Ranking is always at the top of the mind during the spring camp season, and the results Rival Camp Series This past weekend in Philadelphia will have an impact on the upcoming rankings discussion.
Check out the important ranking-related questions and topics from this weekend’s rival camp and from several high school showcases in New England on Mondays and Tuesdays.
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The MVP award for Sunday’s receivers went down to Demetrius Bell and Yazid Haynes, both three-star prospects and both significantly lower.
Haynes, who dropped Bell for the award, is a Rutgers promise and Scarlett Knights should be really excited to have him on board already. Measured at 6-foot-1 with a 6-foot-4 wingspan, Haynes is a versatile receiver that can play outdoors or indoors. The Pennsylvania locals had straight-line motion to move away from almost every cornerback when they were in the open field. Haynes showed really impressive short-range speed, something we didn’t expect him to come to the event. That footwork and overall contingency took his game to a different level and it was very difficult for any cornerback to control him. These long arms and reliable arms will make him a top target once he reaches the Power Five level.
The bell sounded like one of those receivers you can’t handle in a phone booth. He will probably play in the next level slot but he has some size and strength that will enable him to compete with some of the big cornerbacks and defenses that will come across. Bell plays with an offensive style and is able to fight against bodyguards. The best part about his game is his overall speed. The fancy footwork he showed to break the press coverage and land on the open field impressed many in attendance. The separation was no problem for Bell and he should be the top receiver target for the Power Five program across the country.
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Okunola arrived at the camp on Sunday with a mission head in Philadelphia and he succeeded on all fronts. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound tackle from Massachusetts was as impressive as an offensive lineman in the camp setting. Physically, Okunlola does not carry very bad weights, and he looks like an elite athlete in position. It also has the flexibility to be able to play consistently with the appropriate pad level.
As one of the top wrestlers in his weight class, Okunola has a great idea about leverage and how to use every ounce of his energy. The power of that immense play was evident one after another, especially in one of the reps when everyone could hear the pop when Okunlola shot the defensive lineman in the chest and pushed him off his feet. His lateral agility is also unique to his size for a player and this is what keeps defensive linemen out of the backfield when they try to counter.
It’s hard to imagine a world where Oklahoma is not at least in the top five in its position group when the rankings are updated early next month. Okunlola is ready for a significant improvement in the rankings, sitting at No. 6 in the offensive tackle rankings and No. 64 in the 250th.
The position group that was deepest on Sunday was: Defensive back. Colin Gill, Sabur Karim, KP Price and Tawfiq Baird led the way in 2023 defensive backs. All are currently rated as low three-star probability and will probably end up as protection at the next level.
The 2024 Defensive Back stole the show from 2023. Opponent 250 Possibilities Omilo Agard won the MVP, but it could easily have gone to teammate 250 Possibilities Bo Carter, three-star Kenneth Wesley or 250 Possibilities Braden Lee. Agard has not shown much physical development since the end of the season, but he has the same quick, crisp footwork and impressive instincts as before. Carter flew from Tennessee and the trip was definitely worth it. He was occasionally influential on Sundays and dropped very few catches, which can also be said about Oseli and Lee. Wesley was on point Sunday, using a combination of speed and body style to keep the ball away from his receiver. Lee’s height and length are natural gifts and his overall speed and agility did not disappoint him. She had a lot of expectations to come to the event and she certainly fulfilled them.
Defensive backs Jelen McClain and Cam Richardson also had moments. The 2024 prospects outside of North New Jersey have created quite a bit of drama with the ball and have done a good job of disrupting the time between the quarterback and the receiver.
Twelve schools in Connecticut and Massachusetts – home to a large portion of New England’s main potential – have worked together to put together a schedule of “show days” so that college coaches can watch workouts in comfort at each school Monday and Tuesday. More than 40 different school instructors, including more than 10 Power Five program instructors, were seen in two days. Rival.com also had a hand in seeing how much of the area’s top potential has progressed.
One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to see 2023 offensive lineman Miles Walker, and he was not disappointed. Already rated a high three-star probability, Walker will likely continue to rise in the next ranking update. He showed his size and agility and aggression as excellent athletes looking for college coaches. Seeing him in person has really helped him underscore the kind of athlete he is. Walker did a great job of walking through the agility drill and working on his pass sets. Walker has the versatility of playing either tackle or guard spot and this will make him a more attractive prospect for college coaches.
After seeing the underrated in his workout on Monday, Penn State, Indiana, Texas A&M and Iowa confirmed that belief by extending the offer to Walker on Wednesday.
One of the other big stops on the first day was Lumis Chaffey School, with multiple four-star prospects in 2023 and 2024 classes. Olaus Alinen, a 2023 rival 250 offensive lineman, didn’t work, and 2024 four-star Jarrod Smith didn’t either. Four-star Dante Reno and Jacob Smith got some work in the rain. Smith looks bigger and more agile than we’ve seen before, and as he goes through the bag drill he shows the more aggressive style we’ve come to expect from him. Renault was working in low-favorable conditions, but he seems to have handled it well. He will keep an eye on it throughout the summer.
Ryan Puglisi, a 2024 quarterback who was at Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy last year, has made great strides since last year. He is a few inches tall and has added significant muscle mass. The gusts of wind during his workout were so strong that they could take Josh Allen’s pass for the ride. That being said, Puglisi was basically on point during the session and showed signs of serious improvement.
On the second day of “Show Days”, Okunlola was shown another workout at his school. The double-digit Power Five attended school to see him up close, but it was a very light exercise.
Penn State Four-Star Tight and Commit Andrew Raphael did a great job during his workout. He ran the crisp route and showed more explosives than expected. Rappleyea is clearly working on its short-range speed and this has certainly helped its route-driving ability. He ended the day with a great catch in the sideline.
Although they were not officially part of “Show Day,” dozens of college coaches stopped at the Catholic Memorial to work with most of their players. Notre Dame Four-Star Defensive Line Commit Baubakar Travar looked like he was in great form and moved well during the conditioning drill.
Osinubi at Oluwacoled and Boyden College receiver committee Zaidan Skit played well at the rival camp on Sunday and did not disappoint during their school workouts.
Guerrero Lambert, the 2024 offensive lineman, has the ability to be considered one of the top 15 offensive tackles in the 2024 class. He carries a valid 6-foot-7 and his 300-pound frame well. Lambert has no problem bending to enter his pass set and seems to have the quickness to protect the defensive edges from getting around the edge.
There will be many more scouting news and notes from New England in the coming days about other high-wealth and emerging prospects.