When talking about the 2018 wide receiver class, we must first understand; what D1 schools are looking for, at the wide receiver position. Contrary to many high school player’s assumption, It’s about more than just being able to make a tough catch. It’s about being able to make a tough catch and what the receiver does, after he catches it. Yes, route running is important, but every D1 coach believes, that they can coach players up, in that area. That’s why they get paid the big bucks.
D1 coaches are more concerned with a receivers burst, after he catches it, and how the receiver adjust to the ball, in the air. Are most of their TD’s from wide open gimmick plays, or are they breaking tackles and separating from defenders, once they catch the ball?
Brayden Cosper (7) Photo Credit: Deseret News
Here are the receivers who have caught our attention, as potential D1 WR’s, with a brief summary, as to why we believe they are D1 material:
Brayden Cosper – The Bingham wide receiver; runs great routes, has ideal size, has great ball skills, and will win the majority of the time, versus one on one coverage, especially on jump balls. Cosper hardly comes off the field, and still separates form defenders after the catch, with a great deal of explosion. Watching Cosper one on one versus a DB, almost makes you feel sorry for the DB. Cosper is well coached, and understands how to position himself, with the football. and knows what to do after he catches it. Rating B+
Zach Engstrom – Engstrom has been the most consistent big – play receiver, in the state of Utah, for the 2018 class, over the past two seasons. If you are not familiar with him, then pop on any Alta game and you will see #1 going to work, in ways that make D1 coaches take a hard second look, at each play. On top of that, Engstrom is a leader on and off the field. He is well deserving of his position on this list. Rating B
Hobbs Nyberg – Possibly the most dangerous player on this list, once the ball is in his hands. Nyberg does it all, and has all of the tools to be a big time receiver, on the D1 level. Nyberg has great ball skills. When the balls in the air, he adjust well, and comes down with it in traffic. He also evades defenders and takes the ball to the house, as good as anyone in this state, if not better than anyone else. Rating B
London Rockwood – I was familiar with Rockwood before the Alta scrimmage, during the Alta scrimmage; Rockwood put everyone on notice, that he is a big time football player. Every time Coach Mac and I turned around, Rockwood was making another big time catch. He also looked just as impressive on defense, while making several big tackles and even scoring on a pick 6. After the scrimmage, I was so impressed with this young man, that I immediately put on Alta game film, and sure enough, Rockwood was making the same plays as he did in the scrimmage. Yes, he can play on the D1 level, on both sides of the ball. Rating B
Dax Milne – I am a Dax Milne fan, not because of the unique last name, but because of his dominance on the field. Like Cosper, Milne hardly comes off, and makes play after play at receiver, as well as in the defensive secondary. Every time I evaluate Milne in person, he impresses me; more and more. He is athletic enough, to play either side of the ball on the D1 level. I love what Milne brings to the table. He’s a competitor, and understands what it takes to be the best. I’m definitely high on this young man. Looking forward to watching him play this season. Rating B
Jeffrey Harris – Before April, I had no idea who Jeffrey Harris was. His coaches at American Fork kept stressing, that they had a great group of wide receivers, and many could play at the next level. Most of the time when coaches here this, it goes in one ear and out the other. However, these coaches were right, and Harris is one of the most naturally gifted wide receivers, on this list. He has the height, speed, and athleticism; desired for this position. We understand that Harris didn’t have a breakout junior season, but he did have a breakout offseason. Enough to pick up a FCS offer. Coach Fred Graves (40 + year D1 & NFL wide receiver coach) was so impressed with Harris, that he personally called me, to speak about his potential, on the D1 level. Rating B
Isi Leakehe – Another athletic receiver with great ball skills. Leakehe, is someone who will more than likely play on the defensive side of the ball, but the same can be said for many on this list. So, why is he on the wide receiver list, because he can absolutely play this position at the next level, as well. He’s tall, athletic, with great ball skills and speed. Watching him run routes, you will start shaking your head saying, “yes”, I like this guy. Watching his game film, and various one on one segments, I am comfortable saying that potential wise, he has the tools to play on the D1 level. Rating B
Trey Davenport – Davenport is a guy that many might not be familiar with, but if you go to a Brighton game; the 6’4″ receiver immediately stands out. He is talented, maybe one of the most naturally gifted players on this list. He’s definitely up there, and hasn’t even scratched his potential. By the end of the season, Davenport could very well end up, at the top of this list. If he continues to fine tune his skills, and use his height and great athleticism consistently, then this young man could very well end up at a major Division 1 school. Rating B
Michael Moten – Moten is a dangerous receiver and kick returner. I also think he’s athletic enough to be a corner on the D1 level. Moten is on the list for one reason: he makes big play, after big play; receiving and in the return game. When I was able to evaluate him in person, his ball skills definitely stood out, with his concentration on each catch. Moten is another player that has the potential, to be at the top of this list, once the season ends. If you haven’t watched the speedster; watch him, because he is legit. Rating B
Kade Moore – On film, Moore stands out as one of the top players on the Lehi offense. After watching the Granger, American Fork, and Pleasant Grove games on film, it is obvious that Moore should be on the D1 watch list. Unfortunately, the game I attended last year, another Lehi threat (Dallin Holker) had one of the top offensive performances of the year, and took the spotlight. His QB believes that he’s a D1 player. We’ll be evaluating him hard this upcoming season. Rating: Pending
Josh Nielsen – The East WR has all of the physical tools to be a D1 wide receiver, at 6’4″ 200 lbs. I like what I saw from Josh during the Weber scrimmage. I want to be able to watch a couple of games this year, before giving him a rating, but I can assure you, he is high on my Watch List. Rating Pending
Jamarius Earls – The 6’4″ 225 wide receiver is a focal point on the Copper Hills offense. He is talented, no doubt; however, we are waiting to see how the athlete performs against the top defenses in his region. Jamarius is a D1 talent, but we will wait a couple of weeks into the season, before giving him an official rating: Rating Pending
Tyler Traveller – Whenever you impress a former D1 head coach, and a former D1 and NFL position coach; chances are you will be on the D1 Watch List. That is the case with American Fork wide receiver, Tyler Traveller. He is another one that Coach Fred Graves (former D1 & NFL WR coach) has been high on. Tyler is a dangerous slot receiver and has all of the potential to have a break out year, for a very talented American Fork football team. We will give Tyler an official rating, once the season progresses, but he is definitely high on our list. Rating: Pending
Brooks Johnson – The Brighton wide receiver is better known for his play on the defensive side on the ball, and he could very well end up their, on the D1 level. When I evaluated Johnson in person; he caught my eye on the offensive side of the ball. He was making diving catch, after diving catch, big play, after big play, and looked like a legitimate D1 prospect at wide receiver. When I watch film on Johnson, I see the exact same things. He’s high on our D1 watch list. Rating: Pending
To the readers: this is an early list. Many players will be added, and some might even be taken off. We never know what’s going to happen, as the season progresses, but one thing is certain; this season will be a good one!
If you know of anyone that should be on the list, post their info on the message board, or comment below. We will definitely take a hard look at them.