Rivals Rankings Week: Counting down the five-stars
The highly anticipated rankings update for the 2022 class is underway. Today, we counted down the 26 five-stars in the class with thoughts from Rivals National Recruiting Director Adam Gorney on each player. The full Rivals250 will be released on Tuesday.
Here is the full Rivals Rankings Week schedule:
MONDAY: Five-Star Countdown
TUESDAY: Full Rivals250 revealed
WEDNESDAY: Offensive position rankings
THURSDAY: Defensive position rankings
FRIDAY: State rankings
1. QB QUINN EWERS
GORNEY'S TAKE: From velocity to accuracy to ball placement and everything in between, Ewers has proven he’s the top player in this class. The Ohio State commit doesn’t just sit in the pocket and dissect defenses, either. He can throw from different arm angles, he likes to throw on the run, he can zip it across his body going against the grain and his confidence in getting the ball to his receivers is high.
2. ATH TRAVIS HUNTER
GORNEY'S TAKE: Travis Hunter’s dynamic ability is extraordinarily rare and he could legitimately play both wide receiver and cornerback at Florida State. The five-star has speed and off-the-charts athleticism on offense to either run by or out-jump cornerbacks.
When he switches to corner, Hunter’s length stands out. He’s so smooth and he breaks on the ball so fast. Hunter also loves the game and loves to compete all the time.
3. DT TRAVIS SHAW
GORNEY'S TAKE: Travis Shaw has proclaimed himself to be the best defensive tackle in the nation and his play has backed it up. The massive 6-foot-6, 325-pound five-star prospect can line up inside and destroy interior offensive linemen to cause all kinds of pressure in the backfield.
He can also stand up as a defensive end, beat offensive tackles or just simply overpower them, and then Shaw has shocking speed to track down plays that stretch to the outside.
4. OT JULIAN ARMELLA
GORNEY'S TAKE: A nasty competitive streak is what we want in five-star offensive tackles and Julian Armella is exactly that type of player. He has reshaped his body to be trim and muscular. He wants every rep possible and wants to prove every time the ball is snapped that no defensive lineman is going to beat him. With his speed, ability to reset and handle all kinds of defensive ends, Armella has proven to be the nation’s top offensive tackle. Alabama, LSU, Florida State and Miami have his attention.
5. CB JAHEIM SINGLETARY
GORNEY'S TAKE: The new No. 1 cornerback has incredible length on the outside and he picked off numerous passes in his junior season that probably would have just been tipped away by other players at the position. Singletary also plays receiver and has excellent hands so when he’s on defense, he’s always looking to not only knock the ball away but pick it off.
The Ohio State commit also loves to compete, loves to talk and get in the receiver’s head. It looks like he’s gilding when he runs – smooth in everything he does.
6. DT WALTER NOLEN
GORNEY'S TAKE: Walter Nolen has position versatility across the defensive line as he’s athletic enough to come off the edge and powerful enough to move inside. The five-star lives in the backfield, sheds blockers with active hands and features a non-stop motor. His aggressive style wears down offensive linemen over the course of a game.
7. WR LUTHER BURDEN
GORNEY'S TAKE: One-third of Burden’s catches went for touchdowns this past season, many on bubble screens where the five-star receiver caught the ball, made numerous defenders miss and then accelerated down the field to the end zone.
He’s a strong route runner, and has an extra gear that can be kicked in. The Oklahoma commit is a willing blocker as well. Missouri is trying to flip him and he recently visited there for one of its summer events.
8. CB DENVER HARRIS
GORNEY'S TAKE: What stands out most about Denver Harris is his vision and his ability to track his receiver but also come off him and make a play somewhere else on the field. Many of his interceptions came when Harris diagnosed the play and then attacked the ball once it was in the air.
9. DT KEITHIAN ALEXANDER
GORNEY'S TAKE: Keithian Alexander is a bull-rushing defensive tackle who, at about 330 pounds, is surprisingly nimble on his feet and can make things happen in the backfield. He’s similar to Dexter Lawrence – powerful, spins off blocks and makes the play near the line of scrimmage.
10. CB DOMANI JACKSON
GORNEY'S TAKE: Domani Jackson is very similar to Minkah Fitzpatrick at the same stage, a physical cornerback who jams receivers at the line of scrimmage, competes on every ball and makes it tough for receivers to get into their routes. He can turn and run, too, and needs to trust his natural instincts a little bit more.
11. DE DANI DENNIS-SUTTON
GORNEY'S TAKE: One of the most physically impressive prospects in the entire class, Dani Dennis-Sutton has speed to beat offensive tackles to the edge and power to go through them to get into the backfield. Listed as a strong-side defensive end, Dennis-Sutton can also stand up and play in space and drop in coverage. He has it all as a defensive end and reminds us of a more powerful Yetur Gross-Matos.
12. OT KELVIN BANKS
GORNEY'S TAKE: The new five-star offensive tackle was outstanding at the Rivals Camp in Dallas and only reinforced what we already saw from him numerous times: Banks is physical and plays with a mean streak. He also has excellent length and a big frame, but light feet.
