Photo by Tristian Leigh
Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Update to 2021 ISD Fab 50

April 22, 2020

With no spring practice to review it leaves more time for me to watch and re-watch recruits from the 2021 cycle. After doing so I added three new names to the ISD Fab 50.

Updated ISD Fab 50

The first is OT Tristan Leigh‍. I originally had him ranked as a top-100 prospect in the class (77th), but after reviewing more camp footage and seeing more of him in pass protection, I moved him up to 39th.

He’s one of several offensive tackles in this cycle who have the potential to be elite left tackles at the college level. His feet and balance are outstanding. He shows the ability to reset his leverage very well.

As Matt Freeman said to me yesterday, edge defender Clayton Smith‍ may be the most underrated prospect in this class. Not by me, though. I moved him up to 48th in the country.

His composite ranking is 104 and maybe that’s because he’s listed as an outside linebacker when he’s clearly destined to play on the ball as an edge rusher. Smith is a great athlete who plays receiver on offense and doesn’t look that different physically than Chase Claypool did back in high school with his ability to high point the football, except Smith is 100% going to be a pass rusher with freakishly long arms, explosive lateral movement, and a high motor to go with it.

The other new member of the Fab 50 is Nebraska commit LB Randolph Kpai‍. A multiple event athlete in track in field, he’s an explosive blitzer as a nickel backer who looks like he could be Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah clone.

Kpai flashes tremendous acceleration when he attacks the perimeter while also provided value rushing off the edge. He can bend the corner. A high effort player that does a good job of block destruction, his size may be seen as a reason to hold back his ranking, but he’ll have a fit in modern defenses.

One recruit’s ranking I updated who just missed the cut is OT Dylan Fairchild‍. I had never watched his film and that was a mistake on my part. He’s all the way up to 53rd for me. He has elite feet and he can be a more consistent finisher as a senior, he should be moving up.

I also went back and re-watched TE Thomas Fidone‍ who I had just outside of the top-100, but is now in the top-100. He’s too explosive of an athlete as a flex tight end and his ball skills are too good to ignore his potential even if he never moves in-line during his career.

I still have Brock Bowers‍ slightly above him on my board, but basically a 1 and 1a scenario for me with those two.

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