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Devy Weekly: Diamonds in the Rough

Welcome to the seventh installment of the 2019 Devy Weekly series! If you’ve been following along, we’ve been covering top college football players who recently helped their case for a shot at an NFL future. And we’re back at it again! We’ll break this down by position, giving you players to target in all areas of need for your dynasty rosters.

If you’re new to Devy Leagues, the long and short of it is this: You get to draft college football players and roster them long before they are drafted to an NFL roster.

Some of these players will be names you recognize. Others might be the kind of player you didn’t know until yesterday. Regardless, the point is to provide you with some names to tuck away for draft day or give you potential trade targets in your leagues.

There were so many players that lit it up in Week 6 of college football! It makes it tough to pick which players to highlight, but like last week and every week, here are seven players who dominated their respective games.

Quarterback

Brock Purdy, Iowa State

Most people around the country know who Trevor Lawrence is and that he should be the 2021 QB1 for NFL Draft purposes. But Brock Purdy is definitely looking like he could coast to the QB2 spot.

“But he’s too short!”

It’s 2019, Mr. Old Hat Football Who Hates Analytics And Fun. Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and even Gardner Minshew are all 6 feet 1 inch or below. Enough with this QB-height nonsense.

Purdy finished his freshman season only behind Murray and Tua Tagovailoa in yards per pass attempt last year. He completed 66% of his pass attempts, only threw seven picks, and added 308 yards and five scores on that ground. And this year he’s even better.

Purdy’s posting a 5:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, a 70% completion rate, almost 10 yards per pass attempt, and he’s already scored five times on the ground yet again. He dropped 500 total yards and six touchdowns in one game two weeks ago. And this past week he destroyed a good TCU defense for 350 total yards and four scores in a 49-24 slashing of the Horned Frogs. Purdy’s stock will only continue to rise.

Running Back

Pooka Williams, Kansas

Kansas hasn’t exactly been known for creating future NFL stars, but Anthony “Pooka” Williams might be the exception. A former top-300 recruit, Williams showed elite burst and agility scores as a high school kid. But I don’t think anyone saw 1,414 yards from scrimmage on a bad Kansas team coming last year. And Kansas isn’t any better this year, but that hasn’t stopped Williams from racking up over 500 yards already.

This past weekend Williams was essentially the only thing that kept Kansas in the game against Oklahoma. He was somehow able to conjure up 157 yards from scrimmage against the much improved Sooner defense. He also tied the team lead in receptions on the day.

Williams may still be undersized, but his elite strength, agility, and ability to add value as a receiver should earn him a role on Sundays one day.

Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis

Everyone that follows college football thought this year was going to Patrick Taylor Jr.’s time to shine for the Memphis Tigers. But thanks to a Taylor injury, Kenneth Gainwell has been the surprise stud for the run-heavy Tigers.

How much of a stud has he been, you ask? Gainwell has logged at least 113 yards from scrimmage in every single game this season. In his first-ever significant college action, he dropped 118 yards on Ole Miss. And this past weekend he just destroyed Louisiana-Monroe for 251 yards and a couple TDs. Gainwell is just a sophomore, but he’s already putting together one of the most impressive production profiles in all of college football. Don’t believe me? Let’s just compare his first five games in 2019 to Darrell Henderson’s final season at Memphis (ridiculous video game numbers).

PlayerSeasonRush Yds/GameRush YPCRec/GameRec Yds/GameRushing Market Share
Darrell Henderson2018146.858.91.4622.6950.70%
Kenneth Gainwell20191248.23.427.8956.19%

The raw volume isn’t quite there yet, but he’s dominated with the impressive share of touches he’s been given. When his backfield mate Taylor Jr. returns from ankle injury Gainwell’s pace might slow a bit, but he should definitely be on the national radar now. Once Taylor Jr. leaves for the NFL this year it’ll be the Gainwell show for a strong final season. It’ll be the perfect breeding ground for a rise to NFL Draft stardom!

Wide Receiver

Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State

When a 6-foot-4-inch, 210-pound WR rolls out five consecutive performances with at least seven catches and a touchdown, we should probably pay attention. Not only that, but Isaiah Hodgins possesses a 53% dominator rating on the season. This past weekend alone Hodgins lit the scoreboard on fire catching ten passes for three scores against UCLA. Defenses know what’s coming at this point and still, Hodgins cannot be stopped.

