by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Canal Street Chronicles.
The NFL Draft talk never ends and we here at Draft 412 will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024 we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - South Carolina, Wide Receiver, Antwane Wells Jr.
Name- Antwane Wells Jr.
Team- South Carolina
HT/WT- 6’1” 207 lbs.
Home – Highland Springs, VA
Wells graduated from Highland Spring High School in Richmond, VA in 2019. He had a very successful high school career and was considered a 3-star recruit. He was named first team All-State as a senior, first team All-Conference as a junior and senior, and helped Highland Springs to 2 state championships in 2017 and 2018. He spent the fall of 2019 as a prep student at Fork Union Military and then committed to James Madison to play football.
During his freshman season at James Madison, “Juice” Wells played in all 8 games, making 4 starts during the 2020 FCS season that was played in spring of 2021 due to Covid. He led James Madison with 33 receptions for 603 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Wells had a huge sophomore season that has since sprung his career and draft stock. At James Madison, he set school records with 83 catches for 1250 yards. He also set the school record with 15 receiving touchdowns and was named a second team FCS All-American for his performance. Prior to the 2022 season, Wells entered the transfer portal and elected to play football at South Carolina, where he became a starter on day one.
In his first season as a Gamecock, Wells was named first team All-SEC by the SEC Coaches, PFF and Phil Steele. He was quarterback Spencer Rattler’s favorite target all season long and ended up hauling in 68 passes for 928 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Coming into the 2023 season, Wells was considered a top tier wide receiver with a mid-round grade. However, Wells suffered a lower body injury in camp and has played sparingly in his 2nd season at South Carolina. In 3 games he has 3 catches for 37 yards and 1 touchdown. And he has announced this past weekend he will return to school next season.
Wells is a possession receiver who makes it a point to find soft spots in the defense to settle in and is always a reliable target. He is a fierce competitor who excels at making plays in the middle of the field and then getting the most yards after catch. He has a good combination of size and athleticism and does a wonderful job of contorting his body to make catches. His competitiveness shows in 50/50 balls, and he uses his body to shield defenders. He has decent straight line speed and tracks the ball well. Wells adjusts on the fly to which shoulder the ball is thrown to and has soft, reliable hands, catching the ball well out in front of his body. He is a competitive run blocker who gives a 100% to assist the team’s run game.
On the downside, Juice Wells lacks high end game speed and will not beat defensive backs one-on-one with just speed. He doesn’t possess the twitchiness or moves common to some at his position but he does do damage later in routes with yards after the catch.
Draft 412 projects Wells as more of a slot receiver that will excel in beating zone coverages. He looks uncomfortable in bubble screens and quick slants and gets his yards after the catch over the middle. His route running needs some improvement and he tends to sway from the play book at times to set up in soft spots. This can cause a communication problem between him and the quarterback.
Antwane Wells compares well to Chris Moore in Draft 412’s eyes. Moore was a 4th round pick out of Cincinnati in 2016. Moore is not a receiver that lines up outside in one-on-one situations and is a bigger contributor from the slot. Wells has a bit more upside than Moore and can be a solid #3 receiver in the NFL.
Screens/ Quick Slants
Antwane Wells could be a mid round pick that will be a producer at the NFL level. Recently, he announced that he is coming back to South Carolina for the 2024 season. Draft 412 thinks with a healthy season and a productive season, Wells could be an early 2nd day pick in 2025.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - Back to School—- 2nd day pick in 2025.