Per requests, I have decided to begin a series where we review the film of current Clemson commits to see both the “good” and the “bad”. I chose Joseph Ngata as the first subject of our review because he’s someone who may be rated very highly, but is still someone I look at as very underrated relative to other WR recruits.
Before I delve into the review I’ll touch on the last point; Why is Ngata so underrated? There are a few reasons. The first being that he plays for Folsom High School in California. Despite the program being highly successful in terms of state championships, Folsom High is knocked for putting up gaudy numbers in a system against competition that is not always elite. Secondly, Folsom athletes do not participate in camps, nor 7on7 tournaments so Ngata has had fewer opportunities to showcase his ability compared to other prospects.
One of the first things you notice when watching Joseph Ngata are his tremendous ball skills. In the first clip, Ngata gets off the line extremely quickly, and even though the ball is thrown slightly late, still catches an under-thrown ball over a helpless DB. The second half of the GIF shows Ngata’s ball skills in another 1v1 situation, and this time he wins the battle in even flashier fashion
Ngata can pinpoint the ball in the air, and possesses the size to play the 9 WR in Clemson’s system. 2019 5-star WR commit Frank Ladson can also play the same position, so being a very fluid WR versatile enough to run many routes will help his cause for early PT. QT believes that he will start out at the “5” while cross-training at all 3 positions, and I agree.
Don’t let that 210 pound, 6’3 frame make you think otherwise, Ngata is still a fluid and athletic WR as I just stated.
I could've ran straight and scored easily.... but then I realized I'm not no Average Joe pic.twitter.com/XvBk8JpXe5— Joseph Ngata (@josephngata) November 19, 2017
Ngata shows off his advanced route running in the first clip, fooling the DB and stopping on a dime before making the grab nearly out of bounds. After a few poor tackle attempts, the WR hurdles the defender on the way to the endzone. It is extremely rare that you see a 6’3 210 pound WR not only run crisp routes like that at the HS level, but also have the atleticism to hurdle a defender before scoring.
The next clip once again shows Ngata’s fluidity, and after the catch one can see that he excels in the open field, juking multiple defenders before a herd of blockers can take him to the endzone. I’ll repeat that this athleticism and fluidity for a HS WR his size is not normal. At his size he is thickly built, and not afraid to hit people at all. This manifests itself both when he has the ball in his hands, and while blocking.
As seen in the tweet, Ngata is a very physical runner capable of running defenders over. This physicality is no fluke, and its one of the things Joseph prides himself on.
Ngata also happens to be a “long-strider”, and uses it like a freight-train to reach top speed quickly and blow by defenders.
Joseph takes a kickoff back for 6, showing off his incredibly long strides while reaching his top speed before he even reaches the first defender. This makes it easy for him to weave through the crowd, and use his very good top speed in the open field. The first GIF is from his Junior season, but upon reviewing his senior tape so far, it’s easy to see that he’s taken the next step physically developing and has increased his overall speed. This is evidenced by the 2nd play in the highlight, where defenders have zero chance of catching up to him.
But my favorite trait of Ngata’s is his acceleration/quickness off the line of scrimmage.
Most of the DBs that play Folsom will play off-coverage, and letting Joe get a free release against you is pretty much a death-wish. Watch him blow by this DB before making the TD grab. There are countless other plays exactly like this, where DBs are deceived by how quickly someone that size can get off the ball, and before they even know it they’re chasing his jersey. A complete and utter matchup nightmare.
Here’s Joe’s full JR highlights if you still wanted to watch more.
The more I watch Ngata’s tape, the more strengths and fewer weaknesses I seem to find. At this point in time the only knock on the young WR would be that he plays in a very system-oriented offense. I don’t really see this as a weakness for a WR prospect though. A system ultimately does not change the skillset and measurables of an elite WR. From what I’ve seen there’s nothing to indicate that Ngata is anything but one of the top 2-3 WRs (possibly even the best) in the entire class. Currently rated by 24/7’s Composite at 62nd in the entire country, I think that is much too low, and that you’ll see him approach the top 30 range by the end of the cycle.
Finding measurables like 6’3 210 pounds on a fluid WR like Ngata is extremely rare. A prospect with a thick build that can run such a diverse route tree is something WRU will value highly. That’s not even taking into the equation his height/ball skills that allow him to go up and attack the ball in the air. The ball skills of a “9”, but the fluidity and route running of a “5”. He’ll even take a jet sweep around the end like a “2”. For these reasons, Ngata will be a matchup nightmare for Clemson, and a recruit we should all be tremendously excited about.
He starts every play with either a lightning-fast get off, or a physical release through man coverage. No matter how it begins, it always seems like Joe has an edge over the DB right at the start of every single play. He’s a willing blocker that will plant you, and has no regrets about running anyone over with the ball in his hands. If you can catch him in the open field, you probably aren’t big enough to bring him down anyway.
After its cookout in July, Clemson gained a commitment from one of the best WRs in the class. At the time of his commitment, I leaned towards the notion that Ngata was probably a high 4-star, maybe 5-star talent. After an in-depth film review of both his older JR highlights, as well as his newer SR tape, I’m convinced that Ngata will be a 5-star WR later in the cycle, or at the very least should be. Bowl games after the HS season will make or break his status in the recruiting rankings, but make no bones about it he’s a 5-star talent. You just don’t find that size, speed, fluidity, ball skills, smarts (by the way he’s a very bright kid), and quickness on an everyday receiver. Jeff Scott and Clemson are going to have a fun time figuring out how to best utilize this talent, and although it’s beyond immense praise it would not surprise me to see Joe become one of if not the best WR to come through the program.