Evaluating an entire class is an ongoing measure for us at SI All-American, even despite the uncertainty surrounding high school football this fall and the Monday release of the SI99.
Some states, like Alabama and Utah, are already into the 2020 football season and others, like Ohio, kick off in a matter of hours. 17 states have pushed football to the spring of 2021, but the need to see a fresh sample from some of the nation's best remains.
For various reasons, SIAA needs to get that in-person look at key prospects at some point soon. If we had a jet with unlimited mileage to travel to games on consecutive days, these are the prospects we'd rack up the miles to check out.
1. QB Jake Garcia, Voldosta (Ga.) High
This one is pretty clear, right? Garcia made the high-profile move from California to south Georgia in time for the 2020 season and he happens to be playing at a stacked program with a polarizing head coach in Rush Propst. The USC commitment, still plenty coveted by Miami with some Hurricane buzz growing, would be a storyline by himself given his physical talent. Garcia is a strong 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame with confidence, mobility and a head-turning right arm. He can play in the pocket as well as on the move but hasn't completed a full prep season and has suited up for several programs over the years. If he can stabilize at a program like Voldosta in the short time he's been in town it could lead to one of the biggest senior climbs in the country.
2. OT Tommy Brockermeyer, Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal
The last time we saw Brockermeyer play a full prep season, he was technically sound and dominant as a 265-pound sophomore in 2018. Now he's moving just as well at nearly 300 pounds, enough progression to secure the top tackle spot in the SI99. Given his bloodline and multiple coaching types living in the same house, we're banking on the technique to hold up despite the long layoff. Watching the Alabama commitment work at his updated size in 2020 should be part validation, part entertainment this fall.
3. QB Tyler Buchner, La Mesa (Calif.) Helix
Another SI99 member, Buchner dealt with his knee injury as a sophomore before breaking out for a ridiculous 80-plus touchdown campaign in 2019 as a true passing and running threat. But an offseason of mechanical changes, especially evident at the Elite 11 Finals with his arm slot and release point, tweaked the polish and consistency for the Notre Dame commitment. He'll work to correct things as a senior, something we'd love to see up close this spring when Calif. kicks off their season -- if Buchner is still in high school into the New Year, that is.
4. CB Latrell McCutchin, Austin (Texas) Lyndon B. Johnson
Another injury situation here. The Oklahoma defensive back commitment is in the Brockermeyer boat in that his sophomore tape was so, so good before getting banged up as a junior. McCutchin has long carried himself with almost a chip on the shoulder attitude, something we'd love to see on display come Friday nights. He has the makeup on and off the field to challenge the way OU is perceived on defense and seeing it in action sometime soon wouldn't be boring.
5. WR Lorenzo Styles, Pickerington (Ohio) Central
Another Notre Dame commitment, this one isn't a technical question, it's positional. Styles is an explosive, dynamic prospect on offense, defense and special teams. He lines up everywhere, something that is a hat tip to his game and overall athleticism. For us in the projection business, though, it's slowed the position projection specifically. Wide receiver may make the most sense on tape given the frame, instincts and explosion, but the priority positions in the secondary remain under our consideration at this stage. A live look may clinch it one way or the other and be the finishing touch on a potential rise into the SI99 simultaneously.
6. CB Ga'Quincy McKinstry, Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley
See Styles above. The only difference for 'Kool-Aid' is we've seen him in person considerably. Still, the positional -- and sport -- question marks remain given his basketball pedigree. To open the 2020 season on Friday, McKinstry played mostly offense and went both ways to some degree at wide receiver and corner last Friday. More reps and evidence of his technical ability on the island at his projected position of cornerback would be ideal in person this fall. The raw tools have long been there, though, part of the reason Alabama, Auburn and LSU are each pushing for a commitment in the secondary.
7. S James Williams, Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage
The most intriguing athlete in the class of 2021 is probably Williams, the 6-foot-4, 219-pound specimen who plays mostly at safety right now. There are projections considering hybrid linebacker or even edge responsibilities given his frame and athleticism while Williams considers himself as a cornerback projection to the next level. There's no doubting his range and ball skills at that size but we'll need every on-field sample before making a final call on the SI99 member from both a positional and ranking standpoint.
8. RB Brendon Barrow, Clearwater (Fla.) Academy International
'BB,' as he's called by teammates, has done just about all he could through three varsity campaigns -- he's flashed on home run plays, dabbled as an effective slot receiver and showed a toughness to compete as an effective runner in between the tackles. The only measure he hasn't conquered is the bell cow volume as the No. 1 offensive option at CAI, something he'll have the chance to change this fall at a bulked-up 180 pounds.
9. WR Agiye Hall, Valrico (Fla.) Bloomingdale
Like Barrow, Hall was right on the cusp of the SI99 conversation as a top 12 wide receiver and narrowly missed the cut. The physical tools, frame and athleticism are all present with the Alabama commitment and we saw him flash dominance during the offseason, the same we see on Friday nights. More consistency and refinement with the little things, like route-running and leverage, will make it near impossible to prevent Hall from rising up the ranks. Doing so at a new school, Bloomingdale, will make it all the more impressive ala Garcia at the top of this list.
We would theoretically create a matchup between these Texan arms to get a closer look at each, with Stowers and Denton (Texas) John H. Guyer headed to face Milroe and Katy (Texas) Obra D. Tompkins in this fantasy matchup. Right now SIAA has Stowers, the Texas A&M commitment, as the 11th and final quarterback standing as a member of the SI99. It is the default as the top passer in Texas, ahead of Milroe, LSU commitment Garrett Nussmeier, Baylor'd Kyron Drones and Tennessee's Kaidon Salter. Can the Alabama commitment crash the party as a senior? The battle for the top QB in the Lone Star State, littered with FBS prospects and commitments, alone makes for compelling conversation.
Others Worth a Closer Look
SI99 Quarterback Sam Huard, a Washington commitment
SI99 Safety Corey Collier, a Florida commitment
SI99 Edge Elijah Jeudy, a Georgia commitment
SI99 Edge Zaire Patterson, a Clemson commitment
SI99 Running Back Armoni Goodwin, an Auburn commitment
Wide Receiver Denzel Burke, an Ohio State commitment
Edwin Weathersby II contributed to this feature.
More SI99 Coverage