As the 2021 football season draws near, SI All-American continues to evaluate the nation's top prospects at every position for the college football recruiting class of 2022. The first wave of the evaluations are the 'Watch List' selections, also known as SI All-American candidates, to be released throughout the month of July.
It precedes the SI99 rankings, our preseason mark of America's top college football prospects regardless of position, to be released the first week of August.
Naturally, the quarterback watch list was up first, rolled out in several releases last week. This week we moved to skill positions, beginning with a pair of cornerback releases ahead of the nickel defensive back watch list. To cap the week, the flip side is considered in a look at the nation's most impressive wide receiver projections. The top 10 wide receivers will debut Friday and slot receivers will debut on Monday.
11. Chris Marshall
Vitals: 6'3", 195 pounds
School: Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall
Recruiting: Considering Texas A&M, USC, others
Marshall is an incredibly raw and inexperienced wide receiver with just one year of high school football under his belt. He is also an incredibly gifted young wideout that hauled in 45 passes for over 1,000 yards in his one season at the position. Marshall has tremendous size and ball skills, and his basketball background shows up on the football field. He’s quick, agile, shows excellent body control and he catches the ball well for someone who hasn’t been doing this very long. Marshall is just scratching the surface of how good he can be, and don’t be surprised if he climbs up the rankings with another season under his belt.
12. Darrius Clemons
Vitals: 6'3", 205 pounds
School: Portland (Ore.) Westview
Recruiting: Considering Oregon, Penn State, Auburn, others
Instead of sitting out his junior season when Oregon decided not to have a fall 2020 football season, Clemons instead decided to move to Utah so he could continue playing. Now back in Portland, you have to love his passion for the game, but it’s his impressive physical tools that have schools fighting hard to land Clemons. Clemons is a tall, long striding athlete that shows a second gear that helps him stretch the field. The Pleasant Grove standout tracks the deep ball quite well, his size makes him a difficult one-on-one matchup on the perimeter, and if his initial burst improves he’ll become an even more dynamic big play weapon.
13. Andre Greene Jr.
Vitals: 6'3", 175 pounds
School: Richmond (Va.) St. Christopher's School
Recruiting: Considering Notre Dame, Georgia, North Carolina
Greene is another in a long list of long, athletic perimeter pass catchers in the 2022 class. Greene has a thin but strong build that should allow him to get to around 200 pounds, and he could possibly get a bit more of a burst as he gets stronger. The St. Christopher’s standout isn’t an elite athlete, but he has enough foot quickness and agility to be a top-notch route runner. What makes Greene such an impactful player is his ball skills. Greene’s length gives him a very wide catch radius, something quarterbacks love. His body control, strong hands and ability to make contested throws is special.
14. Caleb Burton
Vitals: 6', 165 pounds
School: Austin (Texas) Lake Travis
Recruiting: Committed to Ohio State
Burton lacks ideal size but he’s the perfect fit for the Ohio State offense. He’s arguably the nation’s best route runner thanks to his quick burst off the line, ability to accelerate out of breaks and his elite feel for the game. Burton has top-notch ball skills, possessing fast, strong and confident hands. Despite the smaller stature, Burton shows the ability to win contested throws against high school players, and while he isn’t the most dynamic athlete, he can make plays in space from the outside and the slot. Burton is an incredibly productive player that hauled in 83 passes for 1,527 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first two years in high school before missing all but one game of his junior season with a knee injury.
15. DJ Allen
Vitals: 5'11", 185
School: Gladewater (Texas) High School
Recruiting: Considering USC, Arkansas, Baylor
Allen has an impressive all-around game, showing the ability to make plays on every level of the defense as well as being able to thrive on the perimeter and in the slot. Allen is a quality route runner and he plays bigger than you’d think. He has a wide catch radius for a player in the 6-foot range, but it’s his physicality and agility that make him such an impressive wideout. Allen has the speed to stretch the field, he tracks the deep ball quite well and once he gets the football in his hands he turns into a running back. Allen changes direction with ease, he runs through arm tackles and his vision is special once he has the ball.
16. Isaiah Bond
Vitals: 5-11, 175
School: Buford (Ga.) High School
Recruiting: Committed to Florida
What Bond lacks in size he makes up for in playmaking ability, with blazing speed on the outside being his primary attribute. Bond explodes off the ball despite having a flat-footed stance, and his acceleration out of breaks makes him a true home run threat. He has take the top off speed, but just as important is his impressive ability to track the football down the field and his ability to win contested catches. Bond is a great fit for the Florida offense and he’ll add immediate playmaking ability to the Gator offense, especially as he improves his route technique.
17. Armani Winfield
Vitals: 6'2", 185 pounds
School: Lewisville (Texas) High School
Recruiting: Committed to Texas
Winfield is a smooth and polished wide receiver with advanced route running technique. Translated that means he’s an easy fit for Steve Sarkisian’s offense. Although he lacks the vertical explosiveness of other wideouts on this list, Winfield maximizes his vertical speed with sound technique and a quality second gear. The in-state pledge has clean hands and long arms, giving him good range at the position. His foot quickness and route running prowess should allow Winfield to be an impactful chain mover for the Longhorns.
18. De’Nylon Morrisette
Vitals: 6'1", 200 pounds
School: Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb
Recruiting: Committed to Georgia
If speed is what you obsess over the odds are you won’t fall in love with Morrisette, but if you value the nuances of wide receiver you will love watching Morrisette’s film. The Georgia commit has good size and length and he shows the ability to play all over the field. He is a sharp route runner that possesses a high football IQ and a great understanding of how to get open. Morrisette’s understanding of how to use his release to manipulate defenders is fun to watch, his ball skills are excellent and his ability to find the open spots on the field out of his breaks makes him a tough cover.
