SI99: Prospects Knocking on the Door
Edwin Weathersby II
The release of the SI99 on Monday was the culmination of months of hard work by the SI All-American staff. Of course the pool of prospects dug into before the list was finalized stretched well beyond 99, with several of the following in the 99 until the last days and weeks of the conversation.
It's only right to highlight the 15 prospects our staff heavily considered for inclusion, essentially the group of prospects who we can see splashing into the postseason SI99 with stellar 2020 campaigns.
Those on the verge of the SI99 are listed alphabetically.
RB Brendan Barrow, Clearwater (Fla.) Academy International
5-foot-8, 175 pounds
Considering Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, Rutgers and others
Built for the modern age at the position, few tapes are as fun as Barrow's in the class. Some prospects lean speed over quickness while others flip that script, but the Canada native has elite traits in both departments. The acceleration and deceleration skill is elite, leading to make-em-miss elusiveness in the smallest of windows despite the ability to run by most assigned to track him down. Barrow spends a chunk of his time on Friday nights lined up out wide or in the slot, with steady hands and better route construction than some Power Five receiver prospects to boot. The only knock here is a lack of bell-cow experience, something that will be countered in 2020 considering he will be the focal point of the entire CAI offense.
TE-H Jake Brinningstool, Brentwood (Tenn.) Ravenwood
6-foot-6, 215 pounds
Committed to Clemson
Possessing excellent length, Briningstool is a physical tight end prospect who can easily play H or Y. He currently spends a solid amount of snaps flexed out, where he shows above-average route running traits via getting his head and shoulders out of his frame at breakpoints and sinkage to motor down before using quickness to detach from coverage. Briningstool has good hands and athleticism to adjust, as the big man shows good body control and eye tracking. The Clemson commit also is among the most physical blockers on this list, relishing contact and possessing pride to finish. With his length, solid speed and physicality, Briningstool should develop well to contribute to the Tigers’ offense after a period of physical development.
LB Ethan Calvert, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
6-foot-3, 225 pounds
Considering USC, UCLA, Utah and Washington
Calvert has a pair of older brothers currently playing in the Pac-12, and that will also be the conference he plays his college ball as well. The So-Cal native is a solid and instinctive backer who can click and close to combat the run. Calvert is sound and decisive to match his keys, use his eyes to track runners and navigate in flow to reach ball-carriers. He’s also reliable to trigger downhill and fight offensive linemen at the point to plug interior gaps and alleys. Though, at times, he lacks elite fluidity in space while in coverage, his natural instincts allow him to drive well on underneath routes and factor in the mid-range passing game. We feel Calvert projects as a solid starting off-ball linebacker.
S JD Coffey, Kennedale (Texas) High
6-foot-1, 180 pounds
Committed to Texas
Coffey is an uber-physical safety who thumps like a train at collision points. He’s a patrolman in the seams who can do a myriad of things on the back-end. Coffey can work as a split-safety and pick up crossers and deep overs, among other routes by slots and tight ends, as well as be spun to the post as the apex-defender up top and play with range or down as the robber. He is willing to challenge the run from depth, possessing mesh-point vision, toughness to run the alley and the ability to get a proper fit. As he adds mass and bulk to his frame, Coffey could even play some snaps as a nickel or dime linebacker, if need be at Texas.
OT Garrett Dellinger, Clarkston (Mich.) High
6-foot-6, 280 pounds
Committed to LSU
Dellinger is an offensive tackle prospect with versatility in his skill set. He has a solid bucket step when working in outside zone concepts in the running game and is productive on deuces, combos and when scooping. The LSU commit executes an accurate punch with good hand-placement. He also flashes good athleticism to adjust to moving targets in space. His pass-protection skills feature a solid 45-degree set on the edge and enough athleticism ability to off-set pass-rushers along the arc. With additional pass-protection experience, Dellinger should develop into a well-rounded offensive trenchman in Baton Rouge.
Edge Cade Denhoff, Lakeland (Fla.) Lakeland Christian
6-foot-5, 225 pounds
Committed to Clemson
Hailing from Florida, Denhoff possesses a good motor and plays with impressive effort. He is most comfortable in wide-alignments, as he likes altering his pass-rush track some to disrupt offensive tackles’ punch timing. He flashes a club to land on the outside shoulder/upper-arm of his opponents and a cross-chop with a dip entry in his pass-rush arsenal. With his consistent urgency at the snap and active lower half, Denhoff also can be used well on TEX stunts and other twists and games. The Clemson commit plays snap to whistle, often hunting ball-carriers until he finishes. Denhoff also has gap-penetrating skills that factor in the run game. He can skinny through creases between tackles and guards before using solid closing quickness to pursue and finish. Denhoff will fit in well as a 7/9-technique end for the Tigers.
LB Power Echols, Charlotte (N.C.) Vance
6-foot-1, 210 pounds
Committed to North Carolina
A Tar Heel commit, Echols has one of the biggest motors of any defensive prospect in this class. His toughness and production are traits of a future starting ‘backer in the ACC. Echols is decisive and certain with his eyes and key recognition, plus he flashes twitchy athleticism that oftentimes allows him to be capable of using back doors during flow. Additionally, he plays bigger than his size at the point, showing shock value in the take-on phase and at collision points versus runners. He will need to acquire more reps in pass coverage, though there’s speed traits on tape that show he’s capable of running with backs and tight ends. As his game expands, there’s no reason for Echols to not ascend into a productive player for Mack Brown.
