Rivals Rankings Week: Class of 2022 Five-Star Countdown
The 2022 rankings are getting a refresh this week prior to National Signing Day. Here's a countdown of the five-stars in 2022, from No. 28 all the way to No. 1, with Adam Gorney's thoughts on each.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Saturday: Who should be awarded fifth star?
Sunday: Who should be No. 1?
Monday: Five-Star Countdown
Tuesday: New Rivals250 revealed
Wednesday: Offensive position rankings
Thursday: Defensive position rankings
Friday: State rankings
1. ATH Travis Hunter
Gorney’s Take: Travis Hunter would be in the running to be ranked No. 1 at both wide receiver and cornerback since he’s one of the most dynamic athletes in the Rivals era. He should finish his senior season with more than 1,000 receiving yards and he’s projected as a defensive back at Florida State – that’s how dominant he’s been on the field. He’s been committed to the Seminoles since March 2020 but Georgia keeps trying to flip him.
2. DT Walter Nolen
Gorney's Take: Whether it was his dominance at the Future 50 over the summer or years of showing he can take over along the defensive line, Walter Nolen stays high on the list although nothing is guaranteed after the all-star games. His violent hands and his get-off are especially impressive for someone his size. Nolen committed to Texas A&M in November but has taken a couple trips to Tennessee since then including one this past weekend.
3. DT Travis Shaw
Gorney's Take: Travis Shaw completely dominates on the high school level, throws people out of the way, uses his massive frame to control the competition and double teams have very little effect on him. He’s dealt with injuries but when Shaw is on the field he is a force unlike anyone else in the 2022 class. The five-star committed to North Carolina over Clemson in August.
4. DE Jeremiah Alexander
Gorney's Take: Jeremiah Alexander propelled himself into the top five nationally with another phenomenal season in which he looked and played like a seasoned college veteran on the high school stage. The new five-star can come off the edge and wreck offenses, he can play in space, he tracks players. He even can play linebacker and have a huge impact there. There’s not a whole lot Alexander can’t do. He re-committed to Alabama over Clemson in July after an earlier pledge to the Crimson Tide.
5. WR Luther Burden
Gorney's Take: Luther Burden has competition for the No. 1 spot at receiver but he solidified his spot with an outstanding senior season in which he had 71 catches for 1,174 yards and 20 touchdowns – and every opponent knew the ball was coming his way. He’s sudden, a dynamic route runner, a big-time competitor and constantly looking for extra yards or ways to gain an advantage on the defense. After an early commitment to Oklahoma, Burden backed off that pledge and picked Missouri in October.
6. QB Cade Klubnik
Gorney's Take: Cade Klubnik is just a winner, through and through. He beat Quinn Ewers as a junior (although his team was much better, too), he’s undefeated as a senior and his stats of 2,486 passing yards with 34 touchdowns and two picks along with 11 rushing scores speak for themselves. Klubnik has a quiet confidence, he’s a team leader, he has all the intangibles plus the arm talent to be special. The top quarterback in the 2022 class committed to Clemson in March.
7. DB Jaheim Singletary, No. 7 overall
Gorney's Take: Jaheim Singletary has length at cornerback and that’s so special plus he mixes that with a big-time competitive streak. He runs so well, never allows receivers to get behind him and then competes for every ball thrown his way. Confidence does not run in short order with Singletary as he looks to shut down every receiver in his path. After an early commitment to Ohio State, Singletary backed off that pledge and picked Georgia in November.
8. DT Keithian Alexander
Gorney's Take: As shown during his senior season at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, Keithian Alexander is not just a space eater up the middle. Sure, the 6-foot-4, 320-pounder blocks up running lanes in the middle but he also shoots gaps, lives in the backfield, has surprising speed for his size and possesses unique agility for someone his size. An early Georgia commit, Alexander backed off that pledge only to re-commit to the Bulldogs over Texas A&M and others.
9. OT Kelvin Banks
Gorney's Take: Kelvin Banks is the prototypical offensive tackle in every way from playing with a mean streak with a great punch, to long arms, to being light on his feet for his size and so much else. What we like most about Banks is that he has no hesitation to play with a physical nature and he looks forward to dominating his opponent. Banks remains committed to Oregon, but Texas A&M and Texas are trying to flip him.
10. WR Tetairoa McMillan
Gorney's Take: Tetairoa McMillan is an athletic specimen who has a lean frame but is surprisingly physical as an outside receiver. He has such natural hands, a huge catch radius and his speed is really impressive for someone at his size. This season McMillan also played defensive back and had a huge impact and loved to hit. As a receiver in the nation’s best high school football league, the Oregon commit caught 88 passes for 1,302 yards and 18 touchdowns.
11. DB Denver Harris
Gorney's Take: Coming back from injury, Harris has been as solid as ever and proved why he’s a five-star cornerback. Harris has length, instincts, confidence and outstanding athleticism to break or make plays on the ball. Texas A&M and Alabama have emerged as the frontrunners and the Aggies might have the edge now.
12. LB Shemar James
Gorney's Take: A new five-star, Shemar James showed in his senior season what we loved so much about him during his junior campaign and through the summer. He’s a versatile linebacker with range who can cover ground easily, attacks the football, does a phenomenal job of diagnosing plays and then going after the ball carrier and getting them on the ground. Alabama, Georgia and Florida are involved.
13. DE Marvin Jones Jr.
Gorney's Take: Another new five-star that could have moved up even earlier, Marvin Jones Jr. has tremendous length and speed off the edge to change the pocket and force the quarterback into quick throws or to move around and get swallowed up by the defensive line. A Florida State legacy, Jones is considering the Seminoles, Alabama, Georgia and now USC with coach Lincoln Riley there.
