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2015 Football Recruiting: WR Review

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In the third of a six-part series, we'll take a longer look at the impressive group of receivers in the 2015 class.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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Previously, we gave a review of the 2015 class and our scores for each player, dove into a little more detail about the offensive backfield, and examined the big guys on the offensive side.  Today, we're looking at the 2015 wide receivers, a worthy addition to the Notre Dame "fraternity" that former Irish wideout Derrick Mayes called AFROS - America's Finest Receivers on Saturdays. Enjoy!

The transcript of Coach Brian Kelly's press conference on national signing day can be found here.

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Irish Receiver Signees
247C Score Player City/State Ht/Wt. Position 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.929 Equanimeous St. Brown Anaheim, CA 6-5/205 Wide Receiver
.918 Miles Boykin Tinley Park, IL 6-3/225 Wide Receiver
.900 CJ Sanders Sherman Oaks, CA 5-10/185 Slot Receiver
.867 Jalen Guyton Allen, TX 6-1/185 Wide Receiver

Official OFD Recruit Grading Scale:

95-100: Elite impact freshman with All-American potential

90-94: Multi-year starter with All-conference potential

85-89: Eventual starter with chance to play as underclassman

80-84: Raw prospect with decent potential but a couple years away from impact

75-79: Likely a backup

70-74: Reach by the coaching staff

Note: All heights/weights as listed on UND.com

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WR Equanimeous St. Brown

(Anaheim, CA - Servite) - 6'5"/205

OFD Average: 91.0

Brian Kelly's thoughts from the signing day press conference:

And Equanimeous St. Brown out of Servite, Anaheim, California. Again, what a great young man. I think he committed on national television today and spoke to his mom in German and then thanked a lot of his friends in French. Then I'll have to figure out what language to talk to him in. But he's just a great kid and he's got great range, 6 5.

So another very rangy wide receiver who can run. He can get in and out of his break, another match up guy that I think you're going to have problems with now.

Brendan: 90

If we were grading just on ability, St. Brown might get a 96 from me; multiple analysts have said that he may be the most physically gifted receiver in the country this year. He needs the light to be on all the time, though, which I think he'll work through in his freshman year and then become a major weapon going forward. He has all the physical tools to force his way onto the field this year, even with the impressive depth the Irish have at receiver. His younger brother Osiris, a 2017 prospect who recently received a Notre Dame offer, is supposed to be even better than Equanimeous, and his youngest brother Amun-Ra, a 2018 prospect, may be the best of the three.

Eric: 89

Outstanding height at 6-5 but a tough prospect to rate after being banged up as a senior and playing in a handcuffed passing offense. I love St Brown’s burst off the line--he fires out of his stance beautifully for someone his size. He also has great top end speed but it’s very unlikely he’s anywhere in the 4.4 range. That would put him among the fastest humans on earth with his height. He’s probably at best in the 4.58 range and even that is impressive. Still, he looks quicker than Corey Robinson and classmate Miles Boykin. Balls skills, toughness, blocking all look well developed for his age. St. Brown has a really lean and muscular frame so I think he’s going to stay under 230 in college and be a very productive combination of a receiver who can play like a smaller wideout but excel most as sideline, jump-ball athlete.

Jamie U: 92

Physically, St. Brown has all the tools to be a number one receiver. His size and ability to high point the ball make him an ideal red zone target and he also has the speed to make incredible plays after the catch. At The Opening last July I saw him take a slant to the house. He took a slant to the house in a touch football game. That's almost unheard of for a player his size. The question with him is consistency. He was downgraded a bit after not dominating as much some thought he should as a senior and part of that had to do some drops on some 50/50 balls. The top guys come down with those catches more often than not, and ESB just didn't seem to do that enough. His floor is DaVaris Daniels and his ceiling is Michael Floyd. He has that kind of talent and if he has anywhere close to Floyd's work ethic, he is going to be a phenomenal player at Notre Dame.

Jim Miesle: 93

A big receiver with sub-4.5 speed? ND hasn't had a guy with this combination of size and speed since Michael Floyd last suited up in 2011. He needs to add some weight in order to better use his frame, but fans have to be excited about his potential.

ManorMan10: 92

St. Brown has tantalizing potential - a great frame, and speed/agility to go with it that make him much more Michael Floyd than Duval Kamara. Instantly a first teamer on the name team All-Americans, but again the first world problem of too much receiving talent will make it tough for him to see the field early. Paired with Alize Jones, a QB with plus running ability in Wimbush, and CJ Sanders as an electric weapon in the slot, I have no idea how you stop this class in the redzone.

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WR Miles Boykin

(Tinley Park, IL - Providence Catholic) - 6'3"/225

OFD Average: 89.0

Brian Kelly's thoughts from the signing day press conference:

Miles Boykin out of Providence Catholic, another team that played for a state championship. Loved Miles as a character, is outstanding, great family, but he's got great range, 6 3, 220. Can use his body extremely well. Great catching radius. Can go up with the football. He can separate.

