I’ll start with a simple prediction: everyone in this class redshirts. Most of these guys are longer term projects anyway, and the highest rated one who might contribute (Otton) is currently watching fall camp from the sidelines, injured.
So let’s look at each and examine who has the highest long term ceiling.
WR Denzel Boston
The big wide receiver was a late offer and addition to the class and projects long term as a sure handed and physical possession receiver. He’s actually stood out a bit in fall camp, catching a 70+ yard Dylan Morris pass for a touchdown over the weekend. He’s got a relatively high floor as a pass catcher but doesn’t have immense speed, so when it comes to long term excitement and ceiling, he doesn’t move the needle much.
S Tristan Dunn
If anyone of these players is to see the field this year, it might be Dunn on special teams due to his size, range, and hitting. These traits give him an encouraging ceiling at safety, or possibly the frame to grow into a linebacker.
DB Jaivion Green
Green was an under-the-radar pickup but he’s versatile in the secondary and currently listed at 6-2 202, so he brings good size. He’s a good looking athlete and perhaps in a year or two we see some elite physical traits that indicate a high ceiling.
EDGE Lance Holtzclaw
Right now, he looks like he belongs in the secondary. Such is the need for Holtzclaw to bulk up. His size, body type, and wearing #41 will remind many fans of Travis Feeney. If he reaches that level of productivity he’ll certainly have a great career. Holtzclaw is absolutely a high risk, high reward prospect - if he bulks up he could be a terror off the edge.
OL Parker Brailsford
Brailsford is the type of offensive lineman that Washington usually succeeds with. He’s a little undersized, but extremely athletic and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Nick Harris, anyone? He is absolutely destined for a redshirt season but could be a contributor at guard in a few seasons. If he was bigger he would be a definite candidate for highest ceiling, but his height limits that ceiling somewhat.
TE Ryan Otton
Coming from great bloodlines, the younger Otton is a very exciting tight end prospect. He’s all of 6-6 and his frame could take on even more strength. With his hands, length, and speed, he’s a serious downfield threat. He’s currently injured and hasn’t practiced, otherwise I’d feel more comfortable thinking of him as an immediate contributor. Last seasons top two tight ends at Fresno State played close to 900 snaps between the two of them, so opportunities in this offense exist. He’s a strong candidate for highest ceiling.
DL Jayvon Parker
Jayvon Parker is the definition of a developmental prospect. At 6-3 and 312 pounds, he’s got enticing size in the middle of the defensive line and looks in the mold of the two gap space eaters that have been so successful recently at Washington (Greg Gaines, Vita Vea, Danny Shelton, et al.). This alone makes him a contender here. Practice reports cite him as an impressive looking athlete but one not quite ready for playing time.
DL Armon Parker
Armon is the slightly higher rated of the twin brothers as he sported an offer from Illinois and not just Washington like Jayvon. Unfortunately he’s injured so there hasn’t been a chance to evaluate him in a practice setting, but let’s assume he’s a (for now) slightly better version of his brother Jayvon. That is to say, a very high ceiling defensive tackle prospect, but also one where it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him transfer out of the program in three years.
And the winner is...
Lance Holtzclaw. I was very tempted to pick one of the Parker twins, simply because of the size and athletic potential. But I think the risk with those prospects is just too great. Holtzclaw is plenty risky too, but when a prospects plays both on the edge and as a wide receiver, that shows some serious athleticism and body control. We also have the recent example of player with a similar trajectory - Travis Feeney. While he projects as a Bralen Trice / Joe Tryon-ish type, he’s about 30 pounds lighter than those two were coming in. Zion Tupuloa-Fetui was also a lower rated prospect as well who seems to be reaching his potential. Lance has got a long of time in the weight room to reach his ceiling, but I think he has the highest one in this class.