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Southeast Spotlight: Biggest questions before new rankings release

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

The Rivals Analyst Team starts the process of updating the Rivals rankings of the 2019 and 2020 classes this week following a busy spring evaluation period that included, among other events, 13 Rivals 3 Stripe Camp Series presented by adidas events. Today we look at some of the biggest questions to answer in the Southeast going into those meetings.

RELATED: Biggest questions in the Midwest before new rankings


How many five stars are in Alabama?

Clay Webb
Clay Webb (Nick Lucero/

Clay Webb is currently the only prospect in Alabama with a fifth star on his Rivals profile. That was not hard. The No. 1 center in America who is being pursued by Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and others was a very easy call months ago.

There question is: should there be more?

What about Auburn quarterback commit Bo Nix, the No. 2 prospect in the state? Some thought Pierce Quick, an offensive tackle committed to Alabama would be one already. Speaking of offensive tackles, Amari Kight was about as impressive as any at his position on the Rivals 3 stripe Camp presented by adidas circuit this spring. He is also committed to the Crimson Tide.

Scroll down to No. 7 in the state of Alabama 2019 rankings and you will see George Pickens, another prospect that has joined the five-star discussion. After seeing him a few times this spring, he has played like a five-star. He definitely won’t be ranked No. 7 in his state any longer, but how high should he, or will he go this update? The Auburn commit has shown he is one of the best in the country at his position.

Quick is coming back from an injury, so he did not get to compete this spring, but the others around him did — and all did at a high level. There will be a lot of discussions, not only this rankings update about Alabama prospects, but moving forward once we get into the 2018 season too. It is a very strong cycle in Alabama and it looks to only be getting strong.

Who is the top wide receiver in Tennessee?

Lance Wilhoite
Lance Wilhoite (Nick Lucero/

The state of Tennessee boasts two of the nation’s top wide receivers in Rivals100 prospects Trey Knox and Lance Wilhoite. The pair are friends and 7-on-7 teammates and each have collected offers from many of the nation’s top programs.

The two went head-to-head at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Nashville, with Wilhoite getting the better of Knox and ended up as the wide receiver MVP at the event. Was his performance enough to overtake Knox in the national rankings? Right now, Knox is only five spots ahead of Wilhoite, who has closed the gap over the past few rankings updates. This week’s meetings will go a long way toward sorting out who has the edge among the two wideouts.

Who’s the No. 1 DL in Mississippi?

Nathan Pickering
Nathan Pickering (

Entering this rankings update, between the No. 3 and No. 8 prospects in Mississippi, you have four defensive linemen ranked as four-stars and all play defensive end. It is like musical chairs as you see them. Charles Moore, a Mississippi State commit who visited Auburn over the weekend, is coming back from an injury where he missed his junior season, so he is not a real factor at this time.

Nathan Pickering, Jaren Handy and Byron Young are three who all bring something different to the table and they are ahead of each other in different areas. Pickering could play strongside end, slide inside to tackle or even be a top offensive tackle on the next level. Young is solid in many areas. He is likely a five-technique on the next level, but he is another who could be moved around. He is strong and consistent. Handy is a wildcard. He loves basketball, but football is his passion, and although he is raw in a lot of areas, he looks to have a very high ceiling. Each of these three are being pursued by national powers and Handy was at one time committed to LSU.

Moore will likely jump back into this discussion a little more once the season starts and guys like Mississippi State commit De’Monte Russell and former Ole Miss commit Jamond Gordon could as well.

This cycle in Mississippi is about as good as it gets and it will likely be a battle for the best defensive lineman in the state up until the final rankings early in 2019.

Is Andrew Booth missing a star?

Andrew Booth
Andrew Booth (Chad Simmons)

Andrew Booth does not get out much. He is not one that participates in a lot of camps, he does not play on the 7-on-7 circuit and he just stays at Archer, works with his team and perfects his craft. There is nothing wrong with any of that. It just means we don’t get to see him much like we do many other top cornerbacks go against the elite wide receivers to see who separates themselves as the best.

Booth has been a Rivals100 guys from the beginning, but is he ranked high enough? Booth has the size, he is strong in man coverage, he is a solid tackler and he is a natural athlete, so is he a high five-star cornerback?

We sit at 17 five-stars right now as we get set to release the post-spring 2019 rankings update, so we know there will be more five-stars. Booth is already No. 30 in the Rivals100, so he is right in that range of where five-star prospects are ranked each cycle. He checked most, if not all the boxes, but he just is not out there quite as much and many of the others are.

Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee and many others are going all in for Booth and it is easy to see why, so when all is said and done, will the school he signs with be getting a five-star or a very highly rated four-star? That decision will have to be made.

How many four-stars will South Carolina add?

Shamar McCollum
Shamar McCollum (Nick Lucero/

It’s been a slow year for elite prospects in the state of South Carolina as several have emerged slower than in year’s past. Currently, the state boasts just one player in the Rivals250 and actually has no players ranked as four-stars as the state’s No. 1 player Zacch Pickens is a five-star. That is bound to change this rankings update but it’s just a matter of how many players get the bump to four-stars. Plenty of players made an impressive case for themselves during the spring evaluation window, including Shamar McCollum, Davis Beville, Luke Deal and Cameron Smith. The state will surely finish with multiple four-stars but which ones will get the nod? That will be sorted out during this week’s meetings.