Prospect Evaluation #13: Fanaika & Jordan

As if we didn't have an abundance of offensive line talent, the Cardinal snared a terrific prospect in Utah OL Brandon Fanaika who will serve on a two-year LDS mission before arriving on the Farm in '14. Among those there to greet him when he returns will be affable and fleet-footed Texas wide receiver and return man Dontonio Jordan. Garry Cobb gives us the skinny on these two future Cardinal!

Prospect Evaluation #13: OL Brandon Fanaika & WR Dontonio Jordan

Brandon Fanaika, OG  6'3" 315lbs (Pleasant Grove High School, Pleasant Grove, Utah) Ratings – 3*, #21 OG


Rivals Ratings – 4*, 5.8/6.1, #9 OG, #201 National Prospect, #1 Prospect in Utah


ESPN Ratings – 3*, 78/100, #40 OG, #88 Regional Prospect, #4 Prospect in Utah, No National Ranking

Rating the Ratings

Fanaika is seen similarly by all three recruiting services as a high three-star or borderline four-star prospect.  ESPN seems to have a lower view of Fanaika by ranking him the #40 offensive guard, but the 78/100 rating shows that the ranking has more to do with how highly ESPN regards the other guards in the class than with any shortcoming on Fanaika's part.  Fanaika's skills as shown on his video warrant a high three-star rating, though four stars can be justified.


Fanaika is a very densely built interior offensive lineman whose power and, surprisingly, movement are his main strengths.  Fanaika's power makes many of his run blocks look like a free safety's knock-out shot.  He quickly gets a head of steam and plows over opposing linemen and linebackers.  That head of steam can be lethal when pulling as Fanaika does a great job of getting down the line and finishing off opponents.  He has a naturally low pad level at 6'3" which sometimes compensates for those instances in which he starts plays with high shoulders.  While the occasional high shoulders did not make much of a difference for defenders in high school, college athletes will take advantage of it.  Thus, he will have to be sure to keep his pad level consistently low throughout the beginning of each play. 


Fanaika's pad level at the time of engagement is consistently low, which leads to the aforementioned knock-out blocks.  He will need to work on using his hands more when run blocking.  It is unlikely that he will have as many chances in college to de-cleat a defender with a single blow.  He will need to track his opponent and remain engaged.  That requires great hand placement, which he will need to work on, and great strength, which he already possesses. 


His footwork in pass protection is an impressive aspect of his game. Though much of the pass protection technique he executed in high school was somewhat unconventional, the footwork he shows while executing it is evidence that he should have little problem handling quick interior defenders.  His size, strength and wide base will be able to take stunt opponents' bull rushes. 


After Fanaika finishes his planned two-year LDS mission, he will likely need a redshirt year to get back into competition mode.  At that point, he couold well be around 330 pounds, and if he keeps his mobility as expected, he should see the field in his second year with the Cardinal.  A starting position is possible for him at that point, but will probably come at a later date.  When he is able to get on the field, Fanaika will have a unique skill set to handle the largest of defenders on the college level.




Dontonio Jordan, WR  5'11" 185lbs (Lake Dallas High School, Corinth, TX) Ratings – 3*, #103 WR


Rivals Ratings – 3*, 5.6/6.1, No Positional Ranking, No National Ranking, No State Ranking


ESPN Ratings – 2*, 74/100, #179 WR, #308 Regional Prospect, #247 Prospect in Texas, No National Ranking

Rating the Ratings

Aside from the two-star rating given to Jordan by ESPN, assessments of the Texas prospect are consistent overall.  That he plays against decent Texas competition could justify a slightly higher rating, but the ratings of the services of Jordan at wide receiver are not far off if at all, given that he was more of a "hybrid" player in high school.



Dontonio Jordan is an extremely smooth athlete who will bring an interesting skill set to the wide receiver position.  In high school he took snaps at running back and as a slot receiver.  When he has the ball in his hands, he is a very patient runner regardless of whether the ball is handed off or thrown to him.  He has great vision and a great sense of where defenders are located when he has the ball.  That trait leads to his making the first defender miss much more often than not.  He also shows good acceleration after the catch.  Jordan tends to catch defenders off guard with how quickly he can reach top speed from a standstill.  He also has good quickness and the ability to pull through tackles, displaying impressive strength and balance when running through traffic.


As a receiver, hand-eye coordination is an asset that Jordan parlays into great ball skills.  He is a natural hands catcher and easily adjusts to passes that are not directly on target.  He times his leaps well for under thrown passes, thus showing the potential to be an effective red zone target.  The quickness he displays can turn him into a good route runner in college.  He shows good but not great speed on his video, but his quickness is good enough for him to get separation and his ball skills are more than good enough to make plays even when there is little separation.


The road to early playing time for Dontonio Jordan will depend on how well he absorbs college route-running techniques and how well his running back abilities immediately translate to yards after the catch.  If he is ahead of the learning curve in both of those categories, he could see action early, as his other attributes  - hands and ball skills - will likely be constants for him as he transitions from high school to college.  The likely scenario for Jordan is that he gets his first situational game action in his second and third years.  After that, expect Jordan to battle for full-time reps by the beginning of his redshirt junior year as a steady receiver with big play potential after the catch.

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