Scouting the State Championship Finals

Pack Pride breaks down multiple recruits that played in the state finals at Carter-Finley Stadium this past Saturday.

Pack Pride watched numerous 2014, 15 and 16 prospects in action on Saturday in the state finals held at Carter-Finley Stadium. We've got in-depth analysis of each prospect and where State stands in regards to recruiting.

Derrell Scott..Havelock...finished with 209 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He was named the game's most valuable player. He lists Tennessee, NC State and South Carolina as his top three.

Pro- Scott has incredibly quick feet in small spaces. He makes up his mind quickly and attacks with each run, generating good leg drive and squeezing out every inch. Scott plays surprisingly physical given his size and is effective between the tackles but is at his best out in space. He can cut while maintaining full speed and shows outstanding vision and anticipation of where holes may develop.  

Con- He is quicker than fast. He doesn't appear to have elite top end speed. Scott will need to get bigger to take the pounding of FBS football. He wasn't much of a factor in the passing game so we'd need to see more to figure out what kind of receiving threat he is.

Jaylen Samuels...Mallard carries for 99 yards  and three touchdowns, and he also had five catches for 114 yards and two more scores. He was named the game's most valuable player. Samuels is committed to NC State.

Pro- Samuels has impressive size and length. He's labeled as a fullback but that really doesn't do him justice. Most fullbacks tend to be stiff, unathletic bowling balls. That is hardly the case with Samuels. He is better described as a large running back with wide receiver skills. Samuels has tremendous hands and feel for the game. He maximizes every touch and you come away feeling like Mallard Creek could put up 70+ each game if Samuels received more touches. He uses his size to run through tackles and is tough to bring down in the open field. At NC State we could see him at running back in short yardage, split out wide or lined up in the Pack's pistol set. Samuels versatility make be his strongest suit.

Con- Samuels is a straight ahead, down hill runner without a lot of lateral movement. He appears to be a guy that runs in the high 4.6's currently. Samuels isn't quick and takes him a while to get to top speed although no one ran him down from behind in the state championship game.

Jaylend Ratliffe (2015)...Scotland County...completed eight of 16 passes for 82 yards and had 52 yards rushing on 12 carries in the state championship game. He was named the most outstanding player on offense for Scotland County. Ratliffe holds offers from NC State, Georgia Tech and UNC.

Pro- To be fair, Ratliffe had to perform in some of the worst conditions we've seen at a football game in some time. Those conditions really neutralized many of the things that Ratliffe does well. With the junior QB, you can see the athleticism and quick feet that make him an effective running threat. He is elusive and tough to corral and has to be accounted for as a runner on every play. Ratliffe throws a pretty ball and his arm strength is above average. We didn't like the fact that Scotland County asked him to throw downfield so often in those conditions.

Con- His mechanics need some fine tuning. Ratliffe tends to throw flat footed which hones him in on one particular receiver. He bailed on the passing game too early on several plays and was too quick to give up on the play. Based on what we've seen thus far, he would appear best suited at quarterback for a school like Georgia Tech.


Michael Bowman...Havelock

We couldn't get a great feel for Bowman because the weather conditions weren't conducive to a lot passing. The things that stand out are Bowman's pass catching ability. He has very good hands and he shows a quick burst combined with good size. It's certainly possible that some schools will like him as a linebacker on the next level.

Keion Joyner...Havelock

This kid is good enough that you quickly forget he's just a sophomore. Suffice it to say he'll be one of the state's most sought after recruits in 2016 and early word is he's already an SEC lean. He played almost as a standup defensive end and spent most of the game crashing down on the line of scrimmage. Joyner has a great frame and you can only imagine what he'll look like in two years. We love his aggressiveness and nose for the ball although his opportunities were somewhat limited in the state finals against Concord.

Rocky Reid... Concord

This is a guy that we really came away impressed with. Reid finished with 224 yards rushing and was THE Concord offense. He is a wrecking ball and a man running between the tackles. Often it took two and three players to bring him down and he was usually dragging them for extra yardage. He is powerfully built and is a true straight ahead, downhill runner. Teams are going to have concerns about his speed and that very well may limit his offer count.

Dexter Lawrence...Wake Forest

This kid looks college ready and he's just a sophomore. He may be the most impressive young guy we saw and that includes Keion Joyner. Lawrence is a man in the middle of the Wake Forest defensive line and forces teams to scheme around him. He's still gangly somewhat and will need time to gain body control but he generates great leverage at the point of attack and moves extremely well out in space. He's another guy that will be a national recruit down the road.

Bryce Love...Wake Forest

There are some players with a world of 5-star potential that show no desire to go the extra mile for their team. Love is the antithesis of that. In all honesty, Love probably shouldn't have been on the field Saturday as he struggled with an injury suffered earlier in the season. And yet, there he was, toughing it out in miserable conditions, trying to help his squad win a game against the best team in the state. Perhaps that fact alone says more than any other praise you could heap on him. The stats of this game don't paint the true picture of how good Love really is. As we've mentioned before, he may be the fastest high school football player we've ever seen in person and he has the football skills to go along with that speed. There's a decent chance that Love will be considered as the top football prospect in North Carolina next year. A lot of folks already feel that South Carolina may be the team to beat.

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