Three-Point Stance: The hunt for No. 1 class, rankings questions
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s three point stance is here with thoughts on the race for No. 1, some interesting topics for 2020 rankings meetings next week and some random recruiting thoughts.
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1. FIVE PROGRAMS THAT COULD FINISH WITH THE TOP 2020 CLASS
The battle for the No. 1 class in the country for 2020 has a long way to go as it’s only August but things are starting to shape up. There are only a few legitimate candidates. Here’s my breakdown of who could be No. 1….
Clemson – The Tigers aren’t No. 1 right now but you have to think they will finish No. 1 if they keep recruiting the way they are. In-state defensive end Jordan Burch and California linebacker Justin Flowe are just two of the elite targets left on the Clemson target list and you just know they will close with some big names. It won’t be a huge class by the numbers, but I can’t see how it doesn’t end up No. 1. I’d put them at even odds to win it all.
LSU – Ed Orgeron has been doing a great job recruiting nationally and these Tigers remain No. 1 right now with three more commitments than Clemson. They still have some big targets left but they have to hang onto five-stars Elias Ricks and Rakim Jarrett which could be difficult. I think they lose a commit or two along the way and finish anywhere from No. 2 to No. 5. I'd say the are at 3-to-1 odds to win it all.
Alabama – The Crimson Tide can never be counted out when it comes to the battle for No. 1 and they are not far off from LSU and Clemson right now. I could see them closing strong as usual and ending up No. 2 or even No. 1 especially if they land guys like Zachary Evans, Darnell Washington or a few other huge names. I’d put ‘Bama at 3 to 1 odds as well.
Georgia – I’m skipping over Ohio State right now because I think Georgia has a better chance at No. 1 with its gaudy star average and plenty of room in the class. Five-star running back Kendall Milton pushed the Bulldogs to No. 5 in the country and with only 16 commitments they will be adding major points with each new pledge. If they can land cornerback Kelee Ringo, tight end Arik Gilbert and some others they will push once again to be No. 1. I'd put Georgia at 6-to-1 odds to win the whole thing.
Ohio State – This is a big longshot, especially with Bijan Robinson trending to Texas, but you can never count out the Buckeyes even though they’ve never won the recruiting title. Ryan Day is a great recruiter, there are plenty of rankings changes to come and they are still involved with some big names. However, I’d put them at 20-1 odds.
2. BIG QUESTIONS HEADING INTO RANKINGS MEETINGS
Rankings meetings for the 2020 and 2021 classes are coming up next week and there are plenty of interesting questions and topics that need to be addressed. Here are some of the big ones.
The battle for No. 1 continues. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei didn’t attend the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas or the Elite 11 so he hasn’t done anything to lose the No. 1 spot but also hasn’t cemented it either. Has linebacker Justin Flowe done enough to move ahead of him? How about defensive tackle Bryan Bresee who was awesome all summer? Or perhaps one of the elite corners, Elias Ricks or Kelee Ringo, jumps to the top and follows in the footsteps of Derek Stingley Jr.? This will be an interesting discussion.
The cornerback battle between Elias Ricks and Kelee Ringo will continue to be intense. Ringo blew us away with his laser 40 time at the Five-Star Challenge but missed much of the action due to injury while Ricks has shown out well since out last rankings update. The team seems divided on this one with some in Ricks' corner and others all about Ringo.
Who’s the best defensive lineman? This class is loaded with elite talent at defensive end and Bresee can play end or tackle at the next level. Jordan Burch is currently our top defensive lineman closely followed by Bresee while Sav’ell Smalls isn’t far behind. Myles Murphy rounds out the linemen in the top 10 nationally and it will be interesting to see if there’s a shuffle.
New five-stars? We have 25 five-stars right now in the 2020 class, which is still a high number at this stage in the rankings cycle but a few players have put themselves in the discussion. Is running back Bijan Robinson a five-star and on the same level as Zachary Evans, Demarkcus Bowman and Kendall Milton? Is this group special enough to have four different five-star running backs? What about Don Chaney and former five-star Marshawn Lloyd, did they turn enough heads to be considered? Others that have been on the cusp include offensive tackle Broderick Jones, linebacker Quandarrius Robinson, linebacker Noah Sewell, quarterback Harrison Bailey, wide receivers Gee Scott Jr. and Marcus Rosemy among many others. This will be the biggest debate.
3. THREE RANDOM RECRUITING THOUGHTS
... Texas is on fire lately in recruiting and has become a much more prominent name among recruits this summer after it was Texas A&M as recently as June. Oklahoma is also recruiting very well and this three-team race is so fun to watch. But right now, the Longhorns have the momentum and it could swell if Bijan Robinson jumps on board. So who will win the battle in the end? Texas A&M is currently No. 10 in the team rankings while Oklahoma is No. 17 and Texas is No. 25 but the Longhorns are clearly ahead in 2021. I think Texas finishes ahead of Texas A&M and Oklahoma by the end of this rankings cycle.
... Is it me or is USC really reaching on some kids this cycle? When is the last time you’ve seen this many three-stars in its class? I think a lot changes if and when Clay Helton gets fired and whoever is left to clean up the mess will have some work to do. This isn’t disparaging three-stars at all by the way, but USC has always been a four- and five-star recruiting program and I can’t see why that has changed.
... Florida State fans are going to love Jaylan Knighton because he can do so many things but it will be his ability as a receiver that truly stands out in the Seminoles' offense. He’s going to be a great check-down option for future quarterbacks.