Rivals Rankings Week: Counting down final 2022 five-stars
Today we kicked off the final Rivals Rankings Week for the 2022 class with a countdown of the 32 five-stars. Here are the 32 players who forever have cemented their names among Rivals five-stars.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
MONDAY: Five-star countdown | Meet the new five-stars
TUESDAY: Rivals250 released | Gorney's thoughts | Biggest movers | Five toughest questions we faced
WEDNESDAY: Offensive position rankings released | Five schools that should be pleased
THURSDAY: Defensive position rankings released | Three-star with most potential
FRIDAY: State rankings released
1. ATH TRAVIS HUNTER
Adam Gorney's Take: Travis Hunter did not go overboard during the all-star events but the Jackson State signee still showed off unique athleticism and playmaking ability that no one else has in this class. The No. 1 player is one of the best athletes in Rivals history dating back to 2002.
2. DT WALTER NOLEN
Gorney's Take: The Texas A&M signee came to the Under Armour Game to prove a point: That he’s the best and most physically dominant defensive lineman in the class. Walter Nolen took over at every practice and won nearly every one-on-one rep. In the game, he shed double teams, got into the backfield and was unstoppable. He should be a monster for the Aggies.
3. QB CADE KLUBNIK
Gorney's Take: Time and again, Cade Klubnik has proven to be the best quarterback in this class. The Clemson signee is a pure winner, a cerebral competitor and a gamer who went off for more than 200 yards and three touchdown passes in the All-American Bowl. He’s going to dissect defenses, be a leader and win lots of games.
4. WR LUTHER BURDEN
Gorney's Take: We went into the all-star season not certain who was the No. 1 receiver in the class. We came out confident the right pick was Burden. The Missouri signee is a tough route runner who can create separation, take a short pass for lots of extra yards or stretch it deep, and he has excellent hands. His focus and competitiveness is off the charts.
5. CB WILL JOHNSON
Gorney's Take: One of the biggest surprises of the all-star season was Will Johnson, who has excellent size but does not lack fluidity or the ability to break on passes and trust his vision to make plays. The Michigan signee was the best cornerback at the Under Armour Game against some talented receivers, he was consistently dominant all week and a bump to the top-rated cornerback was warranted.
6. DE JEREMIAH ALEXANDER
Gorney's Take: Jeremiah Alexander did not have the type of practice week at the Under Armour Game that blew us away but his body of work was so incredibly good that even sixth in the country feels a little too low. He is a physical force on defense, someone who can be moved all around and the Alabama signee looks to wreck offenses. I don’t know if he’s the next Will Anderson (he’s two inches shorter at the same stage) but he sure plays like him.
7. DE DANI DENNIS-SUTTON
Gorney's Take: One of the biggest surprises at the All-American Bowl was the Penn State signee because he’s dealt with some injuries and hasn’t been on the national stage much. But he was really, really good. Dani Dennis-Sutton used power moves to stun offensive linemen all week. He would use speed when necessary to get to the edge or make a move inside.
The five-star defensive end had the perfect mix to dominate every offensive lineman in a variety of ways.
8. DE MYKEL WILLIAMS
Entering the All-American Bowl, Mykel Williams was one of those players who needed a good week to keep his fifth star. There are only so many to give out. And the Georgia signee responded with a superb week.
In every practice, Williams also used an impressive mix of speed and power moves to beat everybody consistently. No offensive lineman had an answer for him. His length, his motor and his mix of speed and power stood out above the rest.
9. DT KEITHIAN ALEXANDER
Gorney's Take: The top three defensive tackles in the 2022 class were all at the Under Armour Game and Keithian Alexander more than held his own. For someone who weighs about 320 pounds, the Georgia signee is incredibly fast and nimble in the middle of the defensive line. He’s not just someone who takes up space and swallows up running backs. Alexander shoots gaps and causes havoc in the backfield.
10. CB JAHEIM SINGLETARY
Gorney's Take: Jaheim Singletary did not participate in the Under Armour Game because of COVID-19 protocols so he could not move much in the final 2022 rankings. He remains the same cornerback we love though: Long, athletic, can run, yaps at receivers and super competitive. Georgia is getting a very talented player with ball skills who could be a star.
