football Edit

Five-Star Challenge: Reviewing the defensive backs

The Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge would have been held this week but, like countless events across the country, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There were a total of 33 prospects who were selected for the Five-Star Challenge before the Rivals Camp Series was halted in March.

This week, we will break down the Five-Star Challenge selections by position and look at other prospects who may have earned the coveted invitation. Today, we conclude with the defensive backs.

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RIVALS100 FIVE-STAR CHALLENGE SPOTLIGHT: QB | RB | WR/TE | OL | DL | LB

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022: Top 100

MORE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series

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EARNED AN INVITE

RCS Miami: “Collier is all upside. So while he’s still learning to play the position, his athleticism and size combine to make him the type of prospect with NFL-type tools. At RCS Miami, he covered well for a safety and showcased his usual solid ball skills.” — Rob Cassidy, Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst

Farrell’s take: I love Collier's upside. I know he has some work to do in coverage but the way he comes up and hits and is such a sure tackler makes me think he’s going to be elite.

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RCS Los Angeles: “Davies is so technically sound, so smooth in his backpedal, explodes so well toward the ball and he has such excellent vision that the four-star has proven time and again that he’s one of the best cornerbacks in this class. That was on complete display at the Rivals Camp in Los Angeles where he shut down every receiver - small slot guys and bigger outside receivers. It has never seemed to matter with the new Oregon commit: He’s just always around the ball and knocking passes away.” — Adam Gorney, Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst

Farrell’s take: Davies is a tall, angular corner who just needs to fill out to be special. He has the length and instincts to be very good at the next level. If he adds size and strength, watch out.

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RCS Los Angeles: “If a prototype could be built of what a defensive back is supposed to look like it would be Jackson, who is smooth, physical, he can run, he’s athletic and he’s going to manhandle receivers at the line of scrimmage. At the Rivals Camp in Los Angeles, Jackson showed off all his skills and more and receivers had a tough time doing anything to him. Clemson just offered and could be the team to beat. But Ohio State, USC and many others are also in the mix early on for the 2022 prospect.” — Gorney

Farrell’s take: Jackson has a chance to be one of the best defensive backs in recent years if he keeps developing. He could rank up there with former five-stars like Derek Stingley Jr. and Jalen Ramsey.

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RCS Miami: “A natural safety, Kinchens has the ball skills to go head-to-head with some wide receivers and also comes equipped with deceptive speed. He very rarely is asked to hit an all-out sprint but it’s impressive when it happens. Kinchens, who is considered a Miami lean, has been going head to head with FBS-level players for his entire high school career, so the fact that he stood out from the pack at the South Florida camp stop shocked no one.” — Cassidy

Farrell’s take: Kinchens is an experienced prospect when it comes to playing against the best and he’s very savvy and battle tested. His ball skills stand out.

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RCS Orlando: “McCall has spent time at both defensive back and wide receiver. And while he played both at the Orlando camp series stop, his college future is likely on defense. The well-coached underclassmen breaks on the ball incredibly well and his long arms allow him to close with incredible quickness. McCall is considered a slight Florida lean.” — Cassidy

Farrell’s take: McCall adjusts to the ball very well and undercuts receivers and plays a smart brand of football. He’s a big kid so he could grow into a bullet of a linebacker down the road if needed.

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RCS New Orleans: “Williams is a physical, athletic safety that will wear a number of different hats when he arrives at Alabama. At RCS New Orleans this spring, he was able to body up receivers and tight ends alike. We were anxious to plug him at different spots in the secondary and even insert him into the linebacker group at the Five-Star Challenge as one of those hybrid defenders like Isaiah Simmons.” — Sam Spiegelman Rivals.com South Central Recruiting Analyst.

Farrell’s take: Williams is a big and physical prospect who I project as a strong safety with the ability to play close to the line of scrimmage. He’s solid in coverage but really excels moving forward.

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RCS Los Angeles: “Wright is a bouncy athlete with length who can run and cover any receiver, play on an island and then he has the ranginess to go up and pick passes off or tip them away. When he fills out even more physically, Wright could be even more lethal as a defensive back. He dominated on that side of the ball and then flipped over to receiver where he looked great as well at the Rivals Camp in Los Angeles. USC, Texas and others are in the mix for Wright, who’s serious about an acting career and who will play LeBron James’ son in Space Jam 2.” — Gorney

Farrell’s take: Wright is a big-bodied prospect who projects as a corner or possibly a free safety with his athleticism and ball skills. He could also be an elite slot receiver and likely would have wanted to play both ways at the Five-Star Challenge.

