Garcia’s Takeaways: IMG Academy Pro Day

Garcia's Takeaways: IMG Academy Pro Day

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BRADENTON, Fla. — Camp season on the college football recruiting front is in full swing, and it means an annual stop at always-loaded IMG Academy to get a fresh look at the updated national roster. On Thursday night, the program held its annual Pro Day event to showcase the crop of prospects from the class of 2025 through some head-turners way down the line through the 2028 class.

Rivals was on hand and looks into fresh evaluations of known prospects, new names to track and more from the workout.

Olugbode put on a show about as much as a prospect in this type of setting could. The Rivals250 prospect not only looked college-ready from a height and weight standpoint (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) but he played the part with relative ease. From showcasing good quickness and efficient movement skills to precision route-running and gaudy strong hands to complete plays, the blue-chipper showcased a total skill set on Thursday. He even got his teammates going with a string of one-handed catches down the field for fun to wrap up the workout. Oregon may be a program to watch in Olugbode’s recruitment, though the new Alabama staff is also in on the Chicago native, among others.

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Owusu-Boateng has been atop the Rivals outside linebacker rankings for some time and that decision feels better and better with every sample we get from the junior. Thursday was the latest example, where he looked to be moving at a more intense pace than every other linebackers on the field on top of having added weight to his frame. He can run, redirect and get out of his breaks like a prospect much smaller than his listed 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame would suggest. Owusu-Boateng also looked good attacking the football from depth on Thursday. He has set official visits to South Carolina and Stanford thus far, though many programs figure to get the NFL legacy on campus this offseason.

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Johnson has been missing in action since last spring at IMG, suffering a knee injury, but he was back on the field and was able to make some moves in between drills. The Georgia native is also somewhat trim at 215 pounds or so, another indicator that the four-star may be back on the field in full sooner rather than later. He is plenty motivated to showcase the skill that made him a national recruit as an underclassman. Johnson has a top group of Georgia, Florida State, Ohio State, Tennessee and USC but tells Rivals other programs could be added to that list before all is said and done.

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Preston showcased some wide receiver and secondary skill throughout Thursday evening, but regardless of where he lined up he was hard to miss. He has a great frame at 6-foot-2, near 200 pounds, yet he has a fluidity when he moves. Even more impressively, he showed explosiveness in drills and beyond in attacking the football at a very high point on several occasions. Preston, who has official visits lined up to Florida and Virginia Tech in June, has effortless bounce and ball skills to his name whether he lines up as a big corner or rangy safety.

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Strayhorn looks like the most stout offensive lineman on the IMG roster, adding good mass to his interior frame. He also looked to go through testing and drills with a business-like approach, setting the tone for his younger brother Kody, who is also now working along the offensive line at IMG. Defenders on the roster rave of the junior’s pop and leg drive and Strayhorn’s offer list reflect as much. This spring, he’ll see Florida, Alabama, Miami, Georgia and Ohio State ahead of what is expected to be a preseason decision.

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Vines-Bright made the move to IMG Academy just one month ago and he also has the look of a Saturday prospect despite his youth. He isn’t at full speed physically in that he’s dealing with a minor issue, but the samples he showed on Thursday included intriguing quickness, strong hands and overall balance. He should pair well with Olugbode to create a strong one-two punch for IMG this fall. The Arizona native has already set four official visits to USC, Notre Dame, Washington and Arizona State.

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Pepe continues to look like the premier offensive tackle prospect in the 2026 class, checking in at 6-foot-8, 297 pounds and somehow carrying it well along the way. The length and sharp movement skills make for a banner blindside protector and he’ll slide out to tackle at IMG as an upperclassman after working inside and out earlier in his career at the school. Pepe isn’t hurrying the recruiting process at all, but he does want to see some campuses he has yet to explore like Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan this offseason if at all possible.

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Jiles is fresh off of a Miami decommitment and his offer list has become national in the process, something easy to believe in seeing the combination of length and build to his frame as a cornerback. He worked as well as any of the corners on IMG’s loaded roster, especially from a technical standpoint, though he has the competitiveness to go along with it. Jiles says he is in contact with several schools since getting back on the market, but says he’ll take his time with the process this time around.

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McFarland II was the talk of the workout before any testing began and it didn’t take long to see why. The class of 2028 prospect, who carries a maturity about him, backed it up with strong displays of speed and quickness both as a tester and more importantly in football drills, too. McFarland is new to IMG after moving from Las Vegas and he looks to be the type of space and speed prospect that an offense manufactures touches for. Arizona State and UNLV have already seen enough of the rising-freshman to kick off his offer list. They surely won’t be the only tenders McFarland has to his name for very long.

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Wade is another 2028 prospect from the other side of the country who commands attention. The 6-foot-4 quarterback not only looks the part at near 200 pounds, but he spins a good ball with a smooth motion and easy downfield power along the way. He’ll carry more weight and likely enhance his passing traits as he matures, part of the reason why programs like Georgia, Oregon, Utah, UCF and others have offered him before his first high school start. Wade says his home-state USC Trojans, who have yet to offer, will be the next unofficial visit he takes.

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