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Ask Farrell: Who will be next unheralded 3-star DE to emerge?

Kris Jenkins Jr.
Kris Jenkins Jr. (Nick Lucero/

One of the arguments from the “stars don’t matter” crowd is pointing to the ranking of JJ Watt as a two-star prospect.

That might be fair criticism, but Watt also did not have many major offers and was definitely an unheralded prospect coming out of Pewaukee, Wisc., where the Badgers did not even heavily recruit him.

Like every position, over the years, there have been hits and misses along the way at defensive end, but usually more hits as Rivals nailed Jadeveon Clowney, nailed Chase Young as he is arguably the top player in this NFL Draft class and on many others.

But even in this draft class there were three-star players like Florida’s Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga and Boise State’s Curtis Weaver who definitely out played their ranking, had big college careers and could be early NFL Draft picks.

In the 2020 class, strongside defensive ends Myles Murphy (Clemson) and Jordan Burch, who signed with South Carolina after flirting with LSU late, along with five-star Alabama signee William Anderson, lead the way.

There are plenty of four-star prospects that could make an argument for five-star status as well as Texas A&M’s Donell Harris and Washington’s Sav’ell Smalls had that elite ranking at one time in the cycle and North Carolina’s Desmond Evans and Alabama’s Quandarrius Robinson are no slouches, either.

But as history has shown, there will be three-stars at defensive end who outplay their ranking and make us look foolish.

Leading the way at strong-side defensive end among the three-stars are South Carolina’s Tonka Hemingway, Michigan’s Kris Jenkins, Jr., Oklahoma’s Noah Arinze, Arkansas State’s Corbet Mims and Iowa’s Logan Jones.

At weak-side defensive end, Colorado’s Jason Harris, TCU’s Khari Coleman, Georgia Tech’s Jared Ivey, Virginia’s Jonathan Horton and NC State’s Devon Betty are the five top three-stars.



We ask Rivals National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell to pinpoint some three-star defensive ends who could outplay their ranking in the coming years and what he likes about each one.

“I’m going to start with Kris Jenkins Jr, at Michigan because he plays with a ton of effort and he’s a strong kid. I think as he gets thicker and even stronger he’s going to be a handful for Big Ten offensive tackles to handle. He also has excellent bloodlines as his dad was one of the most athletic big men you’ll see and I think that will rub off.

"Jason Harris at Colorado stands out as well if he can add some weight and strength because you can’t teach that length and Devon Betty has a chance to be really good at NC State and perhaps the next under recruited defensive end to come from the Wolfpack.”