Hit or Miss: How we ranked these recent CFB stars in HS
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.
IAN BOOK, NOTRE DAME
The skinny: Book initially committed to Washington State during the spring after his junior season. However, when Notre Dame hired Mike Sanford, who Book had established a strong relationship with during his time at Boise State, everything began to change. After a couple of months of back and forth, Book officially flipped his commitment to the Irish in August.
Book has firmly established himself as the unquestioned leader of the Notre Dame offense this fall. During a shutout victory at home against Bowling Green, Book tore the Falcons apart while completing 16 of 20 passes for 261 yards and five touchdowns.
Farrell’s take: MISS. Is he more than a three-star talent? That has yet to be determined, but as a quarterback who beat out a four-star in Brandon Wimbush and has become the clear leader at Notre Dame, you have to say his ranking was a bit low. This is as close to a push as there is, however.
KWITY PAYE, MICHIGAN
The skinny: Paye initially committed to Boston College at the end of his junior season, but due to some uncertainty with the Eagles’ coaching staff and his growing bond with the Michigan staff, he flipped to the Wolverines during his senior season.
Paye has flashed star potential during his time in Ann Arbor, but now that level of performance is becoming more consistent. On Saturday, during a hard-fought victory over Iowa, Paye continued his impressive play with four tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Farrell’s take: HIT. I still like this ranking because he was a high-three star out of Rhode Island who wasn’t overly big or long but had a great motor and desire. That’s what we see now as he has become a leader on the Michigan defense.
JORDYN BROOKS, TEXAS TECH
The skinny: Brooks committed to Texas Tech during the summer leading up to his junior season, but then took an official visit to Colorado in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day. However, an official visit to Lubbock on the final weekend solidified his status with the Red Raiders. Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Arkansas also pursued Brooks.
Ever since an extremely impressive true freshman season, Brooks has continued to produce for the Red Raiders. On Saturday, during a huge win at home against Oklahoma State, Brooks may have had his best collegiate game to date, with 19 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks and one forced fumble.
Farrell’s take: MISS. He’s played better than his 5.6 three-star ranking and has become one of the better players in the Big 12. He was never that long or fast out of high school but he was powerful, aggressive and he loved to hit. Now he’s added some additional athleticism to the mix.
ISAIAH HODGINS, OREGON STATE
The skinny: Hodgins initially committed to Washington State, but after reopening his recruitment he began to focus on Oregon State, Oregon and Nebraska. He took official visits to each of the three during his senior season before committing to the Beavers in November. Hodgins has quietly put together an impressive collegiate career in Corvallis. Now in the midst of his best season, he continued his impressive play on Saturday night during a win at UCLA with 10 receptions for 123 yards and three touchdowns.
Farrell’s take: HIT. Oregon State doesn’t get many four-stars and the Beavers don’t beat out big programs for many recruits, but Hodgins is the exception. We had him as a Rivals250 prospect and loved his size and ability to adjust to the ball out of high school. He’s living up to his ranking even if many aren’t noticing.
DERRICK BROWN, AUBURN
Over the last two seasons with the Tigers, Brown has firmly established himself as one of the top interior defensive linemen in the country. He also surprised many with his decision to forego the NFL Draft after totaling 105 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks over the last two seasons. That decision may actually be helping Brown’s draft stock, as his performance has continued to improve.
On Saturday, despite Auburn suffering its first loss at Florida, Brown excelled with four tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Farrell’s take: HIT. The best defensive tackle in college football should have been a five-star out of high school, and that’s the case with Brown, who looked faster than some running backs on one of his fumble recoveries against Florida. He not only stuffs the middle, but he’s athletic enough to pursue and work down the line and track moving targets as a pass rusher.