Three-Point Stance: East stars, All Coasts Conference, 2025 sleepers
Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman has thoughts on the stars of the 2023 football season, additions to the ACC and the impending release of the newest 2025 Rivals250.
1. COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S BIGGEST STARS ARE FROM THE EAST
It's feels strange that the three biggest stars of the 2023 football season are from the East region as opposed to the traditional hotbed regions like the Southeast, Mid-South (Texas) or West (California) but here we are hanging on every move Drake Maye, Marvin Harrison Jr. and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams make.
Williams kicked off his season on Saturday night with a blowout win over San Jose State. In typical fashion, Williams put up huge numbers and lit up social media with a highlight where he dropped the snap, picked up the ball and threw a perfect pass nearly 50 yards off his back foot to Tahj Washington. The Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga alum ended the evening with four touchdown passes and 278 yards completing 72 percent of his passes.
Former Charlotte (N.C.) Myers Park quarterback Drake Maye begins his second season as North Carolina's starter and he's already put himself in the conversation with Williams as one of the two highest-rated NFL Draft-eligible quarterbacks. Before flipping to the Tar Heels as a recruit, Maye was committed to Alabama but decided he'd rather play for the in-state program where he has seemingly endless family ties.
Ohio State has been churning out first-round wide receivers the last few years but Harrison might be the best of the bunch, which is really saying something since former Buckeye receiver Garrett Wilson won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year last season. Harrison, the son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, has been billed as the NFL's best receiver prospect in the last few years. Last season, the Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph's alum hauled in 77 catches for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. If he even comes close to that, Harrison might be the first non-quarterback selected in the upcoming NFL Draft.
2. ALL COASTS CONFERENCE
Hopefully ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips stands up in front of the presidents of the universities he represents and asks them "What the heck are we thinking? Are we really doing this?" The Atlantic Coast Conference should rename itself the All Coasts Conference once it officially adds Stanford, Cal and SMU.
The third-best conference in the sport will now touch more major bodies of water than any other conference and dilute their on-field product more than the Big Ten did when it added Maryland and Rutgers.
Adding these mainly academic-focused institutions to the conference will hurt the student-athlete experience and it will not keep teams like Florida State, Clemson and others from leaving the conference at the earliest opportunity. Yes, they'll get more money from ESPN in the short term but it certainly won't bridge the revenue gap between them and the SEC or Big Ten.
Sensible realignment is something that, after some convincing, most people can get behind but the only way to really feel like the additions of Stanford, Cal and SMU to the ACC makes sense is if you look at the short-term money.
Who thinks the next ACC media rights deal will fetch a high enough sum to keep the newly-expanded league intact? About as many people who will tune in for Cal at Wake Forest on a Thursday night.
3. THESE 2025 PROSPECTS ARE STILL UNDER-RANKED
The updated 2025 Rivals250 comes out today and, without revealing too much, there are still some players from the East who look a bit too low in the rankings.
'Snook' was No. 54 overall in the initial 2025 Rivals250 back in March but slid to outside the top 200 in the previous Rivals250 refresh. The explosive downfield target has the speed, length, and ball skills to give any defensive back problems. In the early goings of this season, Peterkin looks too good to stay outside the top 200 of the Rivals250.
There's just too much to like about Washington's skill set for him to be ranked as low as he is. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in Severn (Md.) Archbishop Spalding's opening season win over Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco. Washington brings a level of athleticism to the position that few in the 2025 class are able to match and now it seems like his production, even against high-end talent, is beginning to match his impressive skill set.
Roy began his high school career as an offensive lineman, but his transition to defensive tackle has been a perfect fit. The disruptive lineman has the size, strength, motor and technical acumen to be an impact prospect at the next level if he continues to develop at his current rate. Roy's play on Saturday night was one of the bright spots for a Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph's defensive unit that held Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy to just 17 points.