Rivals Rankings Week: Rankings we might regret
At the end of the rankings cycles, there are always questions about why certain players didn't get moved up the rankings. With the final refresh of the 2023 Rivals250 being released, the national analysts staff give their takes on what ranking they might regret down the road.
FINAL 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Athlete | Cornerback | Safety | Inside linebacker | Outside linebacker | Defensive tackle | Strongside defensive end | Weakside defensive end | Pro-style QB | Dual-threat QB | Running back | All-purpose RB | Wide receiver | Tight end | Offensive tackle | Offensive guard | Center
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Sunday: Who should be the top three prospects in 2023?
Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Introducing the new five-stars
Tuesday: Rivals250 released | Biggest risers | Toughest rankings questions we faced | Gorney on the new Rivals250
Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released | Five teams that should be most pleased with new ranking | Which QBs are best fits for future team? | Which RBs are best fits for future team? | Which WRs are best fits for future team? | Which O-linemen are best fits for future team?
Thursday: Defensive position rankings released | How will 2023 class be remembered? | Which D-linemen are best fits for future team? | Which LBs are best fits for future team? | Which DBs are best fits for future team?
Friday: State rankings released | States with the most Rivals250
Saturday: JUCO rankings
Sunday: Transfer portal team rankings
JUSTICE HAYNES: FOUR-STAR RB
"There are a few running backs worthy of five-star consideration in this 2023 recruiting cycle, but none fits that mold more than Alabama signee Justice Haynes. The analyst team chose to go without a five-star back in this class, and although logic behind not having one at the position is valid due to positional NFL draft value, I see Haynes as being an exception to the rule.
"Haynes' skill set is elite in nearly every category, and after evaluating him for a full week against the nation's best at the All-American Bowl, it became apparent that he is different than his peers. He has a future NFL frame, incredible balance, a special burst with speed to match and proved to be as good of a receiver as he is a runner. Haynes is a star in the making, and should he stay healthy I see him as a future first-rounder worthy of a fifth star." - Clint Cosgrove, national recruiting analyst
"Trying to predict what will happen in an NFL Draft three to four years away is a difficult task. One thing that has changed – making it a bit easier to predict – is draft stock on running backs has dropped, but the overlooked are still taken in the first round. The 2022 draft was a recent exception as former Iowa State standout Breece Hall was the first tailback taken off the board, going in the second round to the Jets. Najee Harris (Alabama), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU), Josh Jacobs (Alabama) and Saquon Barkley (Penn State) each went in the first round, respectively, dating back to 2018. Haynes has the talent and offensive fit with Alabama to force teams to take him early instead of waiting. Haynes’ four-star ranking – slotted at No. 33 – is still fantastic, but if he goes in the first round when his time comes we may regret it." - Ryan Wright, national recruiting analyst
OLAUS ALINEN: FOUR-STAR OL
"There are 37 offensive linemen in the Rivals250, which is a lot for any given year, but I don't know if we should have left out Olaus Alinen. It took the native of Finland a little while to get used to the speed and strength of the elite defensive linemen he faced in Orlando at the Under Armour Next All-America Game, but he showed steady progress during the week of practice and played well in the game.
"Alinen has the size, raw strength and agility to compete at the highest level, but how he was able to adapt fairly quickly to the increased level of competition gives me confidence in his chances of success in college." - Adam Friedman, national recruiting analyst
JAQUAVIOUS RUSSAW: FOUR-STAR
"There have been a lot of instances in which someone just outside the five-star arena has emerged as a first-round NFL Draft pick, and while we looked sort of correct on his ranking we just missed it by a little bit. That’s why I always want to review players in that 33 to 50 range to make sure we feel relatively comfortable about where those players are positioned, but inevitably there will be some minor misses on guys who should have been five-stars.
"My pick this year is Jaquavious Russaw, who unfortunately didn’t show up to the Under Armour Game but has such excellent senior film I still think we should have considered him more for five-star status. The Alabama signee is someone who flies all over the field, is perfectly comfortable playing off the edge or standing up in space and then running everywhere to get the ball carrier on the ground. Three or four years from now, I can see Russaw as a first-rounder." - Adam Gorney, national recruiting director
RUEBEN OWENS II: FOUR-STAR RB
"The conversation of whether there is a five-star running back in the class of 2023 continued well into the final rankings discussions, and that conversation centered around Rueben Owens II for most of the recruiting cycle. Owens' resume as a track athlete (10.68 100-meter speed), receiving threat in 7-on-7 settings and as a statistical machine on the high school level helps him jump off the chart from other backfield weapons both in 2023 and in years past.
"However, what I think makes Owens a five-star is his quick jump-cut ability combined with his skill to fight through and elude tacklers of various sizes. At Texas A&M, Owens will be used both out of the backfield and split out wide, which will make him a unique offensive weapon both in college and the NFL when it becomes time for him to go through the draft process. If Owens can stay healthy, a first-round pick could be very well in his future." - Nick Harris, national recruiting analyst