OTHERS THAT COULD HAVE EARNED INVITES 

“Anderson is a do-it-all defensive back in the 2022 class and could have a future at cornerback, safety or as a nickel when he arrives at LSU. He plays quarterback for his high school team, but as a defensive back he's excellent in 1-on-1 coverage or patrolling the back end of the secondary. We were anxious to see where Anderson lined up and how he fared against more elite receivers.” — Spiegelman

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“Coffey is the top safety in Texas for the 2021 class and is well-rounded for the position. He isn't shy about delivering big-time hits and making receivers pay when they try to make grabs over the middle. He's also a natural ballhawk and can cover well in 1-on-1 situations. We were excited to see the future Longhorn hold his own against other elite receivers.” — Spiegelman

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“Daniel had a strong showing at the Atlanta camp a year ago and he has really worked to improve his coverage skills this off-season. We know he has a long frame, he has added muscle, and the biggest question this off-season was where he is as a cover guy on the back end.” — Chad Simmons Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst

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“Harris is in the mix as the top defensive back in the country for 2022 as an elite cover corner who does not shy away from being a physical force in the run game. Harris locked down multiple upperclassmen receivers at RCS Houston a year ago -- before he ever started a game for Texas 6A state champion North Shore. With more experience battling elite receivers under his belt, Harris could have made a case as the top corner overall at the Five-Star Challenge.” — Spiegelman

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“Grimes was at the Five-Star Challenge last year and really was one of the better defensive backs as an underclassman. This year he would have come in with a chip on his shoulder and a target on his back. Never afraid of competition, Grimes more than likely would have earned himself an invitation had there been a regional event for him to attend this year.” — Adam Friedman Rivals.com East Coast Recruiting Analyst

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“Guilbeau is one of the most promising 2022 defensive backs in Texas and is coming off a breakout season with Memorial. This offseason, the talented corner has improved in coverage and jamming receivers during their release. He's been better each time we've seen him and we were anxious to see how he fared against quicker, speedier receivers.” — Spiegelman

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“Johnson was also at last year's Five-Star Challenge and he really showed off why length and instincts can be such great assets for defensive backs. Maybe not the most technically sound prospect last year, this year would have given Johnson the chance to show off his development and prove that he will be ready very early in his career to compete at the college level.” — Friedman

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“The Midwest does not get a lot of respect for its defensive back talent, but Johnson is absolutely one of the best. He honed his craft working against former teammate and five-star wide receiver Jordan Johnson these last few years.” — Josh Helmholdt Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst

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“McKinstry plays all over the field in high school, but he is viewed as a defensive back on the next level. Is he is a corner all the way? Is he a free safety? Is he in the middle? Those were questions we were hoping to completely answer at an event like this.” — Simmons

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“Singletary had a nice day at the Orlando camp stop and likely would have been a second-wave invitee. His combination of length and speed is rare. And while he still needs to add muscle and polish, he’s a five-star for a reason. If there was a Five-Star Challenge this year, it’s a near lock that Singletary would be in attendance.” — Cassidy

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“Washington's junior season at Katy was shortened by a Week 1 ankle injury, but he saw his recruitment spike due to excellent skills in coverage and noticeable short-area quickness to jump routes. The Florida State commitment thrives in Katy's zone defense, but we were hoping to see more from him playing man-to-man against some of the nation's top pass-catchers.” — Spiegelman

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“The top player in Oklahoma for 2022 is Williams, who boasts insane track speed. Williams plays quarterback, receiver and defensive back for Booker T. Washington, but we believe his future is at cornerback. We were excited to see the speedy athlete line up against elite wide receivers and see the progress he's made on that side of the ball.” — Spiegelman

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“Wohler nearly snagged a rare sophomore Five-Star Challenge invitation last year after partaking in the St. Louis Rivals Camp. It is difficult for safeties to stand out in camp settings, but Wohler covers like a cornerback while still hitting like a linebacker.” — Helmholdt

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