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Mind of Mike: Thoughts on movers and shakers in Rivals100

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

Antoine Sampah
Antoine Sampah

RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK: Top 10 for class of 2020 revealed

The Mind of Mike is a scary place. National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell shares his thoughts on the first Rivals100 released for the class of 2020.

... One of the toughest decisions in the release was who is going to be No. 1 overall and I can tell you there were at least four good candidates. D.J. Ugiagalelei was deemed our first No. 1 overall of the class because of his special abilities and his position since quarterback is such a premium spot. However, linebacker Justin Flowe is one of the best linebackers we’ve seen in the past decade or so and could have easily been tabbed No. 1 as well. And the two defensive ends – Bryan Bresee and Sav’ell Smalls, are beyond special and I’ll get to them in a moment. The 2020 class appears to be a much stronger group at the top compared to 2019 and could be one of the best classes we’ve seen since 2014.

... Bresee vs. Smalls was one of the bigger debates in the rankings meetings as Bresee could be the most special defensive end to come out of Maryland in some time, perhaps better than big names like Chase Young and Eyabi Anoma in recent years. As for Smalls? Some think he’s the best prospect from the Pacific Northwest in a decade, not just defensive end but prospect. I won’t go that far, but he is very special. This will be an epic battle throughout the cycle and perhaps the best positional battle we will see in the 2020 class.

Justin Flowe
Justin Flowe

... We initially named 10 five-stars back in March and added three this time around. Here’s my breakdown of the new five-stars:

DT McKinnley Jackson – A big defensive tackle who is agile and athletic and can do the one thing everyone wants from the position – rush the passer. Jackson can stuff the run and is very good at taking on double teams but he’s also that rare defensive tackle who can not only get into the backfield but pursue the quarterback. That’s what separates the good from great defensive tackles these days.

LB Antoine Sampah – If you want to see a hitter in the 2020 class, just watch Sampah on film. And with a great frame to grow on, excellent instincts and the ability to drop into coverage, he was an easy choice as the top inside linebacker in the country. The five-star debate was solved after we saw him in person work in coverage.

CB Fred Davis – A tall cornerback with excellent football sense and natural instincts, Davis has some technical issues to work on but you can’t teach his length and closing speed. He always seems to know what his opponent will be doing and rarely bites on double moves. He’s got a great frame to build on and should do so without losing any of his cornerback skills.

... OT Myles Hinton, in my opinion, is better than his older brother Christopher Hinton was at the same stage. Myles has a bit more of an edge to him and is slightly more fluid as an athlete. Christopher, who is also a five-star in the 2019 class, is excellent as well but might be better suited for the offensive line like his brother and father. Their father, Chris Hinton, was a 13-year NFL offensive lineman who made seven Pro Bowls. I think Myles follows in his brother’s footsteps and heads to Michigan if Christopher sticks with his commitment but both will be under a great deal of pressure from teams in the south.

Arik Gilbert
Arik Gilbert (Nick Lucero/

... Arik Gilbert is listed as an athlete but could be one of the best tight end prospects we’ve seen in a while before all is said and done. His ability to play other positions keeps him at athlete for now, but if he emerges as solely a tight end prospect he will be one of the highest-ranked in history if he keeps developing.

... Many prospects were also considered for the coveted fifth star and this class looks very deep when it comes to elite prospects. Offensive linemen Paris Johnson Jr. and Justin Rogers have the talent to earn that fifth star down the line and running back Kendall Milton is special as well. Fellow running back Jase McClellan and Texas wide receiver Demond Demas were also discussed. Quarterback Harrison Bailey was also talked about, but his lack of mobility is a concern. But at least 7-8 different players were discussed for five stars beyond the initial 10 we named in March.

... Speaking of Bailey and the quarterbacks, this is a strong year at the position. Uiagalelei is the only five-star right now and could end up being the only one, but the depth is really impressive. Six quarterbacks are in the national top 50. Each has an issue here and there like Bailey’s mobility and Drew Pyne’s size, but all bring a ton to the table as well.


Monday: Revealing the top 10 players | Making the Case: Three who could land in top 10 | Who is the toughest to rank in 2020?

Tuesday: New Rivals100 | Mind of Mike: Farrell reacts to new R100 | Who should be No. 1 in 2020? | Will No. 1 player in 2020 head to Clemson?

Wednesday: The inital Rivals250 for 2020 | Five teams that should be pleased the most with new R250 | Rival Views | Godfather and Gorney Podcast | Rivals Rankings Podcast

Thursday: QB rankings | RB rankings | WR/TE rankings | OL rankings | Commitment Issues Podcast | Take Two | New Rivals250 by the numbers

Friday: DL rankings | LB rankings | DB rankings | ATH rankings | Take Two

Saturday: Team rankings breakdown

Sunday: Mid-Atlantic states rankings | Southeast states | Midwest states | Texas | Florida | West states