Rivals Camp Series Los Angeles: Thoughts From The Sideline
NORWALK, Calif. – The Rivals 3 Stripe Camp Series presented by adidas made its stop in Southern California this past weekend. Here are some thoughts from the sideline by our analysts who covered the event.
Adam Gorney, National Recruiting Analyst
– I was struck by how many elite prospects at Sunday’s camp talked about serious interest in Clemson and Georgia – and not in Pac-12 schools. Five-star linebacker Justin Flowe wants to visit Clemson soon. Five-star cornerback Kelee Ringo just got back from a Georgia trip and said he loved it. Five-star tight end Darnell Washington is going to visit Georgia soon. Four-star cornerback Clark Phillips just landed a Clemson offer and said he wants to take a trip there. Five-star running back Kendall Milton is high on Georgia among some others.
Others as well mentioned those two national powerhouses because those coaches have made top West talent an even bigger priority than normal. And that’s not to mention five-star QB and No. 1 overall prospect D.J. Uiagalelei, who missed the camp because of illness, but has Clemson very high on his list. It’s an added concern for Pac-12 schools, which have struggled recently on the national stage and are trying to keep local talent home.
– After seeing him dominate at two separate events, Noah Sewell is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2020 class. The Orem, Utah, four-star linebacker reminds me of a bigger version of former LSU linebacker Devin White, who weighs in around 240 pounds. Sewell checked in at 6-foot-2 and 268 pounds at the Rivals Camp but he’s a big block of muscle and he moves extraordinarily well for his size. His brother, Penei, is a 6-foot-6, 345-pound lineman at Oregon and he has another brother, Nephi, who’s about 6-foot and 205 pounds so maybe the 2020 four-star has reached a happy medium. If Sewell keeps getting bigger, who knows what position he plays, but he’s an excellent linebacker at this point.
Rob Cassidy, Southeast Recruiting Analyst
– Chip Kelly has a well-established, less-is-more recruitment strategy that includes fewer offers and fewer, more meaningful interactions with prospects. So when five-star defensive back Kelee Ringo said the Bruins head coach wasn’t around when Ringo visited campus on Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t a massive shock. That doesn’t mean the news was encouraging, however. UCLA isn’t exactly thriving at the moment, so it’s probably not the time to let the program sell itself. It’s still early in the Kelly Era and things may end up being fine, but color me skeptical. It’s becoming hard to see this ending well.
– Speaking of Ringo, he and linebacker Justin Flowe are both can’t-miss prospects and are two of the safest bets in the country when it comes to panning out. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a linebacker prospect fly around the field with the quickness and aggression of Flowe. Ringo has a truly special combination of size and speed that doesn’t come around often. Both have a pile of natural gifts that can’t be coached, and I’ll take the quick, physically impressive guys over the undersized players with fake things like “grit” and “heart” any day of the week. I can’t imagine a scenario in which both don’t become stars at the college level.
– Prospects are worried about USC. That was clear from the moment pre-camp interviews began. There was some buzz about the Trojans on Sunday, sure, but it wasn’t all positive. A lot of times, high school players aren’t as in-tune to the news as college football fans, but it’s clear that a lot of recruits are aware that Clay Helton has … shall we say, a less-than-comfortable employment situation? Flowe called USC “unstable,” and other players said they plan to keep a close eye on what the Trojans do on the field this year.
Adam Friedman, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst
– I don’t usually make it out to the West Coast for the Rivals camps but I was really excited to see how these prospects compared with the players I am more familiar with on the East Coast. I really liked the wide receiver group with guys such as Oregon commit Seven McGee, Lavon Bunkley-Shelton, Kris Huston and John Humphreys but tight end Darnell Washington might be the best tight end I’ve ever seen from a measurables standpoint.
The quarterbacks were good, but I’ve never been as enthused about USC commit Bryce Young as the rest of the analysts. Count me as a big fan of Bijan Robinson. He is a dynamic and surprisingly quick-twitch back for his size and he is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Five-stars Kelee Ringo and Justin Flowe stole the show on the defensive side of the ball but there were a lot of very impressive defensive backs.
– Generally, the skill position prospects on the West Coast have a clear edge over the ones from the Mid-Atlantic but this year it would be a pretty good matchup. Five-star receivers Rakim Jarrett and Julian Fleming are exceptional talents that would’ve given any defensive back from Sunday’s camp a run for their money. The same thing goes for running backs like five-star Marshawn Lloyd, Jalen Berger and Chris Tyree. The defensive backs from Sunday’s camp were outstanding but Jordan Toles, Cameron Roseman-Sinclair, Luke Hill and a few others certainly wouldn’t have been out of place. Justin Flowe is one of the best linebackers we’ve seen in a while but the group of linebackers in the Mid-Atlantic is definitely deeper.
– Where the two regions don’t compare is along the line of scrimmage. The Mid-Atlantic prospects in the 2020 class are clearly better than what the West Coast could produce. There are always individual exceptions with sweeping generalizations but I’d take many of the top offensive or defensive linemen from the Mid-Atlantic over the ones from the West Coast.