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Rankings Roundtable: Too high, too low in latest Rivals250?

Kaiden Prothro
Kaiden Prothro (Nick Lucero/

The rankings update for the 2026 class has wrapped up and there were plenty of big movers and controversial decisions that coaches, players and fans are discussing.

The national analyst team of Adam Friedman, John Garcia Jr., Adam Gorney, Marshall Levenson and Greg Smith sit down at the Rankings Roundtable and discuss.

NEW 2026 POSITION RANKINGS: Pro-Style QB | Dual-Threat QB | Running Back | All-Purpose Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Offensive Tackle | Offensive Guard | Center | Defensive Tackle | Strongside Defensive End | Weakside Defensive End | Inside linebacker | Outside linebacker | Cornerback | Safety | Athlete




Sunday: Who could unseat Jahkeem Stewart in the 2026 class?

Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Meet the new five-stars

Tuesday: Rivals250 released | Ten highest debuts | Position-by-position

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released | Quarterback rankings breakdown | Running back breakdown | Wide receiver & tight end breakdown | Offensive line breakdown

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released | Rivals Rankings Podcast | Defensive line breakdown | Linebacker breakdown | Defensive back breakdown | Athlete breakdown

Friday: State rankings released | Who's No. 1 in each state?

Saturday: Roundtable on the 2026 rankings


FINAL 2023 TEAM RANKINGS: Comprehensive (overall) ranking | High school/JUCO ranking | Transfer portal ranking

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Transfer portal player ranking | Transfer portal team ranking | Transfer Tracker | Message board


1. Who might be ranked too high?

Kane Archer
Kane Archer (Nick Lucero/

Friedman: Kane Archer has some pretty solid film and physically looked the part when I saw him at the National Combine in San Antonio earlier this year. His accuracy against a higher level of competition left a little bit to be desired but there is still plenty of time for him to improve in this area. The dual-threat quarterback out of Arkansas made mincemeat out of the competition in his home state, completing 73-percent of his passes for 2,399 yards and 33 touchdowns, but he had very mixed results at the National Combine. It is early in the evaluation cycle for 2026 prospects so I’m not saying Archer should plummet in the rankings, but I would have preferred to have some other players ranked higher at this point.

Garcia: In the projection business, big and flashy is easy to notice on Friday nights or especially in a camp setting. In either, Jabari Brady's vertical ability and his winning at the catch point makes for an easy blue-chip projection. It's enhanced when you see him work on defense and realize there is considerable physicality at play, too. Still, the wide receiver position has become elevated at all levels of late, and the polish that prospects display at an earlier age has matured along with it. So a raw talent like Brady, who is now at a wide receiver factory at Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna, still has considerable room to tighten up his game as a route-runner and separator beyond his natural gifts. To already be on the cusp of five-star status may be a bit ambitious at this time, but Brady has a chance to end up there later on when it counts most anyway.

Gorney: Zech Fort is a talented defensive back who can hit, play in space and was impressive in coverage at the Rivals Camp in Los Angeles a few weeks ago but he's a little bit of a tweener and if he stays at No. 21 in the 2026 class then he'd be well within five-star status. I just don't see that yet. Fort is a thick safety and I wonder over the next few years whether he can stay at that spot or if he moves down into some nickel role. Wherever Fort plays he's going to make an impact but he's more of a top-50 player to me.

Levenson: For me at this point in his development, I would like to see quarterback Jared Curtis face some tougher competition. Curtis had some fantastic numbers as a sophomore, but I can't help but wonder what his numbers would look like against a tougher division or crop of opponents.

Smith: IMG Academy safety Zech Fort is my selection here. Fort is a competitor and has tested pretty well this offseason so far but I have some questions about him long-term. What will be his ultimate position in college? Will he be a bigger safety or slide down to linebacker and would he excel at either? Also, he’s been good in his high school career, but how much higher is his ceiling? I’m just not sure he’s a top 25 player in the nation.


