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Rivals Rankings Week: Initial 2025 rankings released

College coaches have begun to sort through the up-and-coming prospects in the 2025 class. Today, the initial Rivals100 for the 2025 class was released and the first No. 1 player is offensive tackle David Sanders Jr.

The prestigious title of "No. 1 player in the nation" isn't something normally associated with an offensive lineman. In fact, an offensive lineman has never finished the rankings cycle as the No. 1 prospect.

Highly-touted quarterback Bryce Underwood, defensive tackle Elijah Griffin, offensive lineman Douglas Utu and defensive end Jared Smith round out the top five of the initial 2025 Rivals100.

INITIAL 2025 RANKINGS: Gorney goes position-by-position

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CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

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David Sanders Jr.
David Sanders Jr. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

It's important to note that no offensive lineman has ever finished No. 1 in the rankings but Sanders is an exceptional talent who has all the traits college coaches are looking for in a book-end left tackle. Andre Smith, D.J. Humphries and Seantrel Henderson all finished at No. 2 in the Rivals250 in their respective years.

Sanders has great size and continues to add solid mass to his frame. He is on point from a technical standpoint, showing off good footwork and hand placement, and understands how to play low to use his length to his advantage.

While he's still fairly young and not overly powerful in the weight room, his playing strength is outstanding. Sanders does a really good job pushing around defensive linemen whether it's a passing play or running play. His sense of timing as a pass blocker is really impressive for a player his age. He shoots his hands well and understands how to slide and reset his hands while defensive linemen try various pass rushing moves to get around him.

His recruitment remains in the early stages, but Michigan, who offered him while he was still in middle school, is in a solid place early on.

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Bryce Underwood
Bryce Underwood (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Simply put, Underwood is a sophomore in high school but he already plays like and looks like he could be a college freshman. Underwood checks all the boxes physically. He’s a little over 6-foot-2 and a solid 200 pounds, and is still growing. He’s also very mobile and has a lot of experience running zone-reads. Underwood can pick up big chunks of yards with his legs but he likes to scramble to throw instead of scrambling to run and pick up yards.

When it comes to throwing the ball, Underwood leaves little to be desired. He’s shown outstanding arm strength and can get the ball to pretty much every corner of the field. Underwood does a great job finding his receivers on deep routes and understands how to go through his progression to find the open receiver. His accuracy is very impressive too. Underwood sported a 100-percent completion percentage through his first two drives of this season, going 8-for-8 with one touchdown and 125 passing yards while adding another touchdown on the ground.

Underwood’s development will be key, specifically his consistent accuracy on downfield passes. He doesn’t turn the ball over much and has solid throwing mechanics. It will be interesting to watch his game evolve over the next few years and we’ll see if those Cam Newton comparisons grow louder. Underwood’s recruitment is still in the very early stages but Michigan and Michigan State have put themselves in good position so far.

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Elijah Griffin
Elijah Griffin (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The 2025 defensive line crop is already pretty impressive with four of them in the top 10 of the initial 2025 Rivals100 and Griffin looks like the best of the bunch. Griffin does a great job pushing offensive linemen out of his way. He is so massive and so strong at such a young age that some offensive linemen are caught off guard when they see him for the first time.

He has very quick hands and he's very aggressive so when he goes to his power moves they are really effective. Griffin's athleticism and motor make him one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in any class right now.

He's able to quickly disengage from offensive linemen to chase down the ball carrier, even if they are trying to double-team him. Griffin also shows off plenty of versatility along the defensive front. Right now he plays mostly defensive end, showing off a skill set that allows him to hold the edge and keep plays inside.

At the next level, however, Griffin most likely projects as an interior defensive lineman with the possibility of playing some defensive end depending on the situation.

Georgia figures to be one of Griffin's main contenders but there's a long way to go and many, many other schools are already recruiting him.

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Douglas Utu
Douglas Utu (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Utu is a big-time offensive lineman from a powerhouse program. When we saw him this offseason, he played well beyond his years and showed excellent playing strength. Utu does a great job using his hands to keep defensive linemen in front of him but has the quickness to slide as they try various countermoves.

He has really strong hands and can virtually control any defensive lineman he comes across. As a run blocker, Utu does a good job driving. defensive linemen off the ball and even makes important blocks at the second and third levels. Running backs love running behind him because he opens great lanes that are easy to see. Utu also brings a lot of versatility to the offensive line. He can play tackle or guard at the next level, but it will really be determined by how he develops physically.

Utu doesn't appear to be rushing his recruitment. Oregon is a major threat to sign him down the road but USC, Utah, BYU, Michigan and Miami could play big roles in his recruitment.

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Jared Smith
Jared Smith (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Smith has a real chance of challenging Sanders at the top of the rankings as the cycle progresses. He's a really quick-twitch defensive end which is surprising giving his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame. Smith is very aggressive and does a great job against the run and the pass.

On passing plays, Smith uses advanced hand techniques, aggressiveness and pure power to overwhelm the offensive lineman and get into the backfield. At the point of attack against the run, Smith knows how to slip by offensive linemen and quickly find the ball carrier.

He plays with great discipline and understands his responsibilities on the edge of the defense. Smith can really take his game to the next level as he physically matures but what makes him special is his combination of size, quickness and aggressiveness.

Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and LSU are just a few teams to watch in his recruitment.