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Three-Point Stance: Five-Star matchups; impressive classes; best vs. best

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

ASK FARRELL: Who had the best FIve-Star Challenge performance ever?

Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with some matchups he’s most looking forward to at the Rivals100 Five Star Challenge presented by adidas, a few programs that are off to surprising recruiting starts and comparing 2019 stars to 2020 stars.

MORE FIVE-STAR CHALLENGE: Offensive roster | Defensive roster | Farrell's storylines | Best Five-Star Challenge performance ever? | Which QB will shine brightest? | Who will raise stock? | Full Rivals Camp Series coverage

1. TOP MATCHUPS FOR FIVE-STAR CHALLENGE

Derek Stingley, Jr.
Derek Stingley, Jr. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The Rivals100 Five Star Challenge presented by adidas is set to kick off Thursday and there are several individual matchups I’d like to see. Here are the top ones.

WR Theo Wease vs. CB Derek Stingley – Wease is a big, physical receiver and the No. 3 player in the country while Stingley is a big, physical cornerback and No. 1 overall. Can you think of a better matchup?

OL Kardell Thomas vs. DT McKinnley Jackson – Thomas is as physical as it gets at the guard position and Jackson is a five-star 2020 standout who excels off of contact. This should be a great matchup to watch.

OL Clay Webb vs. DT DeMonte Capeheart – Webb is the first five-star center in the history of Rivals.com and Capeheart is an elite interior defensive lineman that many feel could be underrated. He will get his chance to prove that against Webb and others.

RB Sean Dollars vs. LB Justin Flowe – Running backs have the edge in camp settings against linebackers and Dollars is very elusive. However, Flowe is one of the best linebackers we’ve seen in a few years and I want to see him go against pure, shifty speed.

WR Leonard Manuel vs. CB Fred Davis – The big 2020 five star wide receiver against the big five-star 2020 cornerback is a battle I’ve been looking forward to.

QB Grant Gunnell vs. Everyone – I like Gunnell’s upside a lot, but the Arizona commitment dropped a lot in our last rankings after an average spring. Can he have an elite day against these talented defensive backs and linebackers and show us the drop was unwarranted?

2. IMPRESSIVE CLASSES FROM NON-BLUE BLOODS

Marvin Grant
Marvin Grant (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Usually the teams that dominate recruiting talk are blue bloods such as Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, USC, and Florida State. However, there are a few programs that might not qualify for blue blood status that deserve some recognition for their early returns in the 2019 class. Here are six of them….

Purdue – How about Purdue, huh? The Boilermakers are on top of the Big Ten rankings right now and have a top 15 recruiting program at this stage in 2019. Jeff Brohm and his staff may not have the gaudy average star ranking of others, but they are putting together a really nice class led by Marvin Grant, Mershawn Rice and of course George Karlaftis. How about those Boilermakers?

South Carolina – With Clemson recruiting at an elite level with the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world, it’s not an easy job that Will Muschamp has, but he’s doing very well. The Gamecocks have a top 10 class currently, led by players like Zacch Pickens and Joseph Anderson and have a chance for their best class in a few years.

Ole MissMatt Luke is killing it on the recruiting trail despite the NCAA stuff and his approach has been welcomed by many. In-state stars Diwun Black and Jerrion Ealy are key pickups and the average star ranking is impressive with 17 commitments.

Mississippi StateJoe Moorhead has come in and hasn’t missed a beat. The in-state recruiting has been solid like it has been for Ole Miss and players like Nathan Pickering and Charles Moore are difference-makers on the defensive side of the ball.

MinnesotaPJ Fleck’s energy is contagious and it shows in the recruiting efforts as Minnesota has a top 20 class and top four class in the Big Ten. There isn’t a four-star in the group, but many prospects could outplay their ranking, led by quarterback Jacob Clark.

NC StateDave Doeren hs a solid season on the field last year and it’s paying off in recruiting. The best has come recently in commitments from C.J. Clark and Savion Jackson and the Wolfpack are hot on the recruiting trail.

3. BEST VERSUS BEST

Bryce Young
Bryce Young (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Now that we have the first numerical rankings for the class of 2020, we can compare the best of the best to the 2019 class. As of now, it is a dead heat, 8-8. Here’s how it shakes out.

Pro-style quarterback – Bo Nix (2019) vs. D.J. Uiagalelei (2020) – I’m clearly going with the No. 1 player in the 2020 class in this matchup. Uiagalelei is a much more special signal-caller at the same stage.

Dual-threat quarterback – Spencer Rattler vs. Bryce Young – Both could end up at Oklahoma. At this stage I like Rattler a bit better because of his pocket awareness and arm.

All-purpose running back – Mark-Antony Richards vs. Chris Tyree – Richards could also play defensive back and is the more athletic of the two.

Running back – Trey Sanders vs. Zachary Evans – This is a tough call as Sanders is more physical but Evans is faster and more elusive overall. I’ll go with Evans in a tight battle.

Wide receiver – Theo Wease vs. Leonard Manuel – Two big and talented receivers, this could easily be a draw but Wease is the more consistent of the two, so I’ll go with him.

Tight end Hudson Henry vs. Darnell Washington – Two very talented tight ends here but I’ll go with Washington as he’s just a bit more athletic.

Offensive tackle – Darnell Wright vs. Myles Hinton – Two pure, five-star tackles here, Wright gets the nod because he’s a little more physical.

Offensive guard – Kardell Thomas vs. Justin Rogers – Road graders and physical kids, Rogers could end up as the better prospect as he develops over the next year or so but I’ll go with Thomas for now.

Offensive center – Clay Webb vs. Anyone – There isn’t a center in the 2020 class so far that even comes close.

Weakside defensive end – Kayvon Thibodeaux vs. Sav’ell Smalls -- A great matchup here of edge rushers with athleticism, but Smalls is more rare at the same stage.

Strongside defensive end – Zach Harrison vs. Bryan Bresee – Two physical freaks, I’ll take Bresee right now because he’s more technically developed and has better football sense.

Defensive tackle – Ishmael Sopsher vs. McKinnley Jackson – Jackson gets the nod here because he’s more of a natural pass rusher than Sopsher.

Inside linebacker – Nakobe Dean vs. Antoine Sampah – Dean is a nasty linebacker and can do many things well, but give me Sampah’s frame and hitting ability in this matchup.

Outside linebacker – Owen Pappoe vs. Justin Flowe - Pappoe is special and can cover a ton of ground but Flowe has better size and can cover even more.

Cornerback – Derek Stingley vs. Fred Davis – Stingley is one of the most talented cornerbacks I’ve seen in my career. Davis could get there, but he’s not there yet and Stingley is much more of a technician.

Safety – Daxton Hill vs. Jordan Toles – Hill is a freak athlete. Nothing against Toles, but this isn’t a battle.