S Nyland Green, Covington (Ga.) Newton
6-foot-3, 185 pounds
Considering Georgia, Clemson, Alabama and others
Outside of SIAA's top safety, James Williams and/or No. 3 Terrion Arnold, the height/weight/speed department is dominated by Green like few others nationally. Recent in-person evaluations suggest he could actually be in the 6-foot-4 range with one of the best combinations of linear speed and ball skills many wide receiver projections in this class would be blessed to have. Also unique in his cornerback experience compared to just about every safety projection in the country, Green has an added value of true base man coverage skill to match up with today's towering pass catchers. The safety projection on our end is, well, about safety. The Peach State prospect operates best vertically as well as at the high point, more suitable for zone cornerbacks or free range safeties at this stage of his development. There aren't many defenders we'd like to take a closer look at in 2020 than the SEC and ACC target.
WR Agiye Hall, Valrico (Fla.) Bloomingdale
6-foot-3, 190 pounds
Committed to Alabama
A physically imposing and well-built prospect, Hall has some impressive physical tools along with that great frame. He is long, much faster than his size suggests, and is about as physically well-positioned as any wide receiver in the class. Despite bouncing around a few different schools in the last year, Hall has shown up and flashed athleticism and ball skills in select offseason settings. Continued refinement in his route running and overall consistency should set the tone ahead of his time in Tuscaloosa, where the edge he plays with can enhance his three-down value.
Nickel Deuce Harmon, Denton (Texas) Guyer
5-foot-9, 185 pounds
Committed to Texas A&M
Harmon is a cover-man we feel can be effective as a field corner, yet we like his traits as a Nickel. The Texas native isn’t the longest prospect on this list, however, he has good hips and quick feet to mirror receivers in man coverage. Harmon can bail and stay tucked in phase at the hip of his man on crossers, plus he can carry receivers downfield. Another aspect of his game we like is his ability to drive hard downhill on underneath routes. He uses good eye discipline in zone coverage concepts and can sniff out smokes and bubbles for stops. A Texas A&M commit, Harmon also is willing to challenge in the run game and will run an alley from the perimeter when needed, showing ideal toughness for a nickel prospect.
RB Corey Kiner, Cincinnati (Ohio) Roger Bacon
5-foot-10, 205 pounds
Committed to LSU
Headed for the Bayou, the Ohioan is a physically imposing presence with serious lower-body power and mass to his name. Kiner allows that to translate to quicker-than-fast athleticism, a great center of gravity and the type of contact balance that enables him to break arm tackles without losing speed or momentum. There is one-cut ability and the display of true bouncing skill at play along with true suddenness as a jump-cut specialist with an off-hand straight arm in the tool box. Kiner is just tough to bring down regardless of the contact point and while he isn't built to blow the top off of defenses, he can factor into the passing game with that COD skill and strong hands.
LB Will Latu, Spanaway (Wash.) Bethel
6-foot-2, 225 pounds
Committed to Washington
Latu is among the top pure football players in the country. He can be seen on tape playing several roles, from running back to flex tight end to inside linebacker to edge and more. His versatility is indeed impressive, yet we feel he fits best as an off-ball linebacker. Latu has a thick frame, which allows him to play big and stout. He’s a physical player with solid vision and instincts, who can squeeze into alleys from a stacked position. His ball skills from his offensive experience translate into coverage, as Latu has enough speed to track tight ends in man concepts and he’s capable of packing the hash in mid-coverage in zone concepts as well. New Washington head coach Jimmy Lake has a defensive background, and Latu should become a solid linebacker for him in Seattle.
TE-Y Moliki Matavao, Henderson (Nev.) Liberty
6-foot-6, 240 pounds
Committed to Oregon
Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal worked his way up as an OL/TE coach, and he has a good incoming pupil in Matavao. The future Duck can work in-line as a Y, as a backside-X on the perimeter and be flexed out as 2 or 3 in trips. His current route tree features seams, fades, corners, flats and production in the screen game, among other things. Matavao also is capable of being a lead blocker in the run game, using his size and squaring to targets well before solid pop upon contact. Oregon tight ends coach Bobby Williams is also among the most respected coaches in the profession, thus offering Matavao a very good chance to blossom as a balanced contributor to the offense in Eugene.
IOL Rocco Spindler, Clarkston (Mich.) High
6-foot-4, 295 pounds
Committed to Notre Dame
We feel lineman with wrestling backgrounds tend to possess a better understanding of leverage, among other nuances, than most who do not wrestle. Spindler’s wrestling background shows up on tape from his ability to work with good power and get under his opponent’s pads at the point. He has a good punch that illustrates some strength in his mitts, along with good movement skills to produce in space and on level 2 as the scoop player. His short set can stymie pass-rushers and throw off their timing while he lands and stout punch and trigger his anchor. Spindler is another player on this list who has the potential to line up as an offensive tackle, but our staff feels good about as an IOL at a big time college program.
IOL Jaeden Roberts, Houston (Texas) North Shore
6-foot-4, 345 pounds
Committed to Auburn
While some prospects on this list are currently playing offensive tackle and we project them as interior blockers, Roberts is a true guard prospect. He has incredible mass at 345 pounds and plays with good strength and power. The Auburn commit plays big at the point with good leverage and has enough snap quickness and lateral movement skills to win on a reach, plus he works well on ace-blocks and duos. Roberts plays strong off his set foot in pass-protection, where he makes tough for noses and tackles to get through the A and B gaps with easy anchor ability. While he can execute zone-blocking concepts, Roberts projects as a sound man and gap-scheme concept blocker on The Plains.
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