Rivals Rankings Week: Roundtable on the 2023 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, Clint Cosgrove, Nick Harris and Ryan Wright – sit down at the Rivals Roundtable and discuss.
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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Sunday: Who should be No. 1?
Friday: State rankings released
1. Which prospect do you think we ranked too high?
Cosgrove: Will Norman is a heck of a player with tremendous upside when he is firing on all cylinders. I am by no means down on him as a player, but looking at some of the players behind him in the rankings at both defensive line and other positions of value, I feel as though his No. 103 ranking could be too lofty at this point in time.
Friedman: Jaden Greathouse presents some serious matchup issues at the high school but his skill set may not translate as well at the next level. He isn’t overly fast for a receiver and he doesn’t have the size that would make him a difficult matchup at the next level as a tight end. At 6-foot-1, there are plenty of linebackers and safeties that would have no issues playing physically with him and he isn’t fast enough to run away from many of the outstanding athletes that he’s going to see in the secondary once he gets to Notre Dame. He should still remain in the Rivals250, but I think inside the top-100 is probably too high.
Gorney: James Smith is a very impressive prospect who has tremendous size and has dominated at the high school level but I wish he would’ve participated at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game to compare him more to Peter Woods, who was absolutely outstanding and could make an argument for five-star status. That’s why it’s going to be important for Smith to have such a strong showing at the upcoming all-star events to back up his top billing. There’s no question he’s a talented prospect but showing it on the national level is crucial.
Harris: Kendrick Gilbert has the potential to be a reliable starter at the next level for Purdue at multiple spots on the defensive line, but his long-term NFL potential probably doesn't warrant a mid four-star ranking. Gilbert will need to add some muscle mass before hitting the field at Purdue, and there are still some concerns about strength at the point of attack. Regardless, Gilbert possesses the athleticism and motor that is required for the next step that he will have to take before getting to Purdue.
Wright: Alabama offensive tackle commit Olaus Alinen might be too high as a four-star looking solely at where he is now instead of where he may project in five to six years. Alinen certainly has the size to be a dominating monster in the SEC going on to be an NFL player, but his overall skills can be questioned. Taking on defenders at Connecticut’s Loomis Chaffee School, Alinen lets smaller defensive ends into his chest too easily using his strength to win battles instead of technique; he will not be able to do that in the SEC. He is still too high in his stance with the tendency to get out over his toes. Alinen will be a project for offensive line coach Eric Wolford.
2. Which prospect do you think we ranked too low?
Cosgrove: In an extremely talented 2023 offensive line class, Kadyn Proctor is hands down the cream of the crop. While it is hard to argue that the nation's No. 14 overall recruit is underrated, Proctor is quite possibly the surest thing there is when it comes to being a top NFL draft pick in this class and I truly believe an argument could be made for him being the top overall player in this recruiting cycle.
Proctor has a generational combination of size and athleticism, is dominant at both run and pass blocking, and his ability to work to the second level and block in space is unmatched for a recruit who is far from reaching his ceiling as a player.
Friedman: Dashawn Womack is an incredibly physical and athletic defensive end who can get into the backfield to disrupt the passing game and has very few problems defending against the run. He’s gotten much stronger at the point of attack over the last year and a half while he has also improved his pass rushing techniques to the point where very few offensive linemen can slow him down. He has the athleticism to play in space if needed and the coaching staff at LSU is excited to put his versatility to use.
Gorney: There is no convincing me that Suntarine Perkins should not be higher especially after his performance at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game where he not only looked awesome but also delivered on the field. Perkins looks like an elite safety or outside linebacker who covers so much ground and has elite athleticism. He also dominates at running back which just speaks to his high level. It’s one of many reasons why Alabama is trying so hard to flip him from Ole Miss.
Harris: Round Rock (Texas) Stony Point four-star wide receiver Braylon James is one of the freakier athletes in the entire country, and it's a big reason why even his No. 149 overall ranking might be way too low. James' athletic profile consists of a 14.14 110-meter hurdle time that earned him a spot in the Texas 6A state meet in addition to a 38.90 300-meter hurdle time. That athleticism has translated onto the field for James as a big-bodied outside receiver that provides a matchup nightmare to anyone that lines up in front of him. For the large defensive backs, he outplays them with his athleticism. For the athletic defensive backs, he out-physicals them with his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame. James has the potential to provide a Christian Watson type of impact for Notre Dame early in his career.
Wright: At No. 97, IMG defensive end Jayden Wayne is too low considering his overall skills. Wayne has a big future ahead of him at Miami and has the ability to be an impact player his freshman season. Playing for the Ascenders during his senior campaign, Wayne had 29 total stops, four sacks, and nine tackles for a loss through the team’s 8-1 season.
3. Which prospect do you think will surprise before Signing Day?
Cosgrove: Dante Moore is considered to be all in with Oregon by everyone I've talked to with intimate knowledge of his recruitment. That being said, a number of recent events give plenty of food for thought when it comes to his future destination. Oregon lost its offensive coordinator to Arizona State, there are rumors of Michigan State making a strong push for his pledge and now it appears he will be taking a visit to UCLA.
I do believe Moore stays firm with his commitment to Oregon in the end, but with him keeping everything close to the vest, I would not be shocked to see a signing day surprise from one of the nation's elite signal callers.
Friedman: I was tempted to say Nyckoles Harbor here but he says he’s not signing until the February Signing Day so I’m going with Dante Moore. The Oregon commit and five star quarterback has been linked to Michigan State in the past and is visiting UCLA this coming weekend. He will be an outstanding prospect for whichever team is able to reel him in, but fans of all three programs should keep a close eye on the exceptional passer as Signing Day nears.
Gorney: Dante Moore is definitely one to watch and so is Cormani McClain especially if he ends up visiting Alabama but I’m going with Kadyn Proctor. I know he’s sort of dismissed the new Colorado offer but if Deion Sanders presses him things could get interesting and then he just visited Oregon and Alabama is pressing as well. Iowa can definitely keep him but it won’t be easy.
Harris: The center of flip rumors ahead of Signing Day in the Mid-South region have been around Denton (Texas) Guyer five-star safety Peyton Bowen and if he will pull his pledge from Notre Dame in favor of Oklahoma. The Sooners were in-home with Bowen this week and still pose a great challenge to the Irish's attempt to sign their prized Texas recruit.
Wright: Slotted at sixth overall in the latest Rivals’ rankings, watch out for Malachi Nelson at the Under Armour All-American Game. Working with some of the best receivers in the country, and against some of the top defensive backs, over multiple practices and on a televised stage, we will see how good Nelson really is. An elite performance could have the USC commit challenge the quarterbacks ahead of him, Arch Manning, Nico Iamaleava and Dante Moore.