Five thoughts on the 2023 receiver class
High school seasons are about halfway done - or more - so this is a good time to take a look at some things happening across the country. Today, Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney gives five thoughts on the 2023 wide receivers.
MORE: Five thoughts on the 2023 QBs | RBs
CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100
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NOT SURE ON NO. 1
Brandon Inniss was the No. 1 receiver in the country until Carnell Tate had such an impressive offseason especially at the Pylon Los Angeles that we swapped the two. There was a feeling we could do no wrong there since both are such phenomenal receivers.
But I’m not sure anymore.
Inniss is such a catch machine who doesn’t look like he’s super fast but creates incredible separation from defensive backs and he just produces and produces and produces. So far this season, the Ohio State commit has nearly 500 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
Tate doesn’t have bad stats, either, and he’s committed to the Buckeyes, too, so they’ll be putting up big numbers in Columbus together but right now if I had to choose the No. 1 receiver in the country, Inniss might go back to the top.
Other five-stars Hykeem Williams, a Florida State commit, and USC pledge Zachariah Branch are not going unnoticed either.
ANY OTHER FIVE-STARS?
As we go down the list of high four-star receivers, I’m not sure there are any that are a red-alert five-star that must be moved up in the rankings immediately. There are already four five-stars and I never want to say never but I’d need to see some really compelling performances at the all-star events to get another five-star in this class.
Oregon commit Jurrion Dickey looked awesome this offseason and moved way up so if he continues those performances then maybe that could happen. Texas commit Johntay Cook is another one that intrigues me along with California receivers Deandre Moore and Makai Lemon but there isn’t a clear winner here.
Unless we want to seriously discuss Ayden Williams. More on him below.
WILLIAMS COULD PUSH HIGHER
We were generally conservative on ranking Ayden Williams early in the 2023 class because we didn’t get to see him in person but when the Ridgeland, Miss., four-star showed up at Future 50 and looked great at the event, I was not hesitant to move him up quickly. It might not have been enough.
The Ole Miss commit who has flown a little under-the-radar through the evaluation process not only dominated at that big summer event but now he’s caught 45 passes for 890 yards and 11 scores in only six games this season. With his team at 5-1, there’s a good chance a deep playoff run could happen which means Williams could push toward 2,000 receiving yards and 20-plus touchdowns this season.
Either way, he is playing like someone who should be considered for a major bump in the rankings.
TENNESSEE WR MAKING NOISE
All the way down at No. 74 in the position rankings is Tennessee commit Nathan Leacock, who definitely looked the part at the Rivals Camp Series in Charlotte and has moved to a high three-star prospect.
It might not be nearly enough for the Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook standout.
So far this season, Leacock has caught 37 passes for 906 yards and 14 touchdowns averaging nearly 25 yards per catch. Plus, the three-star is going into Josh Heupel’s offense where we all know he’s going to have ample opportunities to make big plays on the outside.
Is a four-star ranking in the cards? Sure looks like it.
GUYS WHO HAVE CAUGHT OUR EYE
Here are a few more names that have been outperforming so far that will need to be revisited when rankings come up again after the season and before the all-star events:
UCLA commit Grant Gray already has 48 catches for 527 yards and seven touchdowns as the Norco, Calif., continues to prove he’s one of the best receivers in the West and is a complete production machine. He should be used all over the place in coach Chip Kelly’s offense.
Ole Miss could be the program to beat for Cayden Lee and the Atlanta (Ga.) Kennesaw Mountain standout would be a huge prize for coach Lane Kiffin as the four-star already has 40 catches for 590 yards and nine scores.
Florida State pledge Vandrevius Jacobs could be pushing up the rankings since he has 38 catches for 711 yards and 14 touchdowns this season and North Carolina commit Chris Culliver has 34 grabs for 831 yards and 12 TDs in just six games.
One more to watch: After a great offseason, Stanford commit Tiger Bachmeier’s stat line is unreal with 50 catches for 851 yards and nine scores in his Murrieta (Calif.) Murrieta Valley’s first six games.