Three-Point Stance: Rankings risers, Penn State, Northeast OL
Rivals analyst Adam Friedman has thoughts on some prospects who could be looking at their rankings rising in the next refresh, whether Penn State is falling victim to the SEC and how the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast areas are fertile grounds for offensive line prospects.
MORE THREE-POINT STANCE: Midwest WRs, LSU, NIL
CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
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1. Risers to watch in the upcoming rankings refresh.
Dashawn Womack: The LSU commit was one of the stars at the recent Future 50 event in Florida. The athletic and powerful defensive end pushed around the majority of the offensive linemen he faced during one-on-ones and showed off more advanced pass-rushing techniques than we saw from him earlier this spring. Womack has added some additional strength and more solid mass to his frame this offseason, and that really helped him when he matched up with some of the bigger offensive linemen at the event.
Sydir Mitchell: This New Jersey defensive tackle looked like he was in great shape as he heads into his senior season. Mitchell's agility for a player that is 6-foot-6, 340 pounds is going to be a real problem for offensive linemen at the next level. Look for the Longhorns to use Mitchell as a situational defender in the early part of his career as he gets used to the strength and conditioning program
Durell Robinson: Robinson has been turning heads all offseason. At the Philadelphia Rivals Camp he nearly won the Running Back MVP Award and he was impressive yet again at Future 50. Robinson is a bigger back that can run with power and has some suddenness to his game. He's also shown he can be a serious threat as a receiver, which could help him see the field early at the next level.
Ernest Willor: Willor is already ranked at No. 61 in the 2024 class, but this Maryland native could be a rising star at IMG Academy next season. He is a big, powerful defensive end with a very solid technical background. Willor's quickness is pretty impressive as well. There's a chance Willor could end up as one of the highest-ranked players in this class if the upcoming season goes well for him.
Dejuan Lane: There aren't too many people familiar with Lane, but this outstanding athlete out of Baltimore Gilman is on the rise on the trail and his ranking will soon follow. Lane, who projects as a safety (or outside linebacker if he continues to grow), has the speed to play "center field," but he has the strength and physicality to be an enforcer against the run. He's quietly amassed an offer sheet that includes Penn State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and North Carolina. More are soon to follow.
2. Penn State is falling victim to the SEC.
In a big move on Monday, Rivals250 wide receiver Yazeed Haynes decommitted from Penn State. He committed to the Nittany Lions about a month after decommitting from Rutgers. Now, with a Georgia visit on the horizon, Haynes' recruitment is pointing toward the SEC.
Penn State isn't the only school that has suffered significant decommits over the years, but a trend is emerging that James Franklin and his staff can't be too happy about. In the previous three recruiting classes, Penn State at one point held commitments from seven different players that ended up signing with an SEC school, and five of them signed with a SEC East school. That's a very difficult stat for Penn State to look at and consider what its team would look like if it could have held on to just half of those commitments.
In just this class, former Penn State commits Marcus Stokes (Florida) and Joshua Miller (Georgia) have flipped to SEC East schools. Haynes could end up being the third.
3. Going big-game hunting in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have had 92 offensive linemen finish in the Rivals250 at the end of their respective ranking cycles. This area from Virginia to West Virginia to Pennsylvania and up into the Northeast is a fertile recruiting ground for the Big Ten, ACC and Notre Dame. Most of the Rivals250 offensive linemen in this part of the country generally end up at Notre Dame or another school in one of these two conferences. However, there are years when the SEC, Big 12 and even the Pac 12 invade this area.
In the last four recruiting cycles, this part of the country has averaged a little over five Rivals250 offensive linemen per year. Over the same period, only one or two per year have not signed with the AAC, Big Ten or Notre Dame. This year that could change based on what decision five-star Samson Okunlola makes.
In the same year, three Rivals250 offensive linemen from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have never chosen to not sign with the Big Ten, ACC or Notre Dame. The last time two did was in the 2020 class, when Anton Harrison and Aaryn Parks signed with Oklahoma. This year, Chase Bisontis (Texas A&M) and Olaus Alinen (Alabama) are bucking the local recruiting powers, and Okunlola could be the third. The FutureCasts are pointing toward Miami, but he is very serious about Alabama and Oregon.