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Rivals Rankings Week: Storylines from updated state rankings

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

George Pickens
George Pickens


With’s rankings release week winding down, we turn an eye to the state rankings. Below, Southeast recruiting analyst Chad Simmons takes a look at five major state rankings storylines as National Signing Day nears.

More Rivals Rankings Week:

Monday: Updated Top 10 | Debating Smith vs. Thibodeaux

Tuesday: 2019 Rivals100 revealed | Mind of Mike

Wednesday: 2019 Rivals250 revealed

Thursday: 2019 position rankings revealed

Saturday: Team rankings breakdown


It is shaping up to be a different year in the state of Indiana. The best just don’t stay home to play football. Sometimes they choose Notre Dame, but that has not been common in recent years either. The best definitely don’t sign with Indiana or Purdue… until this cycle.

In 2018, only one top-10 talent (Madison Norris, Indiana) chose any of the in-state schools. In 2017, two (Bryant Fitzgerald and Britt Beery) of the top 10 signed with Indiana. Notre Dame signed a strong group in 2016 out of its home state, but 2019 is a different year.

The Hoosiers and Boilermakers are having real success not only with top-10 prospects, but the best of the best. We have seen the best in Indiana sign with Clemson, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin among others in recent years, but this year, the top five prospects are expected to stay in Indiana.

David Bell is the top prospect in Indiana, a Rivals100 talent, and Purdue leads. The Boilermakers' biggest competition is Indiana. George Karlaftis is another Rivals100 prospect and the defensive end is already committed to the Boilermakers. The Hoosiers have commitments from the No. 3 (Samson James) and No. 5 (Beau Robbins) prospects, while the No. 4 prospect, Cameron Williams, is expected to pick Indiana or Purdue as well.

It is just a different year in Indiana.


Kayvon Thibodeaux is still an elite talent that ranks in the top 10 of the Rivals100, but he no longer sits on top of the California State Rankings.

Since March 2017, Thibodeaux held the top spot, but Bru McCoy has taken that over. It is not that Thibodeaux, a five-star defensive end, did anything wrong — it is what McCoy did right. He showed his versatility on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker where he had five sacks, but on offense, at wide receiver is where he truly put on a show.

McCoy finished with over 1,300 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns. That type of performance, combined with what he did on defense just showed what type of prospect McCoy is.

USC is the favorite in this race. The Trojans will have McCoy on campus next weekend for an official visit before he announces his decision at the All-American Bowl on Jan. 5. Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA and Washington are other schools still fighting for the top prospect in California.


Bo Nix, George Pickens and Clay Webb are five-star prospects in Alabama and all can make their case to be the top prospect in the state. Entering the all-star games, Pickens is No. 1, Webb No. 2 and then Nix.

The only time the state of Alabama has produced three five-stars in recent cycles is 2016. That class was led by Ben Davis, who signed with Alabama, but has yet to play meaningful minutes. The top prospect in that class looks to be Quinnen Williams. The defensive tackle has played himself up NFL Draft boards in Tuscaloosa this fall.

We expect the 2019 trio to be different. Pickens, Nix and Webb all look to be future stars. Their talent and work ethic sets them a part. Nix is committed to Auburn and he is a Tiger legacy. Pickens is pledged to Auburn too, but the talented receiver is not as strongly committed as Nix. LSU is a school to watch here. Webb is set to commit to Alabama, Auburn, Clemson or Georgia on Monday. Most expect it to be the Crimson Tide or Bulldogs.

The state of Alabama has a strong group in 2019, but having three five-stars like this trio makes it unique. We will be surprised if they don’t make significant impacts at their schools in the coming years.


Trey Sanders is the No. 2 prospect in the country and the IMG Academy running back leads the way in the Florida State Rankings. The five-star prospect was at one point committed to Alabama and it's very possible that he ends up back with Nick Saban.

Saners re-opened his recruitment early in 2017 after being pledged to the Crimson Tide for eight months. Alabama never went away in his recruitment. Georgia had a little momentum at one time. Florida was being talked about as the possible favorite earlier this year, but really since the summer, the chatter has been all about Alabama.

You don’t see a lot of prospects commit and re-commit to the same school, but all signs point to that happening this cycle with Sanders. He was at Georgia this weekend, Florida cannot be completely ruled out and Florida State and Texas are hanging around, but it will be a surprise if Sanders’ name is not back on that Alabama commitment list later this month.


Quavaris Crouch is the top prospect in North Carolina, and he is a five-star athlete. He remains uncommitted, but most feel like he will end up at Clemson, an ACC school.

Crouch will be one of many in the 2019 North Carolina State Rankings that end up playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Crouch is the only prospect in the top 10 that is uncommitted at this time. Eight are committed to ACC schools, then the other is committed to Notre Dame, which plays a partial ACC schedule.

We know about the basketball love in this state, and Duke and North Carolina are bluebloods in that sport, so a lot of the local top talent stays home, but in football, it looks very similar this cycle.

Out of the top 10, four are committed to NC State, while Duke, Florida State, Syracuse and Wake Forest have each landed one. We will likely add one, the top one, to Clemson as well in the near future.