Three-Point Stance: Transfers, freshmen LBs, NFL Draft value picks
National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with some thoughts on some recent portal entries, a breakdown of the top true freshmen linebackers of the 2020 season and a look at 10 potential mid-round NFL Draft steals.
NFL DRAFT: Top five QBs heading into March
CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series
1. TRANSFER PORTAL MOVES THAT INTRIGUE ME
The Transfer Portal has been especially active in recent days with many players making their decisions. Here are some of the latest moves that intrigue me:
QB Alan Bowman — This is interesting because there are programs out there with a lot less returning at quarterback than Michigan so the former Texas Tech gunslinger must feel he can immediately beat out Cade McNamara and incoming freshman J.J. McCarthy. Bowman is impressive if he can stay healthy.
DB Jamari Brown — Brown doesn’t have a home yet but he has good size and some SEC experience to sell to programs. He's a Power Five player to me.
WR Nate Craig-Myers — UCF is the right fit for the former four-star who committed to Gus Malzahn out of high school. Craig-Myers will be an instant red zone fit.
DB Khary Crump — I like this get for Michigan State as Crump can likely plug right into the two-deep at corner.
TE Arik Gilbert — This is going to be the biggest and most dramatic portal situation so far. At different times I heard he was a lock for Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, LSU (again) and Florida. Now that he’s decommitted from Florida, JUCO could be next.
OL Kenneth Kirby — Kirby is a big and athletic player who was an all-conference player at the FCS level and is an NFL prospect. He’s an experienced starter at left tackle and is a huge get for Georgia Tech where depth is needed.
DB Marqui Lowery Jr. — Michigan State needs defensive back help and the sleeper from North Carolina has a chance to make an impact.
WR Samson Nacua — Nacua has height and a good catch radius and was a productive player at Utah despite some QB issues. He went from former walk-on to reliable option and could end up at Washington with this brother Puka.
DB Jason Simmons — Simmons wowed many with his first year at the Group of Five level and his instincts are off the charts for a young player so he will play early and often at Syracuse.
2. IMPRESSIVE TRUE FRESHMEN LINEBACKERS
Let’s keep at it as I continue my rankings of the top true freshmen that played in the 2020 season. Here are the linebackers.
1. William Anderson, Alabama — Anderson was a five-star out of high school for a reason and showed why with 33 tackles and seven sacks.
2. B.J. Ojulari, LSU — Ojulari is a hybrid of sorts like Anderson and had a very effective season as well with four sacks in situational play.
3. Trenton Simpson, Clemson — Simpson showed his five-star ability as the season wore on with 28 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. He’s going to be amazing.
4. Noah Sewell, Oregon — Sewell didn’t surprise anyone as we had him as a five-star but he stepped up when fellow freshman linebacker Justin Flowe went down with injury. He had 37 tackles, five for a loss and two sacks.
5. Jamal Ligon, UTSA — Ligon was a two-star defensive end out of high school who had 72 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
6. Tyler Grubbs, Louisiana Tech — A low three-star coming out of high school, Grubbs had 96 tackles with 9.5 for a loss as an immediate leader on the Bulldogs' defense.
7. Stephen Dix Jr., Florida State — The former four-star was needed early and often and answered with 44 tackles as the Seminoles rebuild.
8. Stefon Thompson, Syracuse — With 36 tackles, 7.5 for a loss and two sacks, Thompson has to make this list.
9. Marlowe Wax, Syracuse — And with 32 tackles, 5.5 for a loss and three sacks, Wax made me end with an odd number at nine but he’s too good to be left off.
3. TEN MID-ROUND VALUES IN THE 2021 NFL DRAFT
Here are 10 prospects for the NFL Draft 2021 that I absolutely love as mid-round values.
RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo — With more than 1,000 yards and 19 scores in just six games, someone will land a potential stud in the backfield in the middle of the draft.
DT Alim McNeil, NC State — He’s a run-plugger with athleticism in a down year for interior linemen.
DT Jaylen Twyman, Pitt — Twyman is forgotten by many having opted out but he can chase the passer as he showed in 2019.
LB Paddy Fisher, Northwestern — A heady leader for Pat Fitzgerald, Fisher had a solid bounceback season and will be a 10-year player for someone.
DE Shaka Toney, Penn State — His athleticism is intriguing despite the fact he hasn’t had double-digit tackles for a loss or sacks.
WR Trevon Grimes, Florida — in a deep wide receiver year, Grimes will be overlooked a bit but he’s just starting to round into his five-star potential.
DB Talonoa Tufanga, USC — I have no clue why he’s projected to slide to the middle of the draft but he’s a future defensive captain.
LB Justin Hilliard, Ohio State — He’s been around forever and has a ton of experience at a high level so he could be a steal late.
WR Cornell Powell, Clemson — He was patient and waited his turn, and now after a 53-catch season with Trevor Lawrence don’t be stunned if the Jags grab him late.
WR Josh Palmer, Tennessee — Bad QB play hurt Palmer, who has very good size and can get downfield. It’s a crime he only scored seven touchdowns in his Vols' career.