Quinn Ewers Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Top Future NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in 2024 College Football Season

David Kenyon

The countdown to the 2024 NFL draft is officially within two weeks. From a college football perspective, though, the exciting event will not include a few talented players we expected to leave for the pros.

Hey, not complaining, though.

Along with those surprising returnees—in particular, a whole lot of Ohio State standouts—the spotlight will soon include the newest wave of draft-eligible prospects.

The list, one simply meant to highlight key names to watch in the 2025 cycle, is subjective and organized in overall position groups.


Carson Beck Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Last year, Caleb Williams and Drake Maye already commanded the bulk of QB-focused headlines for the 2024 cycle.

We don't have that prospect right now.

In fairness, Texas star Quinn Ewers is a strong early contender after leading the Longhorns to the College Football Playoff. He'll be guiding Texas during its debut campaign in the SEC, where Carson Beck and Georgia should once again be a powerful force.

Colorado signal-caller Shedeur Sanders put together a prolific, efficient year in 2023 despite CU's struggles as a team, too.

Behind them, it's worth monitoring Drew Allar (Penn State), Jaxson Dart (Ole Miss), Riley Leonard (Notre Dame), Jalen Milroe (Alabama), DJ Uiagalelei (Florida State), Cameron Ward (Miami) and Conner Weigman (Texas A&M), among others.

Running Backs

Ollie Gordon II Brian Bahr/Getty Images

What a junior class at the position.

Quinshon Judkins—who starred at Ole Miss during the last two seasons—has transferred to Ohio State. He'll be part of a devastating one-two punch with senior TreVeyon Henderson.

Oklahoma State's Ollie Gordon II and North Carolina's Omarion Hampton had breakout seasons, earning AP All-America honors. Boise State's Ashton Jeanty also received AP recognition, following up a sturdy freshman season with an electric sophomore year.

Throw in Florida-to-Georgia transfer Trevor Etienne, (pending transfer) Oregon State's Damien Martinez, Cal's Jaydn Ott and Penn State duo Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen, and the newest draft-eligible list is impressive.

As if that's not enough, Michigan senior Donovan Edwards could have a monster season now that Blake Corum is NFL-bound.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Luther Burden III Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Similar to Williams and Maye at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end boasted clear No. 1 options for 2024. Marvin Harrison Jr. and Brock Bowers lived up to their billing last season, too.

The race in 2025 is more interesting.

At receiver, early top prospects are Luther Burden III (Missouri), Emeka Egbuka (Ohio State) and Tetairoa McMillan (Arizona). Two transfers—Isaiah Bond and Evan Stewart—are very intriguing after leaving Alabama and Texas A&M for Texas and Oregon, respectively.

Colorado State's Tory Horton is a high-end G5 prospect who could soar in rankings, as well. Many, many players—Jerand Bradley (Boston College), Moose Muhammad III (Texas A&M) and Antwane Wells Jr. (Ole Miss), to name a few—might be part of this conversation, too.

Michigan star Colston Loveland is a top tight end, and the Iowa pipeline may crank out another in Luke Lachey.

Stanford-to-Georgia transfer Benjamin Yurosek is eyeing a bounce-back season next to Oscar Delp, while Utah's Brant Kuithe is desperate for a healthy year. Oronde Gadsden II (Syracuse) and Bryson Nesbit (North Carolina) are quality hybrid tight ends, too.

Offensive Linemen

Kelvin Banks Jr. Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Need an offensive tackle? Look in the SEC.

The blind-side protector for Ewers is Kelvin Banks Jr., who's entering his third year as a starter with Texas. LSU returns All-SEC blockers Will Campbell and Emery Jones Jr., as well.

Others to monitor are Blake Miller (Clemson), Wyatt Milum (West Virginia) and Jalen Travis (Iowa State).

On the interior, Georgia's Tate Ratledge and Jacksonville State's Clay Webb—a UGA transfer, by the way—shared AP second-team honors in 2023. They are top prospects along with Tyler Booker (Alabama), DJ Campbell (Texas) and Donovan Jackson (Ohio State).

USC's Jonah Monheim is a versatile lineman to know. He's previously started at guard and tackle, and he's currently expected to start at center for the Trojans in 2024. Also, center Parker Brailsford followed head coach Kalen DeBoer from Washington to Alabama.

Edge-Rushers and Defensive Linemen

Jack Sawyer Dylan Buell/Getty Images

As for defensive linemen, forget a conference; NFL scouts are starting with Ohio State. Jack Sawyer and JT Tuimoloau are excellent edge-rushers, and Tyleik Williams is back at tackle.

Overall, though, the D-line may be stacked.

At edge-rusher alone, the class boasts Dani Dennis-Sutton (Penn State), Dasan McCullough (Oklahoma), RJ Oben (Notre Dame), Patrick Payton (Florida State), James Pearce Jr., (Tennessee) and Princely Umanmielen (Ole Miss) with Sawyer and Tuimoloau.

The interior group features Michigan duo Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant, as well as Bear Alexander (USC), Walter Nolen (Ole Miss) and Deone Walker (Kentucky).


Harold Perkins Jr. Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No matter how LSU chooses to use Harold Perkins Jr. in 2024, his upside will be immensely attractive to NFL teams.

Perkins stands out as a near-lock first-rounder, while Clemson's Barrett Carter can work his way into that discussion. Staying in college for another year carries risk, but he's a well-rounded contributor.

After them, the position is wide open.

SEC linebackers Jamon Dumas-Johnson (Kentucky), Shemar James (Florida), Smael Mondon Jr. (Georgia) and Danny Stutsman (Oklahoma) double as the earliest second-tier prospects.

Defensive Backs

Travis Hunter Photo by Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

If your favorite NFL team needs a cornerback, there may be a talented reinforcement on the horizon in 2025.

The biggest name is Colorado's Travis Hunter, a two-way contributor who also plays receiver. However, his NFL future will likely be (primarily, at least) on the defensive side of the ball.

Otherwise, the Midwest is loaded with talent. Michigan's Will Johnson is a potential top pick, while Notre Dame's Benjamin Morrison and Ohio State duo Denzel Burke and Davison Igbinosun—a transfer from Ole Miss—all demand early-round attention.

Rounding out the list, we have safeties.

Michigan's Rod Moore must recover from an ACL injury but played well for the national champions in 2023. Nick Emmanwori (South Carolina), Malachi Moore (Alabama), Andrew Mukuba (Texas), Xavier Nwankpa (Iowa) and Malaki Starks (Georgia) are five key players to watch in the race to become the best prospect at the position.


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