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football Edit

Hit or Miss: How we ranked these recent CFB stars out of HS

Henry Ruggs
Henry Ruggs (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.

MORE: Flip-flopping on Jim Harbaugh again

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

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1. JA'MARR CHASE, LSU

The skinny: There was plenty of drama during Chase’s recruiting process, which included commitments to Kansas and Florida, and near commitments to TCU and Auburn, before he finally committed and signed with the in-state Tigers on National Signing Day. After a promising, yet somewhat uneventful, true freshman season in Baton Rouge, Chase has become the big play receiver many expected this fall. He enjoyed a huge game on Saturday at Vanderbilt with 10 receptions for 229 yards and four touchdowns.

Farrell’s take: HIT. OK, here comes the guy we liked so much out of high school. A tall, rangy and skinny wide receiver with great ball skills and speed, Chase was ranked in the national top 75 for a reason and we are starting to see why. With this new passing game at LSU, he should continue to emerge and live up to that ranking even though it’s still early.

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2. HENRY RUGGS, ALABAMA

The skinny: Ruggs took January official visits to Alabama, Florida State and Penn State before committing to the Tide on National Signing Day. This came down to the Tide and Seminoles until the very end. Part of a loaded receiving corps in Tuscaloosa, Ruggs began to hit his stride last season with 46 receptions and 11 touchdowns. He continued his quick start to the 2019 season with four receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns against Southern Miss.

Farrell’s take: HIT. Ruggs would be putting up bigger numbers if he wasn’t part of the best wide receiver group in the country, but he’s still killing it. As a national top 125 player coming out of high school, size was the only question as he was clearly explosive with good hands. His career at Alabama is becoming a very solid one and he’s one of the more dangerous receivers in the SEC.

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*****

3. JONATHAN TAYLOR, WISCONSIN

The skinny: Taylor initially committed to Rutgers, but then flipped to Wisconsin after an official visit to Madison. Since his arrival at Wisconsin, Taylor has made an immediate impact. Even more was expected from him during his junior season and once again he has produced. That continued Saturday against Michigan when he rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns, despite missing the second quarter with an injury.

Farrell’s take: MISS. I’m going to be hard on ourselves here because as a four-star and Rivals250 prospect, it’s not like we overlooked Taylor. However, the best running back in college football and a potential NCAA record-setter should have been ranked higher. We liked his size and feet but didn’t know he would be so athletic and quick at the next level.

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*****

DEMETRIC FELTON, UCLA

The skinny: During an impressive spring that saw his recruiting process gradually explode, Felton committed to the Bruins in late April. It was an unofficial visit to campus with his parents that put UCLA over the top. Felton has done a little bit of everything for the Bruins since his arrival on campus. That was in full display on Saturday night during UCLA’s wild and epic victory over Washington State that included two touchdowns receiving and a 100-kickoff return for a touchdown.

Farrell’s take: HIT. Felton was a high three-star prospect and the No. 23 athlete in the nation back in 2016 and he’s played to that level. He had a great weekend and he’s been important for UCLA during his career, but you can’t really say he’s outperformed his ranking consistently.

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*****

JUSTIN FIELDS, OHIO STATE

The skinny: Justin Fields initially committed to Penn State, but then re-opened his process and committed to Georgia. He also considered Florida, Texas A&M and Florida State before committing to the Bulldogs.

After seeing minimal action in 12 games as a true freshman in Athens, Fields decided to transfer to Ohio State instead of again backing up Jake Fromm. Plenty was expected from Fields in Columbus this season and he has yet to disappoint. Against Miami (Ohio) on Saturday he totaled 223 yards and four touchdowns through the air, plus 36 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Most impressive was that all six touchdowns occurred in the second quarter.

Farrell’s take: HIT. Okay I know it’s early in his career and he didn’t light it up at Georgia but so far at Ohio State he looks like a future Heisman winner. I know the Buckeyes haven’t played a ton of competition yet, but this kid is going to live up to that No. 2 overall ranking coming out of high school and could join Trevor Lawrence as a first-rounder down the line.

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