football Edit

Three-point stance: Observations from Future 50

ORLANDO — Here is a three-point review of the Future 50 event, which took place on Saturday at the Under-Armour All America Game week.

RELATED: Salyer named MVP at Future 50 | Full coverage

1. Most impressive prospects

Xavier Thomas
Xavier Thomas

The Future 50 event was loaded with talent and we’ve broken down some of the recruiting situations with many of the players and put out our list of the top 12 prospects on offense and defense (include links if needed). What’s my take you may ask? Let’s start with the 10 most impressive prospects.

1. DE Xavier Thomas – Thomas is powerfully built, explosive off the snap and has violent hands. He’s special and whoever keeps him in state, Clemson or South Carolina, has a franchise guy. Could we be looking at the next Derek Barnett of college football?

2. OG Jamaree Salyer – Tackles usually get the most attention, but Salyer was clearly the dominant one and took a few higher-ranked kids to school. Georgia needs to keep him in state. He's one of the best guards I've seen in a long time.

3. CB Patrick Surtain – Surtain is so long and has added much bulk but hasn’t lost a bit of his fluidity and flexibility. He’ll go to a major power program and impact from day one. Is he Jalen Ramsey? He could be better if you can believe that.

4. RB James Cook – The Florida State commitment made everyone look foolish for the most part and it’s unfair to try to cover him in one-on-one situations. It's tough to say he'll be better than his brother, Dalvin Cook, but he's on track to have a great career.

5. WR Justyn Ross – The best wide receiver from the state of Alabama since Julio Jones? He could be.

6. OT Brey Walker – The Oklahoma commitment has a great frame, long arms and does a good job of extending to push opponents outside the pocket or wash them into the line. Many won't remember Quenton Spain but he reminds me of him except longer.

7. WR Terrace Marshall – Marshall is smooth, gets off the line well, cuts on a dime and catches everything out front. He’s a must keep for Ed Orgeron at LSU.

8. CB Myles Sims – Sims can be awkward at times, but his length and ability to change direction at his size as well as his potential as a huge corner or ball-hawking safety makes him special.

9. DE Micah Parsons – Parsons, a Penn State commitment, played linebacker and more than held his own through drills and some one-on-ones despite being so big. He’s a Noah Spence clone but more advanced at the same stage.

10) DE KJ Henry – Henry’s shoulder dip is elite and he’s so wiry, it’s hard to get a clean shot on him.

2. Five that disappointed

Fabian Franklin
Fabian Franklin

1. RB Fabian Franklin – Franklin wasn’t as filled out as I expected and didn’t have the downfield burst I was hoping to see.

2. DT Taron Vincent – Vincent might be a victim of circumstance here as he lost a bunch of reps to Salyer, but the potential Ohio State commitment didn’t rep like the No. 5 player in the country.

3. TE Malcom Epps – Epps is tall and gangly, but didn’t seem to use that to his advantage and wasn’t able to gain separation or show much burst.

4. CB Olaijah Griffin – Griffin got lost in coverage a bit too much for me and didn’t close as well as I’d hoped. He also seemed to be off balance for most reps.

5. OT Reuben Unije – Unije has a great frame and long arms and, like Vincent, might be a victim of circumstance because he went mostly against five-stars Thomas and Henry, but he’ll need to learn patience.

3. Five guys to keep an eye on

Ishmael Sopsher
Ishmael Sopsher

And here are some young guys to watch from the 2018, 2019 and even 2020 classes.

1. DT Ishmael Sopsher (2019) – Sopsher is a special prospect for a 2019 prospect with advanced pass rushing moves, power and great leverage. This kid will be one to watch for sure.

2. QB JT Daniels (2019) – Daniels, who seems to like Notre Dame and Stanford, is a prolific passer who showed good accuracy, a nice release and good touch downfield.

3. QB Harrison Bailey (2020) – Bailey is huge for a 2020 quarterback with a big arm, it’s easy to see why he has so many early offers.

4. RB Trey Sanders (2019) – Sanders is a huge running back for his grade and fits the mold of other Alabama commitments at the position in recent years.

5. RB Noah Cain (2019) – Cain didn’t dominate by any stretch but he had his moments and is one of the more well-rounded running backs in the 2019 class.