Hit or Miss? How we ranked these recent CFB stars in HS
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.
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
Chase Young - Ohio State
The skinny: In the summer before his senior season and shortly after attending the Buckeyes’ Friday Night Lights camp, Young committed to Ohio State. Maryland was also considered, but the Buckeyes were always thought to be the favorite.
Coming off of a huge sophomore season, many thought that Young had the potential to be one of the top defensive players in the country this fall. He has done more than that, becoming one of the top overall players this season for the Buckeyes. On Saturday, in a dominating performance against Wisconsin, he totaled six tackles, five tackles for loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles.
Farrell’s take: HIT. Young is the best player in college football, according to many, and clearly the best defensive player in the nation. So to have him as a five-star is certainly a hit, although some could say he should have been closer to No .1 in his class in hindsight. But No. 8 overall isn’t too shabby. We loved his length, motor and athleticism coming out.
CJ Verdell - Oregon
The skinny: Verdell committed to Oregon during the spring after his junior season, but then took official visits to Nebraska and Utah in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day. Despite these visits, in the end he decided to stick with the Ducks. After redshirting in 2017, Verdell quietly put together a 1,000-yard rushing season last fall. He has taken his game to a higher level in 2019, with his best performance of the season coming on Saturday night against Washington State as he finished with 257 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries, plus 56 yards on four receptions. The NFL is beginning to take a longer look at Verdell and his talents.
Farrell’s take: MISS. He’s been much better than a low three-star, that’s for sure, and was clearly under-ranked and under-recruited. Verdell was short and stocky coming out of high school and hard to tackle, but we worried about his burst at the next level.
Kellen Mond - Texas A&M
Mond has impressed since his arrival on campus in 2017. His overall performance this fall has been solid, but many expected his play to equal his outstanding display on Saturday during a big win over Mississippi State. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns, plus ran for 76 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. Aggies fans hope that he will continue this standard for the remainder of 2019.
Farrell’s take: MISS. I was the one who pushed for Mond to be a five-star because I thought I saw some similarities to DeShaun Watson there. However, while Mond has been solid overall he hasn’t reach five-star level or come close. He’s had his good games against top competition, but he’s mostly stuffing the stat book against the weak. I worried about his accuracy overall but felt that would develop in college. It has - but not enough.
Skylar Thompson - Kansas State
The skinny: With his recruiting process just beginning to blow up, Thompson committed to Kansas State approximately a week after receiving an offer from the Wildcats during the spring after his junior season. After splitting time with Alex Delton last fall, the starting job was all Thompson’s heading into the 2019 season.
While the Wildcats entered Saturday’s home game against Oklahoma at 4-2, not many thought thought they had a chance to pull off the upset. However, due to Thompson’s steady play Kansas State pulled off the unexpected. Completing 18 of 28 passes for 213 yards, and then rushing for 39 yards and four touchdowns, Thompson has the Wildcats at 5-2 in coach Chris Klieman’s first season in Manhattan.
Farrell’s take: HIT. I liked Thompson a lot out of high school and as a Rivals250 prospect we expected him to be a very good starter at the next level and a guy who would get NFL looks. The jury is out on the NFL but he’s put together a nice career at Kansas State. We always liked his ability to extend the play and run while being accurate on the move.
The skinny: Pittman initially was an early commitment to UCLA, but after re-opening his process, it was Oregon that was considered the favorite. However, an unofficial visit to USC quickly changed everything and resulted in his commitment to the Trojans on the Fourth of July.
While the Trojans have had their fair share of struggles on the field over the last couple of seasons, Pittman has established himself as a consistent contributor. This continued on Friday night during a victory over Colorado when he finished with seven receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
Farrell’s take: MISS. Pittman has had a nice career at USC and just had a huge game but he hasn’t quite lived up to Top 50 player status just yet. He’s having a very good year and this could propel him to big things in the NFL, so time will tell, but right now I’d say we overshot a bit. He was dynamic in high school and has shown flashes of that but not enough consistency.