Rankings Storylines: Competition fierce in Lone Star State
It’s finally football season. For the 2020 class, it’s the most important time of the year as far as rankings go, as the top prospects in the state return to the field hoping to make a good impression. Here are the biggest rankings storylines to follow in the state of Texas.
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CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
BATTLE FOR NUMBER ONE
Five-star running back Zachary Evans has been the face of Texas’ 2020 class since the start, and for good reason. This season, Evans again will be the face of the potent North Shore offense as the lead workhorse on a state title contender. Another colossal season will likely allow Evans to maintain his spot atop the state rankings and likely improve his stock nationally.
One major threat to Evans’ spot atop the Texas rankings is five-star wide receiver Demond Demas, who added his fifth star after a tremendous spring. The Texas A&M commitment has shined throughout the offseason in 7-on-7 tournaments and camp settings this summer, and a huge senior season will put him in a position to challenge Evans for the No. 1 spot and possibility move into the top 10 of the Rivals100.
As the season kicks off, Demas trails Evans in the Rivals100 by three spots.
Also flying under the radar is Aledo four-star Jase McClellan, who’s a legitimate candidate to finish his high school career with a fifth star and possibly improve into the top one or two spots inside the state rankings. The longtime Oklahoma commitment has had a quiet offseason, but will that change with a senior season that has everyone talking
WILL CARD OR KING FINISH AS QB1?
Hudson Card has been the top signal-caller in the Lone Star State the past two years, but he enters football season in the No. 2 spot behind new Rivals100 member Haynes King, who saw his ranking improve from to No. 81 in the country -- ahead of fellow four-stars Ja’Quinden Jackson, Malik Hornsby and Deuce Hogan.
Both King and Card were excellent during spring ball and at the Elite 11, but the fall is where all of Texas' signal-callers have a chance to distinguish themselves from the pack.
In the first month of the season, King faces Lufkin, Marshall, John Tyler, West Monroe (La.) and Rockwall. Card, meanwhile, will see the likes of Mansfield Timberview, Westlake and Del Valle. Jackson, will lead Duncanville against a rigid schedule that opens with Lancaster, South Oak Cliff and St. John’s (D.C.) and features a showdown with Skyline. Hornsby has had a quiet offseason, but he headlines a loaded Fort Bend Marshall squad capable of putting up a flurry of points quickly.
SHUFFLING THE SAFETIES
There’s been no shortage of shuffling among the Texas safeties over recent months, but one thing that has managed to stick is RJ Mickens remaining in the top spot. The Clemson commitment is fully healthy entering his senior season at Southlake Carroll. If he’s able to muster another big season, then he should be able to maintain his post in the top-10 of the state and possibly sneak into the top five.
There will be competition, though.
Bryson Washington, Xavion Alford, Jerrin Thompson, Chris Thompson Jr., Lorando Johnson and Darius Snow are the other ranked safeties who have put themselves in a position to climb the rankings with big senior campaigns. Washington committed to Oklahoma on Independence Day after a big showing at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas. He’s a big, fast safety that’s going to make some noise this fall. Alford has been the steadiest riser over the past six or seven months. He created some splash plays at the Five-Star Challenge, but he does his best work with the pads on. Jerrin Thompson was a new addition to the Rivals250 back in the spring, but had to battle some springtime injuries. Now healthy, we’re excited to see what the rangy safety can accomplish. Chris Thompson Jr. is one of the more dynamic strong safeties in the country. Playing for state power Duncanville, the new Auburn pledge has a big stage to state his case. Johnson made the transition from corner to safety this offseason and should see action all over the Lancaster secondary, giving the LSU commitment a chance to make a lot of plays. Snow showed out at the Five-Star Challenge and shed some weight this summer, so he’ll enter his senior season in pique shape, which spells trouble for opposing offenses.
MOVERS, SHAKERS UP FRONT
This is Texas after all, and one of the most compelling storylines statewide will be who finishes as the top offensive tackle in what’s turned out to a loaded crop of linemen in the 2020 class.
Chad Lindberg sits inside the Rivals100 and the Georgia verbal is coming off a quiet offseason. He'll look to bolster his stock and cement his status as the top tackle -- and maybe offensive linemen overall -- in the state, especially with his shoulder back to 100-percent.
Lindberg’s biggest competition might come from Rivals250 members Nate Anderson, Garrett Hayes and Ty'Kieast Crawford. Anderson, an Oklahoma commitment, is entering his second year along the offensive line, but at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp presented by adidas in Dallas and The Opening Finals showed off his nasty streak and athleticism along the offensive line. Hayes is a quiet kid that lets his film do the talking, and that film speaks volumes about a high-motor tackle. Crawford was recently upgraded into Rivals250 territory and the Arkansas commitment also has a chance to rise with a stellar season for Carthage.
Four-star Jaylen Garth should be fully recovered from a knee injury that cost him almost half of his junior season, which will open the door for a chance to piece together a big senior campaign. New Texas commitment Andrej Karic is one of the meanest tackles in the state and certainly one of the most intriguing prospects in the Longhorns’ class. North Shore’s Damieon George could play tackle or guard when he arrives at Alabama. We’ll see whether his senior season is enough to add a fourth star besides his name. Courtland Ford backed off his LSU commitment and also fell from the Rivals250 after offseason shoulder surgery, but he has since slimmed down and is bracing for a big season. We’ll see if he can bounce back in the rankings, too.