football Edit

New 2020 State Rankings: Midwest region

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position


High school football is kicking off around the country, and we already have updated our rankings on the junior class. Storylines around the Midwest include the region’s first five-star rated prospect and another deep position group in 2020.

RELATED: State rankings for the 2020 class

MORE: Mid-Atlantic states rankings spotlight


Justin Rogers
Justin Rogers (Nick Lucero/

The first five-star out of the Midwest has been crowned, and those who took the odds-on favorite, Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., are tearing up their tickets because it is Oak Park, Mich., offensive guard Justin Rogers who achieves that tier first. Johnson is a prospect we did not see over the summer, so his 6.0 Rivals Rating does not change. However, Rogers went down to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas in Atlanta and stood out as one of the top offensive linemen at the event, regardless of age.

The one questions remaining with Roger is what position he plays at the college level. In high school he lines up at right tackle and many college coaches are telling him he could play there at the next level. While he has the foot speed and agility to play on the edge, his 6-foot-3 lacks the length most tackles possess. For now we have kept Rogers at guard, but are open to moving him to tackle in the future. The truth is, whether guard or tackle, he is an outstanding college offensive line prospect.


Graham Mertz
Graham Mertz (Nick Lucero/

The states of Kansas and Nebraska kicked off the 2020 class rankings each boasting a prospect ranked in the Rivals100. Considering the two states have combined to produce just four prospects finishing in the Rivals100 over the previous 10 classes, that is a notable feat. For the state of Kansas, this is back-to-back classes with Rivals100 prospects. Lawrence Free State 2020 offensive tackle Turner Corcoran follows Blue Valley North 2019 quarterback Graham Mertz to that tier. Corcoran is followed by Bishop Miege wide receiver Daniel Jackson, Emporia offensive lineman Hayden Pauls, Topeka running back Ky Thomas and Kansas City-area defensive end Matthew Roberts.

The state of Nebraska’s last prospect to finish in the Rivals100 was running back David Oku, though Omaha Burke linebacker Nick Henrich is knocking on the door of the top 100 in the 2019 class and still has a chance to finish in that territory. Bellevue West wide receiver Zavier Betts starts out in that range for the 2020 class, however. He is followed in the state rankings by Henrich’s teammate at Burke, wide receiver Xavier Watts, at No. 2 in the class. I’ll get more in-detail about Iowa shortly, but it looks like a deep year for talent in the Hawkeye State with six prospects holding Power Five offers before the start of their junior seasons.


Tyler Miller
Tyler Miller (Nate Clouse)

An odd trend I am noticing is that the Iowa state rankings tend to bunch up every year in the mid-three-star range. When we evaluate prospects we do so individually, not collectively, and they happen at different times during the course of the year. So, when you bring them together in rankings like state or position, it’s really is a random sampling of a much larger pool, but in Iowa there have been trends where we see a bottleneck at the 5.6 three-star level.

That bottleneck was most prominent in the 2015 class, when the top six ranked players in the state all came in at that 5.6, but we are seeing it again over the last three classes. Including this 2020 class, nine of the 20 state of Iowa prospects rated three-star or higher fall into that 5.6 three-star tier, whereas nationally the 5.6 tier accounts for less than 25 percent of prospects rated three-stars or higher.

Another aspect of the Iowa state rankings in recent years I find interesting is that in both the 2018 and 2019 classes you had one prospect who stood out from the pack – not significantly so in the beginning, but the clear top prospect in-state. In both of those years that player – John Waggoner in 2018 and Max Duggan in 2019 – started as a 5.7 three-star before earning four-star status. In 2020 we again have one prospect who started at a 5.7 Rivals Rating, while a big group is bunched up behind him at 5.6. Greene County offensive tackle Tyler Miller starts as the No. 1 player in the state of Iowa’s 2017 class, and it will be interesting to see if he follows Waggoner and Duggan by opening up on that lead, or if someone comes from back in the pack and proves to be tops in the state over the next 18 months.


Kevon Billingsley
Kevon Billingsley

The defensive end position in the Midwest saw a few prospects identified early as four-stars, including Cincinnati Princeton’s Darrion Henry, who gets a bump to a 6.0 Rivals Rating after we had a chance to see his physical development this summer. The depth at the position started to become evident over the summer, however, with 10 prospects from the region getting their ratings for the first time, several of whom jumped into the position rankings.

Behind Henry, St. Louis’ Kevon Billingsley and Chicago’s Rylie Mills also rank in the top 10 of the strongside defensive end rankings and are four-stars. Billie Roberts out of Muskegon, Mich., also moved over from weakside defensive end and was bumped up to a 5.7 Rivals Rating after he showed impressive physical and technical growth this summer. He leads four prospects from the region that hold down the final four spots in the strongside defensive ranking.

The Midwest does not feature as many prospects in the weakside defensive end rankings as they do in the strongside defensive end rankings, but Cleveland’s Justin Wodtly debuts at No. 18 in the ranking after receiving an initial rating of 5.7. East Kentwood’s Bryce Mostella also represents the region in the weakside defensive end rankings at No. 22.