Rivals.com - New four-stars outside of the Rivals250
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New four-stars outside of the Rivals250

Mac Jones
Mac Jones

The new Rivals100 and Rivals250 are already out, but a large group of prospects received the coveted bump from three to four stars in the most recent rankings updates. Here’s a look at the prospects who made the leap, with the Rivals.com National Analyst team explaining why it was time to make the move.

Jones continues his steady development. He's added size and seems to be getting better at reading defenses. He still has his lapses, sure, but the consistency is coming. When the Kentucky commit gets into a rhythm, he's as accurate as any quarterback in the class. His skill set is nice, but the fact that he continues to improve is even more encouraging. Jones is looking around at other programs despite his verbal commitment to Kentucky. – Rivals.com Southeast analyst Rob Cassidy

The versatile athlete not only led his team to a state championship, but he stepped right onto the basketball court and looks like he may do the same thing on the hardwood. Hayden can play running back, wide receiver or potentially even defensive back. As he continues to do well at marquee events, Hayden could see his ranking go even higher. He is considering Tennessee, Michigan, Vanderbilt and others. – Rivals.com Southeast analyst Woody Wommack

Murphy doesn't have a ton of offers just yet, but he has nice size and an impressive burst. Murphy had a solid junior season at a large high school, but will need to prove his ranking against other top-flight players on the camp circuit and beyond. The upside is there, as his size-speed combination makes him an interesting prospect. Murphy holds offers from Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Mississippi State. – Cassidy

Nixon is a super explosive slot receiver who can take the short pass and make multiple defenders miss. He's almost impossible to tackle in one-on-one situations. In the DeSoto offense, the coaches just dump the ball off to him and let him run. Nixon has incredible speed where defensive backs can never seem to get an angle on him and he's also a deep threat because few corners can turn and run with him. Nixon remains open in his recruitment, but offers from Baylor, Oregon or Texas A&M would make things interesting. – Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney

There was some thinking that Johnson would definitely grow into a tight end, but he has stayed slim and can get down the field, so that is no longer a certainty. Still, even if he continues to develop physically, Johnson has shown the ability to line up as a pass catcher and he has tremendous hands. He had planned to make an early decision, but new offers keep coming in. - Gorney

James is not incredibly fast into his routes, but he's such a massive target at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds that it's difficult to defend him. The Baylor commit has shown soft hands and once he gets going down field, he does have nice speed. James is tough to tackle in the open field and it usually takes two or three defenders to drag him down. – Gorney

Tennison is really a two-way threat because he can play with his hand in the dirt and block as well as some offensive tackles. The Texas commit really has pride in his toughness and ability to handle people. He can also quickly get into his routes with his hand down or when he's split out wide. Going down the seam, Tennison has shown he can catch tough passes and he has good speed for someone so big. – Gorney

Ingram is a nasty, tough inside blocker who seems to seek out people to hit and to be the toughest guy on the field. He is also super athletic for someone his size, gets to the second level to destroy linebackers and can pull block as well, seeking out defenders to hit and open up lanes in the run game. Baylor could be out in front for Ingram but LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri and others are pushing. – Gorney

Tuifua can play with his hand down or standing up, so he's kind of a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker who plays with non-stop aggression to get after the ball carrier. He spins off blocks, overpowers offensive tackles, uses a swim move to get inside and lives in the backfield. The Oregon commit also does a great job of redirecting the running back into the pile. – Gorney

Echols has incredible speed whether on inside or outside moves that only the most athletic offensive tackles have a prayer against him. The UCLA commit can get to the edge with ease and then harass players in the backfield or make a move to the inside and blow up plays. He's also surprisingly powerful where he can rock offensive tackles and really lay the lumber once he gets to the ball carrier. – Gorney

At 6-foot-4, Ray's length is what makes him jump off the page, but he's pretty quick off the edge for a big man. Ray seems to have become a more versatile pass rusher this year. Ray lists a number of offers and seems high on Alabama, Auburn, Michigan and others. - Cassidy

Riley still needs to improve his technique but he has too much natural talent to not be a four-star. He is every bit the 6-foot-6, 295-pounds he is listed and moves extremely well. Riley, a North Carolina commit, is quick off the line of scrimmage but needs to learn how to play with leverage better and his hand techniques should be refined. – Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic analyst Adam Friedman

Jones is a long, aggressive, powerful, hard-hitting linebacker who is fearless. He has the speed and power to blitz and go after players in the backfield and he also does an admirable job of staying in his lane, diagnosing the play and then using his speed and athleticism to track it down. What you get out of Jones is someone who shows up every down wanting to make something big happen. Texas is considered a frontrunner with LSU and many others involved. - Gorney

Gay isn't the biggest linebacker there is, but he has the frame to add size and he moves well laterally. If he maintains his agility as he develops physically, he'll be a Rivals250 prospect. As things stand now, he's an impressive athlete with a bundle of room to develop into a certified force in the middle of the field. He’s considering Ole Miss, Mississippi State and others. - Cassidy

Delpit does a phenomenal job of reading the play and then trusting his instincts to go make a play. On some of his interceptions, Delpit is almost there too early because he diagnosed it so well. He has tremendous speed and length to pick off passes. Delpit is also impressive coming up in run support and is a big hitter, too, so if a receiver is exposed by a high pass, Delpit is going to come up and lay a big hit. Baylor and LSU seem like early leaders, but Texas, TCU and Oklahoma are up there as well. - Gorney

Falaniko has excellent instincts, so he can come up and make a hard tackle on the running back or sit back, read the quarterback's eyes and pick off or at least deflect passes. He has great length and he covers ground very well. Hopefully, Falaniko shows up at a 7-on-7 or camp this offseason so we can get a fuller understanding of his talent. At this point, his recruitment is wide open. - Gorney