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CFF Monthly Round Up - May 2023
Summary of the notable events relating to CFF in May
The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.
Gather in to the tavern, my friends. In today’s ‘Monthly Round Up’, I will cover at a high level the notable headlines, rumblings, and quotable quotes in College Football and their relevancy to CFF. These will include spring/summer camp rumblings, notable transfer portal news, and injury/suspension events. I will also provide an overview of the content I have published over the month on the VP platform and on other platforms.
If you’re reading this with an interest in CFF, I would encourage you (if you haven’t already) to join us over at the Pig Pen. In addition to getting content directly to your inbox, in the future there will be additional features such as group chats, video content, and more.
You can find the previous instalment of the series here:
In case you missed it
May was yet another prolific month on VolumePigs as we covered articles ranging from Sin City to the Big Apple. Some of the most popular articles of the month include:
I also wrote some articles with the Campus2Canton crew:
WSU might have found Jerreth Sterns 2.0: WR DT Sheffield
This FAU QB is about to DISEMBOWEL C-USA: QB Casey Thompson
WMU’s newest RB could be a league winner in CFF: RB KeShawn King
Notable spring camp rumblings
As reported in March on VP, Missouri WR Luther Burden will be predominantly playing from the slot position this season. That should pay dividends for his CFF profile, as the Tigers’ leading receiver last season — Dominic Lovett, played out of the slot.
Speaking of the Tigers, Missouri RBs coach Curtis Luper recently said in an interview that RB Cody Schrader “will be a 1000 yard rusher in 2023”. Update your draft rankings accordingly.
Former NC State transfer WR Devin Carter is making headlines this spring at WVU. The Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown said of Carter “We thought he could be a front-line guy and be a one. And through three practices that’s only been the truth so far . . . He’s delivered . . . He’s gone out and made a bunch of plays. He’s made a lot of plays and a lot of contested catches”. Carter finished 2022 with a monster performance vs. UNC, catching 6 passes for 130 yards and a TD. He averaged 8.6 FPG in 1-ppr formats last season. WVU is in need of playmakers at the WR position as they lost their top three receivers from a year ago: Sam James (46/745/6), Bryce Ford-Wheaton (62/675/7) and Kaden Prather (52/501/3).
Air Force’s RB John Lee Ethridge is rumoured to be taking over the FB position that saw Brad Roberts see major volume (345 touches) last season.
Ohio State and former five-star QB Devin Brown missed significant time this spring including the spring game with a broken finger. It sounds like he has returned, but with Kyle McCord getting most of the reps in April/May, it’s likely he has the inside track for QB1 at OSU.
WSU WR and former JuCo standout DT Sheffield looks to have taken hold of the coveted slot receiver position in OC Ben Arbuckle’s offence. The players that have occupied that role in the last two seasons include Malachi Corley and Jerreth Sterns. For more details, see my write-up on him here.
QB Blake Shapen was named the starter for the Baylor Bears. This was not a surprise, as Shapen started for the Bears last season. He averaged 16.4 FPG in 2022, but figures to take a step forward in year two as the starter. Prior to his concussion injury on Oct. 13, Shapen had a 68.5% completion percentage, averaged 241 yards per game, and accumulated 11 TDs to 3 INTs. Post concussion, his completion was 59.2%, averaged 192 YPG and threw 7 TDs to 7 INTs. With a better supporting cast, Shapen is a sneaky breakout candidate in the BIG-12.
Based on recent reports, it sounds like Kent State transfer QB Colin Schlee is running in at third string on the UCLA Bruins’ QB hierarchy. It is likely that true freshman and former five-star QB Dante Moore will be the starter at some point for the Bruins in 2023, if not by opening day.
Staying with the Bruins, another MAC transfer RB Carson Steele is running second string behind TJ Harden. Shoutout to Nate Marchese for his spring stock up/down reports on this one. Steele is a definite sell for me right now in CFF.
NIU WR Trayvon Rudolph sported a non-contact jersey during the spring game as he continues to work his way back from a season-ending knee injury prior to last season. It is unclear how limited Rudolph will be moving forward, though his return to the field is an encouraging sign.
Stanford RB EJ Smith sat out Stanford's spring practice period in order to be fully healthy for fall camp. It will be interesting to see what kind of offence the Cardinals field this season. With Casey Filkins returning as well, there might be a RB1A/B situation.
UNC WR and former Kent State Golden Flash Devontez Walker compiled a strong spring game and is expected to be a playmaker for the Tar Heels in 2023. There are many other mouths to feed in this offence and I’m not very high on the new OC, but Walker’s talent may override all these factors and land him in CFF stardom.
