Midwest Spotlight: Five prospects who are tough to rate
The Rivals Rankings for the 2021 and 2022 classes will be updated over the next two weeks after an offseason that offered fewer opportunities for evaluations than any previous year. Questions we hoped to get answered about many top players were left largely unanswered. Here are five prospects from the Midwest who were among those most difficult to rate in the 2021 and 2022 classes.
CLASS OF 2022: Top 100
Notre Dame is taking three-star Joe Alt as an offensive tackle prospect, but his experience thus far in high school has primarily been at tight end. We initially rated Alt as a tight end because he is difficult to project to tackle without more information. Alt’s offer list suggests that, by in large, college coaches had difficulty projecting him as well, with several strong regional offers but a total offer list that numbers in the single digits.
As a junior, Alt played at 230 pounds and showed decent foot speed as it would translate to offensive tackle. How much athleticism and foot speed does he lose when he adds the 70-plus pounds he needs to play tackle at Notre Dame, though? There are a lot of questions still to answer to accurately project Alt to tackle, and unfortunately the state of Minnesota will not be playing high school football this fall.
Vanderbilt landed a commitment from Ohio three-star Antoine Campbell Jr. last week, and plans to use him as an outside linebacker in their 4-3 defense. Campbell is rated as a tight end on Rivals, and also played defensive end at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds during his junior season.
Usually prospects who are that size as juniors in high school are not projected to move back in the defense, and considering how Campbell will play in space after having his hand in the ground all last season is a puzzle. We currently rate Campbell as a tight end and he showed outstanding ball skills on offense as a junior. It is just more difficult, though, to project a player moving from the defensive line to linebacker, than it is moving from linebacker to defensive line.
Kiyaunta Goodwin is a prospect we have been watching and known about since middle school. He showed up to watch the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta back in 2018 and was one of the biggest people in the building, even though he had only just finished the eighth grade. Goodwin has now completed his sophomore year of high school and is one of the biggest prospects in the 2022 class.
As a sophomore Goodwin played at over 400 pounds, but he has been on a crash diet this off-season and reportedly lost nearly 100 pounds. That should definitely aid his mobility and stamina this season, but to what degrees? The upside here may be top 100 level, but Goodwin will have to stay mindful about his weight throughout his career.
New Rutgers commit Shawn Munnerlyn was a prospect I cited last week as needing a senior season, and selfishly I hope he gets one so we can get a better feel for how he might project to the tight end position, where the Scarlet Knights plan to play him. At 6-foot-5, Munnerlyn is right in line height-wise for the position, but he was a very narrow 200 pounds as a junior. Will he be able to maintain his movement skills with the added weight necessary to play tight end?
The good news here is that even if tight end does not work out, Munnerlyn could still project to a number of other positions on both offense and defense. The plan, though, is to bring him in at tight end and we just do not have a good feel for how that plan will play out right now.
In several of these cases, we have players who are projected to play positions they have not yet played in high school. That is also the case with Ziegler, who has seen his offer list take off over the last few months. As a sophomore Ziegler played safety and wide receiver. He has shown the speed and athleticism to stay at those positions, but already measuring 6-foot-4 and comfortably over 200 pounds, most schools are projecting him to move down to linebacker or possibly even defensive end in college depending on future growth.
When you add up all his attributes, its easy to see why Ziegler is generating so much college interest. Now we just want to see how the pieces come together on the field in a role more closely related to what he will play in college.