football Edit

Rivals Recap: Sitkowski impresses during big weekend in Mid-Atlantic

It was a big weekend in the Northeast. Old Bridge, N.J. beat Monmouth Junction (N.J.) South Brunswick 31-28 on Friday night. The next day, West Orange (N.J.) Seton Hall Prep traveled to Highstown (N.J.) Peddie School and lost 21-14. Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco continued their rough start to this season by losing to Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s 35-24 on Saturday night.

Each of these games featured almost a dozen Power Five football prospects. Here are some of the key takeaways from the weekend's action.


Artur Sitkowski

Anybody that's followed the recruitment and development of Artur Sitkowski knows that he has a ridiculously strong arm. What most people didn't know was how athletic the 2018 Rivals100 quarterback is and how good he is at running the read-option. It was really impressive to see his decision-making in person and how well he did running down the field and taking some big hits. The strength that he added this offseason really made a difference in his team's win on Friday.

Rivals100 wide receiver Jahan Dotson doesn't "wow" you physically but, on the field, there are few players in the country that can touch him. It's hard to judge just how fast the 2018 prospect is because he's such a smooth runner. But it was clear Saturday, as he easily pulled away from defenders, that he was the most dominant player on either side of the ball. Dotson runs extremely crisp routes and is so explosive off of his plant foot that defensive backs had a hard time staying within five yards of him. He came up with multiple long touchdowns on Saturday and would have had more if it weren't for some bad calls from the referees.

Peddie's offensive line was anchored by Clemson offensive tackle commit Noah DeHond and 2018 Rivals250 center Daniel Dawkins. It was impressive to see how they were able to open up holes for their team's running backs. Dawkins was especially tenacious in the middle of the offensive line, whether it be run blocking or pass blocking. DeHond is absolutely massive and was not challenged by any of the opposing pass rushers. He looked more like a right tackle than a left tackle, but he could certainly play either in college because of the size.

What’s left to say about Rivals100 running back and Georgia commit D’Andre Swift that hasn’t already been said? He has the quickness, power, speed, and vision to excel very early in his college career. The most impressive things about his performance on Saturday night were his toughness and ability to affect the game on special teams. Everyone held their breath when Swift got the ball on a kickoff or punt return. He returned the opening kickoff more than 50-yards and that set the tone for the rest of the game. Swift fell awkwardly on his ankle late in the first half but it was impressive to see him fight through the pain and still impact the game in a positive way for St. Joe’s Prep.

St. Joe’s Prep’s second-biggest offensive threat is 2018 Rivals250 wide receiver Darryle Simmons. He made a couple of very nice plays, including a 33-yard touchdown catch. Simmons used his size and strength to easily break press coverage but it was really impressive to see his improved speed help him get over the top of the defense. He also used his big catch radius to haul in some passes that were off their mark.


Justin Shorter

Rivals100 wide receiver Justin Shorter is a phenomenally athletic specimen. The 2018 Penn State commit showed off a lot of physicality by playing both sides of the ball on Friday night. Surprisingly he was only targeted one time as a receiver and even more surprising was that he excelled playing safety. South Brunswick did not come up with the win but if Shorter was a bigger part of the offense the result probably have been different.

The development of 2018 quarterback Allan Walters has been something we've been keeping a very close eye on. Last season was not a great year for him as he was nearly always on the run and wasn't able to consistently throw accurate passes. This year he added a lot of good weight and seems to be able to put more zip on his throws. Walters' accuracy has gotten marginally better but as he continues to get more comfortable in his new offensive system look for Walters to put a bigger numbers than last year and probably have a better record.

Linebacker Javar Garrett is a very intriguing 2018 prospect with sky-high potential. He has great length and moves very well in the open field. Garrett covers better than some defensive backs. It'll be good to see him go up against some teams that really try to run at him to see if how he stands up at the point of attack but in coverage there aren't many linebackers that can do it better than him. Colleges will love how long he is and how much room he has left to fill out his frame. His recruitment is headed for the next gear.

Syracuse quarterback commit Tommy Devito has progressed so much since last season but his team has gotten off to a rocky start this year. He does a very good job scanning the field and has excellent pocket awareness but his receivers had a hard time getting separation. Devito didn’t have a superb night passing but it was surprising to see how well he ran when forced to pull the ball down and take off. That mobility will be a useful tool throughout the rest of this season and at Syracuse next year.

More News and Notes

Paul Theobald

Boston College commit Paul Theobald is a prototypical BC linebacker. He has a big frame and is tough as nails. Theobald blocked a punt in his game on Saturday and was strong at the point of attack.

Tyler Friday is one of the top-ranked prospects in the 2018 class but wasn’t able to contribute fully on Saturday night. The 2018 Rivals100 defensive end was mainly used at left tackle for Don Bosco and only played about a half at defensive end. Friday’s strength and physicality was impressive as always.

St. Joe’s Prep junior quarterback Marquez McCray played a very good game on Saturday night. He is more of a pro-style quarterback and has a strong arm and made smart decisions with the ball. McCray picked up some big first downs with his feet and even scored a touchdown from 39-yards out at the end of the first half. Keep an eye on his as he develops.