football Edit

Mind of Mike: Thoughts on the initial 2022 Rivals250

CJ Hicks
CJ Hicks (

The Mind of Mike is a scary place. We dive into the mind of National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell with his thoughts on the first Rivals250 for the 2022 class.

RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK: Walter Nolen leads list of 14 2022 5-stars

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022: Rivals250

MORE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series

... Let’s start at the top as always and why Walter Nolen is No. 1. To me this wasn’t much of a debate based on film and in-person evaluations because Nolen is a freak of nature. It's hard to find disruptive defensive tackles and ones that can rush the passer like a defensive end are very rare. Quinn Ewers, Domani Jackson and a couple others came to mind based on positional importance, but Nolen appears to be special.



MONDAY: Countdown of the five-stars | Who should be No. 1 in 2022? | Who should be the top QB? | Who should be the top OT?

TUESDAY: Rivals250 revealed | Mike Farrell's thoughts

WEDNESDAY: Offensive position rankings released

THURSDAY: Defensive position rankings released

FRIDAY: State rankings spotlight


... Here’s my personal breakdown of the four new five-stars.

LB CJ Hicks — Hicks is a freaky athlete with quick twitch ability who can cover like a safety and run plays down and rush like a linebacker. He reminds me a bit of Shaq Thompson from back in the day with his versatility.

QB Quinn Ewers — Ewers is No. 1 on some websites and No. 6 on, which isn’t a huge difference but people will still wonder why. I feel this cornerback class (more below) and Nolen and Hicks at defensive tackle and linebacker are special. Could Ewers end up No. 1 in the end? Yep. He reminds me of Philip Rivers.

OL Zach Rice — Rice is raw and just getting started when it comes to handling players of equal ability but you can’t teach his size, power and feet. He’s an Alex Boone-type of talent who will hopefully do better off the field.

CB Will Johnson — Johnson is a hard comparison because he’s big but not thick and he’s tall and rangy and angular. I am going with Eli Apple but Jalen Ramsey is also possible. That’s his ceiling.

Travis Hunter
Travis Hunter (

... Here are some of the top prospects in the country vying for five-star status in the order I like them:

WR Erriyon Knighton — Knighton is a track star and one of the fastest prospects in the country regardless of class. I think he should be a five-star already but we are not jumping the gun just yet.

LB Gabe Powers — He’s a five-star to me and I can’t imagine he won’t end up as one with his talent.

CB Travis Hunter — In a loaded corner class Hunter is on the cusp and has the ability to jump up soon. He’s elite with his instincts.

DT Keithian Alexander — He’s the highest-ranked four-star right now for a reason and he’s a beast from anywhere on the defensive line.

DE Dani Dennis-Sutton — A raw but elite pass rusher, Dennis-Sutton stood out to me early on film as a prospect who will get better and better.

ATH Jacoby Matthews — I am a big fan of Matthews and his versatility. I even think he can play corner if he continues to develop his change of direction.

LB Dasan McCullough — I love McCullough’s size and range and I think he can be an elite pass rusher off the edge.

WR Tetairoa McMillan — He’s so tall and rangy that I think he could add a couple inches and be a freak wideout.

WR Armani Winfield — Winfield is the lowest-ranked prospect on this list by far but l really like him a ton. I think he could rise on this list like Jaxon Smith-Njigba did.

DE Shemar Stewart — Stewart is an elite pass rusher and continues to fill out and add strength. His ceiling is as high as anyone’s.

... There are some very intriguing battles at certain positions brewing including cornerback, offensive tackle and linebacker. But watch out for the wide receivers as this is a group that will grow on us. I can see at least four or five ending up as five-star prospects. On the flip side, I don’t see anyone close to being a five-star running back.

... The quarterbacks are intriguing led by Ewers but, overall, it’s not a strong group early. I like Gunner Stockton but I’m not sure if he’s a five-star talent and there could only be one (Ewers) or two (Stockton, Ty Simpson?) in the entire class.

... This class is beyond loaded on defense. The difference between the defensive and offensive talent so far at the top is astonishing, honestly. The only position that appears to be lacking a bit is weakside defensive end but beyond that it’s scary talented.