In a Campus to Canton (C2C) league, the incoming freshmen are the “rookie class” since almost all college players headed to the NFL are rostered. This year, Luther Burden is the consensus favorite, commanding high startup draft capital across the board. However, college football is a vast landscape, and 3-star receivers can rise to alpha status quickly. The 2022 NFL draft featured a first-round pick, three second-round picks, and three third-round picks all rated 3-stars or lower as recruits. Mining these lower-ranked prospects for guys that can have an NFL future is an overlooked area in C2C leagues.

The following players are my favorite three-star receivers (per composite rankings) in the 2022 class. Players with the “EE” designation will enroll early in the spring.

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Dillon Bell Georgia 6’2″ 205   Colorado, Michigan

Stop me if this sounds familiar: Bell is an extremely gifted playmaker who lined up all over the field in high school, including quarterback. I guess I have a type. Unlike Thomas, Bell is already advanced physically and ready to impose his well on SEC defenses. All-around athletes present many opportunities to get on the field and show their skills, and I think Bell has a chance to do that in an offense searching for a spark. Terrence Edwards agrees

Notable departures: George Pickens  Incumbents: Adonai Mitchell (So), Arian Smith (Jr), Ladd McConkey (rSo)

Tier 2 – Can Earn a Role

Name Signed Ht Wt   Major schools
Larry Simmons Ole Miss 6’1″ 190   Tennessee, Utah

Showing above average burst, change-of-direction, and body control, Simmons strikes me as a diamond in the rough. The Ole Miss offense will look completely different than what it did over the past few seasons, and there will be opportunity for new faces to emerge. I like Simmons and his lanky frame that comes with a good feel for the position. 

Notable departure: Dontario Drummond, Braylon Sanders  Incumbent: Jonathan Mingo (rJr) Transfers In: Jaylon Robinson (Sr), Jordan Watkins (Sr)

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Stephon Johnson Oklahoma St 6’0″ 175   Penn St, Oregon

A much, much less heralded recruit, Johnson is only a blip on the commitment list as of now. I like his body control that comes with good enough long speed and overall solid receiver skills. He doesn’t have the alpha upside of classmate Shettron but I think Johnson will be a quality addition to the Oklahoma State receiving room.

Notable departure: Tay Martin Incumbent: Jaden Bray (So)

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Cameron Miller (EE) Tennessee 6’1″ 206   Florida, Illinois, Maryland

Miller is another multi-purpose high school star who will be making a transition to WR in college. He showed very good speed in a jumbo package, already listed at nearly 200 pounds. The Tennessee receiver room is fairly unsettled and any of the freshmen (three listed here!) can make a move. 

Notable departure: Velus Jones, Jr., JaVonta Payton Incumbent: Cedric Tillman (Sr), Jalin Hyatt (Jr)

Tier 3 – Could Take a Minute

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Justius Lowe (EE) Oregon 6’1″ 182   Florida, Southern Cal, Notre Dame

Despite being an early enrollee, Lowe probably will need time to make much of a contribution. A late bloomer in football, Lowe caught fire on the recruiting trail, getting looks from Florida, Notre Dame, and Southern Cal towards the end of the cycle. He shows good diversity in his routes as well as quality long speed and a good first step off the line. 

Notable departure: Devon Williams, Johnny Johnson III  Incumbent: Kris Hutson (rSo), Troy Franklin (So), Dont’e Thornton (So)

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Jay Fair (EE) Auburn 5’10” 181   Stanford, Tennessee, Virginia Tech

There isn’t a receiver room in the SEC that was so lacking previously and is as decimated as Auburn’s heading into 2022. The team’s leading receiver scored one time last season. Fair was present for spring practices and is likely to contribute early on in his career. He is an all-around good player, although he lacks one standout trait. The main thing holding me back from more excitement is wondering what this Auburn passing game is going to look like in Harsin’s second year.

Notable departure: Kobe Hutson,  Incumbents: Shedrick Jackson (Sr) Transfers In: Koy Moore (Jr)

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Marquarius White (EE) Tennessee 5’10” 160   Auburn, Georgia, Louisville

From a player who lacks one elite trait to a player with one mind-bending trait: speed. “Squirrel” White is a small but absolutely blazing wideout who should be a perfect fit to stretch the field in Heupel’s offense. One of only a handful of players I gave an elite speed grade to, White is as exciting as they come and while his size may limit NFL upside, he could produce like Tutu Atwell in school. 

Notable departure: Velus Jones, Jr., JaVonta Payton Incumbent: Cedric Tillman (Sr), Jalin Hyatt (Jr)

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major schools
Decoldest Crawford (EE) Nebraska 6’2″ 190   LSU, Arkansas, Arizona State

While you may remember him as “that guy with the great name,” Crawford grew into a quality receiver. He is not going to wow you with speed, but he is a sound technician and can get open with nuance rather than putting on the blasters. I think he’ll have a solid career and may wind up being known for more than his name. 

Notable departures: Samari Toure   Incumbent: Omar Manning (Sr) Transfer In: Trey Palmer (rJr)

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Grant Page (EE) Colorado 6’3″ 190   Kansas St, Nebraska

Listed as an athlete on the recruiting trail, Page will start at WR as a freshman in his hometown of Boulder. Already 6’3″, Page is a plus mover for his size. I liked his route running and body control despite the large frame. He won’t be a big play threat but shows the skills to be a high volume target for his QB in Boulder. 

Notable departures: Brenden Rice  Incumbent: none Transfer In: RJ Sneed (Sr)

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Jarel Williams (EE) West Virginia 6’2″ 198   Florida State, Indiana

With Graham Harrell taking over as offensive coordinator for the Mountaineers, all pass-catchers in Morgantown become interesting. Williams possess good size and above average body control and route running ability. I think he can be a high target receiver in this voluminous offense. 

Notable departures: Winston Wright Incumbent: Kaden Prather (So), Sam James (Sr), Bryce Ford-Wheaton (rJr)


Name Signed Ht Wt Other major offers                  
Victor Jones, Jr. Nebraska 6’2″ 184 None                  

Another quality prospect who signed with Scott Frost, Jones hails from the receiver hotbed that is Florida. A player who shows good long speed with above average route diversity is always someone I like to bet on.

Notable departures: Samari Toure   Incumbent: Omar Manning (Sr) Transfer In: Trey Palmer (rJr)

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