They are the best of the best. The players wanted by every program and destined to make a big impact at the college level and beyond. Rivals.com has identified the first five-star prospects for the 2015 class and is unveiling them this week. Ten prospects have been awarded five-stars but are not ranked at this time, and we will profile two each day. One of today's five-stars is Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Scouting Report: Right off the bat, it's easy to see that Fitzpatrick has a calm confidence but when he gets on the field it's all business. At the line of scrimmage, Fitzpatrick is very physical. If the wide receiver breaks his press coverage, Fitzpatrick will flip his hips with ease and use his top-flight speed to stay with the receiver. He is physical enough to muscle receivers out of the way when fighting for jump balls. Two of the best things about Fitzpatrick are his crisp, clean footwork and his instincts. When playing from depth, Fitzpatrick doesn't take false steps and he has repeatedly shown that he can explode off his plant foot and drive on the ball. Having played on the varsity team since he was a freshman, Fitzpatrick has developed incredible instincts and can bait quarterbacks into throwing interceptions.
Analyst's Take: "Fitzpatrick is the latest big-time prospect to come out of the well-respected St. Peter's Prep program. He has the potential to be the most successful, too. Fitzpatrick is a natural cornerback with the skills and size to play safety. His speed, footwork, physicality, athleticism, instincts and football IQ are top-notch. The things I like most about Fitzpatrick are his great feet, ball-hawking abilities and attitude. Fitzpatrick doesn't waste any steps, and he is so explosive off his plant foot. His great athleticism, speed and understanding of the game help him quickly decipher what the offense is trying to do, and he uses that information to bait the quarterback into making a bad decision, resulting in a turnover most of the time. Fitzpatrick is a high-character recruit with a quiet confidence who has a great work ethic in the weight room, film room and on the field, which helps him make sure he is prepared for anything on the field." -- Adam Friedman, Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst, Rivals.com
Why He's a Five-Star: "Fitzpatrick is as close to a sure thing as St. Peter's has produced for many reasons, and the program has had some highly regarded prospects such as Will Hill and Savon Huggins. He has a great mentality when it comes to football. He's a quiet kid and a hard worker who lets his play do the talking. He's extremely athletic and long for a cornerback, and he has the field vision and ball skills of a free safety. He could easily play offense if he wanted to in college, but he knows he's more special as a corner and that's where he'll do the most damage. He's a smooth runner, never out of control, and his long, quick strides allow him to close quickly whether the ball is in front of him or he's pursuing downfield. As a tackler, he's adept at gathering himself and staying balanced and driving into his opponent. He's physical but fluid at the same time, and his makeup screams future captain." -- Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst, Rivals.com
His Coach Says: "Obviously Minkah is a tremendous athlete, but I think his work ethic is unparalleled. He is a laser-focused kind of kid. Football is a passion, and he really cares about improving his craft. That work ethic is contagious. I think, as a cornerback, he breaks on the ball very well, is very smart, has great ball skills and he has safety size and cornerback skills, and I think that's a great combination. You can't throw over top of him, and you can't run by him. I think he has really good hips and all the qualities you would want in a top cornerback. He goes to the ball so well and, to be honest, I think it's God-given. His athleticism and knowing the game and understanding the concepts really help him to jump on the ball. There is nobody in the country who works harder than this kid, and that includes off of the field, his diet, nutrition and film study. Minkah will also play running back for us this year. I really like his acceleration, lean and vision. He does a great job of not taking hits." -- Rich Hansen, head football coach, St. Peter's Prep
Odds and Ends: Fitzpatrick started multiple games as a freshman at St. Peter's Prep, an accomplishment few can claim. ... He will play cornerback, running back and special teams this season. ... He wants to major in sports management in college. ... Fitzpatrick was one of the few underclassmen to compete in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour at Soldier Field in Chicago.
NFL Player Comparison: Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos