Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell was a guest on my TribLIVE Radio show Wednesday.
We discussed how Clairton star Tyler Boyd, the Trib’s player of the year, performed at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio; Bethel Park junior tackle Mike Grimm fared at the U.S. Army All-American Combine; Central Valley wide receiver Robert Foster, Belle Vernon offensive tackle Dorian Johnson and North Allegheny offensive lineman Patrick Kugler played in the Under Armour All-American Game last Friday; and Western Pennsylvania’s top Class of 2014 skill players, Washington running back Shai McKenzie and Aliquippa defensive back Dravon Henry.
Here’s a few of Farrell’s takes:
- On Boyd: “He’s a guy who’s a can’t-miss kid. Even though he’s very skinny and needs to fill out, he’s a guy who can play multiple positions. He can play safety, cornerback, wide receiver – they can run jet sweeps with him – so even if it doesn’t work out on offense, he’s the type of guy that can impact your football team. I thought he looked pretty good down there. He had to shake the rust off a little because he’s not really, truly a wide receiver yet.”
- On Grimm: “He mentions Pitt a whole lot. That was a consistent theme when I did talk to him. … He’s a huge kid. He’s going to end up with double-digit numbers when we talk about scholarship offers. … He’s going to be a guy that will be one of the top offensive linemen in Pennsylvania.”
- On Foster’s picking Alabama over Pitt: “He was a big surprise. When you look at it from the outside, if you don’t follow recruiting, you’d say, ‘Well, of course he’s going to go to Alabama. Why wouldn’t he go to Alabama?’ But the circumstances surrounding him are a lot different. His mom really wanted him to stay close to home, a lot of people in the area wanted him to stay close to home. I think home is safety, comfort and, really, he can control his destiny at Pitt. He can be an immediate impact guy, and can do it in front of friends and family; whereas, at Alabama, you don’t know. They’re a little light at wide receiver right now – we saw how good Amari Cooper is – but they need impact wide receivers. Next year, they could take three five-star wide receivers and, all of a sudden, he’s out of the shuffle. It’s a little bit of a risk to go down there. Obviously, it makes sense for a lot of different reasons. He’s one of the guys I’m saying to keep an eye on for the next month. Alabama worked very, very hard to get that commitment but they’re working even harder to keep it because they know that this thing could turn at any time.”
- On Johnson and Kugler: ““Dorian’s a guy that we’ve undervalued a little bit. Everybody else jumped the gun a little bit and made him top 10 in the country, a five star. He’s really raw but he’s starting to come together. He’s become much more physical, much more aggressive. He’s willing to mix it up. He’s starting to learn balance, starting to get his footwork down and I think that really showed in the Under Armour, going against the best in the country. Kugler is just an animal. He’s just a mauler and a brawler and he plays to the whistle and he’ll knock you out. He could translate to the guard position. Dorian Johnson is for sure a tackle. He’s got that athleticism, got those feet. He just needs more refining. But I’ve seen a lot of improvement from him, junior to senior year and even from senior film to what I’ve seen at the Under Armour Game.”
- On McKenzie: “McKenzie is a guy with the eye-popping numbers. He’s a big, physical running back. He’s starting to get some of those national offers. I think Tennessee is one of those. Even though hasn’t been as up as usual lately, when you get a Tennessee offer it opens up things down South. He had Pitt, UConn, Maryland and Rutgers, all the locals you’d expect, but I think he’s going to get a lot more of those big offers. I don’t know if Ohio State and Michigan are going to come in. I think he’s talented enough. I think he’s going to blow up once his junior film gets circulated a little bit and once college coaches start focusing on the junior class.”
- On Henry: “He’s a little bit different level because he can play corner or safety, comes from a program that is producing some very impressive football players. He’s going to be one that is probably tempted a ltitle bit more to leave. … The advantage that Pitt has obviously with the sanctions at Penn State is it’s going to be a real tough sell for Penn State to get some of these kids. …The disadvantage is, I think everybody is going to come in on Dravon Henry.”
You can listen to a full podcast of the show here. It also includes my thoughts on the Pitt basketball victory at Georgetown and an interview with Bob Jacoby, who retired after 40 seasons as football coach at Bishop Canevin Catholic.