We just think that he gives you a great match up on the perimeter. The ball needs to get outside a lot today with the quarterback situation. Sometimes when you don't have that 6 4 quarterback and you can't see those drives and digs, you've got to get the ball outside and he gives us a great target and we are looking forward to working with miles.

Brendan: 90

The wide receiver depth chart has become an embarassment of riches for Notre Dame, with Miles Boykin adding yet another talented option to the corps. Boykin was another early-offer, lower-rated recruit by the staff that saw his recruitment explode as he showcased his ability during his senior season. The temptation is to compare him to current Irish receiver Corey Robinson based on his height - Robinson is 6'5", Boykin is 6'4" - but Boykin is about 30 pounds heavier than Robinson was in high school and ran a 4.51 SPARQ-verified 40 at a Nike camp. So... Yeah. Even with that physical ability, though, it seems like Boykin is the most likely candidate to redshirt at receiver in this class, just because of the crowded depth chart ahead of him. When he gets on the field, though, he'll definitely be capable of making some noise.

Eric: 85

For a very tall receiver we’re getting a nice package of tools. Boykin is polished as a receiver with good hands. I was worried about his quickness off the line and after the catch but he has improved in these areas since his junior year. Unless he develops into Kelvin Benjamin his ceiling is going to be limited, though. I don’t see the Corey Robinson-type of vertical playmaking skills (or at least to that level) and Boykin isn’t a threat to run away from anybody. He looks like a possession receiver who might be a year behind the type of growth we saw from Corey Robinson once he arrived in South Bend.

Jamie U: 90

I have to disagree with Eric here. I watched games from Boykin this season where I saw him make plays after the catch and I think he has big time ball skills. To me, he's a much smoother athlete then Corey Robinson with the same kind of potential in the red zone. If they can put him, ESB, and Alize Jones on the field at the same time in a couple of years, it could cause some sleepless nigths for defensive coordinators. I thought he was a possession receiver after his junior year, but now think he can be much more.

Jim Miesle: 91

Another big-bodied receiver for QBs to target, Boykin has the speed and size combo to be mismatch for any defender. It's almost unfair that a guy his size can run that fast.

ManorMan10: 89

Boykin is yet another matchup problem for opposing defenses in this class- a jumbo receiver with unfair speed. After a couple of years with Paul Longo and a training table he may grow into a move tight end - there's a reason Michigan's recruiting sales pitch was to be the next Devin Funchess. His acceleration and ability to get off of press coverage will be critical to his success in college, but all signs are positive there.

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WR CJ Sanders

(Granada Hills, CA - Notre Dame) - 5'10"/185

OFD Average: 91.2

Brian Kelly's thoughts from the signing day press conference:

C.J. Sanders out of Sherman Oaks, California; Notre Dame, an exciting player. Slot receiver, can return punts and kickoffs, a guy that can certainly go the distance. I think Will Fuller we saw him catch a lot of passes this year and turn some screens into touchdowns. C.J. Sanders is a guy that can do that, as well and he can do that from the slot receiver position.

He's a guy that can open up the game for you with one missed tackle, because you won't be able to catch him. Elite speed and as I said, a true slot receiver, one that we haven't had, really, since Robby Toma. He's got really good instincts and a guy that we're looking forward to really developing.

Brendan: 92

Fast, fast, fast. The Irish haven't had speed like this since... Well, since I don't know when. He's not as fast as Allen Rossum was, but very few are; you'd be hard-pressed to find any Irish players since then who could beat Sanders in a footrace. CJ recorded the sixth-best overall SPARQ score at the Opening, right behind Josh Sweat, with a 4.32 40, a 39" vertical, and a completely absurd 3.78 shuttle, which would've been the top time at any NFL combine since at least 2006. He committed to Notre Dame on a stealth unofficial last summer and hasn't wavered, even as his talent became evident to the rest of the country. He should see the field in some capacity in 2015 - I'm guessing he'll take the opening kickoff against Texas, and if he shows soft hands could challenge Greg Bryant for punt return duties as well.

Eric: 92

Among my favorite players in this class. In terms of God-given athletic ability I think he’s among the top 3 or 4 recruits of this Notre Dame haul. True, Sanders is pretty short but he’s built well and has a strong lower body. With a little more upper-body development he should be ideal size. He reminds me of a more powerful version of Amir Carlisle coming out of high school. His foot speed, determination, and cutting are all enticing. If he’s a sub 4.5 athlete he could be special at Notre Dame. I think he’s someone who has to get a look at running back and if the depth there remains sufficient Sanders is still someone I’m getting the ball to more than just as a receiver.

