Morgan Smalls is quickly turning into the top jump prospect in the Class of 2020.
And there's a very big reason for that:
She's unusual in the way that we typically see high-level jumpers.
Very rarely do we see a young athlete who performs at an elite-level in all three jumps (we're looking specifically at indoors events), though that can be tied to the fact that there's nuance to each discipline.
Not counting multis athletes like Anna Hall, who has already proven to be the best all-around athlete in the Class of 2019, many athletes who perform in the field often tie their success to just a few events with similar points of transition.
Jasmine Moore, for example, has become the top horizontal jumper in the Class of 2019, honing elite-level marks in the long jump and triple jump. But last year, when Moore began to high jump outdoors, her top height only reached 5 feet, 4 inches.
Read: Micah Williams is evolving into a blue-chip prospect
Smalls has shown this indoor season that she has the potential that could make her a top 5 national-level jumper in all three events.
To some degree, she's knocking down walls. Small currently leads the country in the high jump and long jump and is the third-ranked athlete in the triple jump.
Below is a ranking of the top high school high jumpers this indoor season, with their auxiliary marks in the triple jump and long jump. Four out of 12 athletes compete in all three events, and only Smalls has marks that could compete at the national level.
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At this point, Smalls is likely being contacted by some very big programs.
When faced with making a comparison to previous athletes, it's hard to pin Smalls down. She's accomplished some feats that, very simply, very few athletes have done.
In the high jump specifically, she became the fourth high school girl to clear 6 feet, 1 inches. And she did it as a junior. There have been just two girls since the turn of the century that have achieved that very same thing, and only Vashti Cunningham -- who owns the national record with a 6-6.25 clearance -- achieved it more than once, and successfully accomplished it previous to her senior year.
Jelena Rowe was the last high school girl to clear 6-1 in 2017. When we compare her junior season to that of Smalls, here's what we find:
|morgan smalls||mark||mark||Jelena Rowe|
|Junior Season||6-1||5-9||Junior Season|
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If high jump was the only discipline Smalls performed at an elite level, that would be one thing
But Smalls is likely a full scholarship tender due to her versatility -- and we haven't even dug into Smalls' times on the track, which have seen her go 12.25 in the 100m, 24.55 in the 200m and 58.44 in the 400m, but those certainly do not hurt, either.
Here's a pretty similar comparison with three former high school athletes.
|Alonie Sutton||Smith Station, AL||2018||42-0||19-2.5||Tennessee|
|Sydnei Murphy||Apex, NC||2015||42-0.75||19-3.25||Duke|
|Sydney Larkin||Cherokee Trail, CO||2018||41-10||19-4.5||Arizona State|
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Consider those three athletes were, in their senior years, considered among the best in their class as horizontal jumpers. Larkin was more consistent overall in the triple jump--she marked over 41 feet five times indoors, while Smalls has just one indoor mark over 41--but again ...that was in one event.
Smalls is eclipsing, in a lot of ways, comparable athletes well before her final year of indoor track and field.
If the North Carolina junior can stay healthy and keep improving--and, for good measure, pick up some titles along the way--there's no doubt she'll easily become one of the best jump recruits in recent memory.