football Edit

Rivals250 released: Analysts discuss biggest decisions

The Rivals250 for the 2021 class has been released with plenty of discussion and debate among the Rivals.com team of analysts. Here they break down some of those decisions and their own thoughts behind them.

RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK:

Monday: Top 10 revealed | Will USC nab No. 1 Korey Foreman?

Tuesday: Rivals100 revealed | New five-stars | Mind of Mike

Wednesday: Rivals250 revealed | Teams that should be pleased

Thursday/Friday: Position rankings revealed

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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1. Who did you personally go to bat for that will make you look smart?

James Williams
James Williams (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): I really like Terrence Lewis, who carries an incredible level of versatility. Lewis plays inside at the high school level but has the quickness to play on the outside as well. As he gains muscle and retains speed, he could become a special linebacker, as he has no problem stuffing the run or dropping back in coverage. He isn’t polished by any stretch, but his well-rounded nature gives him sky-high potential.

Mike Farrell (National): Safety James Williams as a new five-star is a kid who will put it all together and use his big frame and size to be special as a safety or linebacker. He reminds me of Taylor Mays.

Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): I expect Caleb Williams and Will Shipley to remain high in the Rivals250. I pushed for both to move up in this rankings update and neither will disappoint. Williams is more of a natural than any quarterback in this class and that's a scary concept because he is already so good. There are very few things that Shipley does not do well. He has the skill set to run between the tackles and make plays as a receiver out of the backfield or in the slot.

Adam Gorney (West/National): I was certainly on board for Korey Foreman to move to No. 1 overall and that's a big move that comes with a lot of scrutiny. But Foreman is a great-looking prospect who had an outstanding sophomore season at Corona (Calif.) Centennial playing on the defensive line with USC freshman Drake Jackson and dominating way more than expected. He joins a long list of really impressive defensive ends at the top and there is a lot to live up to, but Foreman should be absolutely unstoppable this season coming off a great performance at The Opening.

Josh Helmholdt (Midwest): Indianapolis quarterback Donaven McCulley is not yet getting the attention that other quarterbacks in the Rivals250 are getting, but I definitely do not worry about him being ranked in that tier. McCulley spins a beautiful football and has such a live arm. He measured in at an impressive 6-foot-3 and 189 pounds at the Cincinnati Rivals 3 Stripe Camp last April, and has some athleticism to go with his arm. I saw some preseason film of McCulley recently, and he is going to attract a ton of attention this fall.

Chad Simmons (Southeast): James Williams is an imposing safety out of Florida. He is pushing 6-foot-5 with a crazy long wingspan and the frame to add good weight. He has great range on the back-end of the defense and he has a nose for the football. He is now a five-star on Rivals.com and he is likely to become a national name this fall, if he isn't already.

Sam Spiegelman (Texas/Louisiana): No surprise here, but Tommy Brockermeyer vaulted five spots and is now the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country and the top prospect out of Texas. Brockermeyer was built to play left tackle. He's long, lean, athletic and has a special desire to put defenders in the turf. Perhaps we were just being cute by putting him as a four-star in the initial Rivals100, but now Brockermeyer is entrenched in the No. 5 spot in the country. However, due to injury he'll be sidelined for his junior season, which is going to open the door for other prospects to jump him heading into his senior campaign this time next year.

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2. Who might we have too high?

Seven McGee
Seven McGee

Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): I’m mildly skeptical of James Williams as a five-star. He’s an incredible-looking prospect with a five-star ceiling and a body to match, but there’s a chance he’ll grow into a linebacker and there's some concern about his ability to hit. Williams’ potential is massive, but he’ll have plenty of eyes on him this season, as he needs to develop in order to hold on to his ranking. Wide receiver Jacorey Brooks also has a lot to prove this season after he was scarce on the camp circuit over the summer.

Mike Farrell (National): I think No. 27 is a little high overall for QB JJ McCarthy as I worry about his frame and arm strength. He’s one of the top quarterbacks in the class, but I could see him being more in the 60-70 range.

Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): One player I am keeping a close eye on is Gabe Stephens. As a tall prospect with great length, he has the frame of a linebacker but there is still technical aspects of his game that need to be refined if he is to be a successful defensive back.

