
In 10 games at Arizona Western, Bryce Perkins amassed 1,311 passing yards and seven touchdowns while adding 353 yards on the ground with four rushing touchdowns. Bronco Mendenhall hasn’t had a quarterback that truly fits his style of play since coming to the Cavaliers in 2016.
Perkins is an athletic runner with an especially strong arm that he continues to develop by watching tape of the NFL’s best. Virginia also returns talent on offense in H-Back Olamide Zaccheaus and B-Back Jordan Ellis that can help him get the offense humming more consistently than it has in recent years. Perkins may go undrafted in most drafts so a last round flyer pick or a watch list would be well worth a player of this caliber.
Kai Locksley, UTEP
Former Longhorn Quarterback and Wide Receiver Kai Locksley transferred from Texas after he was considered immature by much of the coaching staff and was buried in the depth chart. In his time at Iowa Western Community College, Locksley lost his brother to gang-related activities and that tragedy is what it took for him to truly focus on becoming the player that former QB coach Shawn Watson always knew he could be.
In 12 games as a Reiver, Locksley threw for 2,238 yards and 20 touchdowns with 705 yards on the ground and 20 touchdowns. Locksley is going to play for UTEP in 2018 and will face the 89th most difficult schedule in college football. Locksley has the potential to be scary in 2018 and will likely go undrafted in most leagues so don’t miss out on this hidden gem in the C-USA.
Greg Bell, Nebraska
Greg Bell is likely going to be drafted the highest of any player in this article specifically because he fell into the right position at the right school. First off, Bell rushed for 1,187 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017 on his way to becoming the top JUCO running back in the 2018 class.
Nebraska had its struggles at this position last season with their top rusher finishing with 493 yards and three touchdowns. Tre Bryant missed most of last season with a knee injury and was still injured in the Spring. If Bell can impress new coach Scott Frost early on, Bryant may fall to the wayside while Bell becomes a complementary piece to Adrian Martinez.
Scottie Phillips, Ole Miss
Ole Miss saw its first 1,000-yard rusher last season since Dexter McCluster topped the milestone in 2009. Jordan Wilkins graduated leaving an opening in the Rebel offense at a position that head coach Phil Longo is proven to use.
Scottie Phillips was considered by some as the top back in this JUCO class after running for 1,112 yards and 14 touchdowns. Phillips is a one-cut back that isn’t afraid to run towards contact. He can crank out the tough yards and has shown that he can make people miss.
The best thing about Phillips going to Ole Miss is the luxury of Jordan Ta’Amu. Ta’Amu is going to draw the most attention from defenses leaving Phillips available to keep things open. Keep watch on the Ole Miss running back situation as it hasn’t identified a definitive starter.
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Stephen Guidry, Mississippi State
Being that he was the number one offensive JUCO recruit for the 2018 season, it comes as no surprise that Stephen Guidry makes an appearance on this list. Guidry has the size of a top of the line receiver at 6’4″ and 190 lbs, and has the ability to stretch the field.
Mississippi State’s leading receiver registered a 27-276-0 stat line last season, leaving new Bulldogs head coach Joe Moorhead in desperate need for new talent at the position. Guidry could have the upside of previous Moorhead bigs Chris Godwin or Juwan Johnson if Nick Fitzgerald can develop more as a passer this season.
Kirk Merritt, Arkansas State
Any wide receiver that Justice Hansen has the opportunity to throw to should show up on college fantasy football radars.
Merritt was a four-star recruit out of high school and was poised to be a key player for the Oregon Ducks in 2015. After leaving the Ducks because of family concerns, Merritt joined and was booted from the Texas A&M Aggies for sexual misconduct allegations.
Given his elite speed, the “Last Chance U” standout could have a big year for the Red Wolves if he can keep his nose clean off of the field.
Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
Out of everyone on this list, Jace Sternberger is the player I’m most excited to see in 2018.
After a season that saw Sternberger get 336 yards on 21 receptions at Northwestern Oklahoma A&M (16 YPR), Sternberger decided to take his talents to Texas A&M. Jimbo Fisher has produced a fantasy productive tight end before in Nick O’Leary and it seems that Jace could be a stud for the Aggies after an 8 reception 100-plus yard Spring Game.
Sternberger has TE1 upside and he comes as a late round or possibly undrafted price. If you manage to snag Albert O, Grant Calcaterra, or Noah Fant, try to grab Sternberger too so you have two stud Tight Ends for the price of one.
Nigel Kilby, Louisville
Louisville tight ends took a step back last season with Seth Dawkins and Dez Fitzpatrick stepping into the limelight. However, it’s hard to ignore that only two seasons ago Cole Hikutini led the Cardinals in receiving with 50 receptions and 668 yards.
Nigel Kilby finished up the 2017 season at Garden City Community College with 43 receptions and 458 yards with an impressive 10 touchdowns (10.6 YPR). Louisville’s Jawon Pass is more of a pure pocket passer than Lamar Jackson which bodes well for Kilby, however, he has to beat out Micky Crum when he arrives on campus for the top spot. I’d expect big things from Kilby, just monitor the Louisville tight end spot closely during the offseason.
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