Comparing top 2022 prospects to college, NFL stars: Nos. 1-10
Today we cap off our weeklong seriesd comparing players in the 2022 class with current college and NFL stars. National Recruiting Director Adam Gorney breaks down each player and National Columnist Mike Farrell provides the comparison.
CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals100
RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info/coverage on 2021 camp series
10. Domani Jackson
Gorney's analysis: Jackson is what a cornerback is supposed to look like – long, physical and athletic, he can turn and run with receivers, and looks ready for the college game right now. Speed is not an issue and the ability to be tough at the line of scrimmage is there. Sometimes he gets a little too much engaged with his hands, but with the combination of things the USC commit brings to the table, he’s pretty special.
Farrell's comparison: Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, the Pittsburgh Steelers star and former Alabama standout, is like a Swiss Army Knife who can play all over the field, and Jackson is very similar. He also has that size and length you want.
9. Keithian Alexander
Gorney's analysis: His nickname is "Big Bear" for a reason, and that's because Alexander can dominate at the point of attack. For someone his size, he’s surprisingly quick to beat interior offensive linemen and live in the backfield. He’s got violent hands when needed, he can overpower or use his speed to beat linemen and his feet never stop grinding. The former Georgia commit is looking at Texas A&M most, but others are involved as well.
8. Denver Harris
Gorney's analysis: The five-star cornerback has length, he looks forward to jamming receivers at the line and driving them off their routes and does an excellent job competing for 50/50 balls and usually coming down with them. Sometimes, he takes a few too many chances, but Harris can close the gap and never gets burned by receivers. Coming off an injury, he should remain one of the best cornerbacks in the class and is being chased by Alabama, Texas, LSU and others.
Farrell's comparison: Stephone Gilmore. Gilmore is high praise, but Harris reminds me of him in many ways as a tall, angular corner coming out of high school with instincts. Gilmore has become one of the the best corners in the NFL for the New England Patriots.
7. Luther Burden
Gorney's analysis: Burden is a physical receiver who can shed cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage to be a deep threat or he can take a short pass, find a running lane and gain big yards down the field. He has a college-ready body, he cannot be jammed by corners at the line and he has better speed than he’s given credit for sometimes. He was dominant at Future 50, although he doesn’t do a ton of national events. The Oklahoma commit is being pursued by Missouri and others.
Farrell's comparison: Laquon Treadwell. Burden is a thick and physical receiver with good hands and solid speed, just as Treadwell was out of high school. The first-rounder didn’t blossom as a pro, but he was very good in college.
6. Walter Nolen
Gorney's analysis: There will be a debate for years whether Nolen or Travis Shaw is the better defensive tackle, but both are excellent. Wherever Nolen goes he completely dominates with a phenomenal blend of power and speed and he’s an excellent gap shooter who can also overpower interior offensive linemen. Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and others remain in the mix, and Nolen could make an argument that he should be ranked even higher.
Farrell's comparison: Sheldon Richardson. Richardson, the former Missouri star, was one of the most athletic defensive tackles I’ve ever seen, and Nolen is right up there. He could easily play end, but he is so effective on the interior.
5. Jaheim Singletary
Gorney's analysis: Recently moved up to the No. 1 cornerback in the 2022 class, the former Ohio State commit is long, rangy, athletic and super competitive on the outside. He’s a vocal leader at cornerback, he chirps with receivers and plays with that chip on his shoulder because he’s sure nobody is going to beat him - and he can back it up. His length and ranginess really stand out most. Miami, Georgia and many others are going to be involved.
Farrell's comparison: Jaire Alexander. This is high praise as the former Louisville star and current Green Bay Packer could be the best in the NFL. They both have the instincts and length to dominate.
4. Julian Armella
Gorney's analysis: Armella has all the assets of an elite offensive tackle from someone who moves well now that he’s reshaped his body. He’s super aggressive and doesn’t back down to any challenge. He wants to be the best and what we like most about Armella is he wants to not only win against defensive linemen but make sure they never challenge him again. LSU, Florida State, Miami and Alabama are all involved.
Farrell's comparison: Jonah Williams. The former Alabama star stepped in right away as a left tackle, and Armella can do the same or slide inside and dominate.
3. Travis Shaw
Gorney's analysis: Watch one or two plays of highlight film and it’s easy to see how Shaw could be ranked as the No. 1 defensive tackle in the 2022 class. He’s massive but he moves well, he’s so incredibly powerful and he plays like a hungry dog that just got unleashed. Shaw is always attacking, always going after the ball, always looking to make a play. Clemson, North Carolina and Georgia are battling for him, and Shaw definitely has the physical strength and focus to be great.
Farrell's comparison: Dexter Lawrence. This comparison is obvious because Shaw is a tall, athletic defensive tackle who plays with great leverage and hails from the same state. Lawrence was great at Clemson.
2. Travis Hunter
Gorney's analysis: Hunter is one of the most special athletes in the 2022 class. The Florida State commit is so bouncy that he could arguably be the No. 1 receiver and No. 1 cornerback, and there’s no doubt Florida State should find ways to use him all over the field. One comparison we used this summer was that Hunter is like a taller Adoree’ Jackson, but I’d argue Hunter is even more springy and electric on both sides of the ball. With Quinn Ewers reclassifying to the 2021 class, Hunter has a good chance of becoming the new No. 1 recruit when we refresh the rankings later this month.
Farrell's comparison: Tre’Davious White. Hunter is smooth and wastes little effort and is a patient corner who breaks on the ball at the right time. White was more dynamic in the return game, but they have similar skills as corners.
1. Quinn Ewers
Gorney's analysis: Ewers has incredible arm talent, can make all the throws from all arm angles and he makes it look effortless. Sometimes, Ewers gets a little too cute with throwing off platform or throwing off balance or side-arming it, but the accuracy is never an issue. The Ohio State commit has unique arm ability and Ewers is someone who might not be sitting too long once he gets to Columbus. In games, Ewers can throw from the pocket or throw on the run, and he was excellent at the Elite 11 this summer.