Mind of Mike: UA All-America Game Media Day thoughts
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Mind of Mike is a scary place. Here are the thoughts of Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell after registration day at Under Armour All-America Game Week.
MORE UA GAME: Five players who could earn a fifth star | Darnell Washington | Sedrick Van Pran | Avantae Williams | Jayson Jones
CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
Let’s start with the uncommitted and unsigned players. Or shall we say the players that may have signed but haven’t said so publicly. The biggest media crowds of the day were around TE Darnell Washington and RB Zach Evans, both five-stars who are rumored to be signed but waiting until the UA Game to announce. While Washington was more vague about his status, Evans was less so. Both players are rumored to have signed with Georgia secretly last week and Evans practically admitted such. While he never came out and said it, he inferred that Georgia was the choice and hinted that he and Washington would be playing together in college. It will be a surprise to no one when both choose the Dawgs on national television.
Five star DE Jordan Burch also drew quite a crowd as did four-star LB Reggie Grimes. Both are committed to schools and neither signed during the Early Signing Period. And each handled the interview process differently. While Grimes made it 100% clear that he was going to Oklahoma and was sure to sign with the Sooners in February, Burch was not quite as adamant. Now don’t get me wrong, Burch said many of the proper things and said he’s committed to South Carolina and plans to sign with his team in February but he left the door open a crack saying he’s leaving the possibility of official visits in January out there. LSU apparently finished second and Clemson third, which leaves Georgia a distant fourth which is a surprise to me. I think the only team that could flip him would be Clemson and I doubt that happens.
Defensive back Avantae Williams was a longtime Oregon commitment but it’s clear he’s staying closer to home and the Florida Gators appear to be the team to beat. Georgia will get an official visit which is interesting and could be an issue for the Gators. Ole Miss and Miami are also in the mix. But look for the No 1 safety in the land to end up in Gainesville barring something unexpected.
The Vols are very much involved with five-star OL Broderick Jones, who is committed to Georgia but didn’t sign. However, Auburn might have the best shot here offering immediate playing time and getting his last official visit.
Who passed the eyeball test the most? At least for me, these guys stood out ...
TE Darnell Washington — This is a massive and long tight end prospect who is a huge target and will bail out some quarterbacks on bad throws. He’s one of the best-looking tight ends I’ve seen on the hoof.
DT Gervon Dexter — I like the way Dexter looks because he’s not nearly filled out yet and looks more like a big end. When he continues to add weight while keeping speed he could be special.
DL Vernon Broughton — Some on our staff are critical of his play but you can’t doubt his physical skills and build. I love the way this kid looks and his ceiling is as high as anyone prospect.
DE Jordan Burch — Burch looks to weigh about 275 pounds and has that high-cut build of a basketball player and that’s always good for defensive ends. South Carolina is going to keep a good one.
TE Theo Johnson — This is a huge tight end who could be overlooked a bit with Washington and Arik Gilbert in the class. He’s going to be a really good one at Penn State.
OL Walker Parks — Parks has the perfect build for a high school offensive lineman and a great frame to build on. Clemson has a future star here.
LB Mekhail Sherman — Sherman is a huge linebacker and looks great on the hoof. He could grow into a defensive end if Georgia wants.
LB Trenton Simpson — Simpson is put together and still has room to grow and I especially like his length. It’s hard to believe Clemson had to decide whether or not to offer him.