Mind Of Mike: Nix impresses and more from #RivalsChallenge first session
ATLANTA -- The Mind of Mike is a scary place. However, we dare to go there as Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell shares his thoughts from the first session at the Rivals100 Five Star Challenge presented by Adidas.
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* Class of 2020 athlete Kelee Ringo won the Fastest on the Field award, although it was very close between him and Jameson Williams. Ringo’s best time was in the 4.56 range although when the two raced at the end both seemed to be on a 4.53 pace which is flying for laser time. Georgia wide receiver commitment Jadon Haselwood was also very impressive, popping off a 4.6 range 40 as clearly the tallest and biggest player to run.
* At the quarterback position, Wisconsin commitment Graham Mertz and Auburn commitment Bo Nix were head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the group early in the day. If I had to give one the edge, it would be Nix who has a little more velocity on his ball.
* Some impressive players on the hoof before the action even began include 2020 athlete Arik Gilbert, defensive end Myles Murphy, offensive lineman Stacey Wilkins, wide receiver Trey Knox, linebacker Lee Kpogba, defensive back Cameron Smith, 2020 linebacker Justin Flowe, defensive end Khris Bogle, safety Marvin Grant among others. Offensive lineman Chris Akporghene and tight end Jaelyn Lay could be the two most physically impressive kids at the event and wide receiver Elijah Higgins is the most college ready wide receiver in the bunch. This is a great looking group of kids.
* The offensive line group was up and down during one-on-ones but a few that stood out included Dontae Lucas, a Florida State commitment, and Keondre Jones. Both are interior guys, very physical and showed off excellent footwork. Saleem Wormley was also impressive as was 2020 Justin Rogers. Five-stars Kardell Thomas and Clay Webb were up and down, especially Webb as he lost more reps than we’re used to seeing. Thomas was good as always but has to work on avoiding holding calls. Stacey Wilkins also had his moments. Anthony Bradford, the biggest of the offensive linemen, won the bench press competition with an impressive 31 reps at 225 pounds. I also like the way Chris Morris, a 2020, moves. He was really athletic in drills.
* On the defensive line, I liked Khris Bogle quite a bit as he played outside and a bit inside as well. JJ Weaver has a good session as well working off of contact and Jowon Briggs was good in the middle beating Webb a few times. Class of 2020 five-star McKinnley Jackson also showed off his agility on the inside.
* You have to hand it to Theo Wease and Derek Stingley Jr. as the two of them took reps only against the other in the early session. Wease got the better of the matchup, catching three of four passes I saw but Stingley was right there for each rep. Wease at one point said “give me the No. 1!” so you know he’s thinking about that ranking. Stingley is currently No. 1 overall in the country and Wease is No. 3 in the country.
* The most impressive wide receiver I saw in the early session was Trey Palmer who beat everyone easily on every rep I saw. A close second? Nolan Groux who is committed to Wake Forest but will be fielding many more offers after this performance.
* Trey Sanders and Zachary Evans were the most impressive running backs I saw in the early session. Sanders moves and cuts so well for a big running back and Evans, a 2020, could be even more special before he’s done. Evans is one of the best running backs I’ve seen in a few years, up there with the Leonard Fournette’s and Najee Harris’ of the world. However, all the running backs impressed in the early session.
* The defensive backs didn’t have the best day, but Brendan Gant did have a nice interception and Kaiir Elam made some nice plays. Elias Ricks was also very solid, Ringo had a good early session and Cameron Smith also had some nice moments. Tyrique Stevenson has a couple of nice plays as well and Akeem Dent showed off his catchup speed a couple of times on double moves.
* At linebacker, Justin Flowe, the No. 2 player in the 2020 class, was a standout for sure and Lee Kpogba also had some standout moments. I like the way Penn State commitment Brandon Smith was in coverage as well. Texas commitment De’Gabriel Floyd has added some good weight and it hasn’t slowed him down that much. Miami commitment Anthony Solomon may not be the biggest linebacker, but he’s really good in coverage. Size remains a concern there but he had a good first session.
* Tight end Jaelyn Lay is making a case for the top tight end in the country. It’s not a great year at the position and he has the size and moves well enough to take that next step in the rankings, at least in my opinion. Clemson fans will be excited about this kid.
* Three different players made commitments during the early session and all three will make their future teams happy. Derrick McLendon chose Florida State and brings athleticism to the defensive end position while wide receiver Lance Wilhoite will be a dangerous weapon for Oregon at wide receiver. Keveon Mullins has had some good moments at linebacker as well and is listed as an athlete because he can be a big defensive back or a linebacker. However, South Carolina is the only school to offer him as a wide receiver, and he will get his first crack there.