football Edit

Recruits in the Mid-South I'm buying stock in with new Rivals250 update

Braylan Shelby
Braylan Shelby (Rivals.com)

The June update for the Rivals250 is live, and many prospects in the Mid-South are on the rise. After big springs on the 7-on-7 circuit and track & field, it's becoming clearer to see which prospects have translatable traits and athleticism for the college level.

Here are 15 prospects in the updated Rivals250 that I'm buying stock in going into the summer:

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CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

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

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RIVALS CAMP SERIES: Info for 2022 series

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Old Ranking: No. 66 // New Ranking: No. 38

Oklahoma commit Jackson Arnold had a monstrous junior season in helping lead Denton Guyer to the 6A Division II State Championship game in Texas, as he threw for 3,921 yards and 34 touchdowns while rushing for 659 yards and 12 more scores. His ability to extend plays outside of the pocket along with his exceptional capacity to make off-platform throws down the field makes him a quarterback prospect with an incredibly high floor.

Old Ranking: No. 140 // New Ranking: No. 39

In South Oak Cliff's storybook run to the state championship last season, cornerback Jayvon Thomas worked alongside teammate Malik Muhammad to completely shut down some of the state's best receiving talent in the playoffs. Thomas rarely over-compensates in coverage, and if he does, his quick change of direction allows him to make up ground in an instant to limit any receptions. His play during the playoffs last November and December contained some of the best performances I've seen from a defensive back.

Old Ranking: NR // New Ranking: No. 76

If you watched any of Austin Westlake last season, you probably saw a pair of edge rushers flying around the field making violent plays. One was 2022 Texas signee Ethan Burke who blew up on the recruiting scene in less than two months last fall, and the other was new 2023 Rivals100 defensive end Colton Vasek. Vasek's massive 6-foot-6 frame paired with his length and athleticism make him a surefire pick to wreak havoc at the college level. His performance in the 6A Division II State Championship last season, where he walked away with Defensive MVP honors, cemented him as one of the top players in the state of Texas.


Old Ranking: NR // New Ranking: No. 83

Of all of the prospects I saw live this spring, Friendswood outside linebacker Braylan Shelby was arguably the most impressive physically. His NFL-ready frame along with his athleticism both rushing the passer and covering running backs out of the backfield create one of the easier rankings bumps that we made in this update. Still relatively a secret by some major college scouting departments, it will be hard to keep this prospect quiet when he takes his offseason improvements onto the field in the fall.

Old Ranking: NR // New Ranking: No. 86

Marlin outside linebacker Derion Gullette played both ways for his Bulldog team last season in helping lead them to an unprecedented 2A semifinal run. It's hard to find a player who had better two-way production in 2021 with his 125 tackles and five takeaways to go along with 62 receptions for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns on offense. Playing at such a small level, there were still concerns going into the spring about if his game could translate to the next level athletically, but he quieted all concerns with a big spring on the track in helping lead multiple relay teams to the state meet. Gullette is one that still has potential to rise with a big senior season.

Old Ranking: No. 131 // New Ranking: No. 103

I first saw Baton Rouge Woodlawn dual-threat quarterback Rickie Collins earlier this spring playing 7-on-7 for F3 Elite where he proved to be one of the best signal-callers I saw on the circuit in 2022. While he is a true dual-threat, his athleticism isn't a sacrifice to him being able to make tough throws downfield in tight windows. Add in the layer of his game that allows him to make plays with his feet, and it makes sense why schools such as Oregon, Arkansas and LSU are trying to pry him away from Purdue.

Old Ranking: No. 246 // New Ranking: No. 136

Baylor commit Austin Novosad is safely the No. 2 quarterback prospect in the state of Texas following a spring where he impressed on the 7-on-7 circuit and at the Elite 11 Dallas Regional. His high IQ and his strong ability to find the open receiver in man coverage make him a high floor prospect, but it's his arm talent that will make him a multi-year college starter.

Old Ranking: NR // New Ranking: No. 147

New Orleans St. Augustine offensive tackle Tyree Adams was another prospect that impressed me physically this spring as he sits at a lean 6-foot-6, 282 pounds. His monstrous size is not a sacrifice for his mobility or athleticism as he can handle lanky athletic pass rushers coming off the edge with his quick feet and move them back with his strong hands. It's hard to find a tackle that is put-together as Adams moving into the 2023 class' senior seasons.

Old Ranking: No. 247 // New Ranking: No. 150

The raw athleticism for Bai Jobe was always going to be enough for him to make the Rivals250 and for him to get pursued by some of the best programs in the country, but it's his quick development both physically and with his technique that has me buying stock. Following a big camp performance at Alabama last week, Jobe is high on the list for most of his offers as his potential college upside just continues to explode.

Old Ranking: No. 248 // New Ranking: No. 161

It's truly impressive what Colton Thomasson was able to do last offseason when he lost almost 80 pounds to make himself more athletic and lean on the offensive line. Fast forward a year later and now Thomasson has shown that he's comfortable at his new weight and newly-acquired athleticism. His multiple camp MVPs this spring have shown that he is one of the top tackles in the region, as he is becoming a safe bet to develop into an NFL Draft pick at Texas A&M.

Old Ranking: NR // New Ranking: No. 166

It's hard to find a player in the state of Oklahoma more exciting with the ball in his hands than Cole Adams as he is someone you simply give the ball to in space and watch him work. His speed (10.65 100-meter) and elusiveness have made him a hot commodity for schools such as Alabama and now in-state Oklahoma going into the summer. His versatility in the offensive game in being able to line up inside, outside or out of the backfield makes him an electric offensive weapon with a lot of potential at the next level.

Old Ranking: NR // New Ranking: No. 167

While Anthony Evans may not have a lot of route concepts in his repertoire, it really doesn't matter when he can use his 10.23 100-meter speed to fly past just about anyone you line up in front of him. His quick burst and acceleration makes him dangerously difficult to defend, and a big senior season is almost a given for the Central Texas star this fall.

Old Ranking: NR // New Ranking: No. 195

If you ask anyone in Lubbock, they know that Texas Tech got a steal with Calvin Simpson-Hunt committing last fall, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep him in the class with schools such as Notre Dame, Texas and Alabama throwing their hats into the mix. His length and physicality on the boundary eliminates receiving threats on the 6A level in Texas, and his 10.67 100-meter speed allows him to go step-for-step for just about any receiver that lines up in front of him.

Old Ranking: NR // New Ranking: No. 237

S'Maje Burrell's performance at the Rivals Camp Series stop in Dallas this spring cemented him as a top performer across the entire camp series, but it's how highly he is thought of by some of the biggest voices at the linebacker position in the state that makes him must-see on Friday nights in the fall. Burrell covers sideline-to-sideline and is incredibly diligent as an in-the-box linebacker in attacking developing plays.

Old Ranking: NR // New Ranking: No. 250

Since the conclusion of his junior season, Zachary defensive end Ashley Williams Jr. has put on weight to his wide 6-foot-6 frame that is allowing colleges to see just how much he can develop physically before his senior season. His athleticism off the edge and violence in the backfield was big in helping lead Zachary to a state championship last season, and if he's able to add a bit more physicality at the point of attack with his added weight next season, we could be in for an even bigger rise for the Louisiana defender.