The Rutgers football coaching staff still has not added to the 2020 class outside of blue shirts Jessie Parson III and Tahjay Moore being recognized on the Twitter feed, but instead added the second member of the 2021 class in less than two weeks. The Scarlet Knights secured a verbal commitment from Carnell Davis of St. Augustine Prep on Tuesday:
Rutgers is one of 16 power five conference schools (22 total) to offer Carnell per NJ Advance Media, including Auburn, Baylor, Oregon, and yes, Penn State. At 6’1” and 170 pounds, Davis is a high three-star prospect, the 12th best in New Jersey, 92nd best wide receiver nationally, and top 600 player overall for the 2021 class according to the 247 composite which includes other sources.
Davis is listed by virtually all sources as a wide receiver, but it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities for him to end up as a safety either. He is a smooth athlete with an incredible offer list you rarely see at this stage in the recruiting cycle for a player standing just 6’1”. When he puts his foot in the ground on either side of the ball, he can push off and gain a step immediately on his high school competition which will be enough to at minimum compete in the Big Ten. He also knows how to use this quickness to change speed or direction and gain separation, almost like a James Harden in basketball. He tracks the ball well and has excellent hands to snatch the ball out of the air. Carnell can run his routes and still keep an eye on if his quarterback needs help requiring him to break them off. He’s a smooth runner who may not have elite top end speed, but isn’t exactly getting caught from behind.
One area for improvement as a senior in 2020 and heading into his college career is reducing some excess movement in his fakes. Davis’s routes are solid as is, though everyone could use improvement, so he doesn’t need to oversell defenders as much. Occasionally he was a little lazy with his hands and caught the ball in his chest when he could have easily extended his arms. He defeats press coverage easily, but the defenders were not as physically developed. The number of routes in his tree also seem quite low as the highlights mostly contain curls, flys, and an occasional sluggo. In each, he relies most on his quickness out of the break rather than the route design to get open. All of these are things most players have to learn at the college level anyway, so Davis is ahead of the game.
Davis is at worst a solid three-star prospect who will compete hard in practice and provide upside at receiver like Eddie Lewis did. Carnell most likely will be able to contribute on special teams as a freshman and crack the receiver rotation by his sophomore year. Best case Carnell is a reliable target and gets his feet wet as a freshman then turns it on as a sophomore like Tiquan Underwood, his new position coach, did on the banks.
I like the pickup because Rutgers has struggled to get their first commit until late spring in recent years and not only has one, but two. Not only that, Davis is right around that top 10 players in the state for his class range which Rutgers also needs to lock down in the second Schiano era. I’m generally a defense first, ground and pound second, pass third kind of guy, but when you are in a division like the Big Ten East, the only way to stay competitive is to throw the ball to stay in or make comebacks in games. Davis is a player that will be able to make receptions against the four and five star stud DBs he has to face week in and week out.
Davis is the second player in this 2021 class joining Alijah Clark, both of whom will not be eligible to officially sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI) until December 2020. Though it may be laughable to even think about such things at the moment, with just these two players RU is currently considered the 41st ranked recruiting class in the 2021 cycle. Only seven Big Ten teams have more than two verbal commits at this point in time.
Check out some highlights:
Welcome to the banks Carnell!