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Fact or Fiction: Julian Lewis is the best prospect in the nation, bar none

Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analyst John Garcia Jr. – along with Parker Thune of and Josh Henschke of – tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.

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1. Julian Lewis is the best prospect in the nation, regardless of class.

Julian Lewis
Julian Lewis (

Gorney’s take: FICTION. He’s an absolutely phenomenal quarterback already with a tremendous reputation who trained with Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence and he’s absolutely one of the best quarterbacks in the country, but it would be a major leap to say he’s the best overall. I’d take Dylan Raiola over him just from a physical maturity standpoint, and Alabama commit Julian Sayin edged out Lewis at the Steve Clarkson QB Camp, although Lewis held his own. In a few years, Lewis could – should – be the No. 1 player in his class, and he’s elite on the field. But there are some other outstanding prospects, not only quarterbacks, coming up as well.

Garcia’s take: FICTION. A lot of hyperbole has been associated with Lewis' name since middle school, and rightfully so relative to the value of the quarterback position and his underclassman efforts on the varsity level ever since. But the class of 2026 talent would have to vault over some truly elite talent to be considered No. 1 over a pool of three classes. Even at quarterback, the top two over the cycles ahead of him would have a strong argument against him -- Raiola and Sayin in 2024 and Bryce Underwood and KJ Lacey in 2025. Beyond the signal callers, premium position players in the classes ahead of him would also have their own say for No. 1 overall. Lewis may be generational, especially if he continues to improve with the type of growing spotlight he has earned to this point, but sitting back and allowing the process to play out is rarely a bad move. Still, there isn't a Power Five program out there that would say no to this high school freshman's verbal commitment.


2. Williams Nwaneri will look at other programs, but Oklahoma will be tough to beat.  

Williams Nwaneri
Williams Nwaneri (Parker Thune)

Gorney’s take: FACT. Oklahoma is close and his former teammate, Cayden Green, is there. It just makes sense that the Sooners have the big-time edge in his recruitment. Plus, coach Brent Venables and his staff have made Nwaneri a huge priority in the 2024 class, and unless the season is a complete disaster then the elite defensive end should end up in Norman. Tennessee could make this very interesting and Oregon might be the team to watch, especially with how the Ducks developed Kayvon Thibodeaux and others. Plus that staff is young and vibrant, and the Nike connections are huge. But my bet right now is that the Sooners are in great shape.

Thune’s take: FACT. Georgia doesn’t seem to have made a huge surge with Nwaneri coming off his official visit, which tracks with the longstanding notion that Tennessee and Oregon are the two programs with the best shot to upend Oklahoma in this race. Relationships are particularly critical with the elite defensive end prospect, and nobody has established better relationships with Nwaneri and his circle than the Oklahoma staff. The next two weekends are pivotal, as Nwaneri goes to Norman on June 9 and Knoxville on June 16. But even if Oklahoma can maintain the edge on Tennessee, the Sooners will probably still have to convince Nwaneri to eschew the Oregon visit on Sept. 23 in order to feel truly confident. As things stand, the Ducks will have the chance to make the final impression, and that’s often a valuable asset in battles like this one. But the safe money is still on Oklahoma.



3. Michigan commit Jordan Marshall should end up atop the RB rankings.

Jordan Marshall
Jordan Marshall (Birm/Dotting the 'Eyes)

Gorney’s take: FICTION. For now. There is definitely an argument that could be made for Marshall as he arguably has the best junior film among any backs in the nation, but I would really love to see the Cincinnati Moeller standout at any national event. It would be great to compare apples to apples, since Kameron Davis and Jerrick Gibson are not shy about competing anywhere, and we’ve seen Quinton Martin enough to know he’s one of the best backs in the country. We’re not going to hold it against Marshall that he doesn’t do any high-level events – just like we didn’t hold it against Arch Manning – but to get the most accurate ranking possible it would help. My guess is that Marshall will be included among the best running backs in the class because his skill level demands it, but seeing him somewhere other than film would be great.

Henschke’s take: FACT. If Marshall isn’t considered the best running back in the 2024 class, he should be right up there with the best of them. His ability and body of work speaks for itself. His relentless work ethic will allow him to have a monster senior season and let the results make the argument for his rise in the rankings.