(STATS) - South Dakota State senior tight end Dallas Goedert is widely regarded as the No. 1 FCS prospect for the 2018 NFL draft.
Already an All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first-teamer as a sophomore in 2015, Goedert rose to first-team All-American last year, catching a school-record 92 passes.
Josh Buchanan, a recruiter for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and perhaps the leading evaluator of small school prospects, named Goedert as his top FCS prospect this past weekend. He grades Goedert as a third- or fourth-rounder.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay also has Goedert No. 1 among FCS prospects. He even ranks the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award finalist as the top tight end candidate in college football
"Goedert is coming off a breakout season (1,293 yards, 11 touchdowns) in which he showed his versatility," McShay wrote. "He has the athletic ability to give linebackers issues, and his size (listed at 6-foot-4, 258 pounds) is trouble for corners. He needs to follow the previous season with another good one and then do all he can during the postseason process."
CBS Sports ranks Harvard offensive tackle Larry Allen Jr. first among FCS players at No. 82 - a third-round grade. However, Allen is sitting out this season and the Ivy League program is expecting him to not enter the 2018 draft and return for his senior season next fall.
Other top FCS prospects heading into the season include Goedert's South Dakota State teammate Jake Wieneke, a wide receiver; offensive linemen Timon Parris of Stony Brook and Skyler Phillips of Idaho State, running back Chase Edmonds of Fordham; linebackers Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State and Darius Leonard of South Carolina State; and North Dakota strong safety Cole Reyes.