Mind of Mike: Morning thoughts from Five-Star Challenge
INDIANAPOLIS - The Rivals100 Five Star Challenge presented by adidas began this morning with a camp portion that included plenty of one-on-ones as well as the Fastest on the Field competition. Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell shares his thoughts from the morning.
... Isaac Taylor-Stuart could be special with his combination of size and speed. This is a defensive back with excellent height, a good frame and tremendous speed. He posted a 4.46 and 4.44 laser-timed 40-yard dash; that’s NFL testing stuff. Don’t be surprised if you see him bust off a sub 4.4 40 at the NFL Combine in a few years. He’s raw in his coverage skills but this kid has the measurables and speed.
... Clay Webb, to me, was the most impressive offensive lineman from the morning session and Rick Sandidge was the most impressive defensive lineman. There were definitely other impressive performances in the trenches, though.
Defensively I was impressed with Dante Stills and Tyreke Smith at times. Stills has good quickness off the snap and Smith has excellent balance and receivers off of contact. Brenton Cox has added good weight and, although he didn’t take a ton of reps, I was impressed.
... There were a few high-profile prospects that I thought struggled a bit in the early session as far as the big guys. Five star K.J. Henry struggled a bit especially with powerful tackles, while defensive tackle Michael Thompson was up and down. On offense, 2019 LSU commitment Kardell Thomas struggled early but got better as the reps continued. Penei Sewell was tossed around a few times.
... Ani Izuchukwu and Kayode Oladele are great looking prospects but their lack of experience is clear at events like this as technique is a big issue. They have high ceilings but are years away from being polished. The same can be said for 2019 offensive lineman Elton Ndoma-Ogar.
... At the skill positions, the quarterbacks that stood out to me the most were Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence. Devin Leary has a live arm and had his moments. Justin Rogers throws a fastball every time which works downfield but not so much for intermediate and short passes. Matt Corral was erratic although he had some great moments and was going off zero sleep having arrived late. Grant Gunnell struggled the most followed by Jalen Mayden; both have release issues which hurt their timing. You would never know that Harrison Bailey was a 2020 prospect based on his performance this morning.
... Al Blades had a really good morning in coverage and if he continues in the evening he could push for that fifth star. On the flip side, linebacker Amari Gainer struggled a lot more than expected in space. Defensive back D’Shawn Jamison had a very good day in one-on-ones. Jaiden Woodbey was also excellent.
... There were a ton of drops at the wide receiver position but, based on separation and route-running, I really liked Amon-Ra St. Brown, Terrace Marshall and Ja’Marr Chase. Chase had the catch of the day as he got tangled with Josh Proctor.
... Five star cornerback Anthony Cook showed some quickness and had a great rep against the speedy Elijah Moore on a double move but he tends to be a bit grabby with his hands. Trey Dean has the same issue and would have been called for a few penalties in a game setting.
... Kardell Thomas won the Big Man Bench challenge with 24 bench press reps at 225 pounds, which is an impressive number for a 2019 prospect. Clay Webb had 20 and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown decided to throw his hat in the ring and did an impressive 13 reps.
... Linebacker David Reese won the Gauntlet where linebackers try to work in space against skill position players. His lateral movement has been excellent all day although his consistency in one-on-ones was lacking.
... The Quarterback Challenge was won by Justin Fields who showed the most accuracy combined with the long ball.