From the sky, I drop exotic potions like Green Goblin
My weapon might slash your Achilles tendon, keep ya hobblin’

– Puppets of Chaos, music group

After a bit of a hiatus from C2C, I have returned to drop another of one of my exotic articles from the sky. Today, I am shaking things up a little bit (hoping to keep the reader hobblin’, as the kids say…) with a focus on multi-year prospects, rather than single-use CFF assets. I have divided this series into multiple parts—for now I plan to do two sections.

The first of this series highlights three RBs and three WRs. The majority of the players I will highlight are sophomores. This is due to the fact that year two players have typically shown as something at this point, and those who have already carved out roles for themselves are generally productive players in their junior and senior seasons.

While there are many great options to choose from, I’ve assembled a select list of elite prospects to include in the first edition of VP’s Dynasty Darlings. Only the brightest young pigs may make their way into this tavern. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Ohio State RB Dallan Hayden — 6’0″, 210 lbs.

The rising sophomore out of Tennessee exploded onto the scene in 2022 when he rushed for 146 yards and three TDs on 27 carries vs. Maryland (35.6 points in 1PPR). Bizarrely, he wouldn’t receive anywhere near that volume again going forward last season, receiving only two and nine carries in OSU’s final two games. 

The good news for him is that the three other prominent RBs in the room with him all came to OSU in the same class—C/O 2021. Treveyon Henderson is highly likely to leave for the NFL after this season, and Miyan ‘Meatball’ Williams could very well too. Evan Pryor has dealt with injuries throughout his tenure with the Buckeyes and, as a result, has struggled to gain traction in the offense. He could stick around, or he could also transfer to a destination closer to home (he’s from North Carolina). 

Hayden averaged 9.2 FPG in his freshman season, and he’s likely the third option at best in 2023. However, in 2024 he could easily find himself as the starting RB for an OSU team led by returning QB Kyle McCord or former superstar recruit Devin Brown. While Day’s offenses haven’t leaned on a volume pig in the backfield as of late (well, last season), this is an offense that saw RB J.K. Dobbins rush for over 2,000 yards not so long ago (2019).

Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon — 6’1″, 211 lbs.

The lore of Oklahoma State’s RB production under HC Mike Gundy is well documented in CFF. In fact, earlier this offseason, I wrote a profile on Gordon’s CFF outlook for 2023. It looks like he has a real chance of being the lead dog for what has been a productive backfield in the past. 

Courtesy of Tulsa World

The rising sophomore out of Fort Worth, Texas, is one of the highest-rated prospects to ever sign with Oklahoma State. Given the success the Pokes have had at the RB position, it would seem this match is a recipe for CFF success. The Pokes brought in super senior Elijah Collins by way of Michigan State and swung and missed on WMU’s Sean Tyler, which to me, didn’t show much confidence in what they had in the room. This gives me some pause on Gordon.

Outside of Collins, the main competitor at RB is probably Jaden Nixon, who is entering his junior season with the Pokes. Nixon has not done much so far in his career in Stillwater. Then again, neither has Gordon, so who knows? But Gordon did look good when he got the touches last season—taking 17 carries for 136 yards and a score vs. WVU and 12 carries for 45 yards and a receiving score vs. Wisconsin. All told, OG finished 2022 averaging 5.7 FPG. He rushed 62 times in 13 games for 308 yards and two TDs.

BYU RB LJ Martin — 6’2″, 200 lbs.

BYU’s true freshman Martin was a super producer at the high school level in West Texas. As a senior, he was named to the TSWA Class 5A First-Team All-State, eclipsing 1,900 rushing yards and tallying 17 rushing touchdowns in 2022. In 2021, Martin ran for over 2,700 yards which ranked in the top five in Texas. 

The former four-star originally committed to Stanford but flipped late in the cycle to BYU. He was already on my watchlist due to his size profile, the system he plays in, and his production in high school. The quotes from the coaches were just the cherry on top. Here is OC Aaron Roderick on Martin this summer:

LJ Martin is a standout in camp so far . . . He’s one of the best players on this team. He will play this year. He’s a very good football player… I try not to get too excited about freshman sometimes. But he’s already proven that he’s going to be a player for us this season.

Aidan Robbins will start ahead of him in 2023, but in 2024, we feast.

Buffalo WR Nik McMillan — 6’1″, 220 lbs.

