football Edit

Hit Or Miss: Did Rivals rank these standouts correctly in HS?

Jayden Daniels
Jayden Daniels (AP)

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

Did we get it right or did we get it wrong? Each week during the college football season we will pick five players who had outstanding weeks and look at their career so far and determine if our ranking was a hit or a miss. Here are this week’s stars.


Jayden Daniels, Arizona State


The skinny: Daniels took his time with his process, especially as a top-rated quarterback, with official visits to Arizona State, California, UCLA and Utah before giving a commitment to the Sun Devils in mid-December. Starting from day one, Daniels has been one of the top true freshmen in the country this fall. He showcased all of his abilities during Arizona State’s huge victory over Oregon by completing 22 of 32 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns.

Farrell's take: HIT. We had Daniels as a four-star quarterback, ranked him as the No. 2 dual threat quarterback in the country and had him in our national Top 60. And he's living up to all that hype right now as a true freshman. Daniels, if he continues to play at this level, could end up showing us that he should have been ranked higher and as a five-star, but so far we've nailed this one. I liked him a lot at the Under Armour Game week. He was fluid, athletic and nothing rattled him.


Nico Collins, Michigan

The skinny: Collins was considered a heavy Michigan lean for quite some time, but a late push by Georgia seemed to open everything back up. However, when it was time to put pen to paper he signed with the Wolverines on National Signing Day.

Over the last two seasons, Collins has been one of Michigan’s more consistent and reliable threats in the passing game. But on Saturday he showcased the explosive side of his game with six receptions for 165 yards and three touchdowns during the Wolverine’s victory over Indiana.

Farrell's take: HIT. Collins was ranked outside of our Rivals100 but was a high four-star and Rivals250 prospect with good size and speed as well as excellent hands. He's been a consistent threat for Michigan and it appears he could be ready to break out next season if he's smart enough to return. This past weekend he showed exactly how dominant he can be.


Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

The skinny: Bateman’s process started off rather slowly, but he then committed to Minnesota after an unofficial visit to campus during the summer leading up to his senior season. After a huge senior season, additional offers rolled in from several SEC programs, like Georgia, Texas A&M, Tennessee and South Carolina. However, the Gophers’ staff worked overtime to keep him committed.

Bateman has been a huge part of Minnesota’s magical season and continued his high level of play on Saturday with seven receptions for 78 yards and three touchdowns in the Gophers’ victory over Northwestern.

Farrell's take: HIT. Minnesota doesn't land many four-star prospects, but Bateman was one of them and he's living up to that hype. A case could be made that he wasn't ranked high enough because he wasn't in our Rivals250, but time will tell on that. Right now the explosive wide receiver with good size we saw is perfectly living up to his ranking.


JaCoby Stevens, LSU

The skinny: Stevens initially committed to LSU but then re-opened his process to take a closer look at a few other programs. While Georgia and Alabama were considered at the end, he decided to return to the Tigers. Stevens is enjoying his best collegiate season to date this fall, which continued Saturday during an easy victory over Arkansas. Totaling eight tackles, four tackles for a loss and three sacks, he has become one of the unquestioned leaders on LSU’s defensive unit.

Farrell's take: HIT. Stevens was a five-star athlete coming out of high school who could have played wide receiver or safety with ease. You could make the argument that he's the best defensive player on a loaded LSU football team and his draft stock is way up. After being overshadowed initially by Grant Delpit and then freshman Derek Stingley Jr., Stevens is now garnering all the attention he deserves. The question mark: What position does he play at the next level? That's a good problem for NFL teams to figure out.


Rayshard Ashby, Virginia Tech

The skinny: Ashby committed to Virginia Tech over Maryland, West Virginia and Syracuse in late March. After redshirting in 2017, Ashby quietly put together a dominant season in 2018 with 105 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.

On Saturday, during a shutout victory over Pittsburgh, he continued to prove that he is one of the top linebackers in the ACC with seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

Farrell's take: MISS. This is a close one because Ashby was ranked as a high three-star and wasn't tall or long coming out of high school but based on his first two years at Virginia Tech, he's playing more like a four-star. He's a tackling machine and always in the backfield and his anticipation, which we liked out of high school, is off the charts.