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Rivals Rankings Week: Three positions that stand out

The first rankings for the class of 2023 have been released with the unveiling of the initial Rivals100. Although a small percentage of the total number of prospects that will ultimately be rated in this class, this first top 100 starts to reveal several position groups that appear to be deeper than usual in this cycle.

Three positions particularly stand out with the number of prospects who appear in this initial ranking.

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

Monday: Five-star countdown

Tuesday: Rivals100 revealed | Gorney's thoughts

Wednesday: Recruiting updates on offensive players in the ranking

Thursday: Recruiting updates on defensive players in the ranking | Who is on the cusp of the Rivals100?

Friday: Rankings roundtable

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TIGHT END

Luke Hasz
Luke Hasz (SoonerScoop.com/Josh McCuistion)

The 2022 class currently features just two tight ends in the Rivals100, but the 2023 class will start with a remarkable eight tight ends among the top 100 prospects. If those numbers hold up it would be the most tight ends in the Rivals era. The class of 2021 was close with six tight ends in the top 100. That was the most since 2011, when seven tight ends finished inside that ranking.

The importance of the tight end position has grown in offenses at both the collegiate and professional levels and that may be attracting more young players to the position. The 2023 class is led by Austin (Texas) Westlake’s Jaden Greathouse, who debuted at No. 34 in the Rivals100. Bixby’s (Okla.) Luke Hasz is the next highest ranked at No. 42, with the remaining six listed in the second half of 100. The class looks to have depth beyond the top 100 as well, with prospects such as California’s Walker Lyons and Jonah Wilson also drawing strong early reviews.

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DEFENSIVE END

In most years, wide receiver or defensive back account for the most Rivals100 spots of any position. Every so often, though, defensive end will edge out those positions for the most top 100 players, and the class of 2023 is starting out that way with 17 defensive ends compared with 16 receivers and 15 defensive backs in the ranking.

All but two of the Rivals100 defensive ends come from the strongside position, including the No. 1 overall player in the class, Milton (Ga.) five-star Lebbeus Overton. Alabama’s Peter Woods and Ohio’s Brenan Vernon also find spots in the top 10 of the Rivals100. The last two defensive ends to make it into the ranking are the highest-ranked players in the weakside position, Alabama’s Keldric Faulk and Georgia’s Gabriel Harris.

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OFFENSIVE GUARD

Chase Bisontis
Chase Bisontis (Alex Gleitman)

Over the last five classes, the Rivals100 has featured an average of just 2.6 offensive guard prospects. A combination of position value and the best linemen usually playing tackle on the high school level helps account for that stat. True interior offensive linemen are more rare than their tackle counterparts, some of whom end up being moved down to guard at the college level.

While the guard position does not feature the same number of prospects entrants into the initial Rivals100 that defensive end or even tight end do in 2023, the four who did make the list is ahead of the average of the last five classes. There have only been nine offensive guard prospects who finished ranked in the top 20 of the Rivals250. New Jersey’s Chase Bisontis starts off ranked exactly at No. 20 in the 2023 class. He is followed by IMG Academy’s Knijeah Harris (No. 58), Virginia’s Alex Birchmeier (No. 61) and Texas’ Harris Sewell (No. 71) as offensive guards in the initial Rivals100.