New Rivals250 released: Analysts debate risers, sliders, more
The latest version of the 2019 Rivals250 has been released with plenty of changes, prospects soaring and sliding, and debates to be ignited. #RivalsRankingsWeek continues today with another new release, along with insight behind the decisions made and debates that were had among the Rivals.com team of recruiting analysts.
1. Whose big jump surprises you the most?
Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): Nakobe Dean coming up 28 spots kind of shocked me because of how sawed off he is. Dean is a playmaker, sure, but he lacks ideal length. Seeing him overtake a traditional-looking linebacker such as Owen Pappoe in the Rivals100 was unexpected.
Mike Farrell (National): Adisa Isaac is a good player, but jumping into the Rivals250 at No. 203 might be a bit too high for him because of his small frame. He’s a bit of a tweener and not as explosive as I expected. Sitting at 203 isn’t that high, but I felt he would be a four-star kid outside the Rivals250.
Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): The move up by Alabama quarterback commit Taulia Tagovailoa caught me a little off guard. Not having seen him in person and only really seeing his film, Tagovailoa looked to have more work to do. Clearly, the work that he has put in this offseason did him a lot of good.
Adam Gorney (National/West Coast): Hesperia, Calif., is located in the high desert of Southern California and not exactly a breeding ground for high-end talent, but Jason Rodriguez could be special. The four-star offensive lineman moved all the way up to No. 106 overall in the class after an impressive offseason. When he shakes your hand he almost rips it right off of your arm. He’s so strong, really put together well, could play tackle or even guard long-term, and he’s a kid who could blast up the rankings even higher.
Nick Krueger (Texas): I love Elijah Higgins as a wide receiver, but I hadn’t planned to advocate him making such a jump from being an unranked prospect to a nearly top 125 player. Opinion about what his potential is as a receiver varies a bit, but there is no denying how well he uses his physical tools to his advantage. I have seen him make so many highlight-quality catches with defenders seemingly draped all over him and it hasn’t stopped him yet. He’s shown well in every type of event he’s competed in this spring and is another player we have high expectations for heading into his appearance at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas.
Chad Simmons (Southeast): I would have to say the move quarterback Ryan Hilinski made. He is not in my area, so I do not know a lot about him and I have not seen him live, but anyone going from unranked to the No. 55 prospect in the country is going to surprise me. So, not only did he jump into the Rivals250, but the Rivals100. He made a strong impression on our team of analysts that saw him this spring.
Woody Wommack (Southeast): I was surprised to see Te'Cory Couch go from outside the Rivals250 all the way up to No. 178. I like Couch's game and think he's pretty talented, but I worry a little bit about his size and how he will translate to the next level. There's no doubt he's a four-star talent, but top 200 is a little high for me.
2. Whose big drop surprises you the most?
Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): Chester Kimbrough fell 45 spots despite having impressive size and a decent performance at the Rivals Camp Series stop in Mobile, Ala. Kimbrough’s upside, at least to me, seems to be that of a player that belongs in around the Rivalsl100 dividing line.
Mike Farrell (National): Daniel Carter surprises me a little bit, as he fell 103 spots to No. 170 overall. It’s a really strong year at running back in Florida, so he’s getting caught up a bit in comparison to some others, but he’s a very good back who could end up back near the Rivals100 before all is said and done.
Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): Cornerback Joshua Sanguinetti was in position to push into the upper echelon of the rankings, but the Florida native didn’t live up to expectations this spring. It’s surprising, because he was one that many people believed had the ability to prove he was underrated in the previous rankings update. Hopefully, Sanguinetti will bounce back at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.
Adam Gorney (National/West Coast): In December, running back Daniel Carter was a kid moving up in the rankings as he showed off impressive power and speed during his junior season. It was unlikely he’d become the No. 1 or No. 2 running back in the country, since Trey Sanders and Devyn Ford are pretty established there, but Carter could have moved even higher in the position rankings. But he fell in this last round of rankings as other running backs impressed more this offseason.
Josh Helmholdt (Midwest): There was no one we dropped from, or within, the Rivals250 that I have any concerns about. As I scan those moves, I agree with them all.
Nick Krueger (Texas): I have long been a Grant Gunnell defender and perhaps we may have been a bit enthusiastic about what his potential as a player could have been early on relative to what the popular opinion of him has been, but I’m even a little surprised about where he ended up landing in this rankings release. He has a lot of physical and mental characteristics that can set him up for success as a college quarterback. I have seen him in games, and he’s a more assertive player than what the other analysts have been able to see in just 7-on-7 tourneys. He is another player that will have a chance to change some opinions this month with a strong performance at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.
Chad Simmons (Southeast): It is hard to say a real surprise outside my region because I do not know the prospects that well. But Anthony Solomon, a linebacker who won the MVP award for his position at the Miami Rivals 3 Stripe camp, dropping as much as he did was a surprise. He is a sound football player who shined that day, so that is one that stands out to me.
Woody Wommack (Southeast): I've always been a big fan of Louisiana defensive back Chester Kimbrough, so I was surprised to him slip 45 spots in this latest ranking. It's another great year for defensive back talent in the state and he might be getting lost in the shuffle a little bit because there are so many quality players at the position.
3. Who might we have ranked too high?
Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): Florida State commit Maurice Goolsby is probably a bit too high, but nobody has seen him this offseason, so dropping him wasn’t really an option. Goolsby is a talented wide receiver. There’s no mistaking that, but he was ranked highly early on and hasn’t hit the road to prove that ranking. There will be a lot of pressure on him to perform as a senior. He’s certainly ranked accurately as a four-star, but he may well be too high on our list. Honorable mention for quarterback Grant Gunnell, who is probably still a bit high based on everything I’ve seen from him.
