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Mind of Mike: Thoughts about the new 2021 Rivals250

Korey Foreman
Korey Foreman

The Mind of Mike is a scary place, and with a new release of the 2021 Rivals250 it’s time to delve in as Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell weighs in.

RIVALS RANKING WEEK (2021 CLASS) SCHEDULE

Monday: Countdown of new five-stars | Who should be No. 1?

Tuesday: New Rivals250 released | New five-stars

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released | Team rankings breakdown

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: New state rankings released

FOREMAN A SHAKY NO. 1

As usual, I will start at the top. I’m not 100 percent sold on Korey Foreman being No 1 in the country. Why? I think he needs to get a bit more physical to be the top player in the country. That being said, it’s hard to find 285-pound defensive ends who can move like Foreman does and who could play inside or outside. If he can somehow get the motor of Bryan Bresee I can see him finishing the cycle out as No 1.

But right now I’d take Amarius Mims or Caleb Williams ahead of him. However, as always, we decide as a group and Foreman is certainly talented enough to stay where he is for now. But Mims is a rare and special tackle and Williams is just what you want in a quarterback these days.

I’m not sure what will happen with JT Tuimoloau down the line and whether he’ll move up and challenge for No. 1 or slide down. He’s an extremely raw jumbo athlete who could play so many positions you have to consider his ceiling as high as anyone in the class. I’m happy with Georgia quarterback commitment Brock Vandagriff being No. 5, where he is.

Beyond the top five, it’s not a great year at running back early, so Camar Wheaton is a very important recruit for many teams with his exceptional speed. And Maason Smith, the defensive tackle who checks in at No. 6, is a special dude, which makes for three jumbo and athletic defensive linemen in the top six. Jack Sawyer is an elite edge rusher and the two Texas linemen - Bryce Foster and Tommy Brockermeyer - are just nasty.


THOUGHTS ON NEW FIVE-STARS

DE Tyreak Sapp The Gators commit is a guy I pushed to five -star status against the opinions of some others because I saw Carl Lawson in there. Now Lawson, who was No. 3 in the Robert Nkemdiche year in 2013, didn’t pan out as a top-five player despite having a solid career in college and still playing in the NFL. Why? Lack of length and that’s the worry with Sapp, so time will tell. But I love his motor and ceiling.

DB Tony Grimes Grimes is an aggressive corner who can also play safety and tracks the ball very well. I like his length and he’s physical around the line of scrimmage, and he has proven he can handle bigger receivers but also stay with slots. It’s not a great year at the top for cornerbacks so far, but Grimes continues to improve and has shown he’s elite.

TWO WHO DROPPED FROM FIVE-STAR STATUS

DB James Williams Is Williams Shaq Thompson or is he Taylor Mays? The former turned into an elite linebacker at the NFL level and the latter was a disappointing big safety who just never panned out. Williams looks the part but needs to hit more like Thompson to get that fifth star back as he’s not very physical.

OT Savion Byrd Byrd was a question mark when we first made him a five-star, as it was based on athleticism that we thought might be compared to Tyron Smith down the line. Well, after seeing him at Under Armour he’s far from that. Yes, he played defense primarily last year and is raw as an offensive lineman, but there were far too many flaws in his game to keep him as a five-star. The athleticism isn’t at an elite level yet.

POSSIBLY READY TO TAKE THE FIFTH

Mario Williams
Mario Williams (Rivals.com)

WR Jacorey Brooks Brooks has the size and ball skills as well as the ability to be a five-star receiver and down the line he will earn that status. The wide receiver position will shake out over the spring and summer and should be fun to watch down the stretch.

WR Mario Williams Williams is the best slot receiver in this class so far, and he reminds me a bit of Christian Kirk, although he’s not as thick. But he could be faster and more sudden.

LB Terence Lewis I love the quick-twitch ability of Lewis and am just waiting to see him fill out a bit more and get stronger. But he can run, that’s for sure. I expect he’ll be 210 by the summer.

OT Blake Fisher Fisher is coming for that fifth star at our Chicago camp and he’s as determined as anyone in the class. I love the Notre Dame commit's upside, he just needs to be more consistent and physical.

WR Quaydarius Davis I like Davis the more I see him and honestly could see him ending up as the No. 1 receiver in this class before all is said and done. He’s still putting together some things like route-running and consistency off the line, but his upside is awesome.

QB Jake Garcia I like Garcia a lot as my next QB up because of his size and arm strength, and he will only improve as he grows into his body. He’s going to be a thick, powerful downfield thrower.

OL Landon Tengwall Tengwall is built like a brick and at worst he’s an elite guard, but with some agility work and work on his feet he can be an elite tackle down the line.

FINAL THOUGHTS

JC Latham
JC Latham

OT Tristan Leigh is one to watch, as he made a huge jump up 131 spots and right in the mix for the top OT spot down the line. He’s built exactly the way you want a tackle to be built, with room to add weight rather than topped out or needing to lose weight.

The state of Michigan isn’t known for its offensive linemen, but this year is the exception as there are three very good ones. Giovanni El-Hadi, Rocco Spindler and Garrett Dillinger all made nice moves up the Rivals250 after showing out at The Future 50. The Wolverines already have El-Hadi in the fold and need to land two of these three, but that won’t happen anytime soon. Oh, and Rayshaun Benny is no slouch, either, and could have the highest long-term ceiling of the quartet.

The best-looking prospect on the hoof in this class? It could be OT JC Latham, who could be amazing once he figures out how to play offense. He looks like an NFL player already.

This tight end class isn’t as top heavy as 2020, but two guys to keep an eye on are Jake Briningstool and Thomas Fidone, who both made nice jumps. They are both physical kids who can stretch the field and don’t like being tackled.