Rivals Camp Series L.A.: How will the camp impact upcoming rankings?
MONTEREY PARK, Calif. – Rankings are always top of mind during the spring camp season, and the results from the Rivals Camp Series in Los Angeles this past weekend will have an impact on upcoming rankings discussions. Take a look at the important rankings-related questions and topics now that the L.A. camp has come and gone.
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RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info for 2022 series
The debate over who should be the top West Coast QB is picking up.
It's getting very difficult to have a strong stance one way or the other in the Malachi Nelson-Nico Iamaleava debate. Nelson is a much more polished quarterback with the ability to improvise and use his athleticism when needed. Iamaleava is raw but brings incredible physical talent to the position. He is accurate on a consistent basis and that will get better with more coaching on his mechanics at the next level.
Iamaleava has come a long way in the last year and Nelson hasn't had a misstep yet, but watching this battle play out the rest of the spring will be fun.
Are we giving too much credit to Southeast cornerbacks?
Of the top six cornerbacks in the 2023 class, four of them are from the Southeast and the other two are from Texas. Justyn Rhett, the defensive back MVP from the L.A. Rivals Camp, is No. 7 in the cornerback rankings. He probably will end up a little higher than that in the next rankings update, but I don't think favoring Southeast cornerbacks is a trend.
Four of the top five cornerbacks in the 2022 class were from outside the Southeast. The dominance at the top of the cornerback rankings by the Southeast in the 2023 cycle looks to be more of a coincidence and not something that consistently takes place multiple classes in a row.
Where is the Jaden Rashada hype?
The quarterback play at the Rivals Camp Series in Los Angeles was amazing. Most of the headlines, unsurprisingly, went to USC commit Malachi Nelson and Nico Iamaleava, both five-stars, but another Californian deserves some praise.
Rivals100 signal caller Jaden Rashada is an impressive prospect that went nearly throw for throw with the higher-ranked quarterbacks. Rashada has no shortage of suitors, and it's obvious why. He checks all the boxes from a measurables perspective and throws the ball with proper mechanics.
Rashada has enough arm strength to make all the throws and has proven to be one of the more accurate quarterbacks in this class. While he doesn't get the acclaim of some other quarterbacks, Rashada is certainly deserving of praise.
Is Zachariah Branch a five-star?
Branch nearly received his fifth star in the last rankings update and he added to his already impressive resume this past weekend in Los Angeles. The Las Vegas Bishop Gorman star has been dominant regardless of the setting for the last couple years, even though he is on the shorter side. Branch measured in at 5-foot-9, but that didn't affect his play.
The speedy USC receiver commit is an outstanding route runner and showed he is skilled enough to run even the most demanding route. Branch and his 10.33 100-meter speed are enough to keep any defensive back on their heels, but he also has the ability to suddenly stop and start again, leaving defenders helpless.
On top of all that, Branch does a great job consistently catching passes thrown in his direction. A fifth star could be in his future if he keeps having performances like the one he had over the weekend.
RELATED: Clint Cosgrove's take on Branch
Is Julian Sayin a five-star?
For all the talk about star quarterbacks Malachi Nelson, Nico Iamaleava and Jaden Rashada, the most technically sound and consistent quarterback at the camp on Sunday was 2024 prospect Julian Sayin. Standing at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, it might be easy to miss this four-star quarterback in a lineup, but he immediately stood out when the QBs started throwing.
The ball jumps off Sayin's hand and he's able to throw with power and touch. He can certainly get the ball downfield and proved to throw one of the more catchable deep balls of the group. Sayin gets the ball out of the hand quickly and knows how to lead receivers and deliver passes on time.
Overall, Sayin has to be one of the more advanced quarterbacks in his class and he could very well be a five-star when the updated 2024 rankings are released.