Mike Farrell (National): I think tight end Austin Stogner might be a bit high in the Rivals250 at No. 116 overall. While he has good size, I’ve yet to see much explosion or a lot of natural athleticism from him at the position. He’s not a downfield threat to me, and for a ranking that high I’d like to see a tight end be able to stretch the field a bit more.
Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): New Virginia Tech commit Cam'Ron Kelly is a very good athlete, but he doesn't have a ton of experience playing defensive back, and he's in a system that doesn't allow him to freelance. His adjustment to the college scheme and really having to stay on his responsibilities could give him some problems.
Adam Gorney (National/West Coast): Matthew Pola-Mao is a highly talented defensive lineman who looks like a really special football player, but his injury bug really concerns me. I haven’t seen him do much in a long while, and football players have to play through nagging injuries sometimes to become really special. No. 152 in the country is a prime position, so Pola-Mao has to have an impressive senior season to hang on that high.
Josh Helmholdt (Midwest): Oklahoma tight end commit Austin Stogner did not show like a Rivals250 prospect when I saw him at the Dallas Rivals 3 Stripe Camp, particularly one ranked close to the Rivals100.
Nick Krueger (Texas): Brayden Liebrock making his debut in the Rivals250 at 102 overall is one that I am suspicious of. He moved in front of Austin Stogner, who has been hovering around the Rivals250 since we’ve been ranking the 2019 class. Liebrock is certainly a talented receiver, but Stogner has all the tools to be a more physical presence. There is still a lot of time for the national tight end rankings to shake out, but what happens between those two at Nos. 102 and 116, respectively, is at the heart of the discussion.
Chad Simmons (Southeast): Devin Bush is a cornerback in Louisiana that may be a tad too high. He did not get out much this spring to camps, so we still need to see more of him, but he is one that I feel could be a little high in this update. We will definitely look for him later this summer and into the fall to get a fresh evaluation.
Woody Wommack (Southeast): I still think we are reaching on offensive lineman Kenyon Green. He currently sits in the top 15, and if you compare his upside to some other players at the position - especially someone like Wanya Morris - he's ahead of some players he should probably be behind at his position.
4. Who might we have ranked too low?
Rob Cassidy (Southeast/Florida): Keon Zipperer could have a bright future as an H-back, but a lot of the members of our committee aren’t as high on him as I am. Is he a bit short to be a true tight end? He is. But if he finds the right system he could shine. I’ll bet on his elite athleticism any day. The fact that he struggled at the Under Armour Future 50 camp hurt him in the eyes of some, but I’ve seen him enough to know that the performance was an anomaly.
Mike Farrell (National): Defensive end Charles Moore strikes me as the kind of prospect who could outplay his ranking once he gets some elite coaching. He has the size to play outside or inside and he’s a strong kid. At No. 190, he could be a steal for Mississippi State.
Adam Friedman (Mid-Atlantic): He is just outside the Rivals100, but offensive lineman Saleem Wormley could end up much further up the rankings. His technique is outstanding and there is a lot of room for him to fill out his frame. Wormley could turn into a dominant lineman at the college level. We'll have a chance to see his strength tested at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas.
Adam Gorney (National/West Coast): Nathaniel Kalepo is a kid I had not seen in person until the Under Armour Camp in Southern California this offseason, and I immediately knew a three-star ranking was incorrect. The Washington commit is massive, moves well and looks like he could be a special prospect in the coming years. Playing alongside four-star prospect Jonah Tauanu’u in the camp, I did not see much separation at all. He cracked the Rivals250 this time and if he continues to improve, Kalepo can shoot up the rankings.
Josh Helmholdt (Midwest): Ohio State commit Cade Stover is a guy who gets a lot more buzz than his current ranking would suggest. We have only evaluated him from film, though, so maybe there is more there we have not seen yet.
Nick Krueger (Texas): I know that Joshua Sanguinetti was less of a visible playmaker at the Miami Rivals 3 Stripe Camp, but I thought that he was really good in his appearance at the Future 50 in January. He has ideal length as a cornerback and from what I had seen, is pretty instinctive with his ball skills. Perhaps he was ranked too high to begin with, but I was a little surprised to see where he slotted in the Rivals250. My sample size watching him is much smaller than others, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move higher than where he’s at now before all is said and done.
Chad Simmons (Southeast): Tyrique Stevenson is a South Florida athlete I really like more each time I see him. He is a big corner, and I really like his twitch and aggressive style of play. He is physical, he can cover and he is one I am excited about watching compete again at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas in a couple of weeks.
Woody Wommack (Southeast): One of the guys I think we might end up having too low is Ohio State wide receiver commit Garrett Wilson. He absolutely lit up the spring circuit and while we have been high on him for a while, I think he will end up even higher in the final rankings.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK SCHEDULE
Monday: Top 10 players revealed | Who was the hardest to rank? | Making the case for the top 10 | A closer look at who is No. 1 | Adam Gorney's Take Two | Stingley's rise to No. 1 | Godfather & Gorney Podcast
Wednesday: New Rivals250 released | Who did each analyst go to bat for the most? | Five schools that should be most pleased with new rankings | Rivals Rankings Podcast | Rivals250 by the numbers | Should Gunnell have dropped that far? | Take Two
Saturday: Team rankings breakdown