Who’s stock is on the decline since we started spring practices? Who could be seeing a shift in draft capital for your bestball drafts heading into the summer? Let’s find out!

QUARTERBACKS

Image courtesy of Wreck’Em Red

Behren Morton, Texas Tech

I had high hopes for the Lubbock Laser (I just made that up) heading into last season. An injury to his throwing shoulder really hindered his 2023, and the fact that coach Joey McGuire felt the need to shut him down mid-spring and release an awkward statement in response to that is worrisome.

Additionally, he is also visiting shoulder specialists in Florida. Tech has yet to add a transfer QB, so maybe they aren’t all that concerned. But Morton’s lingering issues with the AC joint sprain have prevented him from building rapport with a totally reconstructed WR room. It is hard to have much faith in the Lubbock Laser right now.

Miller Moss, USC

Moss was an early off-season darling. An absolute monster bowl game with 372 yards and six TDs had everyone buzzing heading into the spring. Especially after it seemed to be enough to scare off Will Howard from heading to LA to compete with him.

Lincoln Riley pulled off a late flip of Jayden Maiava from UGA to USC. That, combined with a two-interception spring performance, has left a sour taste in the mouth of Moss fans. Yes, he is a Lincoln QB that is generally pure fantasy gold. But he is also a QB that Lincoln clearly wanted to upgrade in the portal and one that has LSU and Michigan in the first three games. Maiava looked better in the spring game. Don’t be shocked if Lincoln makes the switch if they start 1-2.

RUNNING BACKS

Image courtesy of 247 Sports

CJ Baxter, Texas

The blue-chip RB had an incredible spring/fall camp in 2023 and actually started Week 1 over Jonathon Brooks. However, early injuries hampered Baxter, allowing Brooks to take the job and never look back. Of the three RBs that had 50+ carries for the Horns, Baxter finished a distant third in PFF grade, YPC, YPC after contact, breakaway %, and missed tackles forced. Quite frankly, Baxter was just not that good.

Fast forward to this spring: Baxter had the chance to stake his claim as the Sark alpha RB again. Instead, Sark quotes and insider reports rarely mentioned Baxter and frequently raved about Jaydon Blue and Tre Wisner. In fact, Sark has publicly said he thinks of his backfield as a “very capable duo” when discussing Baxter and Blue.

Image courtesy of Toledo Athletics

Peny Boone / RJ Harvey, UCF

What is the only thing worse than actual cannibalism? CFF cannibalism (not really…but maybe). Everything was perfect. Boone stopped eating cheeseburgers and started eating MAC defenses for Toledo while Harvey was cooking for UCF under Gus.

But we just can’t have nice things, can we? Boone lands at his fourth school by transferring to UCF after a short stay in Louisville this spring. His stock had already taken a hit by transferring up to the P4, but at least the potential for him to remain a workhorse RB1 was solid at Louisville. Now, he has become the clear RB2 behind Harvey at UCF.

Consequently, Harvey now has a proven RB to share the backfield with, and quite possibly one that vultures goal line carries. The 454 touches these two combined for in 2023 is now a volume far less likely to be duplicated as they eat off the same plate in 2024.

Anwar Lewis, Jacksonville State

At one point this spring, Lewis was the last man standing in the Jax State backfield for a program that averaged 237 rush ypg in 2023. His running mates, Malik Jackson (graduation) and Ron Wiggins (portal), had moved on setting up Lewis for a heavy workload and a sneaky good option for CFF in 2024.

But just like the spring weather in Kansas City, enjoy it while it is beautiful because it’s going to get ugly in a couple of minutes. Once the portal window closed, Rich Rod quickly started making money moves by adding Michael Dukes from USF, convinced Ron Wiggins to return, and then landed the crown jewel of his transfer class in Andrew Paul from Georgia, a former C2C darling in 2022. This one-man show quickly became a committee.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Justus Ross-Simmons, Syracuse

Colorado State is trending in the right direction with their air-raid offense as they improved from 13 PPG to 26 PPG and 197 passing YPG to 308 passing YPG in year two under Norvell. Things were looking solid for Ross-Simmons, with two of the top three leading receivers moving on and taking their 172 targets with them. JRS was in line to be the clear WR2 for the Rams, and a Tory Horton injury away from assuming the coveted Jay Norvell WR1 spot.

The transfer back home to Syracuse creates a lot of uncertainty for JRS. Not only are there questions with that first-year staff (with a defensive head coach) about what their system will look like for CFF, but there are also concerns about where JRS will land in the Orange’s pecking order.

Image courtesy of the Lynchburg News and Advance

CJ Daniels, LSU

Daniels was expected to take his 1,000 yards and 10 TDs at Liberty over to LSU and slide into the production void left by Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas. The chance for Daniels to get a huge chunk of those 215 vacated targets looked pretty enticing to start the spring. There is only one problem…Daniels didn’t run with the LSU starters.

A transfer starting spring with the twos isn’t a concern, but inconsistent play preventing him from moving up the depth chart throughout the spring certainly is concerning for a WR with an ADP in the sixth round.

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