The Most Overrated 5-Star CFB Recruits in the 2020 Class
The 2020 recruiting class is now the focus of the college football world, as the 2019 class is yesterday's news.
The next generation of stars must play another season of high school football before jumping into primetime Saturday action. However, that doesn't mean we can't start projecting how the 5-star prospects will perform.
The recruiting ranking system has its flaws, but it generally identifies the best players effectively. Some will fall short of expectations, but most are impactful.
Here, we've identified the most overrated 5-star recruits in the 2020 class. These players won't necessarily be total busts, but read on to find out why they're at risk of not living up to the hype.
Broderick Jones, OT
Currently sitting at 28th overall and the No. 3 offensive tackle in the 2020 class, Broderick Jones is more projection than guarantee.
The Georgia Bulldogs commit may fill into his immense 6'6", 275-pound frame over time, but he's currently a raw blocker who could be exposed in college.
His size can be a negative in close-combat situations since his hands take forever to reach the defender. Better coaching can mitigate some of his speed deficiency, but those long, lumbering arms take time to charge up and unload. And he isn't quick enough with his feet to fully recover on speed rushes, leading to holds and quarterback pressures.
The good news is that when Jones connects, the rusher is neutralized. He's also a punishing run-blocker who will likely improve as he adds strength through maturation and an elite conditioning program.
Jones has the upside to fulfill his 5-star ranking, but it's more projection than sure thing because of his inherent deficiencies.
Arik Gilbert, ATH
A 6'5", 248-pound athlete who's likely to play defensive end, Arik Gilbert is another upside 5-star prospect. He isn't a fast, speedy rusher who can bend the edge despite being at optimal weight. He wins with power and impressive length.
Gilbert's unrefined game isn't a surprise, though. He's put on significant weight—247Sports once listed him at 215 pounds. He needs time to overhaul his hand usage and adjust his pad level to a much bigger frame.
Another concern is how poorly Gilbert tested in athletic measurements. He ran a 40-yard dash in 4.91 seconds, and his vertical jump was only 30 inches, according to 247Sports. It isn't fair to compare him to NFL prospects, but other 5-star pass-rushers are much more impressive athletically.
The tape and numbers don't scream No. 9 overall prospect, yet Gilbert has been rising in the rankings. He may prove to be a difference-maker, but he's a big roll of the dice.
Chris Braswell, DE
Alabama Crimson Tide commit Chris Braswell is a unique defensive playmaker.
At 6'3" and 211 pounds, Braswell would need significant time to become a defensive end for Nick Saban's 3-4 front. Saban's usual ends weigh at least 265 pounds, if not closer to 300.
Based on his size and highlights, Braswell projects more as a coverage linebacker. He's quick enough off the snap to cause pressure in the backfield, but he isn't strong enough to do more than slip by his blocker occasionally. He's most impressive when he drops back into coverage and shows off his range.
Because he's likely a positional convert and is still undersized, Braswell is being overrated. The nation's 19th-best prospect doesn't need to be ready to start right away, but he needs a clearer path to playing time than having to add 30 pounds as a stand-up 3-4 rusher or 20 pounds as an inside linebacker. That's on top of the lack of experience he has at a new position.
Jase McClellan, RB
The 2020 running back class already has the look of a terrific group with six 5-star backs and another 5-star all-purpose back.
He plays quicker than fast, which verifies his athletic testing results. He's an upright runner who does his best work on sweeps and outside zone reads. He could put up incredible numbers with the Sooners if he ends up with head coach Lincoln Riley.
Where McClellan falls short is his ability to run up the middle and withstand hits from similarly sized defenders. He's quick enough to pull away, but he won't win with moves often enough to create more yards on his own. His smoothness makes him appear more explosive than he actually is.
How effectively he withstands contact will determine his upside in college. He ran through much smaller defenders with ease, but he's average-sized for a Power Five back. Compared to other high-end 4-stars and 5-stars, he falls short with his physical skill set and lack of dynamic explosion.
Darnell Washington, TE
More likely to be confused for a power forward or underweight offensive tackle, 5-star tight end Darnell Washington is an enormous young man.
At 6'7½" and 238 pounds, Washington is a rare athlete. He's been able to play receiver, tight end and on the defensive line in high school.
It's difficult to evaluate him because of how much bigger and stronger he is than his competition. What's clear is how much he struggles to change direction and accelerate upfield, and his 4.8 40-yard dash and 26.8" vertical confirmed those limitations.
He has playmaker potential when he's asked to go in a straight line, but defenses can game-plan around that limitation easier than quicker-than-fast space players.
There isn't a long list of gigantic, long-limbed offensive playmakers in college football. Washington is likely to be limited to being a jump-ball and red-zone specialist than he is to be the next Harold Carmichael.
Barring a transformative impact in college, the 5-star rating looks like an overreaction to his impressive size.
All star ratings via 247Sports.