Wisconsin QB Tanner Mordecai had a rough spring game. Mordecai threw an interception on his first three possessions while working with the first-team offence, and threw a fourth later in the scrimmage. I was high on Mordecai as a mid-round guy going into spring, but I’ve been disappointed with his progress so far. I wrote in my Wisconsin team profile that I like him in rounds 8-10ish, I think that’s high now. I’d probably just look elsewhere at this point, with the amount of high-upside QBs there are in CFF.
Georgia Southern WR Derwin Burgess is back in action with the Eagles. He was one of five receivers who combined for 247 yards and three scores during the spring game.
UNLV’s JuCo transfer WR Jacob De Jesus caught 10 passes for 136 yards and a score in the spring game. De Jesus has a chance to be a contributor in new OC Brennan Marion’s “Go-Go Offence”. I still like Ricky White as WR1 (5 receptions, 100 yards and 1 TD in the spring game), but JDJ could carve out a decent role for himself too.
Notre Dame RB Chris Tyree has converted to WR this offseason. At 5’9, 190, he will likely occupy a role in the slot of the offence. There are not many proven pass-catchers on this roster currently, so Tyree could find himself in a starting role.
Notre Dame freshman WR Jaden Greathouse has had a strong spring for the Irish. He dominated the spring game with 11 receptions for 118 yards. He could fill the old Chase Claypool jumbo WR role in this offence, as he also presents a large frame (6-1.5, 220).
If you made it this far down the list, congrats to you, as potentially the most potent piece of news is Syracuse TE/WR Orande Gadsen officially getting the TE designation on Fantrax. With that change, he potentially becomes TE1 for 2023.
Former UTSA WR Zakhari Franklin (21.4 FPG in 2022) is still in the transfer portal. His landing spot is one to watch closely, as Franklin was a high round pick in CFF drafts this offseason. His rumoured landing spots include Oregon (where his former OC is) and Ole Miss. On the flip side, this could mean wheels up on UTSA WRs Joshua Cephus (17.47 FPG) and De’Corian Clark (19.23 FPG).
Former Nebraska and Texas QB Casey Thompson has reunited with former Texas head coach Tom Herman at Florida Atlantic (FAU). See the full article I wrote on him for Campus2Canton here.
Former USC WR Gary Bryant has transferred to Oregon. The Ducks hired former UTSA OC Will Stein this offseason, which figures to raise the CFF profile of the WRs (UTSA supported three CFF relevant WRs last season). Bryant will compete with Troy Franklin and Troy transfer Tez Johnson for targets. He had a standout season in 2021, averaging 15.2 FPG (1-ppr) in 10 games.
Former Colorado and Arkansas State TE Seydou Traore is back in the transfer portal. The landing spot at CU was always a bit curious, with new OC Sean Lewis not having much of a track record for TE usage. Still, I had hoped that he might be used as a jumbo WR. Traore visited Utah before committing to Colorado this offseason, and with that program’s usage for that position, it might still make sense for him. As of now, he has not announced a move.
Former Houston RB Alton McCaskill transferred to Colorado. McCaskill had his moments in CFF during the 2021 season, with the Buffs he could potentially be a large part of that offence. He averaged 16.9 FPG in 14 games in 2021.
Former Colorado WR Montana Lemonious-Craig transferred to Arizona. MLC had a big spring with the Buffs, so this transfer comes as a bit of a surprise. He could be a sneaky CFF asset in a potent offence that supported three CFF relevant WRs last season, and lost Dorian Singer (17.54 FPG) this offseason.
Former Alabama and Louisville WR Tyler Harrell transferred to Miami. The speedster averaged 29 YPC in the 2021 season, but struggled to find the field at Alabama. With the former Houston OC Shannon Dawson now in place with the Hurricanes, Harrell could be an interesting asset in deep CFF leagues.
JuCo transfer RB Deston Hawkins has found a new home with the Syracuse Orange. Hawkins ran for 1164 yards and 18 TDs on 137 carries in 10 games last fall.
Former WVU RB Tony Mathis transferred to Houston. Mathis likely lost his spot with the Mountaineers to CJ Donaldson. The current RBs coach for the Cougars joined the program in 2022, prior to that he was the RBs coach at USC (2019-2021), which had a committee at RB each season.
Former Notre Dame RB Logan Diggs is reuniting with Brian Kelly at LSU. With the exit of both he and Tyree in the ND backfield this offseason, RB Audric Estime figures to be in for a large workload.
