Three-Point Stance: Rankings, LBs, teams that shouldn't worry
RELATED: Mike Farrell's thoughts on Rivals100
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with thoughts on the 2020 rankings, scouting linebackers and five programs that shouldn’t be worried about team rankings right now.
1. RANDOM MUSINGS ABOUT THE 2020 RANKINGS
It’s a really strong year at running back in 2020 and hard to gauge who will pan out as the best. I love the fit of Chris Tyree at Notre Dame and think he’s perfect for that offense. Daniyel Ngata is dynamic and can fit in many offenses or be a slot receiver if needed and A.J. Henning brings speed and sneaky power to the all-purpose position.
But it’s the true running backs that have me the most excited, the guys who can be three-down players. Zachary Evans is on top, but I like Demarkus Bowman a lot, as well. In fact, Bowman could have more college success with all the talent that will surround him at Clemson. Evans would fit anywhere but needs to make a good choice to develop properly. Don Chaney, the Miami running back commitment, is very fast and a kid I like a lot and think will be a star while Bijan Robinson is dynamic as well. Kendall Milton is a big running back, but I do question his speed at the next level. More and more we are focusing on speed at the running back position because it’s so important in today’s college game. One guy who doesn’t get enough attention? Jase McClellan, the Oklahoma commitment who could be a perfect fit.
Overall this isn’t a great year at quarterback, not nearly as good as we thought a few years ago as some guys haven’t continued to take the next step in their development. This is especially true at the dual-threat quarterback position where Bryce Young is our top guy. Young, a USC commitment, is very dynamic but lacks size and can struggle at times with mechanics. I can’t remember a time when our highest rated dual-threat quarterback has a 5.9 rivals rating. This summer and next season and especially the all star games will be interesting because this list could be turned upside-down.
I like this wide receiver group a lot, led by Ohio State commitment Julian Fleming, and it’s no surprise we have four five-stars already and many knocking on the door. Zavier Betts is a guy to keep an eye on as the Nebraska commitment has a good size and speed combination.
My favorite non five-star? It’s still Georgia commitment Broderick Jones. He has a chance to be an amazing offensive tackle at the next level. Watch out for linebacker Quandarrius Robinson, who could be a great hybrid or a freaky tall and long linebacker wherever he lands.
Is there a five-star I don’t agree with? There are a few, but Georgia linebacker commitment Mekhail Sherman is someone who has great upside but is still very raw and coming off an injury. Linebacker Antoine Sampah, an LSU linebacker commitment, is another I worry about as he’s also coming off injury. Scouting linebackers has become as difficult as any other position. I’m a little wary about five-star linebackers after we clearly overshot in the 2016 class.
What is my personal top 10? Here you go.
DE Jordan Burch – He’s one of the most athletic defensive ends I’ve seen in a few years and his ceiling is ridiculous.
CB Elias Ricks – A tall corner with great instincts should be a little higher than we have him.
LB Justin Flowe – He’s a beast and a rarity at linebacker from an aggression standpoint.
QB D.J. Uiagalelei – A great quarterback prospect but I don’t have him as my No. 1 guy in the nation.
CB Kelee Ringo – Like Ricks, it’s hard to keep a corner this big and talented lower.
RB Zachary Evans – I love Evans and his running style and think he could move higher.
DT Bryan Bresee – He’s a monster who can play defensive end or defensive tackle.
DT Justin Rogers – He’s special as a defensive tackle and will be a star.
RB Demarckus Bowman – I love his speed and his sneaky power.
OT Paris Johnson Jr. – The best tackle in the class belongs in the top 10. He is very athletic.
Who are some guys out of range that could end up as five-stars in the end? I have a few names.
OT Walker Parks – Parks has improved so much. I can only see more and more improvement as he works his way up the rankings.
OT Andrew Gentry – I love his film. He’s hard to get an in person evaluation on because he’s from Colorado, but he’s a five-star on film.
WR Zavier Betts – Good size, good speed and good hands, he’s a guy who can show out next season and beyond. His film is very impressive.
DT Timothy Smith – I’m a big fan of Smith because he’s athletic and has a very good motor for a big man.
DE Gervon Dexter – He’s raw but he’s a very hard worker, has a good first step but needs to add strength and muscle. But I love his motor.
2. LINEBACKERS ARE THE HARDEST TO EVALUATE
Linebackers. What are we going to do with you guys? You’ve become one of the hardest positions to evaluate and I don’t understand why. For every can’t-miss Dylan Moses there is a Mique Juarez or Ben Davis who makes you scratch your head.
We’re going to take a real hit when it comes to our college and pro projections at linebackers as the 2016 class hits draft eligibility. That year I foolishly allowed 10 linebackers to be ranked as five-stars when my gut told me to cut it off at seven. Davis was the top linebacker and he’s done nothing at Alabama, which is stunning to me while Rahshaun Smith was No. 2 and couldn’t get on the field consistently at Clemson. Juarez has done nothing at UCLA, Erick Fowler didn’t last at Texas and Caleb Kelly has been okay but not great at Oklahoma. Tre Lamar was No. 6 that year, and he had a solid career at Clemson but then went undrafted after coming out early. Lyndell “Mack” Wilson was a late draft pick this year after a solid career at Alabama. And Nos. 8, 9 and 10? Stanford linebacker Curtis Robinson, former Ohio State linebacker Keandre Jones and Notre Dame defensive end Daelin Hayes who we had as a 254-pound linebacker back in 2016. It’s not pretty, at least not five-star pretty.
Meanwhile guys we deemed too short like Roquan Smith and Devin Bush became first-rounders and a guy we had as a potential fullback in Devin White was a terror at linebacker at LSU and a top pick this year. Now all three of those guys were four-stars but you get the point.
We just dropped linebacker Reggie Grimes down from five-stars to four, and I have questions about Mekhail Sherman and Antoine Sampah who are both coming off ACL injuries. The only two I feel very certain about are Flowe and Chris Braswell. We’ll see how 2020 pans out at linebacker but it’s been a position that has been tough to evaluate in recent years.
3. FIVE PROGRAMS THAT SHOULDN'T WORRY
Here are five programs that shouldn't worry about their low ranking in the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings.
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher will get his. Just watch as the Aggies put together another top-10 recruiting class.
Oklahoma – The Sooners should finish in the top 10 and maybe push for top-five status as they are one of the “it” teams in the country when it comes to recruits.
Texas – Texas doesn’t have a lot of commits but the Longhorns will get their fair share in Texas and surprise with a few long distance recruits.
Tennessee – Fans seem worried about the Vols' recruiting. I am not. Jeremy Pruitt will have them in the 11-15 range at the very least and possibly top 10 and he can develop players better than Butch Jones.
Nebraska – Only three commitments? Worry not. Scott Frost is a great talent evaluator and the Huskers will start reeling them in soon. I know they’ve thrown a ton of offers out there but trust me they have their pecking order and won’t be impatient and reach on many kids.