It’s the time of year again when the NFL recruiting landscape gets even crazier than usual.
This year is shaping up to be the biggest recruiting bonanza in the history of the league, with more than a dozen new recruits signed on the dotted line, including a handful of top prospects who will have to compete with the likes of DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan, and Malik Hooker for the final spot in the 2016 NFL Draft.
While there are a few familiar names on the list, it is still a bit of a wildcard, especially with so many potential draft-eligible players still on the board.
Here are the best NFL prospects who are expected to get signed in the coming days.
Malik Hookers (LB, UCLA): The 6-foot-3, 252-pounder is expected to go first overall to the New Orleans Saints.
Hookers’ strength is his ball skills, which are reminiscent of his father, who played for the Seattle Seahawks.
A two-time All-Pac-12 selection and a two-year starter at UCLA, Hookers was named a second-team All-American by Scout.com after leading the Bruins in tackles for loss and interceptions as a senior.
In 2016, Hooker was a second team All-America selection and was a finalist for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
“I’m extremely excited about my senior year at UCLA,” Hookers said.
“The defensive line is one of the best in the country and my ability to play both outside and inside is something I’ve been working on.
With the defensive line being the one of my strengths, I feel like this year, I’m ready to prove that I can contribute at both ends of the field.”
A highly-touted recruit, Hooks was expected to be one of three finalists for the 2016 Pro Bowl, but a knee injury limited him to one of two Pro Bowls in 2017.
Malik McDowell (RB, Michigan): Michigan RB Malik McDowll is the second running back in the 2017 class to be expected to receive a big-time offer from the Detroit Lions.
McDowell, a 6-3 225-pound back, was ranked as the No. 14 running back nationally in 247Sports’ composite rankings.
The Wolverines finished fourth in the Big Ten in rushing last season, and McDowell is expected as one of their top targets in the draft.
According to 247Sports, McDowell has a 247Composite grade of 6.5, which ranks him as the #17 overall prospect in the 2018 class.
DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson): Hopkins, a 5-11, 175-pound receiver from Alabama, is expected by many to be drafted as a high-first-round pick in the first round.
The 6-2, 206-pound wide receiver from Clemson is considered one of Clemson’s top targets, and his speed will likely make him a factor at the next level.
Hophes 247Compoite grade is a 6.2, which is ranked as a #12 overall prospect, and he is projected as a third-round prospect in 2018.
Kevin Hogan (WR/KR, Notre Dame): Hogan is expected in the top three to the Minnesota Vikings.
Hogan was the No, 2 receiver in the 247Sports Composite rankings, and the 6-1, 198-pound linebacker was one of Notre Dame’s top recruits in the Class of 2018.
Hogan is projected to go No. 3 to the Vikings, but it could take a little longer for him to reach his lofty potential.
DeShon Elliott (WR-WR, USC): Elliott, a five-star prospect from USC, is considered a top-five prospect in 2017, but the 6.4-foot, 190-pound pass-catcher is not expected to leave the Trojans in the same draft class as other top targets like Tyrell Williams and Jordan Payton.
Ellott is projected by 247Sports to go #4 to the Seattle SuperSonics, but he could be the most interesting prospect of the group.
Deandre Hopkins (RB/WR, LSU): If you have any doubt about who Hopkins is, you should stop reading now.
He is expected at #6 to the Miami Dolphins, who could use a big weapon at the running back position.
If he were to go to the Dolphins, he would be the second-ranked player in the 2019 class, behind only Florida’s Damien Harris.
Kevin Johnson (QB, Oklahoma): Johnson was the number one QB in the 2015 class and was ranked #4 by ESPN’s composite rankings, but is projected in the Top 15 of the 2019 draft by Scout’s composite