Texas A&M Aggies: Brad Kaaya
The Class of 2014 has had two months to show what it’s made of on the field. How are the nation’s elite prospects faring as we approach signing day? Here’s a look at the biggest names and notes from the most recent update of the ESPN 300:
The Big Movers
No. 37 Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South), ILB
Prior ranking: No. 59
The 6-foot-2, 224-pound Garrett jumped more than 20 spots in the rankings as he has added bulk to his frame, and at the same time retaining quickness and his fast-filling, downhill ability. Garrett has impact-type ability with a blend of lateral quickness, discipline and a nose for the ball.
Prior ranking: No. 75
The 6-2, 194-pound Hall is one of the most impressive athletes in the class. He has a long, stoutly-built frame, is explosive, has physicality filling the alley at safety and very good ball skills at receiver. When he settles into one position at the next level, his upside is very high.
No. 64 Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown), RB
Prior ranking: No. 106
The Georgia commit is putting together a sensational senior campaign with more than 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns through eight games. The 5-11, 217-pound tailback continues to add strength to his compact body structure while maintaining his speed, overall athleticism and ability to bend.
No. 70 Chad Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington), DE
Prior ranking: No. 125
The Miami commit has flashed his high-ceiling ability, even though he is playing inside more than half the snaps as a senior. His combination of first-step quickness, arm length and the ability to play with low pad level sets him apart from most ends in the class.
No. 84 Rashaan Evans (Auburn Ala./Auburn), OLB
Prior ranking: No. 150
The 6-3, 217-pound Evans has filled out physically, and displays the quick-twitch burst and speed combination to be a factor off the edge. Evans has been dominant off the edge as a senior with double-digit sacks.
No. 92 Markell Pack (Purvis, Miss./Purvis), WR
Prior ranking: No. 144
The Florida State commit continues to flash the initial quickness, ability to get to top-end speed quickly, ability to play the ball in the air and elusiveness that makes the 6-2, 180-pound wideout one of the top playmakers in the class.
No. 128 Brad Kaaya (Hollywood, Calif./Chaminade College Prep)
Prior ranking: No. 171
The 6-4, 213-pound Miami commit is one the fastest rising quarterbacks in the class. Has added bulk to his tall frame, and continues to show the foot quickness, foot work and quick release that will be demanded of him at the next level.
Other Big Movers
WR Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp): From No. 99 to 49.
Texas A&M ATH commit Nick Harvey (Richmond, Texas/William B. Travis): From No. 101 to 60.
RB Joe Mixon (Berkeley, Calif./Freedom): From No. 100 to 72.
Georgia QB-DT commit Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford): From No. 157 to 94.
Oregon RB commit Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial): From No. 154 to 99.
RB Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock): From No. 176 to 108.
Ole Miss S commit C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian): From No. 201 to 134.
Alabama C commit J.C. Hassenauer (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge): From No. 246 to 188.
Georgia DT commit Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton): From No. 266 to 201
ESPN 300 debuts
No. 89 Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westbury), WR
The 6-6, 215-pound pass catcher returned to the football field as a senior after playing only basketball as a junior, and has quickly become one of the most coveted uncommitted prospects in the country featuring deceptive initial quickness, and the high-point timing and size to win 50-50 balls in the air.
No. 287 Darrion Owens (Orange Park, Fla./Oakleaf), OLB
The 6-3, 220-pound Owens has transitioned from safety to outside linebacker as a senior without skipping a beat. Long, rangy and with edge-rush ability, the Miami commit is a top senior riser.
No. 295 Shakenneth Williams (Macon, Ga./Rutland), WR
The 6-1, 196-pound Georgia commit was a standout at Mark Richt Camp in June. Williams is blessed with straight-line speed, change-of-direction ability, strong hands and the physicality and strength to play through contact.
Ohio State ATH commit Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus Hall): No. 148.
LSU DE commit Deondre Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass): No. 298.
Baylor WR commit Ishmael Zamora (Alief, Texas/Elsik): No. 245
Alabama OLB commit Keith Holcombe (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest): No. 284.
DT Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes): No. 257.
DT Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin): No. 292.
Minnesota RB commit Jeff Jones (Minneapolis/Washburn): No. 181.
Virginia Tech DT commit Ricky Walker (Hampton, Va./Bethel): No. 299.
David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North), QB
The Alabama commit suffered a season-ending knee injury. The 6-5, 241-pound Under Armour All-American is No. 44 after being 32nd previously.
Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech), RB
The Tennessee commit suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener, requiring a second shoulder operation in less than a year. The 6-4, 222-pound Hurd is now No. 62 after being 39th.
Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian), WR
The 6-3, 172-pound Harris hasn't played this season due to a lingering hamstring issue. The Michigan commit checks in at No. 85 after previously being 72nd.
Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), DT
The 6-6, 295-pound Shaw has been sidelined with a neck injury this season. He checks in at No. 186 after a prior ranking of 82nd.
