UPPER MARLBORO, Md. -- Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) traveled to Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.) Sept. 10 for a non-conference, crosstown matchup. Terrapin Times was on hand to scout borderline four-star corner Tariq Castro-Fields, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder who is looking hard at UMD, Penn State and Alabama, in addition to UNC and Va Tech.
Our take on his game is below, while an interview can be heard above:
Castro-Fields is a lengthy, well-built prospect with superior skills who projects as an impact boundary corner. (He could probably play field corner in some schemes, but may not have the raw speed needed for that spot). He should be a contributor as a freshman and could be a starter very early in his career provided he continues to work.
Physically, Castro-Fields is in the mold of the bigger, longer corners programs covet these days. And not only is Castro-Fields tall, but he has a wide wingspan thanks to his arm length. He also possesses large, strong hands, which are particularly useful when going for a pick or jamming at the line.
One of the first areas to note when scouting high school corners is how well they operate in press, and fortunately Riverdale lets Castro-Fields play man coverage. The Upper Marlboro native is physical and aggressive at the line, working to knock wideouts off their routes. He’s an in-your-face scrapper and a risk taker, daring receivers to beat him.
At the snap, Castro-Fields flashes a fast first step and a rapid-fire initial punch. He’s gnat-like in his ability to pester receivers and stick to them throughout the route. Castro-Fields easily flips his hips, seamlessly turning and running to mirror patterns. He’s able to change direction on a dime too, showing nifty footwork and superior agility.
Down the field, Castro-Fields shadows well and gets his head around on the ball. He has terrific in-the-air skills, high-pointing the ball and using those long arms and a solid vertical to out-leap many receivers. On top of that, Castro-Fields, who also lines up on offense, has sticky fingers, typically coming down with the ball if he gets his hands on it.
In zone, Castro-Fields anticipates well, actively identifying routes and gaining a step advantage on his man. He’s outstanding at planting his foot, driving downhill and closing quickly to undercut a route. He likes to take chances by diving under receivers and going for the pick.
Moreover, Castro-Fields’ deft feet and loose hips allow him to ably transition and break down in space. He shows very good burst out of his breaks and doesn’t lose much momentum when switching on and off wideouts. Furthermore, Castro-Fields has a smooth, compact backpedal; his steps seem to be second nature.
The one concern with Castro-Fields, however, is his raw speed. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds, so there are questions whether or not he’ll be able to recover against elite wideouts. Also, his ability to close could be an issue if he gets beat by a step.
Castro-Fields could stand to work on his hand placement at the line too. His jams are solid now, but he’ll have to make sure he strikes inside the pads to be effective in college.
It would behoove Castro-Fields to add strength to deal with those bigger wideouts too. He’s fairly sturdy, but needs a stouter base and to further develop his upper body.
The Riverdale corner has to keep working on his tackling as well. He’ll willingly stick his nose in a pile, but must refine his form, especially when tracking bigger backs out on the edge.
Last but not least, Castro-Fields has to become more consistent with his fundamentals. Sometimes he’ll let his eyes linger in the backfield too long, or he’ll cross his feet when transitioning.