Looks Like University Of Illinois - Naivyan Cargill

May 25, 2022

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After this one I'm caught up.

OK, fine, not "caught up". Caught up on the 2022 freshmen. I'll have covered all of the 2022 freshmen who signed. Then I still have four transfers to get to. And, of course, the 2023 class already has three verbals and I've only written one of those LLUOI's. AND, Terrence Shannon Jr. joined the basketball team (did you hear?) and I haven't written that one. But once I get through all of that, I WILL BE CAUGHT UP.

Of course, there's a big recruiting weekend on June 3rd/4th and some commits might start piling up for the 2023 class. And my special summer podcast series launches on June 1st. Oh, and The 90 Illini starts this Sunday.

Never chose May as your "I'm going to take it easy and only write 12-15 articles to allow my brain to recharge" month.

Here's my progress on the football to-do list:

  1. Gabe Jacas
  2. Kaden Feagin
  3. Tyson Rooks
  4. Xavier Scott
  5. Matthew Bailey
  6. Elijah McCantos
  7. Isaiah Adams
  8. Naivyan Cargill
  9. Raashaan Wilkins
  10. Terrell Jennings
  11. Dylan Davis
  12. Jonah Morris
  13. Antwon Hayden
  14. TJ McMillen

Naivyan Cargill will almost certainly be the shortest article of all 14 players. Because there's so little to go on. He's the off-the-radar recruit to end all off-the-radar recruits. Going through his Twitter profile, here's the list of his offers before Illinois came along in late January and offered him a scholarship:

Graceland University
Florida Memorial University
Arizona Christian
Webber International University
Keiser University
North American University

I wonder if Webber University has ever...

(don't say it)

(don't say it)

(don't say it)

(I'm gonna say it)

...called timeout.

Most of these are NAIA schools. And most of the offers are from last year. He was named to some all-area teams in Florida after a big senior season, Ryan Walters discovered him while out recruiting in January, and next thing you know, we're his first and only Division I offer (which he accepts almost immediately).

So that made me dig some more. I found this article in the Palm Beach Post about him getting that late (as in "days before late signing day") offer. A snippet:

Illini defensive coordinator Ryan Walters caught wind of the offensive player of the year nominee, offering him for his skill set and ability to spread the field on Tuesday.

Cargill played at receiver, tight end, and outside linebacker last season. Cargill led the Gators in receiving yards, catching 35 passes for 506 yards and three touchdowns. In the trenches, Cargill posted two interceptions, adding 55 tackles and three sacks.

"Knowing that I was overlooked by many schools, it's a humbling experience - but now that I was given this opportunity, I have the chance to put my family in a better situation and show these schools they were wrong for passing up on me," Cargill said.

So then I wanted to find out if there was postseason buzz (besides just the Palm Beach Post identifying him). I landed on this message board thread from a Miami website. First they referenced Daniel Barker:

While South Florida doesn't produce tight ends like other positions, it has been improving over the past decade. FSU (Nick O'Leary), Miami (Clive Walford), Florida (Kemore Gamble), Michigan (Nick Eubanks) and Illinois (Daniel Barker) have all pulled productive P5 tight ends from the area.

This is one of the better years, with two P5 kids and two more that I believe are undervalued as G5 prospects.

And then, after mentioning the two P5 kids (one going to LSU, one going to West Virginia), they mentioned Cargill in the "undervalued as G5 prospects" section:

Naivyan Cargill, 6'6, 220 (Palm Beach Gardens)- Raw, underrated converted basketball player with legitimate upside. Plays WR, TE, DE and OLB. Productive senior year with 506 yards receiving, 55 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 INTs. Skilled hooper who can shoot threes and block shots. Boxes out and wins contested catches. Physical defender with the ability to strike and upside on that side of the ball. Easy FBS talent if the other stuff checks out. Sleeper potential.

"Converted basketball player" helps make sense of that offer list (at least for me). Tall, athletic kid, is thinking basketball is his future (he was first-team All District according to his Twitter profile) and then, much like other Illini recruits in the past (remember Louis Dorsey?), that height is coveted on the football field, not the basketball court. I'm not comparing him directly to Dorsey - once Dorsey chose football his senior year, he got a lot of offers - but this is the classic "you know, high school power forward often makes for a great college tight end" thing.

So let's find some film. Could he be a "great college tight end" in a few years? He certainly has the height:

And he has the speed and fluid running style:

And can high-point a ball:

The big question, then: can he grow into a tight end? There's typically a very long road between "basketball player who has a great senior season as a receiver jumping over everyone" and "Big Ten tight end capable of blocking a Wisconsin linebacker one week and then gaining separation from a Penn State nickel the following week." It will take weight room work, film work, and rep after rep after rep at practice.

Take Griffin Moore. He was a high school quarterback in Bloomington. The previous staff saw a future tight end in the 6'-4", 220 lb Moore so they offered him. His only two offers at the time: Illinois and Illinois State. I categorized him as a project recruit and gave him 2 Cruises based on size and athleticism. But I noted it would likely be a long time before he was ready to play tight end.

It's now 2022. Griffin Moore is entering his fourth season at Illinois, now up to 245 lbs. Because of the Covid bonus year, he's technically only a redshirt sophomore. We've only seen him on the field in three games - two in 2020 and one in 2021. He's basically spent three years in the lab learning how to be a Big Ten tight end. He did win Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year at the football banquet this offseason, and Daniel Barker did transfer to Michigan State, so 2022 should be Griffin Moore's opportunity to show us if the three years in the lab resulted in a Big Ten tight end.

And as he exits the lab, Naivyan Cargill enters. Yes, every now and then there's an Evan Wilson scenario where the high school tight end is thrown in there immediately. But more than likely, Cargill will get 2-3 years in the lab, getting stronger and learning the position. Griffin Moore entered the lab in 2019 and exits in 2022. Now Naivyan Cargill enters the lab, likely to exit in 2025. We'll have to see what we have at that point.

For a player like that, I think 2 Cruises is appropriate. I'd still go back and rate Griffin Moore the same way. For Cargill, given that he had no other offers besides the list above, I think I'll knock off a quarter Cruise for his off-the-radar-ness. Meaning he lands at...

Naivyan Cargill - One and three-quarters Tom Cruises.


JohnnyKarate on May 25, 2022 @ 03:52 PM

Love the podcast series tease. Gonna load up the queue for the days I mow.

ktcesw on May 26, 2022 @ 05:57 AM

My question is, what does he do when you see him on the field? He looks great on here (highlights, I know). With basketball players, it has always been, are they willing to take a hit? He has shown that he can make plays!

phytynlini on May 26, 2022 @ 07:28 PM

So wait... You just reduced his rating because of his off the radarness and offer list? Hmmmmmm.

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