College football is a game of skill and teamwork, but it also contains luck and opportunity. While scouting services have been getting better with finding the diamonds in the rough every year, there are still players who appear out of nowhere and become stars. Last year was a weird year for that, but we still saw Zach Wilson become a top-two draft pick. We saw wide receivers Elijah Moore and Kadarius Toney increase their draft stocks immensely as well.

Everything indicates that we get a normal college football season in 2021, which means more games and more players to break out. This article will give you some players I’ll be watching closely that most aren’t talking about. Most of these players have lower ADPs and are values in Campus 2 Canton drafts. These players have had moments to make me believe in them, and I believe are on the verge of a breakout.

Calvin Austin III- Memphis

247sports.com

Who is Calvin Austin?

Austin from Memphis, Tennessee, was a two-sport athlete in high school. He played football and was also a track star, a nine-time state champion in sprints/relays and seven-time TSWA All-State honoree. He won back-to-back Commercial Appeal Best of Preps Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.

Austin was an incredible special team player in high school while also playing running back, defensive back, and wide receiver. He finished his career by pulling in 74 catches for 1,513 yards and 24 receiving TDs, also rushing for 558 yards and eight TDs. He totaled 49 career TDs – 24 receiving, eight rushing, six via punt returns, five on kick returns, four interception returns, and two on fumble returns. Even though Austin lived just mere miles from the school, he was not recruited to play at his hometown school. Austin had to take a track scholarship and was a walk-on to the football team.

As a freshman, Austin redshirted, but he was still part of the Memphis track team. As a member of the Memphis relay team, the 4x100m team broke a 45-year old record. Their team set the 4x100m relay record at the conference championship, and he helped set the record for the 4x400m outdoor relay record at the NCAA East Preliminaries.

Over the next two seasons, while being buried on the depth chart still, Austin played in a total of 13 games and wasn’t able to produce much. However, with Damonte Coxie opting out in 2020, it was finally Austin’s time to shine.

Receiving & Rushing Table
Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2018MemphisAmericanFRWR422412.0018383.01310735.71
*2019MemphisAmericanSOWR91731518.53430.812131815.14

In his junior year, Austin went off and was used all over the field by the Memphis offense. He officially broke out in his junior season going over 1,000 yards receiving.

Receiving & Rushing Table
Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2020MemphisAmericanJRWR1163105316.7112147.0065106716.411

What do I like about his game?

Calvin Austin is a football player with track speed. That cliché may be overused, but in this instance, it’s spot on. This may not have always been the case, but Austin has improved over his career. Austin is extremely impressive off the line. He uses his speed to create space and consistently finds open space in the short area. He plays tough and gritty. He’s not afraid to lay out for the ball and is even a decent run blocker for his size.

His biggest strength comes after the catch, as his play at defensive back and running back seem to have helped him when identifying holes and his movements after the catch. His vision to take the right routes and use his speed helps him eliminate pursuit angles.

Slot Snap%Wide Snap%YACYAC/RECDropMFT1st DownsWeighted
Dominator
Breakout
Year
aDot
21.0%79.0%3565.79134432.00313.4
stats courtesy of PFF.com
Weighted Dominator and Breakout Year stats courtesy of Jerrick Backous.

Why will he breakout?

Memphis was quietly a top offense last year. They ranked eighth in pass attempts, tenth in passing yards, and finished seventeenth in overall offense. In this offense last year, Austin finished as the top-scoring wide receiver with 251.45 points on the season. He also finished in the top-10 (seventh) in points per game with 22.86.

This will be Austin’s second season in Ryan Silverfields offense. This difference will be the new starting quarterback for the Tigers. It looks likely that Grant Gunnell will be the starter for Memphis. Gunnel is a more talented quarterback than Brady White, the quarterback Austin had last season. He will also likely get more downfield targets as Gunnell has one of the stronger arms in college football. Austin should be looking at a big season with a high-powered offense, an improved passer, and another year in the offense. He is currently going off the board in C2C drafts as the 61st wide receiver in the twelfth round with an ADP of 148.67. Austin is a steal at this point, as you will get high-end college production this season, and he is likely to get some decent draft capital. Here is his production lined up with some players in his height/weight range.

Jalen Cropper- Fresno State

www.clovisroundup.com

Who is Jalen Cropper?