11. ATH ALEX STYLES
Gorney's Take: We debated a little bit where to place Alex Styles in the final rankings since he reclassified from the 2023 class and is essentially skipping his senior year of high school to enroll at Ohio State early. This might actually be a little low for his skill set since he is a tall, athletic safety who could come down and eventually play linebacker as well. He’s also a standout basketball player so his athletic ability is off the charts.
12. WR TETAIROA MCMILLAN
Gorney's Take: The Arizona signee did not participate in the All-American Bowl because of COVID-19 protocols, which was disappointing because he could have staked his claim as the best receiver in the class. He’s that good. Tetairoa McMillan was solid at the Polynesian Bowl, showing off what we’ve seen for so long – a supremely athletic, long playmaker who has phenomenal hands.
In his senior year, McMillan also showed he can be physical and super tough. His potential is off the charts.
13. DE MARVIN JONES JR.
Gorney's Take: After a slightly slow start at the All-American Bowl that lasted about half a practice, Marvin Jones basically took over off the edge and was among the best defensive ends at the event. His length is outstanding and his power was unstoppable for the entire week.
14. OG DEVON CAMPBELL
Gorney's Take: Devon Campbell was the toughest, meanest, strongest, most competitive offensive lineman we saw during the all-star season. That’s why even though he’s an interior offensive lineman we liked him as the highest-rated player along the offensive line in the 2022 class.
His size is impressive and he moves well but what stands out most is just how much Campbell likes to win by being more physical than his opponent.
15. DT TRAVIS SHAW
Gorney's Take: Of the three five-star defensive tackles at the Under Armour Game, Travis Shaw was the biggest and still looked great, moved well and absolutely solidified his ranking status. The North Carolina signee was not as explosive as Walter Nolen and Bear Alexander but he was definitely impressive with his size, ability to win one-on-one reps and power up the middle.
16. DE QUENCY WIGGINS
Gorney's Take: The 6-foot-6, 264-pound LSU signee did not start playing football until midway through high school so Quency Wiggins is just scratching the surface of his potential. At the All-American Bowl, Wiggins looked great and showed off his top-notch athleticism and power off the edge.
Offensive tackles have problems with him because he’s so powerful but also moves so well for his size. In three or four years, Wiggins could be really special.
17. CB DOMANI JACKSON
Gorney's Take: The USC signee, who picked the Trojans over Alabama, did not participate in either the Under Armour Game or the Polynesian Bowl as he recovered from a knee injury. But throughout his career, Domani Jackson has been one of the most physical and competitive cornerbacks we’ve seen.
He’s also extraordinarily fast, running a 10.25 in the 100 meters. Tough at the line of scrimmage and throughout routes, Jackson gives receivers a hard time all night.
18. LB CJ HICKS
Gorney's Take: Linebackers don’t really do a whole lot during the week of practice at all-star events but CJ Hicks’ length and fluidity really stood out. The Ohio State signee covered ground so well, moved laterally better than anybody at the Under Armour Game and even thumped some opponents in practice that spoke to his physical nature as well.
19. S XAVIER NWANKPA
Gorney's Take: The Iowa signee was solid once again at the All-American Bowl, a physically-impressive safety who can diagnose plays and then has the athleticism to go make plays on the ball. In practice, Xavier Nwankpa moved well, operated the defense and covered ground well. With pads on, he’s a little bit of a headhunter who likes to play physically.
20. QB WALKER HOWARD
Gorney's Take: Walker Howard did not participate in the all-star events because of injury so he could not move much in the rankings. The LSU signee is still one of the best quarterbacks in the class and has impressive arm talent. What we like most about Howard is his competitive nature and leadership. When needed at the Elite 11 this summer, Howard stepped up and delivered in every instance.
21. CB DENVER HARRIS
Gorney's Take: Denver Harris showed up a little late to the Under Armour Game but once he got to Orlando, the Texas A&M signee was solid throughout the week. He stayed with receivers, showed his speed and ability to diagnose plays and then break on the ball. The Houston (Texas) North Shore standout has bounced back from a knee injury and still has his speed to break on the ball like no one else in the class.