The redshirt freshman McMillan finished Buffalo’s spring game this offseason with over 130 yards receiving and a pair of TDs on four catches. This is a team that is going to be passing the ball a lot. With last year’s WR1 and WR2 leaving (vacating 203 targets, 125 receptions, 1580 yards, and 14 TDs), McMillan has a massive opportunity to make himself a household name by the end of next season.

The Bulls open the season with Wisconsin, which will be rough (probably), but then get FCS program Fordham and G5 programs Liberty and Louisiana Lafayette to round out their out-of-conference schedule. That’s not too bad, in my opinion. And then, of course, we reach MACtion, where McMillan could potentially singlehandedly win games for CFF managers in late October and November.

I’m also hoping that returning starter QB Cole Snyder will take a step forward in year two. Still, he supported Quian Williams and Justin Marshall to 12.64 and 15.52 FPG in 2022, respectively.

McMillan seems primed for a breakout campaign in 2023, and as a true second-year player, he still has at least one season left after that. As with many G5 studs, however, it is not unlikely that he could stick around into his fourth or even fifth years. On the other hand, he could also be a prime candidate for a transfer in the near future should he break out in a major way. Transfers can be a double-edged sword, and their value would be highly dependent on the landing spot.

For more details on MAC Daddy McMillan, I have an extended profile on him here. He was also included in my feature series of MAC standouts at WR.

Notre Dame WR Jaden Greathouse — 6’1″, 220 lbs.

The true freshman Greathouse was a four-star recruit by every major recruiting service in the class of 2023. The Austin, TX native was ranked as high as 107th overall on Rivals’ rankings (17th ranked WR), yet was miraculously ranked as the fourth highest WR by ESPN despite having him just 122nd overall. That just goes to show how much variance there can be between these ranking services (that and the fact that ESPN’s rankings simply can’t be trusted).

Greathouse found himself on CFF radars this spring when he caught 11 passes for 118 yards in the spring game.

Here’s an excerpt from an ON3 report regarding the big spring performance for JG:

During Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold spring game, Greathouse ‘stuck out’ with an impressive performance, one that Freeman was even surprised and impressed by.

“Yeah, I didn’t even know that. 11 for 118 is a pretty good stat line,” said Freeman. “He stuck out, he played well; I mean, he played really well. All three of those freshmen are going to help us. And all three of those freshmen will play for us this year. I’m really confident that those three guys will help this football team. And it’s good to see Jaden step up today.

“Like I said, when the lights are on, you want to see who we’ll step up and make plays. All three of them have been really, really good additions to our program throughout the spring. That wasn’t just a one-time performance; All three of those guys have shown to be productive throughout the spring.”

With Wake Forest transfer quarterback Sam Hartman essentially heading into summer as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback, especially wit Tyler Buchner now at Alabama, the Fighting Irish quarterback is going to need all the weapons he can get in preparation for the 2023 season.

Here are the highlights of Greathouse’s spring performance (shoutout to DevyDeepDive):

As you can tell, Greathouse is primarily operating out of the slot in the spring game. I’ll assume that means that’s what he’ll be primarily doing in-season too. That’s good news when considering ND is replacing its top target—Michael Mayer, who operated out of the slot often as a TE.

He’s been officially listed as a second-stringer behind Chris Tyree, but I suspect he’ll be seeing plenty of snaps anyway.

Colorado State WR Justus Ross Simmons — 6’3″, 205 lbs.

People are well aware of Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell’s track record at the WR position. I will also remind the reader that, eventually, WR1 Tory Horton will be moving on (likely after this upcoming season). JRS already showed himself to be a player in 2022, catching 26 passes on 43 targets for 424 yards and three scores (7.9 FPG) in 11 games played as a true freshman. At 6’3” and 205 pounds, he fits exactly what Norvell likes at the WR position—tall and lanky like a basketball player. 

While QB Clay Millen may also be moving on after this season (I’m not sure that that’s a bad thing…), JRS will almost certainly be the ‘go-to’ guy the season after next for an offense whose WR1 in 2022 caught 71 passes on 114 targets for 1131 yards and eight scores (19.4 FPG) in 12 games played.

Norvell’s offense also recently supported 2021 Nevada WR1 Romeo Doubbs to over 1,000 yards, so this is an offense where the WR1 is typically quite lucrative in CFF. JRS looks to be next in line in the very near future.

Like this type of content? I’ve got good news for you; there’s an ungodly amount of it over here: VolumePigs.

You can also find me occasionally tweeting about CFF and CFB over here.

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