So why in the world did almost no one see this emergence coming? Well, for one, Hodgins played on a 2-10 Oregon State offense that was hard to watch last year. He was also splitting receptions with two other trustworthy options at receiver last year as well. However, now that Timmy Hernandez graduated, and Trevon Bradford has been out with a back injury Hodgins has been able to truly feature for the Beavers.

If Hodgins holds his current pace, he will be considered one for the Biletnikoff (best receiver in college football) Award by season’s end. Just look at this ridiculous pace so far:

GameOpponentRecRec YdsYPRRec TD
1Oklahoma State917018.892
2Hawaii79613.711
3Cal Poly78111.572
4Stanford1016216.201
5UCLA1012312.303
Current Totals4363214.539
12-Game Pace103.21516.814.5321.6

*Dramatic pause for effect*

Yeah. Insane numbers. And he essentially sat out the entire second half against Cal Poly, so his numbers could be even better. It’s likely that he’s available in all devy leagues. Sadly, unless he comes back for his senior year, Hodgins will slip through to rookie drafts. Regardless, Hodgins needs to be on everyone’s radar now.

T.J. Vasher, Texas Tech

It feels like the T.J. Vasher breakout has been coming for quite some time now. But in some ways, it began back in 2017. Dating back to October 2017, Vasher has grabbed at least four catches in 17 of his last 22 games. That sounds impressive, right? In isolation, yes, but the problem is that he’s been overshadowed by some other Texas Tech receiver each year of his career: Keke Coutee in 2017, Antoine Wesley in 2018. But finally, Texas Tech is taking full advantage of the 6-foot-6-inch matchup nightmare that they have in Vasher.

Vasher caught five key receptions for 110 yards and a score in Texas Tech’s surprise victory over Oklahoma State this past weekend. The Red Raiders jumped out to an early lead, and every time it seemed Oklahoma State was in position to come back Vasher made a play. He kicked off the second half with a touchdown that extended the lead to three possessions. The Cowboys bounced back with a score, but Vasher immediately grabbed a 30-yard reception on the first play of the next drive. His 36-yard reception in the third quarter set up the field goal extend the lead again late. And his two-point conversion from quarterback Jett Duffey essentially sealed the win the fourth quarter to go up by 24.

If Vasher destroys the combine with elite size-adjusted burst and agility scores like he likely will, and he continues to be the alpha for the Red Raiders, look for him to be drafted next spring. His peak production numbers won’t be what we like to see at RotoViz, but draft capital might smooth his profile out.

Tight End

Kyle Pitts, Florida

If you’re looking for an athletic tight end in the middle of a breakout season, Kyle Pitts fits the bill. As a recruit, Pitts tested well with an 85th percentile SPARQ score among all tight end recruits in the nation running a 4.7 forty-yard dash in high school at 6 feet 6 inches and 239 pounds. Pitts wasn’t asked to do much as a receiving threat as a freshman, so many forgot about him, but year two is a different story. He’s leading the Gators in receptions and is just four yards off the team lead in receiving yards. His 19.94% dominator rating is right on the cusp for breakout season criteria and it looks like his role is only expanding. He caught eight passes for 65 yards in what was Florida’s biggest game of the year so far this past weekend against Auburn. Expect great things from Pitts moving forward. He should be the prime tight end target in devy drafts next spring as he isn’t eligible until 2021.

IDP (Individual Defensive Player)

Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech (LB)

Nineteen tackles. Three sacks. Four tackles for loss. One forced fumble. All in one game. Have yourself a day Jordyn Brooks! Brooks essentially won the game against Oklahoma State almost by himself last Saturday and will likely be the defining performance for the foundation of his NFL Draft profile. Brooks will finish his college career at Texas Tech as a four-year starter who’s totaled at least 78 tackles in every season. But this year Brooks is clearly trying to make himself some money.

Brooks’ most productive season came in 2017 when he racked up 89 tackles. This year he’s already up to 60 through just five games. He’s currently on pace for more than 20 tackles for loss and is near the top of the tackles leaderboard among all off-the-ball linebackers. Next year’s class doesn’t have a ton of linebackers to get excited about early, but Brooks is certainly making his case.

I hope you enjoyed the seventh Devy Weekly of 2019! Expect more future NFL prospect coverage throughout the season. Find me @FF_TravisM on Twitter if you have any questions. And until next time, keep living that Dynasty Life!

Image Credit: Nick Tre.Smith/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Pooka Williams.

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