You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall where all Santa's reindeer play their football each fall? Here's a scouting report.
Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer
An unheralded one-star recruit, this undersized free safety walked on to the Nebraska Cornhuskers because of his dogged work on the practice squad. His insistence on treating walk-throughs like they were the Super Bowl enraged his more talented teammates and made him an outcast in the locker room. He didn't see the field at all for the first 11 games of the season but was pressed into duty during an especially foggy and soggy rivalry game against Iowa. With a nose for the ball, he made eight tackles, intercepted a pass, and broke up a key fourth-down try late in the game to preserve a victory. He'll go down in Lincoln history, the exact type of player Scott Frost could use going forward.
The latest in a long string of NFL-ready talent playing wide receiver for Alabama, he had to bide his time on the depth chart before showcasing his talents. Though not blessed with elite breakaway speed or size, the 6-foot-1 junior is a precise route-runner and great in space. Charismatic and disarmingly handsome, Dasher has the potential to be a breakout star not only at the next level, but in the entertainment world.
The spiritual successor to Rocket Ismail, the Notre Dame split end is a more dynamic option than Dasher and returned an eye-popping six kicks for scores — including three against Michigan — during a campaign that earned him an invite to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
Former high school teammate of Jordan Love, Cupid opted to ply his talents for the always special teams-rich Utah Utes. A rugby-style punter with long, flowing locks and a little junk in the trunk, he made a name for himself on Twitter by wearing football pants so short they'd get you suspended at most Catholic prep schools.
Equal parts astounding and aggravating, the scat back from Miami has swagger to burn but inconsistency to polish. Blessed with elite elusiveness and vision, he tends to fall in love with the quest for a big play instead of the sure thing. Benched on more than one occasion after refusing to stop dancing, he'll make a big jump next year if he commits to becoming a tougher, more North-South runner.
A behemoth left tackle at 6-foot-8, 346 pounds, the Auburn Tiger kept his quarterback clean all four years as a starter. Tough enough to get his antlers dirty in the trenches, this Academic All-American showcased otherworldly footwork for an animal his size, which makes him a real draw for teams at the top of next spring's draft.
Perhaps the most popular player in Wisconsin Badgers history, the school's sack leader lived up to his name and then some. Scouts are tabbing him as the next J.J. Watt, an engaging and charitable soul who would love nothing more than to spend offseasons at WiFi-less cabin in the Dells.
Not the most talented or impactful center in Conference USA, but he was the heart and soul of a surprisingly good Western Kentucky team for three years. A converted fullback, Donner was known for his unusual diet and parties, which included exotic food and very little eye contact.
When not embroiled in trouble at Arizona State, this middle linebacker was an absolute force. His problem was not closing down passing lanes or taking on ball-carriers with punishing force. It was easing up once the whistle blew. He's more than capable of making an immediate impact at the next level once the personal fouls and misdemeanor arrests abate to an acceptable level.