football Edit

Three-Point Stance: In-state keeps, opt-outs, Top 25

National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with some great in-state recruiting keeps for non-blueblood programs, ranks the college football opt-outs by NFL talent and offers up a preseason Top 25 ranking of the teams that will play this fall.

*****

FACT OR FICTION: Dabo Swinney will go to NFL with Trevor Lawrence

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series

*****

1. HUGE IN-STATE RECRUITING KEEPS FROM NON-BLUEBLOODS

Sam Huard
Sam Huard (Rivals.com)

Kentucky landed a huge home state commitment this week from Jager Burton. It may not have received the headlines of a typical Alabama, Ohio State or Clemson commitment, but Burton's pledge is a big one for the Wildcats' program. Here are 10 other big in-state keeps for non-blueblood programs.

1. QB Sam Huard, Washington — The last few five-star quarterbacks in Washington left the state - although Jacob Eason eventually returned and Max Browne didn’t pan out - and Huard was a must-keep for the Huskies. He is a prospect that Washington can build around.

2. TE Hudson Wolfe, Tennessee — Vols fans will be more upset about not being called a blueblood than they will be happy about having Wolfe on this list. Wolfe was a huge get for Tennessee after he was once seemingly leaning to Ohio State.

3. RB DeAndre Boykins, North Carolina — Boykins certainly helped the sting of losing out on Will Shipley and Evan Pryor and is athletic enough to play defense as well.

4. OT Teddy Prochazka, Nebraska — I almost put tight end Thomas Fidone on here for fun because he lives so close to the Nebraska border, but Prochazka is a true in-state keep and a big one.

5. OT Reuben Fatheree II, Texas A&M — The Aggies do very well recruiting offensive linemen and this was a big in-state addition. Fatherlee could play early for Texas A&M.

6. DT Elliot Donald, Pitt — Legacy recruits are always key, so keeping Aaron Donald’s nephew in the Pitt family was crucial.

7. QB Preston Stone, SMU — The biggest Group of Five commitment since Ed Oliver to Houston? You could certainly make that argument.

8. WR Micah Crowell, NC State — NC State has been overlooked due to North Carolina's recruiting efforts, but Crowell has a ton of upside and is a key to this class.

9. OT JP Benzschawel, Wisconsin — An in-state offensive lineman sticking with the Badgers isn’t a surprise but it’s still a big deal.

10. LB Demioun Robinson, Maryland — The Terps need to keep more elite talent home and Robinson was one of their top priorities.

2. THE TOP-10 PLAYERS TO OPT OUT BASED ON DRAFT TALENT

Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons (AP Images)

Let’s rank the top 10 opt-outs based on their NFL Draft talent and judge whether they made the right decision. These are players that either could have played this fall or opted out before the Big Ten and Pac-12 shut things down. And no, Jamie Newman doesn’t make the cut.

1. WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU — Chase is a surefire top-10 pick in the NFL Draft even with all the other talent out there. He made a smart decision.

2. LB Micah Parsons, Penn State — Parsons should easily be a top-15 pick and could push into the top-10, so this was a good choice. He made this decision before knowing the Big Ten was shutting down.

3. DE Greg Rousseau, Miami — Rousseau could be the first pass rusher taken which usually means a top-10 selection, but he’s at least a top-15 pick. Smart decision.

4. WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota — Bateman is a fringe first-rounder and this was an interesting decision made before the Big Ten shut down. Now it’s clearly what he had to do.

5. CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech — Farley was the first to opt out and, from a draft perspective, it’s an iffy move. The consensus seems to be that he will be a first-rounder but other corners that will play this fall could surpass him.

6. DT Jalen Twyman, Pitt — I like Twyman a lot but he needed this season from a draft perspective.

7. WR Rondale Moore, Purdue — Moore opted out before the Big Ten shut down. He needs another healthy season to be a first-rounder.

8. OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan — Mayfield has a first-round grade on him by some people, so he had to make this decision.

9. DE Joe Tryon, Washington — With the Pac-12 shutting down, this makes sense as he will likely be a second- or third-rounder.

10. RB Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis — I know this was based on family loss but, from a draft standpoint, others will push him into the mid-rounds.

3. THE TOP 25 TEAMS (THAT ARE ACTUALLY PLAYING)

Travis Etienne
Travis Etienne (AP Images)

OK, begrudgingly, I give you my Top 25 limited solely to teams playing this fall.

1. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. Georgia

4. Oklahoma

5. Florida

6. Notre Dame

7. LSU

8. Auburn

9. Texas

10. Texas A&M

11. North Carolina

12. Oklahoma State

13. Cincinnati

14. Miami

15. Iowa State

16. UCF

17. Louisville

18. Tennessee

19. TCU

20. Virginia Tech

21. Kentucky

22. Baylor

23. SMU

24. Pitt

25. Florida State