2024 Rookie Class Risers and Fallers

It’s time to check in once again on the {at least reasonably assumed} players that could make up the 2024 rookie class for November stock watching. We saw the quarterback class come back down to earth a bit, but they continue to be a strong part of this class. And the running backs appear to be piling up into a large top tier containing a lot of guys that provide high upside, yet all have real holes in their game as well. We’re getting close to the time when we’re going to get a better idea of who’s trending toward another year in college with what seems like unlimited eligibility post-COVID, or trending closer to an NFL Draft declaration.

Let’s check out who has raised or dropped their future fantasy draft stock now that we’re about halfway through the college football regular season.

Risers

Jonathan Brooks (RB, Texas)

Jonathan Brooks was buried on the depth chart his first two years at Texas behind both Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson. Now, he’s waited his turn and it’s paying off as he is the unlikely star of this Longhorns offense. Brooks has reached over 100 scrimmage yards in all but the first two games of the season, showing productivity on the ground and through the air. Just 8 games into the season, he’s already just shy of 1,000 yards rushing and has added 22 receptions, 212 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown through the air. 

He’s listed with a solid size of 6’0” and 207 lbs on the Texas Longhorns website and if he declares this year he’ll be an early declare. Things are trending up for Brooks and a name to know as we get closer to the NFL Draft season.

Devin Neal (RB, Kansas)

I’m going to keep pounding the drum for Devin Neal until he’s a household name. He’s a star in the league playing on a scorching Kansas team that just took down Oklahoma. And he was a big part of that win with 112 yards on the ground and a touchdown. He’s on pace to shatter his previous personal best on the ground as a sophomore when he had 1,090 rushing yards and he’s already improved upon his best season’s receiving yard totals with 196 just over halfway through the year. 

On top of his performance and ability to contribute on the ground and through the air, he is listed as a prototypical size at 5’11” and 215 lbs on the team website. I expect Neal to add a productive combine to his already impressive NFL Draft resume and be a name everyone knows early into this offseason.

Keon Coleman (WR, Florida State)

Keon Coleman made a smart decision in moving on from Michigan State and making his way down to Tallahassee to play for Florida State. Michigan State looks like a team that is cratering as FSU is eyeing a College Football Playoff Title shot. And those expectations have a lot to do with what Keon Coleman has been able to provide for this team. FSU was sorely missing talented wide receivers last season, and while they were confident in the development of the 6’7” wide receiver, Johnny Wilson, Coleman has provided that true alpha/go-to receiver the team was missing.

And in tandem with providing FSU with an alpha wide receiver, he’s been in the spotlight as FSU leads an undefeated season. He’s fully in the view of mainstream media as his name is constantly mentioned in tandem with veteran quarterback Jordan Travis and the Seminoles’ playoff hopes. Coleman is already a name most people recognize and has proven thus far this season that he’s a lock for at worst a Day 2 selection come NFL Draft weekend.

Jayden Daniels / Malik Nabers (QB/WR, LSU)

Jayden Daniels on his own has been on a truly incredible run this season. He has the 3rd highest offensive PFF grade in the nation for players with over 100 snaps, is already over 2,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards, has thrown 25 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions, has rushed for 5 additional touchdowns, is completing 73.1% of his passes, and has an ridiculous 204.3 passer rating through 8 games. On a team with 2 losses already, he is still fully in the Heisman conversation based on the ridiculous stats he’s putting up.

A large benefactor of this Daniels hot streak is Malik Nabers, who is just 19 yards shy from 1,000 receiving yards already this season. To add on top, he also has 9 touchdowns and is averaging 17.5 yards per reception. He’s right up there with Jayden Daniels in offensive PFF grades as he is the 4th highest offensive player rated with over 100 snaps and the highest wide receiver in offensive grade and receiving grade. He’s an all-around receiver without a true elite area, but also without any glaring holes in his game. He’s a lock for at worst a Round 2 selection in the NFL Draft.

J.J. McCarthy (QB, Michigan)

J.J. McCarthy is a hard evaluation this far into the season as Michigan has cruised to lopsided victories every single week against clearly inferior competition. That being said, he’s doing exactly what’s expected against said inferior competition completing 78.1% of his passes, throwing for 1,799 yards with an 18-3 TD to INT ratio, with a 199.1 passer rating, 93.8 QBR, and the 3rd highest rated passer per PFF (top rated quarterback with more than 50 attempts in offensive grade). On top of that, he’s added 168 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. 

In two weeks we’ll see the Wolverines face their toughest opponent yet in Penn State and see how McCarthy fairs against a significantly more talented defense than he’s seen so far this season. But until then, we have to recognize that McCarthy and the rest of this Michigan team are looking the part so far into the season.

Fallers

Emeka Egbuka (WR, Ohio State)

Egbuka has faced nagging injuries this season, appearing in 5 games so far. And in those 5 games, he’s looked fairly average. He’s gotten close but hasn’t eclipsed 100 yards receiving this year, a feat he hit 6 times last season. The talent is still there, and it’s obvious that this offense as a whole isn’t the same as last year under CJ Stroud. But the nagging injury is concerning enough to keep an eye on. He’s not at the same talent level that Jaxon Smith-Njigba was and can’t afford a complete wash of a year if he wants to earn first-round NFL Draft Capital. It’s still well within grasp if he can end the year strong, but a lingering injury could cause a slip into Round 2.

Kyle McCord (QB, Ohio State)

There has been a long line of Ohio State Quarterbacks recently that have made it to the NFL as high draft picks in CJ Stroud, Justin Fields, and Dwayne Haskins. Based on track record alone, it looked like Kyle McCord could be the next Buckeye quarterback to continue this trend. On top of the track record, McCord was a 5-star recruit per the 247Sports Composite rankings and beat out Devin Brown, another highly rated quarterback for the starting position. 

But so far this season, McCord has done just enough to keep this Buckeyes team undefeated while heavily leaning on the dominance of Marvin Harrison Jr. who was the key difference in that Penn State win. McCord just hasn’t been overly special this season and looks more like a product of the system and talent around him. I don’t see him getting to the NFL this offseason without a drastic upgrade in his play. He still has a year of eligibility, so we will more than likely see him return to college next season, but there’s no guarantee that it’s with Ohio State. If anyone was eyeing the next Ohio State quarterback as another top 15 NFL Draft pick, I believe this one will be a mulligan year.

Raheim Sanders (RB, Arkansas)

Sanders is another player on the “Fallers” list due to injuries. He’s only appeared in 3 games this season and his best game in terms of yards from scrimmage was against Texas A&M where he reached 70 total yards. He’s clearly been limited even when on the field. The size/speed combination is always going to make NFL Scouts drool and there’s no reason to think Sanders won’t still be one of the top running backs taken this upcoming offseason as long as the medicals don’t point to anything long-term. 

But Sanders had a legitimate chance to make a case for the RB1 in this draft class and separate himself from the pack. He still has that opportunity if he makes a comeback this season and performs well as the rest of this class hasn’t done anything to separated themselves either. But as he remains limited or injured, the tier 1 grows larger in this draft class, making it that much harder to separate. As it stands right now, Sanders is in the group that consists of TreVeyon Henderson, Will Shipley, Braelon Allen, Devin Neal, and even Jonathan Brooks.

2024 Rookie Class Stock Down November

2024 Rookie Class Stock Down November

2024 Rookie Class Stock Down November