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Mind of Mike: Thoughts on updated Rivals250 rankings

Emeka Egbuka
Emeka Egbuka (Nick Lucero/

The Mind of Mike is a scary place. We dive into the mind of National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell with his thoughts on the latest Rivals250 for the class of 2021.



Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Making the Case for No. 1 | How things stand with the uncommitted players in the Rivals250 | The top five-star candidates

Tuesday: New Rivals250 released | Breaking down the new five-stars | Biggest movers in new ranking

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released | Schools with the most R250 players

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: State rankings released




Let’s start at the top. In a weird year for evaluation we can’t call this the last ranking for the 2021 class, although that's very likely to be the case. Without all-star games to use as an evaluation tool, there wasn’t a ton of dramatic movement in the top 10.

DT Maason Smith (LSU) remains at the top and only WR Emeka Egbuka (Ohio State) moved as he slid one spot up when RB Camar Wheaton (Alabama) fell a bit. In any normal cycle with more evaluation opportunities, I truly believe Egbuka could have made a push for the No. 1 overall ranking.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how the top of this class pans out but especially interesting to see how many of the fringe guys we haven’t laid eyeballs on in nearly a year develop. There are a lot of question marks with this 2021 class and it will always have an asterisk.


Clayton Smith
Clayton Smith (

Here are my thoughts on the new five-stars.

ATH Ja’Tavion Sanders — Sanders should probably play defense in college but he’s too special to keep from five-star status even if he pursues his desire to play tight end. He’s simply a freaky athlete and probably a can’t-miss because of that versatility.

LB Clayton Smith — Smith is also a freakish athlete who plays tight end but his focus will be as a linebacker at the next level unless he grows into a defensive end. Either way, he’s a special talent and should be a nightmare for Big 12 offenses.

DB Ga’Quincy McKinstry — McKinstry has size and length and is very smooth in every aspect of playing defensive back. He will have to get a little more physical for Nick Saban’s taste but he has high-end potential.

LB Terrence Lewis — Lewis is still a bit undersized but he flies to the ball and has a non-stop energy. He diagnoses plays very well and takes the best route to the ball at all times. If he adds size he’ll be hard to handle.


Tyreak Sapp
Tyreak Sapp (

Here are the prospects that were in the conversation for five-star status but fell short.

DE Shemar Turner — Turner is a massive end who could end up playing defensive tackle and has a chance to be special. He just missed his fifth star, and we may regret it as he has some DeMarvin Leal in him.

DE Tyreak Sapp — I was the one who made Sapp a five-star early but then backed off a bit after further evaluation. He had a very good senior season and is just starting to hit his stride so a lot depends on what position he plays and if he can stay healthy.

TE Thomas Fidone — Fidone got a long look in our last two meetings and is getting bigger for sure but the level of competition and speed are still in question. We didn’t go on Michael Mayer last year who looks like a future star for Notre Dame. Will we regret this as well?

WR Jacorey Brooks — One thing we know is that one of these Florida wide receivers headed to Alabama is likely to be a first-rounder, right? Well, we don’t base things off that despite the success of former Crimson Tide products from the Sunshine State such as Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley and Jerry Jeudy. It still comes down to speed for Brooks, who needs to get a tick faster.

DT Leonard Taylor — Taylor is someone I keep going back and forth on. He could be an absolute beast or play at the level just outside five-stars. He’s athletic as heck so we will see.

WR JoJo Earle — Earle is just a bit too small to earn that fifth star but he could be an amazing slot receiver at the next level and beyond.

DE Keanu Koht — Koht is still raw but he comes off the edge so fast it’s astonishing. He’s improved more than any other prospect in this class over the last two years.


Ricky Parks
Ricky Parks (

There were some big movers in the Rivals250 up and down for different reasons. Here are a few notable ones.

ATH Kadarius Calloway - Callowan should be an amazing safety or linebacker at the next level. He’s improved each evaluation.

RB Donovan Edwards - He had an amazing playoff run and seems to get better the more carries he has and the colder it gets, so he made a small move up the charts.

ATH Seven McGee - McGee will likely be a running back at the next level but he can also play wide receiver or defensive back. That versatility allowed him to shoot higher a bit.

DT Jonathan Jefferson - He has proven to be more athletic than originally thought and has a terrific motor. Jefferson should be a standout in the SEC.

RB Ricky Parks - Parks is someone that I felt was undervalued a bit. He is perfect for a grind-it-out offense and as a player who gets stronger in the fourth quarter.

LB John Lewis - He is big and athletic, and showed us he’s a four-star talent. I expect him to be an early college starter.

DB Devonta Smith - Smith may have an unfortunate name to follow at Alabama but he’s an elite corner who has learned to explode to the football.