Jamie U: 90

Notre Dame is loaded with returning talent in 2015, but Sanders may have the kind of skill set that can help him see the field as a freshman because he is a different player than anyone else on the roster. He's a true slot receiver that can be used in multiple ways. He is explosive out of his breaks and that helps him create separation. If opposing teams don't have a good nickel, they could be in for some long days trying to cover him over the next few years. He is probably the best pure athlete in this entire recruiting class and he's the kind of athlete the Irish have been lacking in the slot. That's why I think he can get on the field early, providing he can pick up the offense, and earn some playing time as a freshman and I wouldn't be surprised to see him play a very prominent role in the Irish offense as a sophomore. In addition to his work in the slot, Sanders very well could be the punt returner in 2015 as well. He has the chance to be everything Davonte Neal should have been at Notre Dame.

Jim Miesle: 93

Sanders should factor in on special teams this fall. He has elite speed that will cause issues for opposing defenses and is electric with the ball in his hands.

ManorMan10: 89

CJ Sanders is dynamic with the ball in his hands, and it's going to be up to the coaching staff to figure out the best way to put it there. He looks to be a contributor in year one on special teams, but can he break into the receiving rotation? Depending on his route running (or if he gets any looks at receiving back) he could see some meaningful action, but I think he's a couple seasons away from a substantial snap count offensively - more a testament to depth at the position than his talent (and a hope that Justin Brent gets it together and gets a good look in the slot).

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WR Jalen Guyton

(Allen, TX - Allen) - 6'1"/185

OFD Average: 89.0

Brian Kelly's thoughts from the signing day press conference:

Jalen Guyton out of Allen, Texas. Again, Bishop Gorman won the state championship in Las Vegas, and Jalen Guyton won the state championship in Allen Texas. You can see by just the last few players: Barajas played for the state championship; Bilal won it; Boykin played for it; Coleman played for it; Crawford won it; Fertitta won it; Guyton. These are all guys that have played for championships. These are winners, and it's no coincidence in the recruiting process in who we are looking for.

Jalen had an incredible season in terms of numbers, off the charts. He was the go to guy, playing at the highest competition in the State of Texas. Just a break out year. We see him as a versatile player that can play the X, the Z or the W. We can move him around.

He's got that kind of versatility, and that's what Allen did to them, as well. They moved him around. In his senior year, he played mostly the W position. But we love his versatility. We love his ability to catch the football in traffic and his toughness, great size at 6 1, 185 and he's got the frame to get stronger.

NB: In traditional terminology, the X is the split end, the Z the flanker, and the W the slot receiver.

Brendan: 92

82 catches. 1,770 yards. 22 touchdowns. That's an outstanding 21.6 yards per reception and an absurd touchdown rate of 1 every 3.7 catches, in Texas 6A football. No doubt he has benefited from playing with quarterback Kyler Murray, a Texas A&M commit and the #33 overall player in the 247 Composite, but still, those numbers are crazy. The offer to Guyton raised some eyebrows given his low ranking and relative status as an unknown, but once again, it turns out that these guys who spend 80 hours a week working on this stuff actually know what they're doing. It's tough to see Guyton cracking the wide receiver rotation right away, but then again it wouldn't surprise me either with his natural ability. He looks like sort of a Will Fuller clone - although he's more solidly built than Fuller was as a recruit - which could be the role he'll eventually play at Notre Dame.

Eric: 88

It’s safe to say that Guyton might be one of the most underrated prospects in the country relative to his rankings. In fact, he might make the Top 10 most underrated recruits over the last several years. How he could be so explosive and add so much playmaking ability, while playing for one of the best high schools in the country and within one of the best leagues in the country, and still be a middling 3-star is beyond me. Guyton reminds me of a slightly less athletic but bigger in stature version of Michiah Quick from last cycle. I don’t there’s quite as much shake and bake for Guyton but Notre Dame is getting a guy with good receiver skills and promising speed. Even with a well stocked receiver depth chart I believe Guyton will be a tough decision to redshirt.

Jamie U: 87

Production at the high school level is overrated in many cases so I'm not all up in arms about Guyton's ranking because he caught X amount of balls with X amount of touchdowns. What I do care about is the film, and Guyton's film is impressive. He ran a much more diverse route tree at his high school than so many other prospects and it is something that helps make up for him not being as physically gifted as someone like St. Brown. And let's face it, while he may not be the most dynamic player, he just keeps getting open. He keeps getting deep against cornerbacks. He keeps catching the football. It may be tough for him to get on the field as a freshman because of the depth that already exists, but I think he can be a very good player when his time comes at Notre Dame.

Jim Miesle: 90

I know I sound like a broken record, but you really have to love this WR class. Guyton is another guy who has all the tools to be an elite receiver at the college level.

ManorMan10: 88

Hard to argue with production at the highest levels of high school football - Guyton's stats are close to what happens in NCAA14 when creating a player and rampaging through the high school levels to get recruited. There's not one overwhelming trait that causes Guyton to excel as a receiver, but no glaring weaknesses either. He'll be a solid contributor for multiple seasons in the Brian Kelly offense

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