Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge: Ranking the QBs
ATLANTA -- More than 100 of the top players in the nation participated in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday. The Rivals analyst team is breaking down the status of each player at the marquee event based on their performance against elite competition. Today, we start with the quarterbacks.
1. HARRISON BAILEY, TENNESSEE COMMIT
This was the third year in a row that Bailey competed in the Five-Star Challenge and he saved his best performance for last. The ball flew off his hands during one-on-ones and Bailey took the reins during the 7-on-7 tournament, calling plays for his team and leading them all the way to the championship game. Bailey thrives in a 7-on-7 environment, but what impressed most was his confidence and swagger as he directed his team. Bailey was the clear alpha of the quarterback group.
2. BROCK VANDAGRIFF, OKLAHOMA COMMIT
Because he’s spent most of his high school career running track in the spring, Vandagriff hasn’t played much 7-on-7. With no other quarterback on his team (Jack Miller was out with a sore shoulder), Vandagriff had to take his lumps during the first few games. Eventually he found his footing and led his team to the tournament championship, improving his decision-making as things went along. That, combined with his strong showing during the individual drills and one-on-ones showed why he began as the No. 1 overall player in the country.
3. BRYCE YOUNG, USC COMMIT
Another veteran of the Rivals Camp Series and the Five-Star Challenge, Young turned in an impressive performance, winning the quarterback challenge while showing excellent accuracy during one-on-ones and 7-on-7. Young is built for a spread offense and was effective in distributing the ball and putting it in the right spot for receivers. In the right system with the right talent around him, Young could put up big numbers at the next level. If USC’s new offense looks like it’s supposed to in years to come, Young will be a great fit.
4. KYLE MCCORD, OHIO STATE COMMIT
The Class of 2021 Ohio State commit came into the event looking to earn his fifth star and he made a pretty good case, showing a strong arm while already looking the part of a more advanced quarterback prospect. One of two Buckeyes commits in attendance, McCord is still working his way onto the national scene despite already being committed and being ranked inside the Top 10 overall nationally. The fact that he could hang and even out perform some older, more seasoned prospects at the position shows the type of potential that McCord has going forward.
5. DREW PYNE, NOTRE DAME COMMIT
The Notre Dame commit was back at the Five-Star Challenge for the second straight year, and while he had his moments, he was still among the back half of the players at the position. The biggest knock on Pyne is his height, and while quarterbacks like Kyler Murray have shown that isn’t as big of an issue as it used to be, he still was inconsistent at times and didn’t match the arm strength of the top tier of quarterbacks. Nevertheless, when Pyne is on, he can make throws with the best of them and there’s a reason Notre Dame worked so hard to get him in the class. As long as he can be consistent, Pyne still has a bright future ahead of him.
6. MAX JOHNSON, LSU COMMIT
Johnson looks the part of a future NFL quarterback on the hoof, standing at 6-foot-5 and flashing a pretty strong arm. But he struggled with consistency, especially against a higher tier of defensive back than he normally sees. That inconsistency seemed to affect his confidence early on and led to more miscues later in the day when the 7-on-7 tournament rolled around. Johnson has all the tools to be a very good college quarterback, but he might need some time to develop them before flourishing at the next level.
7. J.J. MCCARTHY, MICHIGAN COMMIT
It was an off day for McCarthy, the 2021 Michigan commit who has been in the early discussions for five-star status in his class. Despite throwing some pretty balls at times, he wasn’t where he needed to be in terms of arm strength and consistency and that may be partially because he needs to add some weight to his frame. McCarthy was clearly thinner than the other quarterbacks in attendance and at times looked much younger than his counterparts. There’s still a long way to go for McCarthy in this rankings cycle, but having an off day on the biggest stage will surely be in the minds of Rivals.com national analysts going forward.
8. JACK MILLER, OHIO STATE COMMIT
Miller didn’t have the worst day but ends up at the back of the list after sitting out the second portion of the event with a sore shoulder. Because he didn’t play 7-on-7, Vandagriff was left to carry the load for his team. Even before he stopped competing, Miller struggled with arm strength and accuracy and fell to the back of the pack for his performance. The Ohio State commit still has a chance to be a star at the next level, but it wasn’t his day on Tuesday.