Rivals Camp Series Atlanta: Thoughts from the sideline
MARIETTA, Ga. -- The Rivals 3 Stripe Camp Series presented by adidas made its stop in Atlanta this past weekend. Here are some thoughts from the sideline by our analysts who covered the event.
ROB CASSIDY, Florida Recruiting Analyst
Geoff Collins making waves at Georgia Tech. Predicting the future is a losing proposition, so there’s no telling what the Collins Era at Georgia Tech will hold. The new head coach could build a juggernaut in Atlanta and start to compete for ACC titles. He could also fall flat on his face and be looking for work three years from now. I’m not going to pretend top know how things will go. What’s obvious, however, is that the perception of Georgia Tech as a program is drastically different than it was at this time last year.
There was buzz surrounding the program on Friday in Atlanta, as prospects agreed that the new Georgia Tech has embraced the culture of the city that houses it and has already become more alluring and “cool” college option. As of now, Tech has seven commitments, including a Rivals100 prospect in Florida-based cornerback Miles Brooks, for the 2020 class. The buzz isn’t slowing, however, and things could snowball quickly if Collins has an impressive debut season.
There were some disappointed quarterbacks on Friday, and rightfully so. Three or four players turned in MVP-caliber performances and went home empty-handed because 2021 prospect Brock Vandagriff happened to be in attendance. Vandagriff, who has a chance to be a special player, won the award as a freshman a year ago, made it consecutive victories as he took home the hardware once again on Friday. I’ve not seen a 2021 quarterback that measures up to Vandagriff, and it’s hard to think of many 2020 players that are definitely more advanced than him. The Georgia-based standout remains uncommitted, but Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma seem to make up the thick of his recruitment.
CHAD SIMMONS, Southeast Recruiting Analyst
Brock Vandagriff is special. Vandagriff left with MVP honors for the quarterback position and he earned an invite to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas. He is only a sophomore, and he was up against some elite quarterbacks in the 2020 class, but he really separated himself as the best of the bunch. Mid-way through the camp, I was already making the call to Mike Farrell about him being a serious candidate for five-stars right out of the gate when we release the 2021 rankings.
Vandagriff is still considering a long list of programs, including Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma. Clemson will quickly jump in the race if they offer. He really checks every box as a quarterback. The arm strength is there, he throws with accuracy, he has touch and he has good mobility. After seeing him live again, I left thinking one of the best in the country, regardless of position for the 2021 class.
Georgia Tech has a new identity on the recruiting trail in the state of Georgia. Obviously, it is all over social media, but it is between the lines too. Since Collins took over as the head coach, Georgia Tech is different. The culture is different. The energy is back. Kids want to visit. Top in-state athletes are spending time on the Atlanta campus. Georgia prospects with major Power Five offers are committing to the Yellow Jackets.
Wide receiver Ryan King had the Georgia Tech adidas gloves on. Jalen Huff, another Yellow Jacket commit that was competing Friday night was talking up the school he is committed to. Not often in recent years did you hear a lot about Georgia Tech, but the buzz (no pun intended) is back. A long list of prospects there competing are serious considering Georgia Tech, including linebackers Phillip Webb and Choe Bryant-Strothers, defensive end JaQuari Wiggles, linebacker Tyson Meiguez, wide receivers Joshua Downs (North Carolina commit) and Javon Baker (Alabama commit) and offensive linemen Tate Johnson and Javion Cohen. This recruiting class will be much different than the ones Georgia Tech fans were used to under Paul Johnson.
WOODY WOMMACK, Southeast Recruiting Analyst
Georgia is QB heaven. After a bit of a down year for quarterbacks in the state of Georgia in the class of 2019, the state is right back to an elite level for passers in the 2020 class and beyond. After producing stars like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields in 2018, 2020 boasts Rivals100 prospects Max Johnson and Harrison Bailey and 2021 has Vandagriff, Aaron McLaughlin and several others. The recent run of quarterback talent in the state is now a full-fledged trend and shouldn’t been seen as any type of anomaly. Schools from across the country will start to take a deeper look at Georgia quarterbacks earlier in their development in future years.
Competitive nature on display. There were a lot of factors that could have led to a major dip in attendance at Friday’s camp, including a day of storms in and around the Atlanta area and the event falling on Good Friday. But by the time registration got rolling it was clear that many of the state’s best athletes were in attendance and ready to compete, including Bailey, five-star tight end Arik Gilbert and five-star defensive end Myles Murphy. All-told, I was really impressed with the talent across the board and even with all the factors, the Atlanta stop was once again one of the most talented on the series this year.