The comparisons move to the wide receiver position. I’m going to use the 247 Sports Composite Rankings because they seem to provide the most objective rankings. I never realized the disparity between the different sites until recently. There are some sites that list guys at different heights, weights, and positions (which is frankly pretty maddening) from one site to another. I am watching their most recent highlights and making assessments based on what I see. Let’s get started.
1. Demetris Robertson, 5-star (uncommitted): Jeremy Maclin
Robertson is listed around 5’11” and 175 pounds. Robertson is listed as a wide receiver, but is probably more of an athlete. He is shown playing receiver, running back, quarterback, and defense. He’s got a fantastic feel for defenders and is really elusive. I thought some of his defensive highlights were more impressive than his offense plays. Robertson moves in a similar fashion to Maclin. I could see Robertson on special teams and being used as a ball-carrier. He still might be better off playing defensive back because he’s so good in coverage. Maclin has had some injuries and still remains a consistent player. He catches the ball short and can get up field quickly.
Chances he plays as a true freshman: TBD
2. Tyrie Cleveland, 4-star (Houston): Michael Floyd
Cleveland has great size at 6’3″ and 190 pounds. He’s reasonably evasive, however, he is not especially quick. He is fast and was seemingly always open deep downfield in his highlights. He is difficult to tackle and will likely put on more weight in college. Floyd has a similar body and plays in the same fashion. Floyd is strong in space and is difficult to tackle. Floyd and Cleveland are not going to catch a pass and start trying to juke guys out. They’ll opt to try and get vertical as fast as possible and beat guys down the field with their speed. Houston had a great season, but they don’t have too many 4-star players at the receiver position. I would expect Cleveland to play next season on a very good team.
Chances he plays as a true freshman: 75%
3. Tyler Vaughns, 4-star (Southern Cal): Odell Beckham
Vaughns is nearly 6’2″ and weighs (an oddly approximate) 177 pounds. I probably watched the fewest plays of Vaughns because you don’t need to see too many plays to see this guy is a stud. Vaughns has the best hands in this group and it’s not even close. Vaughns can catch the ball in traffic and make plays in space. He runs great routes and can make the circus catch. He’s not especially fast, however, so he may not offer much on special teams or in the running game. Beckham is (obviously) much faster than Vaughns, but I think their ability to catch anything no matter the circumstances is similar. Vaughns caught poorly thrown passes, good passes, deflected passes, etc. with ease. Southern Cal has a lot of young talent at receiver so Vaughns might be redshirted.
Chances he plays as a true freshman: 10%
4. Devin Duvernay, 4-star (Baylor): Brandin Cooks
Duvernay has a mature body and is listed at 5-11 and 195 pounds. He’s exceptionally fast and it seems like he just runs away from everyone on each highlight. Duvernay supposedly runs a legit 4.38 (40-yard dash) which is crazy fast for a high school senior. Cooks possesses excellent speed and Duvernay would do well to try and improve his routes. I don’t know if Duvernay will still be running away from everyone at Baylor, however, the Bears have a great scheme for a player like this.
Chances he plays as a true freshman: 50%
5. A.J. Brown, 4-star (uncommitted): Julio Jones
Brown is roughly 6-1 and 220 pounds. He may actually be slightly taller than that so I’ll be interested to see his listed height in college. Brown has tremendous strength and I think his toughness is a huge asset. He will likely attend Mississippi State, Alabama, or Ole Miss and he should be a good fit anyplace he chooses. He doesn’t have the natural skills of a guy who thrives in a system where he’s asked to carry the ball or make a ton of guys miss in space. He’s going to be a great blocker and use his physical gifts to bully his way to the ball. Jones is probably a lofty pick given his speed and strength, however, I think their games eerily similar.
Chances he plays as a true freshman: TBD