2. Who do you think is ranked too low?

Brandon Arrington
Brandon Arrington (LukePrxductions)

Friedman: There are going to be weakside defensive ends who emerge as major recruits as the 2026 cycle goes on and Jamarion Carlton will likely be one of them. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound Texas native has the frame, agility and playmaking abilities to garner many more big-time offers before all is said and done. Carlton’s lean build will fill out as he gets older and, if he can keep his athleticism from waning, he’ll end up as one of the more heavily recruited defensive ends in this class.

Garcia: Milton, Fla., do-it-all athlete Kaiden Hall snuck into the Rivals250 at No. 249 and it may be too conservative given the full body of work and overall athleticism he displays on a 6-foot-3 frame. Hall could have been slotted as an athlete considering his versatility, but the safety instincts jump off the tape despite solid work on offense at wide receiver. There is range, physicality and ball skills each at play – making for an intriguing projection as he continues to fill out. We can see him work as the hybrid box defender who can man-up a modern tight end as much as he can play the traditional center field role and win at the apex down the field.

Gorney: I fear Brandon Arrington is much too low and it's because he hasn't done any offseason events because of track season and might not do a ton before his junior season. That won't necessarily affect his ranking over the long term but it would be far preferable if the Spring Valley (Calif.) Mount Miguel speedster went up against some of the best of the best regionally. Arrington is certainly not disrespected at No. 128 nationally but he could be moving much higher.

Levenson: I'm rolling with Southlake Carroll wide receiver Brock Boyd as a prospect too low. A 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame with 4.5 speed, Boyd had just under 1,000 receiving yards and 58 receptions in 2023. A crisp route runner and a vertical threat, Boyd had some of his best performances against top competition.

Smith: Missouri standout ATH Keenan Harris is too low at No. 208 in the Rivals250. He’s got good size standing at 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, but he’s also quick. He reads plays well as a defensive back and will make big hits. He also impacts the game on offense too but I think a hybrid safety role is where he will blossom in college. We’ll see Harris keep climbing the rankings.


3. Who did you fight for that will make you look smart down the road?

Brodie McWhorter
Brodie McWhorter

Friedman: Kaiden Prothro has already been written about a lot during this rankings update but we have a strong sense that he’ll remain one of the top prospects in this class. The 6-foot-6, 207-pound tight end is a matchup nightmare for defenses. He can run away from almost any linebacker or safety assigned to cover him. If any of them can stick with him despite his impressive route running skills, Prothro’s long arms and reliable hands allow him to pluck passes out of the air that the defenders have no chance of reaching. He’s a big-play threat every time he catches the ball, averaging 25 yards per catch last season.

Garcia: Peach State passer Brodie McWhorter took his game to another level in 2023, already two years into his varsity journey at Cass High School. In helping the program to a deep playoff run as a sophomore, McWhorter used his arm and his legs to consistently make plays whether calm in the pocket or pressured and on the move. There is a gunslinger character trait at play at times, but he just makes plays. McWhorter has three-level arm talent that's easy to see along with the modern traits to drop his arm angle and work off-platform with the best of them. It's no surprise his recruitment continues to balloon this offseason as more programs turn the page to 2026.

Gorney: I've been a major fan of Daverin "Deuce" Geralds since seeing him at the Pylon Los Angeles event earlier this offseason and while he's moved up considerably to No. 23 nationally it still might not be high enough. Geralds, whose dad played in the NFL, has a great motor and a barrel-chest frame. He can use his power and speed to his advantage, and he could end up as one of the best defensive linemen in the 2026 class.

Levenson: My No. 1 guy I went to bat for in this ranking update was cornerback Chace Calicut out of Houston North Shore. A prospect that has not even gotten buzz yet, he is very clearly on the cusp of blowing up with offers. A 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore, the early evaluation on him will look very good in the long run.

Smith: Illinois weakside defensive end McHale Blade was one of the new four-stars in the Midwest for the 2026 recruiting class. He’s quick off the ball and plays with good leverage as a pass rusher. His last two offers are from Florida and Notre Dame with many more on the way. Blade has the look of the next Chicago defensive lineman to go to a power conference school.