Rivals Rankings Week: Top state ranking storylines
The 2020 rankings are complete on Rivals.com and all the state rankings have been updated. There were some moves in the last few weeks that affected the final rankings, and we highlight those and a few of the major storylines at the end of this cycle here.
CALIFORNIA'S BEST ARE LEAVING THE STATE
College football needs UCLA and USC to get back to their winning ways. Oregon has been carrying the Pac-12 the last few years, and Utah has taken its game to another level since Urban Meyer coached there, but there is a lot of history at those schools in Los Angeles.
To bring the magic back to the Bruins and Trojans, they each need to recruit at a much higher level.
Only two of the top-25 prospects in the state have signed with USC. None in that group has committed or signed with UCLA. Programs such as Alabama, Arizona State, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Oregon to name a few have gone into the Golden State and taken the top talent away from Chip Kelly and Clay Helton.
SEVEN FIVE-STARS IN GEORGIA
The state of Georgia is always loaded with top talent, and it has become one of the most recruited states in the country, but the 2020 class was a little different at the top. In 2019, the Peach State produced three five-stars, there were five in 2018, four in 2017, five in 2016 and two in 2015. You get the picture — 2020 is a special group.
The group in Georgia was strong in 2020, and the seven five-stars in one class is the most in the state in Rivals.com history. The Peach State has finished with five five-stars on two occasions, but never once has it finished with six or seven — until this cycle.
YOUNG OVER UIAGALELEI
What a battle this has been. Two quarterbacks in California that are two of the best in the country regardless of position, and they battled it out until the very end.
Clemson signee D.J. Uiagalelei was not only the top prospect in California heading into the final rankings update, but he was the top prospect in the country. Another prospect (Bryan Bresee) took over the top overall spot, and Alabama-bound Bryce Young finished No. 1 in California.
The was a strong debate for both sides, but Young, after his performance last season, then at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio won out. Young is the smaller, more exciting quarterback who makes big plays when things break down, then Uiagalelei is a big signing caller that can make all the throws.
Both end up in the top three and are expected to do big things for the Crimson Tide and Tigers. They could end up playing against each other down the road in the playoffs.
CHANGES AT THE TOP IN THE NORTHEAST
When you look into the Northeast, there were two major changes in the state rankings. There are two No. 1’s to finish out this cycle, and the changes at the top were made in New Jersey and Virginia.
Entering the final rankings update, Wisconsin commit Jalen Berger held the top spot in New Jersey, but was overtaken by future Ohio State linebacker, Cody Simon. In Virginia, soon-to-be Notre Dame running back Chris Tyree finished No. 1. He pushed linebacker Antoine Sampah to No. 2. Sampah signed with LSU in December.
WHO WON THE LONE STAR STATE?
Like every cycle, the state of Texas was talented and deep. The top 45 prospects in the 2020 class were four-stars or five-stars on Rivals.com. Which in-state school did the most damage in its home state?
Texas missed out on those in the top 10, but between Nos. 11-20, the Longhorns signed five. Quarterback Hudson Card and defensive tackle Vernon Broughton lead the way there. In that same group, Texas A&M and TCU have signed one. Three in that group are still undecided.
Moving on down the list, and focusing on the top 45 as a whole that have either signed or committed, here is the breakdown by in-state programs:
Texas A&M: 4
Texas Tech: 0
The program outside the state that did the most damage was Oklahoma. Lincoln Riley and the Sooner signees 6 of the top 45.
The program that landed the best of the best in their home state was Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies, but Tom Herman and the Longhorns signed the most when talking the four-stars and five-stars this cycle.
Both programs are looking to reach the College Football Playoff, and to do that, they will have to continue to recruit at a high level in their home state. Texas A&M is expected to sign a top-10 class with Texas likely finishing in the top 20.
The top player in the state, five-star running back Zachary Evans is still in play, and Texas A&M is still a program he is considering, so all eyes will be on the star out of Houston as we inch closer to Signing Day.