Adam Gorney (West/National): Seven McGee is an outstanding prospect who reminds me of Adoree' Jackson in some ways. He's super twitchy and athletic and he makes tough plays look easy. But I want him to find stability and to settle into a new home smoothly. He has bounced back and forth between Rochester, N.Y., and Southern California and he's already committed, de-committed and re-committed to Oregon. He is a superb talent with tremendous upside who is electrifying with the ball in his hands but to be ranked No. 38 in the country, somewhere right outside five-star status, there needs to be a better sense of stability all around.

Josh Helmholdt (Midwest): Let me start off by saying I like Tommy Brockemeyer. I think he is an outstanding prospect, I just don't see him as a top five prospect. When I look at the No. 1 offensive tackles we have had in recent classes, guys like Paris Johnson Jr., Greg Little or Martez Ivey, I do not see Brockemeyer with the same kind of upside. Again, he is an outstanding prospect, but I see him more as a back-end of the five-star or high four-star caliber guy.

Chad Simmons (Southeast): This will be a big season for South Carolina commit Lovasea Carroll. He has gone from a small school in Georgia, where he stood out every play, to IMG Academy, where he will compete daily with players as good or better than him. Where will he line up? What type of impact will he make against that level of competition he faces this season? Is he a Rivals100 talent? No doubt he is a star athlete with a lot of ability, but he will be watched closely this year in a new environment.

Sam Spiegelman (Texas/Louisiana): Agiye Hall has a fantastic shot at finishing as a five-star wide receiver in this class. He's 6-foot-2, 183 pounds, runs smooth routes and has the attention of college football's top programs. However, seeing him up close at Prime 21, he did not dominate as you would have expected from the No. 29 prospect in the country. There's a good chance that these comments are moot by this time next year because that was one event on one day at the back end of the summer, but there's still a lot more I'd like to see from Hall before we anoint him as one of the premier wideouts in 2021.

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3. Who might we have too low?

Latrell McCutchin
Latrell McCutchin (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): Cornerback Jason Marshall might still be a little low at No. 71. I went to his kickoff classic game after we wrapped up the rankings meetings and he was the most dominant player on the field, making plays on both sides of the ball and causing all sorts of havoc. Marshall has the look of a top-50 player and will climb the rankings should he continue to progress.

Mike Farrell (National): Cornerback Latrell McCutchin will be a five-star before all is said and done. I love his length and instincts. Once he gets a little more refined in his technique and gets stronger he’s going to be a beast.

Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): The quality defensive linemen in this class are plentiful and George Rooks has a chance to be one of the best. At 6-foot-5 and more than 250 pounds, Rooks has the size, strength and agility to be a mismatch for nearly any offensive lineman he comes across. I'll be watching him closely this season to see how much progress he has made this offseason.

Adam Gorney (West/National): When I saw Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro practice this preseason I was really surprised at how Bram Walden was so much more physically developed than when I saw him last season. He's listed at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds but he looks even bigger and definitely longer than I remember him as a sophomore. If he has a big junior season and dominates along Saguaro's offensive line then it's going to be hard to justify that 12 offensive tackles should be ahead of him in the rankings.

Josh Helmholdt (Midwest): Offensive guard Jaeden Roberts transferred out of my region this summer and will play out his high school career in Houston. The Kansas City area plays solid high school football, and Roberts dominated it last year as a sophomore. The young man is still growing into his huge frame, and his ceiling is sky high. Roberts does land at the back-end of the Rivals100, but I'm betting he finishes higher when all is said and done.

Chad Simmons (Southeast): Nyland Green is a long, rangy cornerback in the 2021 class that has a high ceiling and a lot of upside. He is still learning the position and improving his technique, but with his size, he is likely to trend upward in the coming months. He has picked up around 20 offers, including one from Clemson after a strong camp performance in June, so he is one to know this fall.

Sam Spiegelman (Texas/Louisiana): Dametrious Crownover is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2021 class. The Grandview product is a standout athlete that measures up at 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds. He plays both tight end and defensive end, and I'm confident that he could play either position at the highest level of college football. Crownover is a basketball player and we know that hoops players make for dangerous weapons in the passing game, so we'll see what he's able to do as a junior this fall. Schools are also after him as a defensive end, where he's a bit raw but flashes some serious potential getting after the quarterback.