football Edit

Mind of Mike: Class of 2019 Rivals100 updated

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

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Derek Stingley Jr. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The Mind of Mike is a scary place and, with a new Rivals100 release, it is overflowing with random thoughts.

RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

Monday: Top 10 revealed

Tuesday: Rivals100 released | Breaking down new five-stars

Wednesday: Rivals250 released

Thursday: Position rankings released

... Overall, at least at the top, the 2019 class is one of the weaker in recent memory, which is the main reason we have the fewest five-stars (30) since 2011. That being said, there are plenty of guys who will a huge impact on college football.

... The debate at No. 1 overall wasn’t much of a debate as everyone agreed Derek Stingley Jr. should be our top guy. He’s a rare cornerback prospect with size, strength, ball skills and amazing instincts and we could see him eventually being a top five guy in the NFL Draft if he develops. He’s not a no-brainer like Jadeveon Clowney and Trevor Lawrence were in recent recruiting cycles, but he still made it through the last few updates despite a push from prospects such as Nolan Smith and Trey Sanders.

... Sanders ran away with the No. 1 running back title, but the wide receiver debate was an intense one. When you have a prospect like Theo Wease outside the national top 10, you know that the wide out position is loaded. Jadon Haselwood ended up at No. 1 with George Pickens coming in at No. 2 and Wease at No. 3. To me, the wide receiver position was the deepest of this class.

... Spencer Rattler finished as the No. 1 quarterback overall ahead of Bo Nix, mainly because of his ability to throw on the run and how dangerous he is with his feet. Both players have great upside, but Rattler’s game translates to the college game a little better.

... Here’s my breakdown of the new five-stars:

DeMarvin Leal – Leal is a massive defensive end who could end up playing outside or inside in college and be a rare pass rusher at his size. He has excellent strength, a quick first step and he uses his hands well. He’s still a bit raw, but his ceiling is very high.

Christopher Hinton – Hinton was once considered a better offensive line prospect but proved in San Antonio at the All-American Bowl that he’s an elite defensive lineman. Like Leal, he could play end or tackle in college and he showed excellent power and agility. His improved aggressiveness is a great sign for his college career.

Charles Cross – Cross is very athletic with great feet and has an excellent frame to build on. You could easily see him as a 315-pound left tackle in a few years who will have NFL scouts drooling. It’s hard to be as athletic as Cross is at his size.

Marcel Brooks – Brooks is just starting to reach his potential as a sideline-to-sideline linebacker and has a tremendous motor. He has shown improving instincts, he’s a sure tackler and he can cover in space. He should be a star linebacker at the next level as he continues to improve.

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Graham Mertz (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

... And here’s a breakdown of those that lost their fifth star:

Nakobe Dean – Dean has been compared to Roquan Smith but he is not nearly as tall or long as Smith was and that’s a major concern. He’s a sure tackler and very physical, but you have to worry about taking on big blockers who are reaching the second level and disrupting passing lanes at his size. This judgment on his lack of size could come back to bite us, but projecting him as a first-rounder down the line and a surefire college star who plays like a five-star is tough.

Devyn Ford – Ford does a lot of things very well but hasn’t progressed as much as we’d like from his junior to senior season. He has solid size but hasn’t gotten much bigger or stronger over the last year and will have to work hard to gain the power to break tackles consistently. We moved him to all-purpose back because he catches the ball so well, but we’re not sure he can be that five-star workhorse we saw as a junior.

... Speaking of Ford, there was quite a debate between the Virginia running back and fellow Penn State signee Noah Cain as to who was more impressive at Under Armour. They ended up ranked very close together and one of them should emerge as the star at Penn State but right now it’s unclear which one. Or perhaps the Nittany Lions will begin to emerge as a team that features two elite backs like Georgia has in recent years. It will be interesting to track Ford and Cain over the next few years.

... Safety Jordan Battle made a big jump into the Rivals100 after a great week at Under Armour. He has great size and range and was around the ball all week. He was actually in the discussion for a fifth star at one point. At No. 37 in the country he’s ranked quite high.

... Defensive end Drake Jackson jumped 110 spots into the Rivals100 after his performance at the All-American Bowl. He’ll be one of the top rush ends in the Pac-12 sooner than later.

... Graham Mertz and Ryan Hilinski both moved up more than 20 spots after excellent all-star performances and each has a chance to be very good at the next level. Wisconsin should have the best passing quarterback they’ve had in years and Hilinski could put up big numbers at South Carolina. In a year where I thought there were originally zero five-star quarterbacks, Rattler and Nix ended up as five-stars and Mertz and Hilinski were in the discussion.

... Tyron Hopper, Nick Cross and Marcus Banks were all excellent at the All-American Bowl and received nice bumps out of it. Hopper probably has the most upside of the ground and could be a tackling machine in the SEC who can also drop in coverage.

... I’m a big fan of safety Lewis Cine and athlete Wandale Robinson. Robinson will be an immediate impact guy at Nebraska while Cine will take longer to impact at Georgia as he adds size and strength. Both received nice bumps in the final rankings and are just starting to scratch the surface of their potential.

... Offensive tackle Trente Jones is going to be a good one at Michigan. He needs to fill out and add strength but once he does he has the footwork and athleticism to be one of the elite tackles in the Big Ten before too long.