football Edit

Rivals Camp Series 2017: Ten notable RCS alumni

The 2017 Rivals Camp Series begins this weekend in New Orleans with the Rivals New Speed Combine presented by adidas on Saturday and the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp presented by adidas on Sunday. So we thought it would be interesting to take a look at 10 big names that have taken part in past Rivals Camp Series events.

Note: Players are listed in alphabetical order.

MORE: 2017 Rivals Camp Series schedule & announcement


Recruiting: Adams committed to LSU over Florida at the Under Armour All-America Game. Ole Miss, Texas, Texas A&M and others were also involved in his recruitment.

Performance: Adams was dominant at our regional camp in 2013 in Dallas. He earned a Five-Star Challenge invitation as a result and was a standout in that event as well. He teamed with JuJu Smith-Schuster in a formidable defensive backfield for his team and was a vocal leader on the field.

Farrell’s take: Adams is considered by most to be the top safety in this year's NFL Draft class after proving to be a dominant force and leader at LSU. His lack of ideal size held him back from a fifth-star, but he came pretty close and his camp performances were excellent.

Recruiting: Barkley was originally committed to Rutgers, but re-opened his recruitment as additional offers began to pile up. Penn State almost immediately became the favorite as the Nittany Lions made Barkley a recruiting priority, which eventually led to his commitment.

Performance: Barkley was a standout at our Baltimore/D.C. camp in 2014. He showed great hands, explosion and earned Running Back MVP honors with ease. He didn’t, however, land a Five-Star Challenge invitation, which seems silly in hindsight.

Farrell’s take: Barkley was very talented and looked like a kid who would be comfortable playing wide receiver as much as he would running back. He showed good top end speed, especially on longer routes, and helped his ranking with his camp showing. Many have him as the top running back for the 2018 NFL Draft and he’s an early Heisman candidate for next season.

Recruiting: Diggs saw his recruitment extend past National Signing Day. Following official visits to Auburn, Florida, Cal and Ohio State, Diggs decided that he wanted to play closer to home, which led to his commitment to the in-state Terps.

Performance: Diggs was dominant at one of our first camps back in 2011 where every top defensive back wanted a shot at him and got burned for their efforts. This was prior to the Five-Star Challenge, but he would have been a shoe-in had the event existed then. Diggs was one of the best trash talkers at any camp we’ve had, he oozed confidence and got better the more he was challenged.

Farrell’s take: Diggs was one of the best wide receivers I’ve ever scouted and his special teams ability was off the charts as well. Quarterback play hurt him in high school and in college and now it’s hurting him in the NFL. That being said, he’s emerging as one of the top young wide receivers in the league for the Minnesota Vikings.

Recruiting: Fournette picked LSU over Alabama at the Under Armour All-American Game. The Tigers were considered the favorite for a long time.

Performance: Fournette attended two regional camps and two Five-Star Challenges during his high school career. His performance as an underclassman at our first Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta was impressive, and he was even more impressive the following year in Chicago. Camps aren’t his forte because he’s not a great pass catcher and he can’t bowl people over, but he did very well and showed great improvement from year-to-year.

Farrell’s take: As our No. 4 player in the country overall, we obviously loved Fournette. I’ve admitted that I did question one thing – his top end speed. He proved that to be foolish at LSU from the start and his recent 40-time at the NFL Combine has him slated to be the No. 1 running back in the upcoming draft.

Recruiting: Garrett committed to Texas A&M over Alabama, Ohio State, TCU, Florida State and others.

Performance: Garrett didn’t attend many camps, but he was at our first Underclassmen Challenge back in 2012 and showed flashes of dominance. He was long, had those broad shoulders and was explosive off the snap despite being a bit raw. He pushed his way up to No. 2 in the country by the end of the 2014 recruiting cycle and really emerged on our radar from that first camp.

Farrell’s take: The expected No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, Garrett is a freak of nature as evidenced by his NFL Combine performance. He was without a doubt an athletic freak when we first saw him and just got better and better.

Recruiting: Howard committed to Alabama leading into his junior season over Auburn, Florida State and others.

Performance: Howard dominated one of our regional camps in Alabama and then had one of the best performances a tight end can have at our first Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta. He was just too big, physical and fast for almost everyone and dominated in the red zone and for 50-50 balls. I remember the only player that could cover him at that event was linebacker Jaylon Smith, who went on to star at Notre Dame and is with the Dallas Cowboys.

Farrell’s take: Howard proved he will be the No. 1 tight end off the board in the NFL Draft in April and that doesn’t surprise me at all because he was the most athletic tight end I’ve ever scouted. He was at one time our No. 5 player in the country, the highest a tight end has ever been at one point in the rankings.

Recruiting: Jackson committed to Louisville during the summer after his junior year but still took official visits to Nebraska, Florida and Mississippi State. The biggest push came from Florida, but Jackson decided to stick with his original commitment and signed with the Cardinals.

Performance: Jackson won our Quarterback MVP Award at our Miami camp in 2014 showing off a great arm. In hindsight, that performance was like watching Superman without his cape as Jackson didn’t get to show off his running ability. It was still a deep group of talented quarterbacks in Miami and he won the day with a cannon arm and a beautiful ball.

Farrell’s take: The reigning Heisman Trophy winner was a four-star known more for his feet than with his arm, but I don’t think anyone expected his dominance in college. He’s been compared to Michael Vick and while that’s a bit much having seen both in college, he’s clearly one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in recent history.

Recruiting: James avoided any recruiting drama by committing to Florida State almost three years before National Signing Day. Nowadays when a recruit commits as early as James did, they seldom stick with that school, but he never wavered and signed with the Seminoles.

Performance: James dominated our Orlando regional camp in 2014 playing both ways. He then went on to be a one-man wrecking crew at the Five-Star Challenge for an undermanned team. His motor was non-stop and to me he could have been a two-way guy like Jabrill Peppers had Florida State wanted to utilize him that way.

Farrell’s take: James is the best safety I’ve ever scouted and that includes players like Sean Taylor and Eric Berry. He is back after missing most of last season with an injury and this should be his last year in Tallahassee before he goes off to be a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s that special. He was on the team I drafted in Chicago, a team that finished poorly overall, but he never stopped moving and gave 110 percent even when it was clear the team had zero chance of winning. That always stuck out to me.

Recruiting: Lattimore committed to Ohio State over Alabama, Georgia Tech and others at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Performance: Lattimore was a standout at our Ohio regional camp in 2013 and earned a Five-Star Challenge invitation, where he was solid but not spectacular. He finished outside our Rivals100 in the end but was still a top 10 athlete in the 2014 class.

Farrell’s take: Lattimore is expected to be the No. 1 cornerback in the upcoming NFL Draft and took his game to the next level at Ohio State. He was always a terrific athlete but we even had him as the No. 2 defensive back on his own team behind Erick Smith who hasn’t panned out nearly as well.

Recruiting: Watson committed to Clemson about a year before National Signing Day and stuck with the Tigers despite pressure from many programs. Ohio State, Auburn, LSU, USC, Oregon and Georgia were a few that stayed involved until the end.

Performance: Watson was terrific at our Atlanta camp in 2013 and earned a Five-Star Challenge invite as a result. Watson entered the event as the only five-star at quarterback but was joined by eventual five-stars Kyle Allen and Josh Rosen. He showed us what we wanted to see, a smooth release, nice touch, a solid arm and excellent leadership but was overshadowed a bit by Allen in Chicago.

Farrell’s take: We are the only network to rank Watson as a five-star out of high school and, to me, he should be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. At the very least he should go in the top five or so as many teams need quarterbacks. He’s a franchise guy in the NFL.