Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2018 Underclassmen: Record quantity, quality

— The Sports Xchange —

The NFL granted special eligibility to a record number of underclassmen, who will flood the first round with talent.
The official number of underclassmen is 106, breaking the record of 98, set in 2014. There were 96 underclassmen eligible for the draft in 2016 and 95 last season.
In reality, though, 123 players gave up college eligibility for the 2018 NFL Draft, including 13 who earned degrees and four who didn’t need special eligibility.
Beyond the record quantity, there is high quality. rates 21 of the underclassmen among the top 25 prospects in the draft, including redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold at No. 1, Penn State junior running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2 and UCLA junior quarterback Josh Rosen at No. 3.
The top-rated defensive player comes next — Alabama junior defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. tabs North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb as the best senior prospect, No. 5 overall.
LSU lost seven players with eligibility to the draft, the most of any team, including edge rusher Arden Key and running back Derrius Guice, both potential first-rounders. Florida State lost six underclassmen, as did Texas, including running back Chris Warren, who announced at the end of the season he would transfer.
Five players from national champion Alabama departed early, with four among the top 32 prospects, according to Fitzpatrick, defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, receiver Calvin Ridley and safety Ronnie Harrison.
Here are the 106 underclassmen granted special eligibility into the NFL Draft:

1. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
2. Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, DE, Toledo
3. Jaire Alexander, DB, Louisville
4. Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
5. Dorance Armstrong, DE, Kansas
6. Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
7. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
8. Jessie Bates, DB, Wake Forest
9. Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma
10. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
11. Deontay Burnett, WR, Southern California
12. Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
13. Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
14. Geron Christian, T, Louisville
15. Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana
16. Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech
17. Vosean Crumbie, DB, Nevada
18. J.J. Dallas, DB, Louisiana-Monroe
19. James Daniels, C, Iowa
20. Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California
21. Carlton Davis, DB, Auburn
22. Michael Dickson, P, Texas
23. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
24. DeShon Elliott, DB, Texas
25. Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
26. Matt Fleming, WR, Benedictine
27. Nick Gates, T, Nebraska
28. Rashaan Gaulden, DB, Tennessee
29. Frank Ginda, LB, San Jose State
30. Rasheem Green, DT, Southern California
31. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
32. Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama
33. Quadree Henderson, WR, Pittsburgh
34. Holton Hill, DB, Texas
35. Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State
36. Jeff Holland, LB, Auburn
37. Mike Hughes, DB, Central Florida
38. Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
39. Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky
40. Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State
41. Donte Jackson, DB, LSU
42. J.C. Jackson, DB, Maryland
43. Josh Jackson, DB, Iowa
44. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
45. Derwin James, DB, Florida State
46. Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee
47. Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
48. Courtel Jenkins, DT, Miami
49. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
50. Ronald Jones, RB, Southern California
51. John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
52. Arden Key, LB, LSU
53. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
54. Du’Vonta Lampkin, DT, Oklahoma
55. Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA
56. Chase Litton, QB, Marshall
57. Tavares Martin, WR, Washington State
58. Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State
59. Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson
60. Tarvarus McFadden, DB, Florida State
61. R.J. McIntosh, DT, Miami
62. Reginald McKenzie, DT, Tennessee
63. Quenton Meeks, DB, Stanford
64. Kolton Miller, T, UCLA
65. D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
66. Ryan Nall, RB, Oregon State
67. Nick Nelson, DB, Wisconsin
68. Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami
69. Isaiah Oliver, DB, Colorado
70. Dwayne Orso-Bacchus, T, Oklahoma
71. Da’Ron Payne, NT, Alabama
72. Kamryn Pettway, RB, Auburn
73. Eddy Pineiro, K, Florida
74. Trey Quinn, WR, Southern Methodist
75. D.J. Reed, DB, Kansas State
76. Justin Reid, DB, Stanford
77. Will Richardson, T, North Carolina State
78. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
79. Austin Roberts, TE, UCLA
80. Korey Robertson, WR, Southern Mississippi
81. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
82. Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
83. Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford
84. Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
85. Andre Smith, LB, North Carolina
86. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
87. Van Smith, DB, Clemson
88. Breeland Speaks, DE, Mississippi
89. Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
90. Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
91. Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
92. Maea Teuhema, T, Southeastern Louisiana
93. Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia
94. Kevin Toliver, DB, LSU
95. Travonte Valentine, NT, LSU
96. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
97. Vita Vea, NT, Washington
98. Mark Walton, RB, Miami
99. Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State
100. Chris Warren, RB, Texas
101. Toby Weathersby, T, LSU
102. Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pittsburgh
103. JoJo Wicker, DT, Arizona State
104. Jalen Wilkerson, DE, Florida State
105. Connor Williams, T, Texas
106. Eddy Wilson, DT, Purdue

The following 13 players notified the league office they have fulfilled degree requirements. They are eligible for selection:
1. Jordan Akins, TE, Central Florida
2. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
3. Kyle Allen, QB, Houston
4. Will Clapp, C, LSU
5. Terrell Edmunds, DB, Virginia Tech
6. Taylor Hearn, G, Clemson
7. Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
8. Sam Jones, G, Arizona State
9. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
10. Brian O’Neill, T, Pittsburgh
11. Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State
12. Tre’Quan Smith, WR, Central Florida
13. Courtland Sutton, WR, Southern Methodist

The following players inquired about their draft status and are eligible for selection without the need for special eligibility:
1. Juante Baldwin, DB, Pittsburg State
2. Tanner Lee, QB, Nebraska
3. Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
4. Byron Pringle, WR, Kansas State