football Edit

Hit or miss? How we ranked these recent CFB stars in HS

Antoine Winfield Jr.
Antoine Winfield Jr. (AP)

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 to determine if our ranking was a hit or a miss. Here are this week’s stars.

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

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1. Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota


The skinny: Already very familiar with the area since his father, Antoine Winfield, played for the Minnesota Vikings, Winfield Jr. took a four-day unofficial visit during the summer to Minneapolis and then sealed the deal with an official visit in December. He committed to the Gophers over offers from Purdue, Missouri, Northwestern, Houston, SMU and Colorado State.

In the program’s biggest game in years, Winfield performed at his best with 11 tackles and two interceptions during the victory over previously undefeated Penn State.

Farrell's take: MISS. We blew this one and I'm not sure how. Winfield Jr. is the son of a college great and top NFL player and the bloodlines alone should have made us think he was a three-star, right? But no, we had him as a high two-star and Minnesota has turned him into a college football star. This is a big miss and Winfield has proven us very wrong.



2. Najee Harris, Alabama

The skinny: Initially a Michigan commitment, Harris eventually re-opened his process and then committed to Alabama over Kentucky and Ohio State in January, a few weeks prior to National Signing Day.

While the passing attacks received much of the publicity heading into the Alabama-LSU game, both lead running backs also excelled. For the Tide, Harris excelled in all aspects of the game, despite the loss. Finishing with 146 yards and one touchdown on the ground, plus 44 yards and one touchdown through the air, he was a consistent threat throughout the game.

Farrell's take: MISS. Harris was the No. 1 player in the country, so anything short of a Heisman or an amazing career at Alabama would make him a miss and that's what he is. That doesn't mean he lacks talent, but he hasn't put it all together in a season. I still think he's going to be a high draft pick after he tests and will have a very good NFL career. He was awesome against LSU and should have been used more early in the game. That became clear as he dominated the second half.



3. Brock Purdy, Iowa State

The skinny: Purdy took official visits to Iowa State, Texas A&M, Alabama, UCF and Boise State before trimming his list down to the Cyclones and Aggies. Finally, he committed to Iowa State on National Signing Day.

Since grabbing the starting job in October of the 2018 season in Ames, Purdy has entrenched himself as a team leader. And he continued this on Saturday during a hard-fought loss to Oklahoma by passing for 282 yards and five touchdowns, plus rushing for 55 yards and another touchdown.

Farrell's take: MISS. As a low three-star, Purdy has already surpassed many expectations. He became an early starter for Iowa State and is now the clear team leader putting up solid numbers. His showing against Oklahoma was an excellent example of his maturity in the pocket and ability to extend the play with his legs. Purdy will be on the NFL radar very soon and will be one of those mid-round picks that surprises some people. He should have been higher ranked.



4. K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU

The skinny: Chaisson took official visits to LSU, Texas, Oregon, Colorado and Florida in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day before committing to the Tigers.

Coming off an ACL injury that limited him to only one game in 2018, Chaisson enjoyed his best game of the 2019 season in the biggest game of the season. While neither defense shined during the Tigers' victory over Alabama, Chaisson showcased all of his talents with 10 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss.

Farrell's take: HIT. Chaisson was just outside our Rivals100 and we expected him to be an elite pass rusher at the college level. He's become just that. And on the biggest stage he had a very good game and helped the LSU defense keep a potent Alabama offense in check -- at least a little bit. He was a skinny edge rusher who reminded us of Arden Key out of high school and that's the role he's taken on at LSU.



5. James Blackman, Florida State

The skinny: Louisville and West Virginia were considered early favorites for Blackman, but after earning an offer from Florida State during a summer camp, that quickly changed everything. Less than a month later he committed to the Seminoles.

This has been a tumultuous season in Tallahassee, which included coach Willie Taggart’s firing after the Miami game last weekend. After seeing split duty with Alex Hornibrook through much of the season, interim coach Odell Haggins tagged Blackman with the starting job leading up to Saturday’s game against Boston College. He responded with 346 yards and two touchdowns through the air, in what was a nice bounceback victory for the Seminoles.

Farrell's take: MISS. We overshot on this one. Blackman had a nice game against Boston College this weekend but he's been way too up and down in his career to live up to that Rivals250 and four-star status we gave him. FSU has been in shambles for a couple of years now and the quarterback play has been a big part of it. Blackman has played like a low three-star, but on Saturday he was excellent.