Three-Point Stance: Observations from the Under Armour practice field
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here with some instant impact signees from Under Armour practice, some thoughts on the elite offensive linemen at the event and some odds and ends.
1. Fabulous freshmen to be
Now that there have been two days of practice at Under Armour, I feel a bit more comfortable with the rosters and players and think a few who have already signed could make an early impact for their future teams. Here are a few of them:
Jaylen McCullough, Tennessee – He may be a bit raw, but I like his instincts a lot and he always seems to be around the ball and know when to make a play on it. The Vols need defensive help and he’s a kid I could see getting some quality minutes as a freshman.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon – He’s still skinny but he sure is fast off the snap and handles bigger linemen well. There is no doubt he plays early and often for the Ducks and will at least be a situational pass rusher.
Julian Barnett, Michigan State—I like the way Barnett moves and his size and Michigan State does a great job developing defensive backs. They don’t play as many true freshmen as some other programs, but they will have to let Barnett make an impact.
Jeremiah Criddell, Oklahoma – Help is needed in the Oklahoma defensive backfield and Criddell could be an early answer. He’s big enough to eventually grow into a linebacker if needed as well but I think he sees some time at safety next year.
2. Battle of the big men
Five of the six top-rated offensive tackles in the nation are here at Under Armour competing for bragging rights and rankings. Here’s how they’ve done so far:
Darnell Wright – Wright was better on day two than he was on day one and showed off ability at tackle and guard. There is no doubt that he’s raw and has some technical issues to work on, but I liked the improvement from day one to day two. We will see if he continues to improve. Has he looked like the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country? Not yet.
Evan Neal – Neal is a monster and has been consistently good the first two days and has the look of a five-star and the No. 1 tackle in the country. The consensus down here has been that Neal is better than Wright so far.
Kenyon Green – Green has been solid and I like the way he moves his feet and adjusts after initial contact. He’s a pure tackle and will be a good one for the Aggies. So far so good for Green.
Wanya Morris – Strength is the big question mark surrounding Morris as he’s been knocked around a couple of times. He worked at guard and tackle on Monday and looked better and more natural at guard, so that could be his future.
Devontae Dobbs – Dobbs isn’t quite as filled out as I expected and he’s been okay but not spectacular. He could also be a guard down the line. He’s struggled a bit with physical pass rushers.
3. Emptying out the notebook from the sidelines
Some more odds and ends from practice:
• Safety Brian Williams has struggled in coverage the first two days and that will be something he needs to work on at the next level. He’s well put together and physical but speed is a question mark. The Texas A&M signee has a high ceiling but he hasn’t improved in coverage since last year’s Future 50.
• I really like Kaiir Elam a lot. He’s a bit raw in certain aspects but he’s physically gifted and has good size for a defensive back. Whoever gets him, and it appears that Georgia and Florida are the two favorites, will be getting a good one.
• Jameson Williams has been very impressive to me with his route running and his hands. He’s still super skinny but so sudden that he’s been hard to cover. He will need a year in the weight room but watch out for him down the line for Ohio State.
• I like what I’ve seen from offensive guard and Auburn signee Keiondre Jones so far this week and think he will be a very steady college guard. He isn’t flashy and won’t wow you with his athleticism but he’s powerful, anchors well and rarely makes a mistake.
• Tyler Davis doesn’t get the attention of some other defensive tackles, but watch him become a star at Clemson. They obviously know how to develop defensive linemen and he has all the tools to be a very good one.
• The quarterback play wasn’t much better on day two than it was on day one although Bo Nix still looked good. Michael Johnson, the Penn State signee, really struggled on the day as did most of the other quarterbacks not named Nix. Each had their moments but each also has one major flaw when compared to a five-star like Nix.