Former Nebraska QB Logan Smothers has transferred to Jacksonville State. This could mean that Zion Webb’s waiver was denied. It also doesn’t show much confidence in Te’Sean Smoot. I have written about Smoot, who got the start in Webb’s absence last season, but it may be one year too early.
Former TCU WR Jordan Hudson has transferred to SMU. Hudson was a coveted recruit coming out of high school, the sophomore now has an opportunity to be a big part of SMU’s offence in 2023 and 2024.
Former MSU WR Keon Coleman has transferred to FSU. Coleman is a talented player who has had his moments in CFF. He will likely be a big contributor in the FSU offence, but there are a lot of mouths to feed, and QB Jordan Travis is going to be rushing a lot too this season.
Former UNT WR Jyaire Shorter transferred to Auburn. I wrote about Shorter in March with an analysis of UNT’s offence.
Former Auburn and LSU QB TJ Finley has transferred to Texas State. I still give the nod to Malik Hornsby as the likely starter, and with the new system in place, the Texas State starting QB could be a very valuable asset in CFF. See my write up on him here.
Former Penn State RB Keyvonn Lee transferred to Mississippi State. He figures to be RB2 behind Jo’Quavious Marks in new OC Kevin Barbay’s offence. The Bulldogs will be a much more balanced attack in 2023 relative to the Leech years.
Former Boston College and Ohio State WR Jaelen Gill has transferred to Fresno State. Gill is a former highly rated recruit out of high school. A move down a level could be a renaissance for his CFF stock.
Former Colorado Buffs WR Jordan Tyson has transferred to Arizona State. Tyson led the Buffs in receiving last season with 22 receptions, 470 yards and 4 TDs.
Former UGA WR Dominic Blaylock transferred across state to Georgia Tech. Blaylock was a highly rated recruit in high school, and made several big catches for the Bulldogs in his four year career. If GA Tech were to field a competent offence with former UGA QBs coach Buster Faulkner calling plays, Blaylock could have himself a nice year.
Former Penn State RB Devyn Ford transferred to Notre Dame.
Former Liberty RB Shedro Louis transferred to Tulane. Louis ran for over 500 yards and 8 TDs last season in 12 games. The Green Wave have a crowded backfield this offseason.
Former UNLV and Tennessee QB Harrison Bailey is transferring to Louisville.
Former Florida WR Xzavier Henderson has reunited with QB Emory Jones at Cincinnati. A curious move to say the least.
Former Purdue RB King Doerue transferred to Cal. Cal’s backfield figures to be a committee this season.
Former Colorado State and Boston College RB David Bailey is transferring to Texas A&M. His former CSU head coach Steve Addazio is now the offensive line coach at A&M. It is unlikely that he will see major volume in 2023.
Former Nebraska RB Ajay Allen transferred to Miami. He’ll likely be behind Henry Parrish and former five-star Donald Chaney.
Former TCU WR Blair Conwright has transferred to UNT.
Former FSU and Oregon WR Micah Pittman has transferred to Utah.
Former Ohio State and 2021 five-star WR Caleb Burton has transferred to Auburn.
After briefly entering the transfer portal, BYU WR Kody Epps is returning to the Cougars.
Former Marshall WR Corey Gammage transferred to (post publication edit: UCF). Gammage had 774 yards and 6 TDs receiving last season.
Former New Mexico and Washington RB Aaron Dumas has entered the portal. Dumas ran for over 650 yards in 2021 for NM, but did not play with the Huskies in 2022.
Colorado Buffaloes RB Deion Smith has transferred to BYU.
Notable injury & suspension news
Auburn RB Jarquez Hunter has been suspended indefinitely. Hunter figured to be a pivotal piece of the Tigers offence in 2023.
Michigan RB Blake Corum (knee) expects to be a full participant in the Wolverines' summer workouts that resume in June, after originally claiming to be back by season’s open.
Oklahoma Sooners RB Jovantae Barnes (foot) will miss the remainder of spring after undergoing a minor surgery to address a lingering foot issue dating back to his high school days. He is expected to be back for the 2023 season.
WVU RB CJ Donaldson (lower leg) appears to be back at full go for the Mountaineers.
Iowa State RB Jirehl Brock (foot) indicated in early April that he was "about 90 percent" in terms of his recovery.
Purdue WR Broc Thompson will medically retire and end his collegiate playing days
Former Texas A&M WR Chris Marshall has been dismissed from Ole Miss. This is a bad sign for a once promising five-star prospect.
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