Slot Receiver Prospects on the Verge of Crashing SI All-American's Top 10 Rankings
John Garcia, Jr.
As SI All-American details a deep dive into the college football recruiting class of 2021, by position, the pass catchers are taking center stage this week.
After digging into the slot receivers for the first time, SIAA released its top 10 rankings ahead of the 2020 season on Tuesday. It's the fourth of 14 positions to be ranked over the next several weeks. The tail-end of the discussion featured candidates with the resume to contend for spots in that top 10.
These are the prospects right on the edge of the ranking, listed alphabetically.
Dekel Crowdus, Lexington (Ky.) Frederick Douglass
5-foot-10, 165 pounds
Committed to Kentucky
Crowdus puts pressure on the defender immediately after the ball is snapped with great power and burst off the line of scrimmage. When challenging deep, there's minimal wasted movement even through initial change of direction. Both quick and fast, the Kentucky commitment can turn a throw near the line of scrimmage into chunk yardage just as much as he can on a deep route. Return experience and a low center of gravity make Crowdus a big play waiting to happen. Just wait until he polishes up the intermediate route-running portion of his game.
Dominic Lovett, Belleville (III.) East St. Louis
5-foot-10, 175 pounds
Considering Missouri, Arizona State, LSU and Penn State, among others
The only uncommitted prospect on today's list, Lovett makes it easy to see why most Power Five conferences have programs after his commitment. Catching passes from Missouri quarterback commitment Tyler Macon, this rising senior can flat out run. Lovett is shot out of a cannon while working against off coverage and he can remain close to full stride in and out of breaks within an advanced route tree, especially to intermediate and down the field levels. Well above average leaping ability and savvy RAC skills round out his game.
Charles Montgomery, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood
5-foot-10, 185 pounds
Committed to Florida
The in-state win for Florida is one of the most electric offensive skill prospects in the state. Montgomery lines up at running back and in the slot with house call ability in getting touches at either spot thanks to great burst and top end speed in the open field. Another return man type on the list, he has incredible feel for making plays in traffic. As Montgomery's polish as a route-runner blossoms beyond in-breaking cuts and the occasional quick game, his explosiveness could prove that much more effective in space.
Jordan Mosley, Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen Catholic
6-foot, 190 pounds
Committed to Tennessee
Perhaps the top wide receiver in the state of Alabama, slot or otherwise, Mosley is likely the most explosive in the state as well. He is quite comfortable with the football in his hands in catch-and-run scenarios with the speed and elusiveness to get by defenders without being contacted at all. Powerful laterally and as a leaper, with adequate ball skills to match, the only element of Mosley's game with clear room for improvement is overall route running consistency prior to making an expected impact in the SEC.
Malik Nabers, Lafayette (La.) Comeaux
6-foot, 190 pounds
Committed to Mississippi State
The newest pledge for Mike Leach and the Bulldogs, Nabers is a strong fit from a big play or volume perspective. The Louisianan excels in the vertical game, lined up inside or out, with some of the best ball tracking skill and hands in the class to boot. A strong stride enables him to get to top speed in a hurry but he is just as comfortable playing off script or re-adjusting his movement on the fly depending on the flight of the football. Maintaining a low plane in and out of his breaks will help Nabers' game inch towards the next level.
Trevonte Rucker, Ocala (Fla.) Vanguard
6-foot, 160 pounds
Committed to Florida
Some of the most impressive run after the catch skill in the class of 2021 belongs to Rucker thanks to considerable time as a run-first quarterback in recent years. Natural instincts in tight quarters with easy elusiveness, great vision along with the ability to stop on a dime and change course make him a slippery athlete even when the defense expects him to emerge with the ball. Experience as a true wide receiver is relatively limited, especially considering time on defense as a solid safety, so room for improvement in overall polish exists. Good length, speed and hands set a strong foundation for this future Gator.
Brashard Smith, Miami (Fla.) Palmetto
5-foot-9, 188 pounds
Committed to Miami
A one-time Florida pledge now slated to play for Manny Diaz and Miami, Smith is another combo prospect who gets touches well beyond the slot receiver projection. Physically built like a running back, he plays like one with the ball in his hands on offense and in the return game. Quicker than fast with great acceleration and deceleration strength, his top traits show up consistently in his short to intermediate route running. With a nose for making the big play and a catch radius wider than his frame suggests, Smith has one of the strongest slot receiver floors on the list.
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