Mind of Mike: Thoughts on updated Rivals250 rankings
The Mind of Mike is a scary place. We dive into the mind of National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and get his thoughts on the latest Rivals250 for the class of 2022.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK: Biggest movers in the new Rivals250 | Countdown of 2022 five-stars | Spotlight on the new five-stars | Latest recruiting news on the uncommitted five-stars | Who should be No. 1 in 2022? | Who will be the first five-star DE in 2022? | Who will be No. 1 RB?
SHUFFLING AT THE TOP
There wasn’t much of a debate over who should be ranked No. 1 overall as Ohio State quarterback commit Quinn Ewers stays on top based on his elite ability at the greatest position of need in football.
While USC cornerback pledge Domani Jackson remains No. 2, I still think defensive tackle Walter Nolen is the rarest prospect in the class. His ability to run plays down, shoot the gap, handle double-teams and chase the passer is on the level of standouts such as Gerald McCoy and Rashan Gary.I doubt Ewers will be knocked off his throne anytime soon as Nolen has bounced around schools a bit but whoever gets the big man in the middle will be getting a star. Alabama, LSU, Florida, Clemson, Ohio State and especially Michigan of late have momentum.
The defensive line group overall appears to be special as Nolen is joined by Georgia defensive tackle commit Keithian Alexander, fellow Georgia commit Tyre West, North Carolina defensive tackle prospect Travis Shaw and yet another Georgia lean in defensive end Mykel Williams. While the quarterbacks will be getting a lot of the attention this year, the defensive line could be the position group that impacts college football the most over the next few years.
THOUGHTS ON THE NEW FIVE-STARS
Here’s my take on the new five-star prospects.
QB Gunner Stockton — Stockton reminds me a bit of Sam Howell. He won’t impress you physically with his stature but he can make all the throws, has a great feel for the game and is more mobile than Howell. These are all the reasons why he made the jump because as a dual-threat quarterback he’s elite.
OT Devon Campbell — Campbell could play tackle or guard and that versatility has schools lining up. He is going to give Kam Dewberry a run for his money as the best OL in the state if he continues to improve his feet.
DE Mykel Williams — Williams is a big and long end who can beat you with power and off contact. He has an excellent shoulder dip around the corner. He could easily grow into a defensive tackle and could play there because of his excellent leverage.
QB Walker Howard — Howard just played his first full season of high school ball and everything that was seen in camp settings looked even better in live action. He’s cool as a cucumber with the game on the line and that’s hard to teach.
PROSPECTS THAT JUST MISSED A FIFTH STAR
Here are some prospects that I think are just on the cusp of that fifth star.
QB Ty Simpson — He’s accurate and smooth. He just needs to get a bit stronger and with that will come a bit more zip on the ball but he can be special.
DE Dani Dennis-Sutton — Not getting to play this past season because of his home state shutting down football is probably the only reason why Sutton isn’t a five-star yet. He’s certainly got the power and frame to be dominant.
CB Jeadyn Lukas — Lukas has great speed and excellent instincts, and is battling for his place in a very elite cornerback class.
WR CJ Williams — I like Williams as a big receiver with an excellent catch radius who is hard to bring down but not playing this past season hurt a bit.
LB Gabe Powers — The only issue with Powers is he keeps getting bigger and is now kind of a tweener between linebacker and defensive end.
LB Harold Perkins — He’s tall, long and thin, and needs to add size and strength but his athleticism is there.
BITS AND PIECES
... Let’s talk quarterbacks as Ewers, Stockton and Howard have earned fifth stars and Simpson is pushing. I really like this quarterback class overall with some other high ceiling guys such as Cade Klubnick, Maalik Murphy (Texas), Conner Weigman (Texas A&M) and one of my favorites is Tanner Bailey. There are others as well in a deep class but these prospects all stand out to me for different reasons. Whether it’s the command of Ewers, the mobility of Stockton or the downfield accuracy of Bailey, this is as good of a group as 2021. That class ended up with four different five-star quarterbacks in Caleb Williams, Brock Vandagriff, Ty Thompson and Sam Huard. I’m not saying we will have four in this class but the depth and the top-end talent is excellent.
... So far it’s not an elite year at running back or wide receiver but with fewer evaluations this past spring and summer that means some surprises are going to emerge this year.
... Tight end Oscar Delp made a big push upward – 88 spots to No. 89 in the country – and is the clear No. 1 tight end in this class. He’s not on the cusp of a fifth star such as Thomas Fidone was last year, at least not yet, but he has a similar frame and can play flex or out wide.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK SCHEDULE
MONDAY: Five-star countdown
WEDNESDAY: Offensive position rankings | Schools with the most in the Rivals250
THURSDAY: Defensive position rankings
FRIDAY: State rankings spotlight