Wide Receiver, 2019 Commit
The Kraken: 5-Stars
Rivals: 5-Stars, 247: High 4-Stars, ESPN: Low 4-Stars
Recruited by Jeff Scott
12/14/18 – I still agree with what I wrote below except for these adjustments.
He’s doing all of the same things, he’s just better as a senior than he was as a junior, despite the fact that his stats took a hit. His Receptions per TD went up and that’s a good indicator of how dominant he is on the field. He averaged a TD ever 2.7 catches which tells you how good he is after the catch. Ngata is playing in the Army All American game on January 5th.
I think Ngata could play all three WR positions effectively, and even though he is 6’3″, I have a suspicion he ends up at 2WR or 5WR instead of 9WR. Much like Justyn Ross this year, it is going to be awfully difficult to keep him off the field because of all the things he can do so many things well.
I’ve moved him up to a 5-Star and if he puts the time in, he’s got NFL written all over him.
8/2/18 – When you start getting elite level recruits from California, you know the Clemson brand is strong. Joe Ngata is such a commit. Ngata is rated as the #10 WR according to 247’s composite rankings. His junior year statistics are ridiculous at 81 catches, 1,777 yards, and 26 TDs. He is from Folsom, California which is 10 miles west of Sacramento. And yes, if you are a Johnny Cash fan, that is where “Folsom Prison” is located. His brother, Daniyel, is also college material as the starting RB for his HS. This is Clemson’s first recruit from Cali since Bobby Forbes in 1991.
His size and wingspan looks legit on film at 6’3.” His height and arm length stands out. He plays like he’s 200 pounds, so if he’s not truly 195, I don’t see a concern here.
Ngata has great top end speed, but you don’t always see him in 5th gear. He is a long-strider that kind of turns it on and off where it looks like he is either toying with his opponents or fatigued. He has great acceleration though, and he makes the opposing CBs look like they are running half-speed.
Ngata shows great body control and catch radius. He is able to lay out for overthrown balls as well as use his height to go up and over DBs. He is really adept at reaching back over the DBs head for underthrown balls as well.
His route running is very good and he has some nuances to getting open. He is ahead of most HS juniors in that regard. A lot of his TDs are just straight up go-routes where he just runs by the CB on the outside, catches it in stride, and scores. His HS has him running a lot of the same routes our 9WR runs like fade, skinny post, DIG, pivot, and comebacker. He’ll also take jet sweeps and pop passes. They also use him as the inside-slot in trips formation. More on that later.
He does a lot of damage after the catch, but it’s hard to tell if he is really that powerful, or if the level of competition is soft. There is a knock on California players for being softer than their southern and midwestern counterparts, so I definitely think that plays in to his video game numbers. There are times when DBs look scared to hit him. Still, he is fearless and will accelerate into traffic. Near the goalline, he wants the endzone and he puts his body on the line.
As a blocker, he’ll fire out with bad intentions, sticks his nose in there, and shows a meanstreak. I love this part of his game. Yes, he gets away with grabbing and throwing smaller players sometimes, and that gets you a 10 yard penalty in college, but he wants to take defenders out. As the inside-slot, he draws an OLB that he is usually bigger and faster than. So, they have Ngata fire out and take him to “pancake town” one play, and the next, he’ll slip by him on a go-route and be wide open. If an aspiring WR (or parent of one) happens to be reading this, this is how being a good blocker also helps you get open. Nobody wants another man to put him on his butt in public. Period. Everybody would rather get beat in coverage. If the DB leans forward to prepare for that contact, he’s ripe to be beaten in coverage.
Ngata profiles as a 9WR for us, but with Justyn Ross and Frank Ladson also arriving on campus within the next year, we’ve bringing in three 9WRs while we’ll still have Higgins and Overton here. Obviously, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, so it appears there is something else afoot. Perhaps with Trevor Lawrence on the scene, the staff is making some changes in philosophy. Or, perhaps after not having an efficient downfield passing game last year, the staff is making sure that it never happens again. I’m hoping the staff is thinking along the lines of what I wanted to see last year with Cain at 2WR on one side and Higgins/Overton on the other at 9WR.
Despite the level of competition being weaker, this guy is special. He’s got the athleticism, hands, fundamentals, route-running, and blocking. I’m having a hard time finding something he doesn’t do well. The level of competition is really the only concern I have. I have him as a High 4-Star right now, but just a hair away from being a 5. I’d like to see how he matches up with some better competition or if he can improve even more as a senior before I’d feel completely comfortable saying he is a 5. He is scheduled to sign in December and possibly be an early enrollee.