Rivals Rankings Week: Roundtable on the 2022 rankings
Rivals Rankings Week has wrapped up, but there are still plenty of storylines to discuss as fall begins. Our analysts – Adam Friedman, Adam Gorney, Josh Helmholdt and Sam Spiegelman – sit down at the Rivals Roundtable and discuss.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Monday: Five-star countdown
Tuesday: Rivals250 unveiled | Gorney's thoughts | Biggest movers | Meet the new five-stars | Should Walter Nolen be the No. 1 DL?
Wednesday: QB rankings spotlight | RB rankings spotlight | WR/TE rankings spotlight | OL rankings spotlight | Who should be the No. 1 RB?
Thursday: DL rankings spotlight | LB rankings spotlight | DB rankings spotlight | ATH rankings spotlight | Rankings podcast | Who should be the top DT?
Friday: State rankings | Latest recruiting news on top 2022 prospects
1. Which prospect do you think we ranked too high?
Gorney: As I look down the high four-star prospects on this list, there are a lot of guys who had phenomenal junior film or really dominated this offseason that are going to push Tyre West for one of those last spots at that level. The Georgia defensive tackle from Tifton (Ga.) Tift County didn't do much this summer at all on the field which won't necessarily hurt his final ranking but he does at some point need to prove himself against national competition. His senior season is going to be closely watched and how he performs at the all-star events. He can win with speed and power and that versatility is important but he's got to show up and show out.
Friedman: Michigan State commit Katin Houser was very good this offseason and there isn't anything he did during the spring season that makes me think he isn't a Rivals250 prospect. I'm very excited to see what he does this fall and that could solidify his ranking.
Helmholdt: Cade Klubnik apparently had a much better showing at the Elite 11, but his performance at the Five-Star Challenge in June gave me the strong impression we had him too high then, before he was bumped to five-stars. On easy, straight dropbacks throwing to routes on air he looked good, but as soon as another element was added it started to fall apart. His trajectories were off all day and I have a hard time squaring the quarterback I saw at that event with his current five-star status.
Spiegelman: It’s a really good group of wide receivers at the top of this 2022 crop with Luther Burden and Evan Stewart, but I’m not as high on Kevin Coleman. He’s electric out of the slot, but I’m not sure if he’s a five-star based on this offseason. New Oregon commitment Tetairoa McMillan, Notre Dame pledge CJ Williams or Rivals100 wide receiver Shazz Preston are all receivers I’d rate higher at the position.
2. Which prospect do you think we ranked too low?
Gorney: If there are 10 cornerbacks better than Clemson commit Daylen Everette and 11 better than Bobby Taylor then this is one of the best CB classes in a long time. Both are too low. Everette is physical and a great cover guy and Taylor can cover anywhere on the field and run with any receiver. I really think there are some guys ahead of them that have a lot to prove or Everette and Taylor could make a big move up.
Friedman: Enai White is an incredible athlete on the edge of the defense and he's primed for a big senior season. He is a great pass rusher and does a good job using his length and quickness against bigger offensive linemen. White is strong enough to handle running plays coming directly at him and he has the speed to chase down ball carriers. Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Texas A&M are his top four contenders.
Helmholdt: Notre Dame commit Jaylen Sneed got a bump in this update, but I was in the camp that leaned toward making him a five-star. He certainly is on the smaller side for a linebacker, but his playmaking abilities are unique for that position and I think he has a chance to be a real difference-maker in future Irish defenses.
Spiegelman: It was a stiff debate during rankings meetings, but Trevor Etienne had a fantastic offseason and made a ton of plays at multiple events over the summer. During spring practice in Jennings, Etienne looked the part and looks like he’ll be heavily involved in both the rushing attack and in the receiving game his senior year. Etienne’s brother was recently a first-round pick out of Clemson and in my opinion, Trevor is a more dynamic runner. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Etienne climb up with a strong senior season.
3. Who did you go to bat for that will make you look smart down the line?
Gorney: There were two players when reviewing junior film and then comparing that to players I saw through the summer that I thought had to move up in a big way - and might not be done. There might not be better film out there than on Alabama commit Jeremiah Alexander and Florida pledge Shemar James, who is so quick-twitch, physical and aggressive that he could be an instant star for the Gators. Alexander is similar in many ways and his position versatility really stands out.
Friedman: Penn State linebacker commit Abdul Carter has been a four-star prospect for a long time but he got a boost in the rankings after seeing some of his verified times. Carter wasn't at many camps this offseason so not many people around the country are familiar with his name but he's a big time player. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Carter ran a 4.5-second 40 this offseason and ran the short shuttle in 4.4-seconds. It's hard not to like a linebacker with those kinds of times and the film he's produced over the last couple years.
Helmholdt: We should have made a bigger move on Iowa State quarterback commit Rocco Becht coming out of the spring, but he made his bump to four-stars an easy call for us with another MVP performance at the Five-Star Challenge. What makes Becht a standout in a strong year for the position is not just how the football comes off his hand, but the intangibles as well. Other players gravitate to him, he is always willing to learn and he has been remarkably consistent every time I have seen him compete.
Spiegelman: We would be remiss not to mention that a chunk of the early evaluations for the 2022 class were done from film because of COVID-19, so seeing the quarterbacks in-person for the Elite 11 over the summer was really significant. There were some major pieces to shift around after Quinn Ewers enrolled at Ohio State, including vaulting Devin Brown into the top-50. Brown was fantastic this offseason and continued to impress — not only with his arm talent, but his vision throwing downfield paired. The USC commitment could continue to climb with a big senior year.