There is still another Midwest stop on the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp presented by adidas tour this spring, but before we head to St. Louis, here is an early look at the prospects in the region whose stock is on the move.
The offers have been steadily coming in this spring for Brents, but the floodgates could open soon, especially knowing how enamored college coaches are with height at the cornerback position. I have often been a critic of that mindset because most tall corners are too stiff to effectively flip their hips and run with receivers. That is not an issue for Brents, though, even though he measured over 6-foot-2 at this past weekend’s Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Columbus. And, as long as you have the top-end speed and the fluidity to play cornerback, then height is certainly a benefit. Brents has all those attributes and also showed great instincts en route to earning Defensive Back MVP honors in Columbus.
We will get another chance to see Ford this weekend when he takes part in the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in St. Louis, but his stock is already on the rise heading into the post-spring update of the Rivals recruiting rankings. Listed at 6-foot-7 and 247 pounds, Ford is a dynamic athlete from the tight end position, capable of splitting out and creating mismatches with defensive backs because of his size and linebackers because of his speed. Also impressive is the competitive fire in Ford. He committed to Arkansas and ended his recruitment in March, but has continued to go up and test himself against the best in his region this spring.
Coming off junior film evaluation, we were surprised Kline only had two offers from Power Five schools – Iowa State and Syracuse – and just six offers total. That was why we were interested to see him in person at this past weekend’s Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Columbus, to determine if there was anything we were missing. After what turned out to be an MVP performance from Kline, the verdict is no, we're not missing something here. Measuring 6-foot-3 and 222 pounds, Kline was aggressive, rangy, more than competent in space and just plain impressive. Where are the weaknesses? It’s hard to find any.
Already ranked in the Rivals250, there is not much room for Smith to move up, but our evaluations of him this spring have increased his stock in our eyes. Watching the Cleveland-area native this past weekend, you would not guess that Smith is coming off just his first season of high school football. He is not behind the curve from a developmental standpoint at all, and yet he obviously has plenty of room above him before he hits his ceiling. The former basketball player is athletically gifted, but is also quite obviously coachable and plays with the right amount of intensity.
When we first rated Tatum as a high three-star prospect, he had zero offers. That first offer would not come in until mid-October, and then the floodgates opened. We first saw Tatum live at the Kansas City Rivals Camp last year, and at that time he was talented but needed skill refinement. Well, after junior film and another Rivals Camp performance this spring, we can report that skill refinement is coming along nicely. The Texas commit was so dominant he made it look too easy at times. He has the frame to punch with offensive linemen, but his speed rush is still his best trait, which is impressive at 270 pounds.
We loved Daniel from the early stages of his prep career because he was very technically proficient, had good size for the position and showed top-end speed and agility skills. Since last offseason, though, Daniel looks to be out-growing the cornerback position and that has affected his movement skills. He does not look as quick in his change of direction or his breaks on the football as he did at this time last year. We still like Daniel as a Power Five caliber defensive back, but not as a top-35 cornerback in the class, as he is rated now.
When you look at the raw facts on Taylor, they are very impressive. We measured him at 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds this past weekend. He played quarterback and defensive end as a junior and could project to either side of the football in college. He moves well for his size and has a very athletic football frame. The concern is whether Taylor has the determination to reach his potential. He took just one rep at Sunday’s Rivals 3 Stripe Camp, and even going back to seeing his first-round playoff game last fall, the fire to be a great football player seems to be lacking.