Prospect Evaluation #4: Whitfield & Garnett

Five-Star OG Joshua Garnett

WR Kodi Whitfield and OG Joshua Garnett are two prospects from football families whose respective evaluations should give Stanford fans an enjoyable break from grieving the tough, disappointing OT loss to Oklahoma State in the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Each possesses traits that should get them on the field early, which is traditionally somewhat uncharacteristic for their projected positions.

Prospect Evaluations: WR Kodi Whitfield & OG Joshua Garnett

WR Kodi Whitfield and OG Joshua Garnett are two prospects from football families whose respective evaluations should give Stanford fans an enjoyable break from grieving the tough, disappointing OT loss to Oklahoma State in the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Each posesses traits that should get them on the field early, which is traditionally somewhat uncharacteristic for their projected positions. We are pretty sure we will see Whitfield in a Cardinal uniform, pending admissions. Whether Stanford will bring Garnett into the fold with him remains to be seen, but the big fellow is an obvious fit, both as a prospective student and as a future football player.

 

Kodi Whitfield , WR/S 6'2" 195 lbs (Loyola High School, Los Angeles, CA)

 

Scout.com Ratings – 3*, #58 WR

 

Rivals Ratings – 4*, 5.8/6.1, #47 WR, No National Ranking, #37 Prospect in California

 

ESPN Ratings – 3*, 77/100, #94 WR, #110 Regional Prospect, #72 Prospect in California


Rating the Ratings

Whitfield's ESPN rankings are substantially lower than those of the other two services which seem more accurate with respect to Whitfield's demonstrated talent.  There are certain areas of Whitfield's game that appear to be far more developed than a good number of receivers who are ranked ahead of him.  Rivals' ranking as a four-star prospect is understandable given Whitfield's playmaking ability, but a high three-star rating is about where Whitfield should land.  While the Rivals star rating may be a little off on the high end, ESPN's rankings of Whitfield seem to be well off the mark on the low end.

 

Evaluation

As with many legacy prospects, Whitfield plays the game with football savvy that is a product of growing up with the sport.  He is very "crafty" as a receiver. Whitfield finds ways to get separation on shorter routes and manages to get behind defensive backs on long routes despite just having good but not great speed.  He displays decent quickness and uses it with his strength to pick up significant amounts of yards after the catch.  What stand out most about Whitfield as a receiver are his excellent ball skills.  The combination of great hands, great judgment and great leaping ability gives Whitfield an arsenal that will win him many battles against tight coverage, especially in the red zone.  He catches the ball away from his body very naturally and comfortably.  He can also adjust quickly and correctly to passes that are off-target. The timing of his jumps to catch the ball at its highest point is exceptional regardless of whether he is picking off an underthrown ball as a defensive back or catching a jump ball in the end zone as a receiver. 

 

"Physicality" is also a significant part of Kodi Whitfield's game.  Despite the value he brings to the table at wide receiver, his overall feel for the game combined with that physicality make safety an option.  He is a football player whose enjoyment of contact is evident from his play at safety.  He takes good angles to the football and delivers a strike, making him a very solid tackler in the open field. 

 

Projection

As is common with legacy players, Whitfield has a very high floor.  He is almost can't-miss as a contributor, as he has solid skills that will get him on the field in one way or another.  Given Stanford's lack of depth at wide receiver, the self-confident Whitfield figures to see the field early.  He is a very intelligent player who will likely be a much quicker study than most prospects.  That, along with his exceptional hands and ball skills will earn him his quarterback's trust.  He should see the field as a freshman, given that his talents and physical play make him a prime candidate for special teams.  After that, Whitfield should be at least a steady contributor for the remainder of his time on The Farm.
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Joshua Garnett
, OG  6'5" 275 lbs (Puyallup High School, Puyallup, WA)

 

Scout.com  Ratings – 5*, #2 OG

 

Rivals Ratings – 4*, 6.0/6.1, #7 OT, #28 National Prospect, #1 Prospect in Washington

 

ESPN Ratings – 4*, 82/100, #8 OG, #8 Regional Prospect, #1 Prospect in Washington, #42 National Prospect

 

Rating the Ratings

No real inconsistencies here – Joshua Garnett is regarded as a stud prospect on all accounts.  One could say that he should be a five-star prospect on more than just one service, however.  He is a consensus top-10 offensive guard although he plays left tackle for Puyallup.  It is possible that his projection at guard rather may take a little away from his rankings given the relative value placed on the positions.

 

Evaluation

Garnett is technically sound lineman with great feet and more than enough "nastiness" to succeed on the college level.  While in pass protection, his body is rarely in a position that would leave him vulnerable to the various pass rush moves that will be thrown his way.  He always keeps his weight balanced although he could be lower at times when engaging defenders.  His great balance allows him to easily handle outside pass rushers who try to make inside moves.  He pivots and shuffles effortlessly when adjusting to the defenders movement and keeps a nice wide base which he will use to handle bull-rushers in college.

 

When run-blocking, Garnett does a very good job at seeking out defenders on the second level and eliminating them.  He has a good, quick and definitive first step to the point of attack, which allows him to out-flank defenders and wall them off on reach blocks.  Similar to his pass-blocking, he could sometimes keep his pad level a tad bit lower when engaging defenders.  That does not keep him from bowling over defenders with a sustained push or a quick and powerful punch that knocks them off of their feet.   The aforementioned nastiness is exemplified by his playing through the whistle and finishing his blocks.  A defender that he engages will not get a second chance to make a play and will likely end up on the ground.


Projection 

Only minor changes are needed for Joshua Garnett's game to be college-ready.   He already has enough size to handle college defensive linemen, and according to reports he has already tacked on a good 20 pounds to his current listed weight.  From a technical standpoint, he could play offensive tackle.  However, his body type isn't as "long" as is generally sought after with offensive tackles. Garnett will almost assuredly be an offensive guard in college, but his technique and ability would make tackle an option if there were injuries and lack of experienced depth at the position.  If he does end up at Stanford, due to redshirt junior All-American David DeCastro leaving early for the NFL, Garnett would be a one of the rare offensive linemen that would be a legitimate candidate to see significant action as a true freshman. 


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