In his weekly series, Rivals National Recruiting Director Adam Gorney offers his thoughts on recruiting topics and storylines that impact the national landscape with a focus on the new 2022 rankings being released this week.
Here is the full Rivals Rankings Week schedule:
MONDAY: Five-Star Countdown
WEDNESDAY: Offensive position rankings
THURSDAY: Defensive position rankings
FRIDAY: State rankings
DO WE HAVE QBs RIGHT?
Ohio State commit Quinn Ewers is No. 1, and that is no issue at all because he proved once again at the Steve Clarkson QB Retreat he’s so special and has such a dynamic arm. After that, the debate is wide open to me, with LSU pledge Walker Howard and Georgia commit Gunner Stockton as the other five-stars but the ongoing debate is going to be interesting.
That’s because Alabama commit Ty Simpson and Clemson pledge Cade Klubnik are just as talented as some of the five-stars – or might be better – and that’s going to be determined over the next few rankings cycles.
Are there that many five-star quarterbacks in this class or are some players higher-rated than they should be? If that’s the case, Simpson and/or Klubnik could take those places. I also wouldn’t count out Texas A&M commit Conner Weigman from being in that discussion, either.
ROBINSON IS VERY IMPRESSIVE AT RB POSITION
Branson Robinson is the lone five-star running back in the 2022 class, and I have absolutely no problem with that right now. He was so impressive at the Rivals Camp in Atlanta. He really looks and plays similarly to Nick Chubb and he’s like a tank that will just bounce off tacklers wherever he ends up. It sure sounds like Georgia, especially after his outstanding visit over the weekend.
I also love Oklahoma pledge Raleek Brown as he’s so dynamic and cannot be tackled in a phone booth. There are others that I really like as well, including Lake Charles (La.) College Prep’s Trevonte’ Citizen. New Alabama commit Le’Veon Moss is such a powerful and talented back, he could continue to move up.
WIDE RECEIVER POSITION IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
Oklahoma commit Luther Burden is a really talented kid, has speed and power and great hands. He possesses everything to be the No. 1 receiver in the class. But fellow five-star Kevin Coleman is dynamic and terrific in space, and he’s going to push for that top spot as well. After that, I’m torn in some ways.
Right now, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei’s CJ Williams still holds a slight edge over Anaheim (Calif.) Servite’s Tetairoa McMillan, but that one could really go either way. And then Oklahoma pledge Talyn Shettron and Ohio State commit Caleb Burton round out the top receivers. Two guys I have my eye on to move up even more are Andre Greene and Barion Brown.
IS BANKS THE BEST OFFENSIVE TACKLE?
There are four five-star offensive tackles – and three of them were at LSU this past weekend in a show that the Tigers are still fantastic recruiters, even though offensive line coach James Cregg was let go leading up to the visit weekend.
Julian Armella was great at the Miami stop of the Rivals Camp Series and there’s no doubt he could stay at the No. 1 spot. But Houston (Texas) Summer Creek’s Kelvin Banks was so dominant and so physical at the Dallas Rivals Camp that he not only moved to five-star status but could end up No. 1 at the position.
If there’s such a thing as an underrated five-star it might be Zach Rice from Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian Academy, who is massive and has almost no bad weight at all. After struggling early in the Dallas Rivals Camp, Kam Dewberry dominated later on and has backed up his five-star status as well.
BIG CHANGES AT DEFENSIVE END
At weakside defensive end, Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage’s Marvin Jones Jr. and Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna’s Kenyatta Jackson moved up a little. At strong-side, there were plenty of changes, with Dani Dennis-Sutton moving to five-star and then Gabe Dindy and Quency Wiggins making big moves as well. Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard’s Nyjalik Kelly also moved way up and it was well deserved.
All those moves were definitely justified after seeing the players at spring games or at events, and there could be others moving up over the next rankings cycles. The more we see Crystal Springs, Miss., standout Trevion Williams we will probably like him and Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral’s Anthony Lucas was rated too low earlier in the cycle and is starting to get in the range where we think fits best.
NEW NO.1 AT DT IS JUSTIFIED
There are four five-star defensive tackles and I could definitely see an argument for Walter Nolen staying No. 1 and Travis Shaw going off at No. 2, but Shaw’s spring highlights were so good and he’s so physically dominant and aggressive that a move to the top spot was definitely justified. That is no knock on Nolen, though, because he’s excellent as well, has great hands and quickness but Shaw’s physical nature stands out. Keithian Alexander, who just de-committed from Georgia, is also very good and I think Georgia commit Tyre West still has to prove himself against national competition.
GREAT DEFENSIVE BACK CLASS
There was a long debate about the top of the cornerback class, and a change was made with Ohio State commit Jaheim Singletary taking over the top spot, followed by five-stars Denver Harris, Domani Jackson and Will Johnson. There are a lot of talented four-stars behind them. I particularly like Khamauri Rogers and Terrance Brooks, and while they’re already high in the rankings, they could end up even higher.
This safety class is really interesting as well and there might be more than one five-star out there. Xavier Nwankpa has made a major move up and still might be better than the third-best safety in the class, and I also think Sam McCall and Zion Branch are super special.