Three-Point Stance: Four-stars to watch, first-year coaches, Kyler Murray
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with a few Rivals100 prospects in the 2019 class that could be underrated, grading the coaches who just finished their first recruiting class and why Kyler Murray’s decision is a gutsy one.
1. WATCH OUT FOR THESE RIVALS100 FOUR-STARS
Over the last couple of recruiting classes I’ve made a list of Rivals100 four-stars who we might look back on as underranked. Why should you pay attention to this list? Because CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma and Grant Delpit from LSU have made it in the past. So here are my picks for 2019.
Jordan Whittington, Texas – Everyone knows how high I am on Whittington and he will have a great career whether it’s on offense or defense. Once he adds a bit more speed, watch out as he could be a physical and dominant receiver in the Big 12.
Travon Walker, Georgia – Walker has a great frame and is very athletic, so he could grow into a defensive tackle who can get after the passer. Either way, if he stays on the edge or moves to the middle, he could be special.
Jake Smith, Texas – Smith can do so much offensively that he will be a Swiss Army knife for the Texas offense and put up some dominant numbers in the Big 12. He brings elite speed and pass-catching skills to an emerging offense.
Kaiir Elam, Florida – Elam has the size and athletic ability (not to mention the genes) to be a lockdown corner for the Gators and possibly play like a five-star. Keep an eye on this kid down the line.
Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame – Hamilton is a ball hawk at safety and covers a ton of ground but it’s his natural instincts that impress me the most. He seems to know where the play is going immediately and that’s hard to teach.
Charles Moore, Auburn – Auburn does a really good job of developing defensive linemen and Moore could be the next great one. He can play defensive end or defensive tackle and is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential.
Julian Barnett, Michigan State – Barnett has a ton of potential as a defensive back and I like him better than some others who saw him at Under Armour. The Spartans do a great job coaching up their defensive backs and putting them in the pros, and he could be the next great one.
2. RANKING THE FIRST-YEAR COACHES
Last week we graded the new coaches, such as Mack Brown and Les Miles, who have just been recently hired and how they closed out the 2019 class. But what about those coaches in their first full year recruiting for their program? Here’s how I see things:
1. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M – A – Fisher did an excellent job in his first full season, keeping a ton of talent home in Texas and landing one of the best classes in recent memory for the Aggies at No. 6 nationally. Highlighted by three five-stars, this class will go a long way toward determining how successful Texas A&M will be in a few years.
2. Mario Cristobal, Oregon – A – Cristobal put together the best class in the Pac-12 and it wasn’t very close. He’s the only coach in the conference to sign a five-star in Kayvon Thibodeaux and he basically hit all his needs.
3. Scott Frost, Nebraska – A – Frost landed a top-20 class for Nebraska, something that isn’t easy these days without a great home base to recruit from. He hit numerous states, flipped a few key players and added depth on offense and defense. There are a lot of players in this class who are just starting to reach their potential.
4. Dan Mullen, Florida – B+ -- A top-10 class at Florida and a strong finish is just what the doctor ordered for the Gators. Those who questioned Mullen’s ability to recruit have their answer and when you add that to his ability to develop talent, Florida could be in good shape for the future.
5. Chad Morris, Arkansas – B+ -- Morris probably deserves an A for his efforts especially after a two-win season, but a B+ is pretty good considering. This class is loaded with four-stars and is a great start to rebuilding the program.
6. Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee – B – Pruitt closed strong and added some key immediate help, especially with marquee offensive linemen like Darnell Wright and Wayna Morris. It will take a few more classes like this, but with his ability to develop players the Vols are off to a good start under the new(ish) coach.
7. Matt Luke, Ole Miss – B – I love what Luke did in February when many were coming after his recruits and he did a good job of stealing a few away as well. This is a huge class so it will be important to develop as many as he can, but he hit so many positions it’s hard to imagine this will be any sort of disappointment.
8. Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State – B – The Bulldogs took a much smaller class than Ole Miss but I give Moorhead the same grade because there is a lot of quality in here. It’s a top-heavy class, but those at the top could make a huge difference.
9. Willie Taggart, Florida State – C+ -- This was a tough grade because Florida State finished with a top-15 class, but overall it was a disappointment compared to other years and he struck out at the quarterback position. Taggart landed some key players in this class, but recruiting at Florida State shouldn’t be this hard even coming off a losing season.
10. Herm Edwards, Arizona State – C -- Many questioned Edwards' ability to recruit and the jury is still out. He did land three solid quarterbacks, so that position should be well-stocked for the future and there are some sleepers in this class.
11. Jonathan Smith, Oregon State – C – Landing the No. 65 class in the nation isn’t great but this isn’t an easy job and Smith did some good things. The Beavers will need to win on the field to improve their national standing however.
12. Kevin Sumlin, Arizona – C -- Sumlin was known as an excellent recruiter at Texas A&M, so I had high hopes for his first class, but it fell short. Jalen Curry is the only four-star in the class and there is a drop off when it comes to talent halfway through the class.
13. Chip Kelly, UCLA – D – What is Kelly doing? UCLA should always finish in the national top 25 and land a five-star and plenty of four-stars but this class is very disappointing. He’s going to have to be much more aggressive to be successful moving forward.
3. KYLER MURRAY SHOWS GUTS WITH DECISION
I’m not a big baseball fan, so I was thrilled to hear that former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is going to focus on being a franchise quarterback in the NFL. This decision takes guts. Depending on how well he does at each sport, he could make similar money but we all know the average length of a career in Major League Baseball is much longer than it is in the NFL.
His decision speaks to just how competitive Murray is and how much he hates to be told he can’t do something. Is he too small to be a star in the NFL? I doubted him in high school and I’m not going to doubt him again. He’s going to be fun to watch.