Ask Farrell: How was this rankings update different?
The spring evaluation period is one of the most important throughout a recruiting cycle.
New players emerge nationally. Familiar prospects are getting tested each week to back up their rankings. Underclassmen establish themselves early in the process and start to set themselves up for rankings later on.
But very little of that happened this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and then the travel ban. Few 7-on-7 tournaments took place. Camps across the country were limited.
The Rivals Camp Series held stops in Miami, Orlando, Houston, Los Angeles and New Orleans but was then postponed for the remainder of stops around the country. Seven areas, mainly in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic were not able to go.
And so here we are in May, the usual time for an updated class of 2021 rankings release and information is limited.
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In our small part of the world, we had to decide whether a new set of rankings was even worthwhile since not only were over half of the Rivals camps postponed but countless other events that would be very telling for rankings purposes were taken off the calendar.
Players in some areas were seen and evaluated plenty of times even before National Signing Day for the 2020 class and then early in the spring for the 2021 class and beyond. But in other parts of the country, almost no kids were seen because camps hadn’t reached those areas or 7-on-7 is not as popular.
That reality provided numerous obstacles and problems that needed to be addressed in this rankings release, once it was decided that we should update the 2021 class.
As rankings roll out through the week, it will be evident that there are many significant changes, but not nearly as many as usual. You’ll see that players that we analyzed over the last few months in person and in the case of new film being released are the only ones who could be moved around since so many other top prospects were not afforded that possibility.
We ask Rivals National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell to explain how this ranking period was different from others because of the extended dead period and what to expect in the future when it comes to the 2021 class.
“This has been very odd for obvious reasons and the 2021 class will require a lot more film evaluation than in-person evals. It’s almost like the late 90s when I started and we relied on VHS tapes and travel to games and camps were very rare. I’m not used to this and we will adjust accordingly.
"Our rankings release is a limited one as we have seen plenty of prospects in some regions and very few in others. The May release is always incomplete anyhow as we have yet to see senior film or evaluate at any all-star games and we are still three releases removed from the final rankings. But I doubt there will be a 2021 ranking in August and football season could be limited in some states, so we will continue to adjust. This class will be the first time in many years where we won’t have a full and normal evaluation cycle and it will be tough. And we don’t know what the future holds for the football season, so that’s a bit alarming.”