14. DB Domani Jackson
Gorney's Take: Domani Jackson has missed substantial time this season with a knee injury but we’ve seen him for years dominate at cornerback and nothing should change moving forward. The five-star loves to be physical, loves to apply pressure, loves to play an attacking style at corner and then he’s one of the fastest players in the country. Alabama and USC are his final two.
15. OG Devon Campbell
Gorney's Take: What stands out most about Devon Campbell is what we like in offensive linemen: He’s a mean, tough, physical player who looks for contact and wants to dominate on every rep. There is also position versatility as Campbell could play inside or outside and take over physically wherever he is on the line. Texas, Oklahoma, USC and Alabama are the favorites.
16. OT Julian Armella
Gorney's Take: Armella is a big, physical and athletic offensive tackle who has an excellent competitive streak that we like to see in offensive tackles. He resists letting defensive ends get to the edge and does a great job resetting when they put on a second move. He could improve a little when players try to bull rush and overpower him. Florida State is considered the frontrunner with Alabama, LSU and Florida involved.
17. RB Raleek Brown
Gorney's Take: The new USC commit who backed off his Oklahoma pledge once Lincoln Riley took over in Los Angeles, Raleek Brown is one of the more dynamic and exciting backs we’ve seen in years. He’s tough to tackle in a phone booth, always figures out a way to gain extra yards and just when defenders think they have him boxed in, Brown hits another gear, spins out of trouble and is off to the races. The five-star can also be utilized in the passing game and that was Riley’s vision when Brown was committed to the Sooners.
18. WR Evan Stewart
Gorney's Take: Evan Stewart has dynamic athletic ability that makes him so special among this wide receiver group. He’s twitchy, he runs great routes, he’s dynamic and gets open, and then catches everything thrown his way. Stewart is as special as it gets when it comes to athletic receivers and playmakers. He's committed to Texas A&M.
19. LB CJ Hicks
Gorney's Take: CJ Hicks has length at the linebacker spot so he can play in space, he’s rangy and can move sideline to sideline. What makes Hicks extra special is that he’s surprisingly physical and embraces that part of the game, too, so coming off the edge at Ohio State wouldn’t be a complete shock.
20. DB Xavier Nwankpa
Gorney's Take: We’ve said this before but it’s true: Xavier Nwankpa covers like a cornerback and hits like a linebacker and that’s why we like him so much at safety. He has great ball skills, he can run and cover, he’s smart and can diagnose the play and then make something happen. That’s why he’s so coveted by so many top programs. He announces this week with Iowa, Ohio State and Notre Dame as his finalists.
21. OT Zach Rice
Gorney's Take: Zach Rice is an offensive tackle who has not topped out physically yet. We like that heading into college because it means his ceiling is still quite high, which starts a discussion of whether he should be higher in the position rankings. The North Carolina commit is still plenty big, super physical and he looks for players at the second level to cream so we like his nature a whole lot.
22. LB Harold Perkins
Gorney's Take: The new five-star linebacker might not have been utilized as much at linebacker this season but that’s because he was absolutely dominant at running back. Harold Perkins showed his speed, athleticism and playmaking ability, rushing for 1,194 yards and 18 touchdowns. That's an incredible accomplishment considering he is also a fast and hard-hitting linebacker. Texas A&M, LSU and Texas are his top three.
23. RB Branson Robinson
Gorney's Take: As long as the comparison sticks, we’re going to use it because Branson Robinson reminds us a lot of Nick Chubb at the same stage. He’s so muscular and powerful as a running back who can bounce off tacklers and churn out extra yards. But he has enough speed to get to the outside and get to the corner. The Georgia commit might not have elite speed but he’s going to gain lots of yards in Athens.
24. DE Dani Dennis-Sutton
Gorney's Take: Dani Dennis-Sutton has length, athleticism and a great burst off the line of scrimmage to dip his shoulder and routinely beat offensive tackles. He’s dealt with injuries but when he’s on the field, Dennis-Sutton has been really impressive. He’s done an excellent job at numerous offseason events, too. Penn State beat out Georgia and Alabama for him.
25. DB Will Johnson
Gorney's Take: Will Johnson is a big, physical cornerback with decent speed and great coverage ability because he’s not going to get pushed around by many receivers in this class. The Michigan commit can shut down one side of the field with his ability and he has the physical makeup to see the field early in Ann Arbor.
26. QB Walker Howard
Gorney's Take: Notre Dame, Ole Miss and others have tried to flip Walker Howard and he’s shown interest, but the five-star quarterback has stuck with his LSU commitment and his skills will be interesting in new coach Brian Kelly’s offense. Howard is a born leader, an alpha in the huddle, highly competitive and he has all the arm talent to be special. At the Elite 11 this summer, he was off the charts and we love his competitive attitude.
27. DB Jacoby Mathews
Gorney's Take: Picture a long, rangy athletic safety in the SEC and that’s Jacoby Mathews, who was committed to LSU early in the recruiting process but is now open with the Tigers and Texas A&M pursuing the hardest. Mathews can run and cover, come down and make plays and be that centerfielder who reads the play, reacts and uses his athletic ability to make something happen.
28. DE Mykel Williams
Gorney's Take: Mykel Williams is fast and aggressive off the edge and players with his length don’t come around very often. That’s why Georgia worked so long and hard to flip him from USC and finally had success when Williams picked the Bulldogs in late October. New USC coach Lincoln Riley is not giving up, though, and had an in-home with Williams last week.