Comparing 2021 prospects to past stars: Nos. 31-40
The class of 2021 player rankings were recently released and it got us to thinking about who some of these high school stars remind us of. We break them down 10 at a time this week.
Comparing 2021 prospects to past stars: Nos. 41-50
No. 40 - DT Payton Page
Overview: The second-best prospect from the state of North Carolina who committed to Clemson in late July, Page is a massive human being in the middle of the defensive line who plays with power and just consumes so much space in the middle. The high four-star deals with double teams all the time and still just sheds offensive linemen, can track down people in the backfield and even when he’s being held, Page can get an arm on somebody and toss them to the ground.
Farrell’s take: Pipkins never panned out mainly due to injuries but he was a massive and talented defensive tackle with athleticism just like Page. Here’s hoping Page can stay healthy and have the career Pipkins should have had.
No. 39 - APB Will Shipley
Overview: Shipley is the top-rated prospect from North Carolina and he’s also committed to Clemson, making that decision in May as the Tigers beat out Notre Dame. Maybe it’s unfair to call Shipley a Christian McCaffrey clone but they have similar playing styles, Shipley is super fast, elusive and fun to watch with the ball in his hands. He can be a straight running back when needed, he catches the ball out of the backfield and he can flex out, too. In Clemson’s offense, Shipley should be stellar.
Farrell’s take: Everyone wants to compare Shipley to McCaffrey and that’s fine but he reminds me more of McCoy as a runner with his jump cut ability and great feet.
No. 38 - ILB Terrence Lewis
Overview: A former Florida commit who has been pledged to Tennessee since late April, Lewis had more than 100 tackles and 11 sacks in his junior season as he flies around the field and is constantly making plays. He has elite speed for a linebacker and almost looks like a big safety flying down, blitzing and getting into the backfield to make plays. Lewis always plays hard, always wants to knock people around and he has the physical ability to do it.
Farrell’s take: Gay was a long, lean and athletic linebacker who filled out slowly over time and became an NFL second-rounder. I see a lot of his game in Lewis.
No. 37 - ILB Barrett Carter
Overview: Listed as an inside linebacker, Carter does a lot of work coming off the edge, tracking down plays stretched to the outside and he’s a constant threat to light up somebody in the backfield. The Clemson commit has a great mix of length, athleticism, power and playmaking ability. He’s great at the line of scrimmage, in the backfield and even out in coverage.
Farrell’s take: This one is going back a ways but Bowman and Carter are very similar players. They aren’t the tallest or longest but they take the right angles, pick the right lane and tackle with tremendous reliability.
No. 36 - DT Leonard Taylor
Overview: Across the industry there’s some disagreement on just how high Taylor should be in the national rankings as the Miami commit settles at No. 36 in the new Rivals250 rankings. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound four-star prospect is lean for his size, he’s a gap-shooting defensive tackle who has tremendous length, knocks down passes often and has the speed to track down plays stretched to the outside. Some defensive tackles just take up space in the middle; that’s not Taylor. He’s active, aggressive and has superstar potential for the Hurricanes.
Farrell’s take: Watkins was a very athletic tackle overshadowed by Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence but still had a great career and was a fourth-rounder and is in the NFL. Taylor reminds me of him physically and by the way he plays.
No. 35 - CB Jakailin Johnson
Overview: An Ohio State commit since March, Johnson can play press coverage, off coverage, he’s aggressive trying to rip the ball out after a rare catch, he competes hard for 50-50 balls and he has the hands of a receiver so if he can pick off a pass, he will. What Johnson also does really well is diagnose a play to leave his receiver or shed a block and then come up to make a tackle on a running quarterback or running back who got to the edge.
Farrell’s take: Johnson is smooth and instinctual and can play the ball in the air well and Fulton was the same way in high school and college. Neither look huge but are actually big corners.
No. 34 - ATH Billy Bowman
Overview: The first five clips of Bowman’s junior season highlight tape are of him returning kicks for touchdowns, which perfectly show off his speed, athletic ability, vision and playmaking skills. As a defensive back, the Texas commit loves to catch up to players, lower the shoulder and make big hits. As a receiver, the high four-star has make-you-miss ability and he can take it to the end zone on every touch. If used correctly in Austin, Bowman could help the Longhorns in a variety of ways.
Farrell’s take: Jackson was a bit more dynamic but the way Bowman can play offense or defense and impact on the return game is similar. He’s not as fast, but he’s thicker and more physical at the same stage.
No. 33 - DT Damon Payne
Overview: Alabama was considered the long-time favorite for Payne and the Crimson Tide landed his commitment this summer. The high four-star has really active and aggressive hands, he has great athletic ability up the middle and a non-stop motor to pursue the ball. Payne does an excellent job shedding blockers with some quick footwork and he can even line up at defensive end to make a big impact.
Farrell’s take: Payne is an athletic kid who can make plays in the backfield and has excellent feet. Like Edwards, he could play end if needed.
No. 32 - S Sage Ryan
Overview: LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Baylor and Florida State are the front-runners for Ryan, who wants to take visits when that becomes possible and then make a commitment instead of waiting longer in the recruiting process. The second-best prospect in the state of Louisiana, Ryan has elite speed and packs a punch even though he’s not a big safety. At receiver, he’s a major playmaker and can take it to the house every time he touches the ball.
Farrell’s take: McKinney is a great athlete who can do it all - defend the run, make plays in the passing game and run things down — and Ryan is similar. They just exude an effortless athleticism.
No. 31 - OT Landon Tengwall
Overview: A Penn State commit who picked the Nittany Lions over Notre Dame and others in late March, Tengwall is all of 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds - and moves surprisingly well at that size. The high four-star prospect is physical, he has no problem pulling to the other side of the offensive line on run plays, he can get out on screen passes to block downfield and he’s always looking for someone to hit.
Farrell’s take: Teller was recruited as a defensive lineman out of high school but ended up as an elite offensive lineman. Tengwall reminds me of him as a muscled up lineman who plays with aggression and abandon.