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Rivals Rankings: Top 10 Countdown for 2026 class

This week marks the release of our initial 2026 rankings, starting today with the Top 10 Countdown. The full Rivals100 will be released Wednesday. Rivals recruiting director Adam Gorney gives his thoughts on each of the top 10 players below.

MORE 2026 RANKINGS: Meet the five-stars | Gorney on the full class | Who should be No. 1?


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




Gorney's Take: An early USC commit who visited Georgia and Alabama in recent weeks, Lewis has a little Bryce Young in him. The Carrollton, Ga., quarterback is not the biggest player out there but he has such incredible anticipation and timing paired with insane arm talent that he looks mature beyond his years.

After an outstanding performance at the Steve Clarkson QB Retreat this summer against many SEC and other Power Five commits in the 2024 class, Lewis would be in the discussion as the best QB regardless of class.



Gorney's Take: Stewart would likely be a five-star prospect in this recruiting class. The New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine defensive end is already 6-foot-6 and close to 270 pounds but is so fast off the ball, has such a devastating strike to stun offensive tackles and an incredible motor that he simply dominates every event.

Stewart has also shown a hunger to always get better and prove himself on the field. Despite beating almost everybody in the country already, Stewart continues to want to prove himself against the best.

Georgia, LSU, Alabama and many others remain involved.



Gorney's Take: The 6-foot-8, 300-pound offensive tackle from Nixa, Mo., not only has the size and skill to be an elite football player but he’s also a star in track and field and has one of the best pedigrees in the history of Rivals dating back to 2002.

Cantwell’s father, Christian, went to Missouri and then earned the silver medal in shot put in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and placed fourth in the 2012 London Olympics. His mother, Teri, competed in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Oklahoma, Missouri and a host of others are involved.



Gorney's Take: The son of the former NFL receiver by the same name, Henry Jr. now is being raised by Adam “Pacman” Jones. Henry showed this summer at the Elite 11 that his upside is through the roof and he already has the physical tools to be a contributor at the highest level.

The Cincinnati (Ohio) Withrow standout has length, speed, athleticism, body control and great hands to go up and high point the football. He makes catching a football look easy.

After an early commitment to Ohio State, it looks like the Buckeyes will only continue to load up with the highest-end receivers in each recruiting class.



Gorney's Take: Whether he’s a right tackle or could play left tackle over the long term is still up for debate but Pepe has been on the national scene for years. As he gets even more physically developed, the Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy standout gets more dominant.

All of 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds, Pepe still has some room to fill out in the coming years but he also has a body that’s ready for college football now. He moves incredibly well for his size, he’s comfortable in his frame and Pepe does not shy away from being physical with defensive linemen.

USC, Georgia, Oklahoma and many others are in the mix.



Gorney's Take: The Baton Rouge (La.) Catholic standout has all the special elements of an elite safety as he loves to hit and lay people out. But Bradford is also excellent at diagnosing an offense, reading where the play is going and then he attacks the receiver to put him on the ground.

Bradford’s ability is far beyond what most freshmen or sophomores are doing on the field and as he grows into his 6-foot-2 frame, he should become even more dangerous.

LSU is going to play a factor here, but Notre Dame and many others are involved, too.



Gorney's Take: Atkinson does his best work rushing off the edge and while he’s long and lean, the Loganville (Ga.) Grayson outside linebacker packs a major punch either blowing up a blocker or getting to the ball carrier.

No one is stretching the field on Atkinson, either, because he has elite speed to run anybody down and he has tremendous athletic ability. When he’s not coming off the edge, Atkinson does an excellent job playing in space and anticipating where the ball is going.

Georgia, Florida State and many other schools are involved.



Gorney's Take: The Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy safety is not going to blow anyone away with his size and ranginess, but Fort looks like a ton of current-day NFL safeties. He’s built, he’s fast, his instincts are off the charts and he has the cover skills of a cornerback. Fort does a fantastic job of trusting his eyes, seeing how a play is developing and then using his athleticism and speed to go and make the play.

Michigan, Florida State, Alabama, Tennessee and many others are involved.



Gorney's Take: Two qualities stand out most about Lockhart’s game – his length and his instincts. That’s a pretty good start for the Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola cornerback, who is already 6-foot-2 and has long arms to poke balls away or jam receivers at the line. Then Lockhart has great instincts to cover up receivers through their routes and he’s aggressive enough to go up and compete for balls down the field. The right mix of intelligence, athleticism and playmaking ability, Lockhart has all the tools to be special.

USC is an early contender but many others should get involved as his recruitment continues.



Gorney's Take: What’s most interesting about Brown is that even he’s not sure if he’ll play offensive or defensive line in college. Many of the top teams recruiting him – LSU and Georgia up top with Alabama and Miami also in the mix – aren’t sure either.

That is also one thing that makes the Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab standout so special is that he’s incredibly versatile and can star along either side of the line. For someone so young to be dominant and so physical is intriguing. The fact that he doesn’t have a locked-in position actually makes him more valuable since he can solve lots of problems.