Monday, September 26, 2022

The Hunt Report: Uncovering the next small-school college stud WR, plus a Canadian RB rises to prominence

Week Zero of the college football season provided us with an appetizer, and Week 1 will bring us the full entree of what should be an exciting week of games, which officially kick off the 2022 season.

This week in The Hunt Report, I wanted to give more of a focus on the offensive side of the ball, as six prospects to watch are offensive players. It is looking like a really strong crop of small-college receivers across all levels. What I’m seeing is a combination of excellent recruiting and development by college staffs, and student-athletes taking the opportunity to go to a program where they are going to get actual, time-on-task reps in games. 

It is because of that we are seeing a boom of developed, polished and excellent small-college talent as a result. If you’re a growing league like the USFL and XFL, that’s what you really love to see, as that is going to be the talent pipeline in which you can cultivate, grow and build something that’s sustainable, while also being the place for the next wave of pro football stars.

For last week’s Hunt Report, be sure to click here.

European League of Football

WR Kyle Sweet (Barcelona Dragons)

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 185
  • School: Washington State 

Sweet currently leads the ELF in most receiving categories: receptions (108), yards (1,484) and touchdowns (16). From a technical perspective, it’s his route-running, ability to understand leverage and how to leverage defenders, which gets him open constantly out on the field. He’s the go-to guy in the passing game, no matter where they are on the field. Sweet is someone who can be a nice plug-and-play guy in the States. Next game: Sept. 3 vs. Hamburg

College Football

CB Ayo Ajayi

  • College: Wilfrid Laurier
  • Year: Fourth year
  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 185

The Canadian USports prospect comes from a strong program that has developed some high quality defensive back prospects. What immediately jumps out at you on film is the marrying between his instincts and reaction. Ajayi does a phenomenal job of trusting what he sees out there on the field and subsequently making a beeline to get there. I’m a big fan of his ability in zone, and you can see that’s where he could ultimately thrive as a slot defender. Because of his quick first step, he is also very effective coming off of the short corner on a blitz. Next game: Sept. 3 vs. Western 

OT Scott Ochsner

  • College: SUNY Brockport
  • Year: Senior
  • Height: 6’7
  • Weight: 335

Dominating your level of competition is a must when you’re a prospect coming from a smaller college, even more so when you’re making the jump from Division III. Ochsner is a very large individual who does exactly that: dominate. It’s been fun to see the growth within his game each season, getting much better from a technical standpoint. You can’t coach size, which he has, and the Golden Eagles staff has done a great job in helping smooth out the finer parts of his game. He’s a finisher who hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of his potential. There’s still room for him to get both stronger and powerful, which is scary. Next game: Sept. 3 vs. Framingham State 

WR Quinn Revere

  • College: Johns Hopkins
  • Year: Graduate student
  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 190

Blue Jays head coach Greg Chimera does an excellent job keeping JHU competitive and explosive. He has a fantastic wideout in Revere, who came to the program as a transfer from Lafayette. His biggest strength is his spatial awareness. It doesn’t matter where he’s aligned pre-snap, he understands where he is on the field, where the sticks are and most importantly, where his hands need to be. I believe his home at the next level will be inside as a slot receiver, quickly becoming a QB’s favorite target because of his dependability and toughness. Next game: Sept. 3 vs. Case Western

WR Trevor Hoffman

  • College: Montana Tech
  • Year: Senior
  • Height: 6’3
  • Weight: 205

Hoffman is coming off of a strong debut last weekend vs. Eastern Oregon (eight receptions for 144 yds). He’s an above-the-rim type receiver who has good acceleration and closing speed to the football. He’s impressive physically, almost like former Broncos WR Ed McCaffrey, which helps him outmuscle defensive backs both within his route and at the catch point. I could even see him get up to 225 pounds without losing explosiveness. One thing is for sure: Hoffman doesn’t mind sacrificing his body for the reception. Next game: Sept. 3 vs. Carroll College 

LB Charlie Cleveland

  • College: Tiffin
  • Year: Redshirt junior
  • Height: 6’2
  • Weight: 235

Cleveland has been one of the more consistent disruptors at the Division II level since arriving at Tiffin. He’s a terrific athlete who has the ability to play across the second level as a pro player. Tiffin also has him put his hand in the dirt and rush as an end, during which he’s able to show some natural bend and closing acceleration to the QB. I believe his home as a pro player can be as a SAM Backer in a 4-3 or an ILB in a 3-4. You can expect to see him in a postseason all-star game for sure. Next game: Sept. 3 vs. Walsh 

WR Cameron Crayton

  • College: Georgetown
  • Year: Graduate student
  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 197

I’ve called multiple games over the years as a color analyst on Hoya games, including two last season, and came away highly impressed with the game of Crayton. He’s got #DatDog in him, and the positional confidence that he can make every catch on the field. He’s very Garrett Wilson-like in that regard. But as a stylistic comp, he’s more along the lines of Broncos WR Tim Patrick. Crayton possesses confident hands and the strength to hold his own on the outside as a pro. Next game: Sept. 3 vs. Marist 

RB Michael Chris-Ike

  • College: Delaware State
  • Year: Redshirt senior
  • Height: 6’2
  • Weight: 225

You just had to know a RB was going to appear on this list at some point, right? Delaware State head coach and former NFL offensive lineman Rod Milstead has quietly built his alma mater into a tough, physical one that should contend in the MEAC this season. One reason he’s been able to do so during his tenure is due to his willingness to cast a wide net in recruiting. Chris-Ike is a Canadian-born prospect who thrived at the high school level before making his way to Dover, Delaware. He’s someone who is a one-cut, downhill runner with top-notch acceleration. He’s been on campus since 2018 and is flying under the radar at the moment. Expect him to be on CFL Draft radars and USFL and XFL radars before it’s all said and done. Next game: Sept. 3 vs. Lincoln (PA)

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