19. Shaleak Knotts
Vitals: 6'1", 185 pounds
School: Monroe (N.C.) High School
Recruiting: Considering Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee
A two-way, two-sport prospect, there is a lot to like about Knotts' athletic profile. The frame is above average, as is the overall athleticism and raw play-making ability. He is a strider who covers more ground than effort may indicate with short flashes of explosion on breaks and especially when asked to high point. The basketball background jumps out on the football tape when it comes to contested catches, as the North Carolina native flashes very strong hands and the ability to pluck away from his body. Increased route-running and stem polish will round out his game for the next level.
20. Jayden Gibson
Vitals: 6'4", 190 pounds
School: Winter Garden (Fla.) High School
Recruiting: Considering Florida, Miami, Georgia, Baylor, others
At The Opening in California to kick off the month of July, there was a constant question asked when Gibson took the field and ran third-level routes; 'who is that?' The towering pass-catcher ran by Power 5 pledges on routine to kick off the prestigious event and when he couldn't, he still found a way to out jump and/or muscle defenders at the apex. On tape it's more of the same, but Gibson also counters with above average route-running polish and surprising ability after the catch for a prospect his size. He is savvy, efficient and that stride covers a lot of ground in a hurry. The Floridian, who also plays basketball, has seen his recruitment explode in recent months with the quick rise, making his 2021 season one of America's most intriguing to track.
21. Tay'Shawn Trent
Vitals: 6'4", 210 pounds
School: Eastpoint (Mich.) East Detroit
Recruiting: Committed to Michigan
Another big frame on our list, Trent is also a two-sport standout with that combination of power and finesse on the basketball court. It translates on the field in a big way not only where one would expect it, at the apex and when contested, but with intriguing quickness relative to his immense size. Trent of course excels in the vertical game, with ball tracking skill and stacking ability, but has some release polish and plus ability after the catch as a one-cut style runner. The Michigan commitment isn't easy to bring down or check near the line of scrimmage and he has some juice at the top of the route, elements that will help dispel any flex tight end projections from our staff.
22. Germie Bernard
Vitals: 6'2", 195 pounds
School: Henderson (Nev.) Liberty
Recruiting: Committed to Washington
We value high floors at SI All-American and there can't be enough said about bigger-bodied targets with polish who can move the chains. It's the essence of an effective and efficient offense and Bernard fits that profile to a tee. He is strong, and strong at the line of scrimmage, with diverse releases and quick hands to combat the press. At the top of the route he plays on a low plane and he can finish contested or otherwise with length and strong hands. The Washington pledge displays ideal body control when adjusting to the football, with comfort over the shoulder, back-shoulder and with awareness along the sidelines complete with mature presentation once the football is secured. Bernard's strengths will only improve once he hits a college program, so expect consistent production in the Pac-12.
23. Nicholas Anderson
Vitals: 6'4", 195 pounds
School: Katy (Texas) High School
Recruiting: Committed to Oregon
Seeing a trend in these rankings? Big bodies are coveted on the outside throughout the country and Anderson brings plenty to the table in his own right. Of course playing a stacked schedule in the Lone Star State, the future Duck displays a decisive style in his route-running with a low center of gravity and sticking ability at the break. Anderson has good straight-line speed, offers a wide catch radius and adjusts to the football better than most at the position with plus hands to finish. There isn't much flash in his game, but there is production, that frame and a willingness to block that will help him see the field sooner in Eugene.
24. Omar Cooper, Jr.
Vitals: 6'1", 185 pounds
School: Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence North
Recruiting: Committed to Indiana
Indiana is recruiting at a higher clip, with a more national approach and reach, but it has a strong in-state talent on board in Cooper. He is an efficient mover without a glaring weakness in his game on tape. The frame is solid, his motor exists with or without the football, the route-running is above average and he can make plays after the catch with plus vision and natural instincts. Cooper factors into the return game at the prep level with his combination of traits, tough to bring down with his redirection and deceleration skill. Quick in and out of his breaks with enough ball skills to fulfil the entire route tree, the floor is strong with the future Hoosier.
25. AJ Johnson
Vitals: 6'2", 205 pounds
School: New Orleans (La.) Isidore Newman
Recruiting: Committed to LSU
Sure, he hauls in passes from America's most famous recruit in Arch Manning, but Johnson would command attention no matter where he lined up at the high school level. He is a big body who often bullies opponents at the line of scrimmage and/or catch point with an authority that would translate to other positions if need be. LSU's in-state pledge isn't the most explosive talent but is fast enough to keep a secondary honest and his finishing ability in sacrificing his body makes him a threat to all three levels. Johnson is strong after the catch with his size and power, and his basketball background translates with his above-average footwork, the type of traits that should translate to his stock blocking ability and probably early playing time.
* Boston College commit Joseph Griffin Jr. has an impressive size/speed combination that could result in him being a breakout player with a strong senior campaign.
* Michigan commit Tyler Morris is a smooth route runner whose ranking took a hit when he suffered a knee injury this spring. We’ll eye how he bounces back.
* Florida commit CJ Smith is one of the more intriguing players in the class. He’s still an extremely raw football player that has a checkered injury history, but his track speed and football speed is exceptional.
* Illinois native and Northwestern commit Reggie Fleurima isn’t a Top 25 wide receiver, specifically, but he’s an outstanding all-around football player that could play wideout, safety, linebacker or possibly even H-back in college.
*Uncommitted Tennessee standout Isaiah Horton is a big body with some of the most impressive ball skills in the class, quite the foundation for an athletic profile. Once he polishes up his technique, we could see him making a move up the list.