Jalen Cropper is from Clovis, California, and graduated from Buchanan High School. In his sophomore year, he led Sanger High School to the CIF Division 2-A regional final with a 13-1 record. He totaled 700 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns that year.

At Buchanan, Cropper played all over the field. He played defensive back, quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. He totaled 22 catches for 565 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing 25 times for 179 yards and four touchdowns while also recording two interceptions on defense. While being recruited by schools like Oregon, Utah, and Boise State. Cropper decided to join the Fresno State Bulldogs.

As a freshman, Cropper played in ten games but only made five starts. Much like in high school, he was used all over the field. Cropper finished the season with 652 all-purpose yards. He had 15 receptions for 196 receiving yards, 20 carries for 343 rushing yards with three rushing touchdowns, and had five kick returns for 113 yards.

As a sophomore in 2020, Cropper led the team in receptions and receiving yards with 37 receptions for 520 yards and five touchdowns. He also had four carries for 27 yards and 184 yards on nine kick returns, finishing the season with 731 all-purpose yards. Cropper had an impressive performance against Utah State as he finished the game with 202 receiving yards. He was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week after his performance at Utah State and became the first Bulldog wideout to earn the honor since Adams in 2013. He also was an All-Mountain West honorable mention selection.

What do I like about his game?

Cropper is a versatile athlete. He can play all over the field, though he lined up mostly in the slot in 2020. He’s had fairly reliable hands, having only seven drops in two seasons. Cropper has top-end speed, and if he gets a clean release, he quickly eats up yards and gets behind defenders. He shows good vision when rushing the ball and can make defenders miss. Once the ball is in his hands, he’s a threat to score on every play.

Slot Snap%Wide Snap%YACYAC/RECDropMFT1st DownsWeighted
Dominator
Breakout
Year
aDot
90.0%8.1%2216.0572827.1329.4
stats courtesy of PFF.com
Weighted Dominator and Breakout Year stats courtesy of Jerrick Backous.

Why will he breakout?

Fresno State finished as the seventeenth best offense last year and should be close to the same next season with many pieces returning on offense. They have a good quarterback in Jake Haener. This will be the third season for Cropper, who hit the 30% breakout year last year. Having a top-tier college quarterback and having a high flying offense (11th in college in plays ran in 2020.) Cropper should shatter some records at Fresno State and should work his way into possible draft capital. Currently, Cropper isn’t being drafted in the top 30 rounds of C2C leagues and is coming off the board after 130 wide receivers. Cropper finished 31st in fantasy scoring at wide receiver last year but finished as the ninth wide receiver in points per game.

Tayvion Robinson- Virginia Tech

hokiesports.com

Who is Tayvion Robinson?

Tayvion Robinson is from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and played at Frank W. Cox high school. Robinson was a two-sport athlete in high school, playing both basketball and football. He earned first-team All-Tidewater accolades in both sports as a junior. Robinson played quarterback, running back, and wide receiver his junior season finishing the year with 1,635 total yards and 21 touchdowns. He was named the Virginian-Pilot’s 2017-2018 Male Athlete of the Year.

As a true freshman, Robinson started seven games but played in all 11 games for Virginia Tech. He finished the season with 31 receptions for 404 yards and one touchdown. He finished the season as the highest-graded true freshman punt returner (83.0) per PFF and was named their College All-Freshman Team as a punt returner.

As a sophomore, Robinson not only played but started in all 11 games for Virginia Tech. Robinson finished the season with 38 receptions for 592 yards and three touchdowns.

What do I like about his game?

Robinson is also a versatile athlete who can be used all over the field. He has reliable hands and was targeted 58 times last season and only had one drop. I like how he tends to attack the ball and plucks it out of the air. For his size, he is surprisingly good in contested catch situations (he won 41.7% of these catches in 2020.)

Robinson has above-average speed. He’s likely not going to blow by anyone, but he has enough speed to be dangerous after the catch. He’s fairly shifty and makes a fair amount of defenders miss him in the open field. He typically does a good job getting off the line and runs crisp routes for the most part. Virginia Tech schemed ways to get him the ball with some runs and quick wide receiver screens. However, he does tend to find weaknesses in the team’s defensive coverages, which could be from him being a converted quarterback in high school.