The former Oklahoma State commit – who has Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Oklahoma and others on his list – shows a great punch. He can redirect defensive ends or put them flat on the ground, and his wingspan allows him to keep players at a distance.
13. LB CJ HICKS
GORNEY'S TAKE: The Ohio State commit is equally adept at blitzing off the edge, timing a blitz up the middle or dropping in coverage. He plays super fast, flies all around the field and is physical enough to make people hesitate when they come across the middle. There have not been many linebackers in recent years who close as fast as Hicks does in space.
14. DB JACOBY MATHEWS
GORNEY'S TAKE: Whether playing quarterback, cornerback or safety, Jacoby Mathews makes a major impact on his high school team. On defense, the LSU commit is perfectly comfortable playing on an island, he has great reach to knock balls away and he can run with receivers. When playing safety, Mathews tracks the ball and does a great job closing on it. He seems to know what the offense wants to do.
15. CB WILL JOHNSON
GORNEY'S TAKE: Of the five-star cornerbacks, Will Johnson is the biggest and arguably the most physical. What he might lack in elite speed, the Michigan commit makes up in great coverage skills and a toughness to jam receivers at the line and drive them out of bounds. That mindset should translate well to the Big Ten.
16. RB BRANSON ROBINSON
GORNEY'S TAKE: Branson Robinson is a Nick Chubb clone. The two are so similar it’s incredible to see in person. The new five-star running back lives in the weight room while also being cognizant that he cannot put on much more weight so it doesn’t affect his speed.
He’s a downhill runner who doesn’t have the most make-you-miss ability but Robinson doesn’t need it because he craves contact, bounces off tacklers and keeps going. He’s chiseled up top and has tree-trunk legs so a crowd is going to have to tackle him.
17. LB GABE POWERS
GORNEY'S TAKE: The question heading into this offseason was whether Gabe Powers had gotten too big to play outside linebacker, to tackle in space and be effective in pass coverage. All those questions were answered during the Rivals Camp Series. He was excellent and while he is big, still showed off outstanding speed and coverage ability. The Ohio State commit moved up to five-star status because of it.
18. OT KAM DEWBERRY
GORNEY'S TAKE: The next Jedrick Wills? That’s the comparison for Kam Dewberry and while there might be an argument about whether the five-star is a right tackle or an interior offensive lineman, there is no debate that he has good feet, he’s as physical as any player along the offensive line in this class and that his position versatility is an attribute.
19. OT ZACH RICE
GORNEY'S TAKE: Zach Rice does not look to just block people. The five-star has laser vision to pancake block them, get to the second level and find someone to hit and destroy. That intensity and power makes Rice special across the offensive line.
20. WR KEVIN COLEMAN
GORNEY'S TAKE: Is he the next Jaylen Waddle? Who knows? But Kevin Coleman is a fast, electric and dynamic receiver who is outstanding in space and can run away from people. He is a playmaker who plans to get into the end zone every time he runs a route.
21. OG DEVON CAMPBELL
GORNEY'S TAKE: Moving Devon Campbell from offensive tackle to offensive guard means little other than we think his long-term position is inside where he dominates physically, puts people on the ground and opens up lanes for running backs. Campbell can still move well and those are attributes that will only help him become even more dominant inside.
22. QB GUNNER STOCKTON
GORNEY'S TAKE: The next five-star quarterback at Georgia, Gunner Stockton is a little different than the others because he can throw off-platform, he does a great job escaping pressure while keeping his eyes downfield and he has a very strong arm to make big plays. Will he get away with all that in the SEC? Probably not. But he’s adaptable and will have more weapons around the field.
23. QB WALKER HOWARD
GORNEY'S TAKE: There is no doubt Walker Howard can throw the fastball, whizzing it between defenders to his receivers and putting nice pace on his passes across the field as well. Arm strength is not an issue at all.
But we would like to see the LSU commit put some air under it when needed and if he’s going to miss, to not miss high where the ball can be picked off. Howard is athletic, he can throw on the run and his release is super smooth.
24. DT TYRE WEST
GORNEY'S TAKE: Tyre West never stops and because of that he cleans up a lot of plays, comes from across the line of scrimmage to make the tackle and is involved a lot in the backfield. If the running back comes to his side, West can get off a block to make the tackle. If the play is going the other way, the Georgia commit keeps his motor going to get involved somehow.
The five-star is not constantly living in the backfield and flushing the quarterback out but he’s always around the ball.
25. DE MYKEL WILLIAMS
GORNEY'S TAKE: Mykel Williams can play with his hand down, come off the edge and be a disruptive force in the backfield. He can stand up, move around the line and then attack the ball carrier inside or outside. Even though he’s not as big as Travon Walker, Williams does have better closing ability and even in space, Williams can track people down and get them on the ground.
26. LB SHAWN MURPHY
GORNEY'S TAKE: Shawn Murphy does a great job of patiently waiting in the hole, waiting for his opportunity to pounce and then going after the ball carrier with a vengeance. He’s smart, quick to react and then when he gets there, the five-star linebacker hits hard and wants to make a statement.