Sharieff Rhaheed (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central), OLB
The 6-2, 202-pound Rhaheed missed the first six games of the season before returning to the field in late October. The former LSU commit is No. 260 after being ranked 133rd previously.
Kyle Berger (Cleveland/Saint Ignatius), OLB
The Ohio State commit was sidelined his senior season with an ACL tear. He dropped out of the ESPN 300 after being ranked No. 281.
Treyvon Paulk (Milton, Ga./Milton High), RB
The Tennessee running back commitment recently suffered a season-ending knee injury. He dropped out of the ESPN 300 after previously being ranked No. 294.
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- After Monday's SPARQ testing, the nation's top players were ready for some actual football Tuesday. With a lineman challenge in the morning and seven-on-seven games throughout the afternoon, each player got a chance to see what he could do against top-notch competition. Many of the usual suspects thrived, but there were also some surprises.
10. Brad Kaaya
Chaminade (Calif.) College Prep | QB | 6-4, 213
Consistency is Kaaya’s game. He bolted out of the gate with a strong performance Saturday at the Elite 11 and then showed throughout Sunday's practice why Miami ventured all the way across the country to snag his commitment. He was almost flawless again Monday and then lit up pool play Tuesday. He drew rave reviews with a throw for a two-point conversion on which he lowered his arm to place the ball in a tight space. "He makes the extremely difficult look really easy," coach and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said. -- Jeremy Crabtree
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- At the Elite 11, throw the rankings out the window. It doesn't matter which quarterback is a five-star or which has a three-star grade entering the event. What matters most is what happens on the field, during chalk talk and from repetition by repetition.After three days of competition, Elite 11 coach Trent Dilfer said that in no order Sean White, Kyle Carta-Samuels, Kyle Allen, Deshaun Watson, Brad Kaaya and David Blough have emerged as the best of the 18 at the event.
White, the four-star pocket passer from Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) University School of Nova South, continues to be one of the event's most pleasant surprises. Sure his offer list is quite long and includes Boston College, Cincinnati, USF, Syracuse, Wake Forest, West Virginia, as well as heavy attention from a number of SEC and ACC schools, but few expected him to steal headlines like he has.
"His accurate isn't just accurate," Dilfer said. "It's exact. It's an NFL type of ball. I'm stealing this from Steve Young, but he has an artistic ball. He paints a picture with his ball. He just doesn't throw a hinge. He throws the receiver open with the hinge. He just doesn't throw a skinny post. He sends a message with his skinny post.
While some of the other highly ranked passers haven't quite hit their stride yet, both Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) and Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) have.
Watson, the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback and highest ranked player at the Elite 11, showed why Clemson made him its highest priority recruit for the 2014 class with a tremendous first three days. The same can be said about Allen, a Texas A&M commit who is the third-ranked pocket passer in the country."He's Mr. Consistency," Dilfer said. "He's got nothing working against him at this point. He does nothing bad. He does everything better than good. I'm going to challenge him to be great at The Opening."
Don't have to worry about that. With the lessons Allen is taking from the Elite 11, he's up for just about any challenge.
"This is not only improving me as a quarterback," Allen said. "It's improving every facet of my game and every facet of my life. They're giving us techniques on how to calm your breathing down. They have a psychological coach here. It's just the little things that give you the edge up on everyone else."
Watson, meanwhile, might have started slowly but picked up the pace quickly.
"Deshaun started a little sloppy, to be honest. He's an East Coast guy coming west, so I'm sensitive to that, especially the first day of the event. He lit everything up yesterday. He's a much better passer than he was in Atlanta. He is a sponge. For a highly touted kid that's had so many accolades for years, he embraces the journey of getting better with the best of them."
Miami commitment Brad Kaaya of West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade Prep was one of the top six passers after Saturday's drills, and he carried it through to Sunday. The 6-foot-4, 213-pounder showed early and often throughout Sunday's practice why the Hurricanes ventured all the way across the country to snag his commitment.
"He makes the extremely difficult look really easy," Dilfer said. "When you're looking for greatness in any walk of life, you want to find somebody that makes extremely difficult look easy. And he makes everything look incredibly easy."
Carrollton (Texas) Creekview three-star quarterback David Blough continues to turn heads as one of the event's biggest surprises. The Purdue commitment ranks as the nation's No. 42 pocket passer, but here he's showing he belongs with the best of the best. The same can be said about Kyle Carta-Samuels (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep). The Vanderbilt commitment ranks as four-star prospect, but he has wowed with his intensity.
"David is so fiercely competitive," Dilfer said. "He's so determined to be the best he possibly can be. He doesn't let the pressure of that weigh him down.
"Much like David, Kyle's fiercely competitive. On a score of 1 to 5, he's a 6 on the competitive temperament. Trainability is another one of our evaluation points, and he'd be a 6 there again. His passing proficiency, which I thought would be in a 3, is probably 4-plus. He's hit the balance there."
Mitch Sherman contributed to this story.
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