Three-Point Stance: Final thoughts from Five-Star Challenge
ATLANTA -- Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with thoughts a week after the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas.
1. Thoughts on offensive players
Might as well start with the quarterbacks. I was very impressed with Tennessee commitment Harrison Bailey through both sessions. He’s dropped weight, he’s added strength and the ball comes out quicker and with more velocity than it did before. The first question I get of course is this – is he a five-star? I don’t know. Bo Nix was slightly more impressive last year when he earned his fifth-star after the event, but we will debate Bailey in August when players are re-ranked.
Ohio State commitment Kyle McCord also impressed me as a 2021, and fellow 2021 quarterback Brock Vandagriff was also impressive, especially in 7-on-7 after a very bumpy start. Will Vandagriff hold on to the No. 1 overall spot in the 2021 class? That’s another debate for August.
Drew Pyne, the Notre Dame commitment, was solid, as was Bryce Young who is committed to USC. LSU commitment Max Johnson looks like a million bucks, but he struggles with consistency. Ohio State 2020 commitment Jack Miller was apparently playing through injury, which could explain why he struggled with arm strength, and 2021 Michigan commitment J.J. McCarthy simply struggled, and he needs to add a lot of strength and weight.
Georgia wide receiver commitment Marcus Rosemy impressed me quite a bit at his position, and Arik Gilbert is just special as a tight end prospect. If Georgia lands both, watch out for the passing game down the road. Koy Moore didn’t wow me as expected. I was looking for a performance like Trejan Bridges put on last year, but it didn’t happen. Mookie Cooper was very impressive, Notre Dame commitment Jordan Johnson proved to be a five-star, and UNC commitment Joshua Downs was very fast.
Alabama commitment Javon Baker really impressed me and was much better than I expected, while Texas A&M commitment Troy Omeire is a big kid but wasn’t as sudden as I expected. I like Michael Redding, the new Miami commitment, a lot but he tends to catch the ball with his body too often. LV Bunkley-Shelton had the best ball skills of the receivers at the event, and Bryce Gowdy is very consistent and solid as a route runner.
Jalen Berger impressed me at running back, and I was skeptical coming in. Berger isn’t your typical Don Bosco back and I like that. He can catch the ball, run routes and gets separation. Bijan Robinson was the most impressive running back overall, but Berger was not far behind. Class of 2021 running back DeAndre Boykins is an impressive looking kid, but I wasn’t that enamored with what I saw from Illinois commitment Reggie Love, although he’s much more impressive in pads on film.
Beyond Gilbert, the tight ends didn’t really stand out. Of course that probably would have been different if Darnell Washington hadn’t backed out at the last moment. Hudson Wolfe and Cam Large are very solid tight ends and big, physical kids, but I wonder about their overall athleticism.
The offensive line was much more impressive than the defensive line, and I think 2021 guard Bryce Foster has a chance to be special. He’s very powerful and anchors like no other; he just needs to get a bit quicker with his feet in pass protection. But he really stood out.
His teammate, Hayden Conner, is massive but needs to work on his feet to be elite. Aaryn Parks was very impressive, and if Oklahoma lands him as expected it will be getting a very good one. Marcus Dumervil has great upside, as does Sedrick Van Pran, and Penn State is getting a good one in Golden Achumba.
Walker Parks was probably the most athletic lineman at the event, and the Clemson commit still has the most upside of anyone who attended from the 2020 class. Chris Morris is a battler and so much better inside than he is out at tackle, while 2021 prospects Amarius Mims and Donovan Jackson both look very good, with Mims showing five-star potential.
2. Let's move to the defensive side of the ball
Let’s start with the defensive line, which was very disappointing overall to me. Michigan commitment Braiden McGregor looks like a million bucks, but he was very easy to block and way too upright in one-on-ones. He has a lot of technique to work on. I know some places have him ranked much higher than we do, but based on his regional - and now national - performances as well as film evaluation, we have him right or even too high right now.
Defensive tackle McKinley Jackson took a ton of reps but doesn’t really have many pass rushing moves and showed why he dropped down to four-stars overall. Savion Collins, a Miami commitment, is a gamer with a great motor but needs to work on his pass-rushing technique. However, as a 2021 he has plenty of time to refine that.
Clemson five-star commitment Bryan Bresee is a special talent, especially working inside, and an amazing athlete for his size. He also has a non-stop motor. Texas A&M commitment Isaiah Raikes doesn’t look great off the bus, but he has a never-ending motor and some very nice moves. He also shows excellent balance.
I was impressed with defensive end Chantz Williams but underwhelmed with defensive end Donell Harris. The 2020 prospect is so thin and easy to move around. Ohio State commitment Darrion Henry struggled as well, while DeMonte Capehart, a Clemson commitment, needs to work inside and struggled at times outside with quickness.
At linebacker, Derek Wingo was the most impressive player overall, and I have been critical of him in the past. He’s added size and is an amazing athlete with good ball skills. The Florida commitment will be an early impact player. Noah Sewell is a freak of nature and an amazing athlete for his size who never stops. Whoever gets him is either getting a freak at linebacker or a nasty defensive tackle, depending on how he grows.
Five-star Justin Flowe wasn’t as aggressive as he was last year but he still threw some people around. Terrence Lewis, Junior Colson and Keith Brown are all impressive-looking 2021 prospects. Florida State commitment Stephen Dix is a quick-twitch kid, while Penn State commitment Curtis Jacobs and Ohio State commitment Cody Simon are both impressive, especially in coverage. Bryson Eason was the most impressive linebacker physically and came back from a shoulder injury, but he needs to get a bit quicker. He could grow into a defensive end.
Kelee Ringo wowed us all with his laser 40 time, but he struggled in coverage in the one-on-ones and missed the 7-on-7 with a couple of injuries. He’s still one of the most elite prospects in the country and probably the one guy in this class that is sure to blow up the NFL combine in a few years. Texas A&M commitment Jaylon Jones had the best day of anyone overall and should be moving up a bit, while Tennessee commitment Antonio Johnson impressed me with his ball skills.
Class of 2021 cornerback Tony Grimes had a good day overall and will continue to push for that fifth-star, and I love Michigan commitment Andre Seldon; I just wish he was a little bigger. There were many impressive athletes at defensive back and a lot of skinny players who could be special when they fill out, such as Bryson Washington.
3. Some odds and ends from the event
Texas A&M was the talk of the event with so many committed players impressing and so many 2021 kids talking them up. Jimbo Fisher is a top-five recruiter nationally when he wants to be, and he’s building a dangerous program at A&M.
Georgia and Clemson are the two teams that seem to be mentioned by every kid, regardless of geography, and that’s the way to win national titles. Clemson already has two and I still think Georgia will break through if it keeps recruiting the way it is.