Mind of Mike: Farrell's reaction to updated Rivals100
The latest Rivals100 for the 2020 class has been released, and with it we unleash the random thoughts of National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell.
DEBATE FOR NO. 1
As always, I’ll start at the debate for No. 1, which wasn’t a very long debate once again. California quarterback and Clemson commitment D.J. Uiagalelei remains No. 1 overall after a brief debate about some others. He didn’t attend the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas or the Elite 11 but no one else really did enough to push forward. Here were the top contenders ...
DT Bryan Bresee – The defensive tackle and Clemson commitment was discussed the most and that’s why he moved up to No. 2 overall. He had an outstanding summer and his rare athleticism stood out many times. This was a kid playing tight end in 7-on-7 and doing backflips at 300 pounds at the Five-Star Challenge after dominating the big men one-on-ones. He has a real chance to be No. 1 after all is said and done.
LB Justin Flowe – The elite linebacker still remains in the discussion for No. 1 overall despite slipping a spot behind Bresee. The things working against Flowe? The linebacker position isn’t as highly weighted as quarterback or defensive tackle and Noah Sewell, a new five-star (more below) outplayed him this summer. Flowe is still a huge linebacker with great speed and is beyond physical, but he’s no longer far and away better than anyone at his position. Flowe could also end up being a Clemson commitment, a testament to the Tigers' amazing recruiting.
DE Jordan Burch – Burch, like Flowe, also slid a spot but he didn’t do the Five-Star Challenge or The Opening this summer so he just slid because Bresee moved up. Burch is still my personal choice as No. 1 in this class with his amazing size/speed combination off the edge and a huge season could push him up. He could also end up at Clemson, although South Carolina and others are very much in the mix.
CBs Elias Ricks and Kelee Ringo – These two get lumped together because they remain so close in the rankings. Ricks has the natural instincts advantage over Ringo but Ringo is the more explosive athlete. With Derek Stingley Jr. breaking the glass ceiling for cornerbacks last year, Ricks and Ringo are very much in the discussion. We could see either of them blowing up the NFL Combine in a few years. Ricks is committed to LSU while Georgia has the edge for Ringo.
DE Sav’Ell Smalls – I’m putting him in here because I like him a lot better than some others do in this class and his versatility is off the charts. You just can’t count out an elite talent like this who could play defensive end or linebacker with ease. Florida State could be the team to beat here but Washington is very much in the mix with other schools as well.
Let’s take a quick look at the new five stars …
LB Noah Sewell – Sewell, who will likely commit to Oregon, is just too rare to be kept away from five stars. It’s not often you find 260-pound linebackers who can move like Sewell and cover so much ground with an amazing motor. This kid loves football, he loves to hit and he could play some running back at the college level if a team wanted. He’s a freak.
RB Bijan Robinson – Robinson is one of those running backs who can do multiple things out of an offense. He can not only run between the tackles but he can bounce it outside, catch the ball with ease, run effortless routes and work as a running back or slot receiver. The Texas commitment has a chance to be special.
And a few guys we considered making five-stars …
WR Marcus Rosemy – The Georgia commitment was on my personal list for a fifth star this time around, but concerns about his overall speed held him back as the group voted it down. Everyone likes him obviously as he’s the highest-ranked four-star now and he could end up being a five-star if he shows more consistent separation. It’s a loaded year at wide receiver in 2020 and he’s one of the best.
QB Harrison Bailey – I was the only one who felt Bailey earned his fifth star this summer and I can understand the hesitation around the Vols commitment. While he was amazing at our Five-Star Challenge, he struggled at The Opening and The Elite 11, and he’s still a bit inconsistent. I like how he has re-shaped his body, dedicated himself to getting better and his leadership on the field, but he will need to have a big season and all-star game to push ahead based on the lone vote.
LB Derek Wingo – I have to admit, I’ve gone from a guy who felt Wingo was overrated in our Rivals250 to a believer because he’s so athletic. The Florida commitment still needs to fill out but he has a good frame and he’s one of the best pure athletes in this class. He’s made a major jump to the cusp of five stars and that jump could continue.
WR Gee Scott Jr. – This is such a loaded wide receiver class that a guy like Scott gets overshadowed sometimes despite being dominant. The concern? Consistency with his hands and the level of competition he’s dominating in the Northwest. But he’s creeping closer to that fifth star and when guys like Richard Sherman are tweeting out he should be a five-star, he’s got some impressive backers.
LB Trenton Simpson – Simpson is another big linebacker in a class that is looking better and better at the position. His athleticism and ability in coverage have improved greatly to go along with his physical nature and tackling ability. The Auburn commitment has a chance to take the next step.
RB Tank Bigsby – I’m going to put this in writing – Bigsby could end up being the best running back in 2020 class despite five-stars such as Zachary Evans, Kendall Milton, Bijan Robinson and Demarckus Bowman being ranked as five-stars. The Auburn commitment is an elite athlete, he’s a load to bring down and he has the burst and speed to be special. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up being our No. 1 running back at the end of this ranking.
LB Quandarrius Robinson – Another huge linebacker in this class to keep an eye on, the Alabama commitment has a chance to be special and could be a hybrid as he grows out his frame. He’s still a bit raw but you can’t beat his athleticism and length.
Odds and ends
Texas A&M cornerback commitment Jaylon Jones made a huge jump, up 80 spots to No. 39 in the country, after a dominating performance at the Five-Star Challenge. He has the size to be special and could play safety as well. He just needs to get a bit faster closing on the ball. He was one of the biggest risers.
Florida defensive end/linebacker Donell Harris Jr. debuted in the 2020 class at No. 49, a good distance from being a five-star as expected for one main reason – he’s very skinny at this stage and can be tossed around by offensive linemen. He has great speed off the edge, but if you get your hands on him, he can be handled. Harris Jr. is a very special prospect for the 2021 class but with one year remaining in high school and now a 2020, he’s a tick behind some of the others.
Wide receiver Lavon Bunkley-Shelton could have the best hands in this class and that’s saying something with such a deep group. He adjusts to the ball as well as anyone and just needs to add size and strength. He moved up 45 spots for good reason.
I like wide receiver Javon Baker a ton and think the Alabama commitment could be special, but he’s another one who needs to add strength and size. But this kid loves football and has a great work ethic. He’s just caught in a very, very deep 2020 wide receiver class. But keep an eye out for him.
Cornerback Demorie Tate, a Florida State commitment, moved from outside the Rivals250 all the way up to No. 66. He has shown excellent technique and closing speed for a big corner, and very fluid footwork.
Quarterback Haynes King, a Texas A&M commitment, also moved into the Rivals100 from outside the Rivals250 with a great Elite 11. He’s thin and needs to get bigger and stronger. His arm is good but not elite. However, he has amazing intangibles and smarts. He’s going to be a good one in the SEC.