22. OT ELIJAH PRITCHETT
Gorney's Take: It has been a puzzle trying to figure out who is the best offensive tackle in this class and we decided on Elijah Pritchett, who actually moved to offensive guard during the All-American Bowl because his team was loaded with tackles. The Alabama signee has great size, outstanding feet, a stunning punch and he’s someone who is about his business and is not messing around against any defensive lineman he faces.
23. WR AARON ANDERSON
Gorney's Take: The Alabama signee who had been committed to LSU was the most sudden and dynamic receiver at either event and really showed he could be the next star slot receiver for the Crimson Tide. In and out of his breaks, Aaron Anderson does not slow down, he creates separation against any cornerback and it’s pretty obvious he’s going to be a highlight-reel going deep in Alabama’s offense. He’s undersized but physical so his size means cornerbacks cannot jam him and slow him down at the line.
24. OT ZACH RICE
Gorney's Take: The North Carolina signee was in the running for the top offensive tackle in the class as he showed consistency and athleticism during the week at Under Armour. Rice is huge, has very little bad weight and can definitely handle speed and power coming off the edge. He guesses sometimes, which gets him in trouble, but the Tar Heels are getting a quarterback protector in him for sure.
25. RB RALEEK BROWN
Gorney's Take: Raleek Brown flashed his abilities during practice with two long catches that were highlight plays and a nice run in the game, but the USC signee didn’t get too many touches to show off what he can really do.
The Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei all-purpose back cannot be tackled in a phone booth. He’s so dynamic with the ball in his hands and coach Lincoln Riley wants to use him in the run and pass game.
26. CB JULIAN HUMPHREY
Gorney's Take: A new five-star following his performance at the All-American Bowl, Julian Humphrey is quick in short space, can turn and run with any receiver in the country, and then is super competitive once the ball gets there. The UGA signee did get beat for a touchdown by USC signee CJ Williams but it was a beautiful catch and impossible to cover. Other than that, Humphrey was spotless all week.
27. S JACOBY MATHEWS
Gorney's Take: We debated whether Jacoby Mathews had done enough to keep his five-star status and came down on the side that he did. The Ponchatoula, Fla., standout who’s still looking at LSU, Florida, Texas A&M and others, has rare length and cover ability plus he can roam the secondary and make plays like few others in this class. He didn’t really flash at the Under Armour Game much, but his body of work speaks for itself.
28. LB SHEMAR JAMES
Gorney's Take: Shemar James did not participate in any all-star games, which was unfortunate because it would have been great to see him against some of the best players nationally. My guess is that he would have showed off his timing and athleticism. That’s what stands out most about him. The Florida signee times plays so well to get through traffic and then he uses his speed to get people on the ground.
29. LB JIHAAD CAMPBELL
Gorney's Take: Jihaad Campbell is a new five-star after seeing him perform at the Under Armour Game where the Alabama signee, who had been committed to Clemson, showed off he could be a massive outside linebacker or edge rusher that has a huge impact on the defense.
Campbell moves well in space, he’s physical, he can cover and then he can come down off the edge and make it problematic in the backfield.
30. DE SHEMAR STEWART
Gorney's Take: One of the best-looking prospects at either all-star event, Shemar Stewart is all of 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, built like an elite defensive end already and just needs to perfect his moves to be unstoppable off the edge.
At the Under Armour Game, Stewart showed he has elite ability when he turns it on. Against top-notch offensive linemen, Stewart had no problems winning reps.
31. OT JOSH CONERLY
Gorney's Take: Another new five-star after the all-star events, Josh Conerly Jr. might be the most athletic high-end offensive tackle in this class. The Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach standout can muscle defensive linemen and win reps that way but what stands out most are his light feet, his ability to block at the second level and to use his athleticism to beat players.
32. WR EVAN STEWART
Gorney's Take: Evan Stewart might be the fastest straight-line receiver in this class but he’s also fast after making his first and second move. Separation is absolutely no problem for the Texas A&M signee so he’s going to create space, catch a lot of passes and then make things happen when the ball gets in his hands.