By: Skip Newton | @skipnewton31
National Signing Day is finally here after an unprecedented recruiting cycle due to the COVID 19 pandemic. There are several highly talented recruits in the 2021 class that devy managers should watch closely moving forward.
The University of Clemson leads the ACC rankings and is fifth overall but Miami and North Carolina are both in the top-15, with several top-rated prospects of note. While some players may need to sit behind a talented upperclassman for a year or so, the level of athleticism and talent make these athletes worthy of picks in devy and campus to canton league for long term investment.
Drake Maye – Quarterback – North Carolina
The Tar Heels have future first-round pick quarterback Sam Howell locked in as the starter in 2021. Assuming he opts to forgo his senior season and enter the 2022 NFL Draft, the starting job will be open for grabs, which could be the ideal situation for four-star quarterback Drake Maye out of Charlotte, North Carolina.
He will get a year to develop under Howell and be ready to start day one of the 2022 season. Maye is rated as the sixth-best pro-style quarterback in the 2021 class and is a commanding presence in the pocket, measuring at 6-5, 210-pounds.
In addition to his size, Maye has several attributes that should make Tar Heels fans excited for the future. He has enough arm strength to throw the ball 60 yards but shows nice touch to receivers at all route depths.
Maye also throws an accurate pass and doesn’t force the ball into double coverage much. He consistently displays solid mechanics with a smooth throwing motion and clean release.
While he doesn’t possess the mobility to gain many yards running, Maye does make up for that with an excellent pocket presence, demonstrated by his willingness to step up in the pocket or escape pressure long enough to find an open receiver.
Jake Garcia – Quarterback – Miami
North Carolina is not the only ACC team to sign a top quarterback this year. The Miami Hurricanes potentially filled a big void with the addition of fifth-rated quarterback recruit Jake Garcia.
With senior D’Eriq King moving onto the NFL, Garcia has the opportunity to step in and play from day one and has the tools to win the job as a freshman.
Rated as a four-star prospect, Garcia has the arm talent and mental toughness to immediately compete in the ACC. His best attribute is his mechanics, boasting a sound foundation, along with exceptional feet in the pocket. Garcia features a consistent throwing motion and release, which results in accurate passes on all throws.
He doesn’t have the strongest arm in the class but he makes up for it by leading receivers and has a nice touch on deeper routes. Like Maye, Garcia doesn’t offer the rushing upside of a dual-threat quarterback but he throws the ball quickly and consistently finds open receivers on time.
Will Shipley – Running Back – Clemson
The best teams don’t rebuild, they reload. Clemson freshman Demarckus Bowman recently chose to transfer to Florida and senior Travis Etienne is moving onto the NFL Draft following this season.
How does Clemson fill the void left at running back? They bring in five-star recruit Will Shipley out of Matthews, North Carolina. The top-rated all-purpose running back, according to the majority of recruiting sites, is destined for touches in 2021 and should be high on devy manager’s rankings.
When you watch Shipley play, his speed and acceleration are exceptional. He breaks through holes quickly and pulls away from defenders for big plays. Shipley has outstanding vision and can find space and get to the second level quickly.
He also possesses a natural ability to catch passes out of the backfield. Shipley will need to improve on his lateral movement to avoid tacklers consistently in the NFL but he possesses the athleticism to be a top running back and an early draft pick.