Slot Snap%Wide Snap%YACYAC/RECDropMFT1st DownsWeighted
Dominator
Breakout
Year
aDot
35.4%64.6%2897.6192125.96210.0
stats courtesy of PFF.com
Weighted Dominator and Breakout Year stats courtesy of Jerrick Backous.

Why will he breakout?

Last season Virginia Tech finished as 31st total offense in college football. They finished with the 20th most passing yards and 28th in passing attempts. This will now be Robinson’s third year in this offense, and he had a 20% breakout last year. Robinson is currently the best wide receiver on the roster and should be the benefit of increased targets. With limited targets last year, Robinson finished as the 66th wide receiver in points. His current ADP is 300, which has him coming off the board in the 25th round. He is typically being drafted as the 102 wide receivers off the board. With ADP already lower than what he produced last season, he’s a steal. Robinson is primed to have an even better year than in 2020; he has a shot to be a top 30 college wide receiver.

Brant Kuithe- Utah

www.si.com

Who is Brant Kuithe?

Brant Kuithe is from Katy, Texas, and attended Cinco Ranch High School. Kuithe was recruited as an athlete out of high school, mainly because he played multiple positions. He mostly played running back but saw time at receiver and even at quarterback. Brant was a two-sport athlete as he competed in track in the 100m and 200m sprints and both the long and triple jump jumps.

In his senior season shortened by injury to only seven games, he rushed for 1,041 yards and 18 TDs, while also adding seven receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown. He went on to win the District 19-6A MVP his senior year. He would end up committing to Utah.

As a true freshman, Kuithe played in all 14 of Utah’s games but only started in two, one of which was the Pac-12 Championship game against Washington. While not seeing much playing time, he still lead the TEs at Utah in yards with 227 on 20 receptions and one touchdown.

In his sophomore season, he once again played in all 14 games, but this year started in nine. He once again led the TE position and his entire team in receptions and yards at the position. He finished with 34 receptions for 602 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Kuithe also had six rushing attempts for 102 yards and three touchdowns. He would end the year on the Pac-12 All-Conference second-team and Pro Football Focus All-American third-team.

In a Covid shortened junior year, Brant continued to lead his team in receiving. He had 25 receptions for 236 yards and also added six rushes for 50 yards. He once again finished the year with a Pac-12 All-Conference second-team nomination.

What do I like about his game?

Kuithe is an athletic tight end who runs like a running back and has hands like a wide receiver. Kuithe thrives in contested catch situations (33.3% contested catch percentage over his career.) He’s not afraid to go up and fight for the ball and has made some great catches with defenders draped on him.

Kuithe is an impressive route runner at the tight end position as well. He easily creates separation against covering linebackers and has even beaten some defensive backs. He’s a bit more elusive than you’d expect out of a TE and isn’t afraid to drop a stiff arm down on oncoming defenders.

Slot Snap%Wide Snap%YACYAC/RECDropMFT1st DownsDominator
Rating
Breakout
Year 20%
aDot
58.2%12.8%1566.21101113.6129.1
stats courtesy of PFF.com
Weighted Dominator and Breakout Year stats courtesy of Jerrick Backous.

Why will he breakout?

Brant Kuithe has had multiple good years on the college side of fantasy. In a shortened season where he could only play in four games, Kuithe finished as the 36th tight end in fantasy points with 66.1. However, he finished as the 11th tight end in points per game with 13.22. Utah added a much more competent passer this year in transfer Charlie Brewer. Brewer will help bring a better passing aspect to the Utah offense, which Kuithe should benefit from. If he continues leading the team in receptions, Kuithe should be in for a monster college season. His current ADP is 256. He’s coming off the board in the 21st round as the 32nd tight end off the board. That is absolutely criminal. For that value, you have a chance to grab a top 12-15 college tight end in 2022. If he has a good season, he could garner day two or early day three draft capital.

All four of these players are going criminally late compared to their production last season in Campus 2 Canton drafts. With their college value alone, these are players you should target in your drafts. All of which have a chance to capitalize on another great season and get NFL draft stock in the off-season. If so these are the players that can not only help you win in college but also bring you value on the NFL side.

Make sure to check out all of our new NFL articles and continue to check back as the undervalued running back 2022 breakout players will be coming soon.

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