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Rivals Rankings Week: Breaking down the updated team rankings

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Fred Davis
Fred Davis (Rivals.com)

With Rivals.com’s Rankings Week winding down, we turn an eye to the 2020 team rankings and what might transpire down the road. Below, recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman takes a look at the way things stand now and makes five predictions for the future.

Rivals Rankings Week

Monday: Top 10 revealed | Who could break into final top 10?| Who is No. 1 TE?

Tuesday: Updated Rivals100 revealed | New five-stars | Mind of Mike | Three in line for fifth star

Wednesday: Updated Rivals250 revealed | Analyst roundtable | Teams that should be pleased | Who could break into Rivals250?

Thursday: New offensive position rankings revealed

Friday: New defensive position rankings revealed

Saturday: Team rankings breakdown

Sunday: New state rankings revealed

Clemson destined to take the throne  

The defending national champion enters Rivals rankings week clinging tightly to the No. 1 spot on the national team leaderboard. Clemson has effectively distanced itself from LSU, which sits at No. 2 about 400 points behind, and Alabama, which has yet to crack the 2,000-point threshold.

Dabo Swinney and Co. claim a quintet of five-stars in D.J. Uiagalelei, Demarkcus Bowman, Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy and Fred Davis, not to mention another nine players inside the Rivals250 after Walker Parks and Kobe Pryor were upgraded to four-stars.

The scary part: The Tigers don't appear to be slowing down on the recruiting trail and could finish as strong as they began this recruiting cycle. Elite players such as Jordan Burch, Marshawn Lloyd and Julian Fleming all remain in play as Clemson continues to assemble the pieces in what is very likely the No. 1 class in 2020.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH CLEMSON FANS AT TIGERILLUSTRATED.COM

Orgeron's national approach could pay dividends  

Ed Orgeron
Ed Orgeron (AP Images)

When Ed Orgeron earned the head coaching gig in Baton Rouge, he assured the fan base that he was going to lock down the border around Louisiana and go full throttle to lock down the 500-mile radius around the Southeast.

That's been Coach O's M.O. since landing the job in 2016, but after a breakout season last fall LSU is currently on track to sign its best class to date. A year ago, the Tigers finished with Rivals' No. 3-ranked group, but trailed fellow SEC powers Georgia and Alabama, which finished Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

Orgeron has extended LSU's reach outside the Southeast to parts of the Mid-Atlantic (Demon Clowney, Antoine Sampah, Rakim Jarrett) to the West Coast (Jermaine Burton, Jordan Berry, Elias Ricks). He's also eyeing a move in the Midwest with Rivals100 prospects Paris Johnson Jr. and Darrion Henry. With that in mind, the Tigers may be on the precipice of finishing first in the conference. That hasn't been done since Nick Saban first arrived at Alabama in 2007.

To make it happen, LSU will need a strong finish, which may require the team to finish strong with some local talent such as Rivals100 members Jaquelin Roy, Sedrick Van Pran, Ashaad Johnson (who recently changed his name from Ashaad Clayton), Koy Moore and Prince Dorbah, among others.

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Spinning the RB wheel  

Kendall Milton
Kendall Milton (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

There's quite a few five-star running backs that remain uncommitted as the summer arrives, most notably the No. 1 prospect at the position, Zachary Evans, in addition to California five-star Kendall Milton. The third five-star back is Demarkcus Bowman, a recent addition to Clemson's star-studded class. There's also Rivals250 members Bijan Robinson and Ashaad Johnson.

Georgia, Texas, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State are the main contenders for each of these talented tailbacks, but it's difficult to gauge who will end up where. Evans, for example, is on close to announcing finalists. We expect Texas, Texas A&M, Alabama, Georgia and LSU to make the cut. Milton named a final four of Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Ohio State. Johnson, too, is giving hard looks at Alabama, LSU and Georgia.

Right now, the nation's premier running backs are in a game of musical chairs, but we fully expect one to make their way to Alabama, to Georgia, to Ohio State, and to LSU ... eventually.

California ... dreaming?

Clay Helton
Clay Helton (AP Images)

Southern Cal has been a mainstay in the top 10 of the Rivals recruiting rankings for the past half-decade. That includes winning the recruiting national championship with the top-ranked class back in 2015 and a No. 3 finish as recently as 2018.

The Trojans slipped in 2019, finishing No. 19 in the land, which undoubtedly went hand-in-hand with their 5-7 finish. The pressure is on Clay Helton to rebound both on the field and on the recruiting trail, but USC is currently clinging to the No. 49 class in the country and momentum is not in its corner.

The 2020 class is loaded out West, but USC is playing from behind with a lot of the region's best prospects. Uiagalelei (Clemson), Ricks (LSU), and Gee Scott Jr. (Ohio State) are all committed to out-of-state programs, and the same goes for Arizona four-star Tosh Baker (Notre Dame). Other prospects ranked inside the top 50 are also trending toward teams that aren't USC, such as Ohio State, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, LSU and Clemson. The Trojans' struggles on the field are clearly benefiting other schools across the country as they make their dent recruiting the Left Coast.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH USC FANS AT TROJANSPORTS.COM

The arms race in Texas  

Zachary Evans
Zachary Evans (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The battle for Lone Star State supremacy in 2020 is sure to determine which teams surge to the top of the Rivals team recruiting ranks, and by all accounts it's a three-team race to the finish line. Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas are all jockeying for position with the Nos. 14, 19 and 26-ranked classes, but there are quite a few dominoes that need to fall before the competition gets fired up.

Zachary Evans remains Texas' top uncommitted prospect and is considering both in-state programs. Vernon Broughton impressed at RCS Houston and was bumped to No. 60, and like Evans, is high on the Aggies and Longhorns. Quentin Johnston is one of Rivals' biggest risers and it's shaping up to be a Red River recruiting battle for the new four-star wideout.

Rivals100 receiver Troy Omeire named both Texas and A&M to his final four. Rivals100 tackle Chad Lindberg already took an official visit to Austin and Aggieland is on deck in June. Other notable prospects like Branard Wright, Xavion Alford and Ja'Quinden Jackson should also play critical roles in sorting through this war over Texas supremacy.