football Edit

Tuesdays with Gorney: New 2026 Rivals250 released

The first Rivals250 for the 2026 class was released Tuesday and while there are many changes to come through this recruiting cycle, this is where we stand now. Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney gives his thoughts for each position:




Sunday: Who could unseat Jahkeem Stewart in the 2026 class?

Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Meet the new five-stars

Tuesday: Rivals250 released | Ten highest debuts | Position-by-position

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: State rankings released

Saturday: Roundtable on the 2026 rankings


FINAL 2023 TEAM RANKINGS: Comprehensive (overall) ranking | High school/JUCO ranking | Transfer portal ranking

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Transfer portal player ranking | Transfer portal team ranking | Transfer Tracker | Message board



This is shaping up to be a loaded quarterback class led by five-stars Brady Smigiel and Ryder Lyons. But we’re also keeping close watch on Jared Curtis from Nashville (Tenn.) Nashville Christian School and it’s been good to see him out at some national tournaments in recent weeks.

Florida also has an impressive haul of quarterbacks and while that state is loaded everywhere, QB has not been a traditional stronghold. That’s not the case in 2026 as Noah Grubbs, Brady Hart and Dia Bell are all high-end, elite players and now it’s time to figure out exactly in which order we like them most.

One of the big questions for the 2026 quarterbacks is which one picks Notre Dame and comes off the board first. The Irish are all over Smigiel, Lyons, Hart and others, and while all want to remain patient, someone won’t miss their chance to play in South Bend.



Savion Hiter
Savion Hiter (Adam Friedman/

There is significant talent at running back in the 2026 class but we’re not sure if there’s a five-star among the group. We’re still learning if there is a significant amount of depth at the position.

Woodberry Forest (Va.) Woodberry Forest School’s Savion Hiter leads the way but he’s going to be pushed by Texarkana (Texas) Texas’ Tradarian Ball and others along the way. It’s a little curious to me that there isn’t a Florida running back in the top 100 and players such as Ja’Michael Jones, Ryelan Morris and Raycine Guillory could see their stock shoot up through the rankings cycle.



Chris Henry Jr.
Chris Henry Jr. (Nick Lucero/

It’s going to be tough to push five-star receiver Chris Henry Jr., off the top line much like it was going to be nearly impossible to get Jeremiah Smith off the No. 1 receiver line in 2024. Henry is not as dominant as Smith but he’s uber-talented, has great size and playmaking ability, and should get all the national exposure and competition he needs now at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei.

There will be other five-star considerations, though, as former Florida State commit Devin Carter has been really impressive this offseason, Southern California receivers Daniel Odom and Kayden Dixon-Wyatt are as impressive as anybody and Spring (Texas) Legacy’s Keisean Henderson is shooting up the charts. He’s definitely someone who could move even higher.

The last couple classes of tight ends have been really impressive. We’re not sure 2026 is as loaded but it’s still early. Kendre Harrison is a special athlete who is also a star basketball player and Brock Harris is a big-bodied pass catcher who can also stretch the field so they stand out most. From there we will get it figured out in time.



Keenyi Pepe
Keenyi Pepe (Nick Lucero/

This is an excellent offensive tackle class with two five-stars already in Jackson Cantwell and Keenyi Pepe and an argument could be made for more as this cycle continues. Maxwell Riley has not topped out physically yet, we love that, and so he’s going to be one to watch as Ohio State pursues heavily among others.

Oklahoma, Texas A&M and others are battling it out for Drew Evers, who is physical and tough on the field.

Penn State looks best but others are coming strong for Harrisburg, Pa., four-star offensive tackle Kevin Brown, who’s athletic and tough. The list is long here with Kodi Greene, Zaden Krempin, John Turntine and others impressing this offseason.

There are still question marks on the interior offensive line. A whole host of Florida offensive linemen are now ranked there as we figure out the order and wonder if any of them can jump to No. 1 at offensive guard, which is now held by Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Cumberland Valley’s Tyler Merrill.



Jahkeem Stewart
Jahkeem Stewart (Nick Lucero/

Strongside defensive end is leaps and bounds ahead of the other positions here but defensive tackle is growing on me and weak-side end still has some work to do.

No. 1 Jahkeem Stewart leads the way at strongside and while he’s been phenomenal for years, others could definitely work toward a five-star ranking. Douglasville (Ga.) Douglas County’s Jordan Carter is special and could be in that five-star conversation soon. Tupelo, Miss., standout JaReylan McCoy has all the physical tools to be elite as well. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy’s Elijah Golden is someone who could keep climbing.

At defensive tackle, Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab’s Lamar Brown leads the way but he’s one of the more intriguing players in the class because he can legitimately play along the offensive or defensive line in college. He’s an elite offensive tackle as well.

Behind him is James Carrington, who’s now at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, and while he’s not the biggest player in the world, the high four-star does win with speed and power. The player getting the most attention this offseason has been new four-star Danny Beale from Cherry Valley (Ark.) Cross County, as he’s been dominating events.

There could still be some significant movement at weakside defensive end. Luke Wafle leads the way but Hezekiah Harris is a really good-looking prospect and has tons of potential. Xavier Griffin is someone to watch and Jamarion Carlton could be really interesting as well.



Outside linebacker is an interesting position because the top two players there – five-star Tyler Atkinson and high four-star Anthony Jones – might end up at weakside defensive end since both rush off the edge as well. That position is absolutely loaded though especially in California with Talanoa Ili, Shaun Scott (another one who could end up an edge rusher) and Samu Moala leading the way.

Shadarius Toodle has seen his recruitment blow up recently (as he could be yet another weakside defensive end over the long haul) and Las Vegas Desert Pines’ Kenneth Goodwin, who could transfer to a school in California, is very physical and impressive, too.

The depth at inside linebacker is not there yet but the top is very impressive with Thomas Davis Jr. leading the way and then it’s close with Tai’Yion King in the top 100 as well. New four-star Chad Fairchild could be one to watch as he’s a thumper in the middle.



Brandon Lockhart
Brandon Lockhart (Nick Lucero/

There are no five-stars at either cornerback or safety yet since there are only seven total in this rankings release but a lot of names are going to be discussed through this rankings cycle – and some players could be moving positions as well.

Brandon Lockhart and Samari Matthews lead the way at cornerback right now but this is a deep group of talented prospects – many of them with different playing styles – and so there could be some disruption here. Justice Fitzpatrick stays out of the spotlight but he plays at one of the nation’s top programs at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas and Minkah is his brother. Aiden Hall, Jamarrion Gordon and Elbert Hill will be some others to watch.

Safety is loaded. Zelus Hicks, Blaine Bradford and Zech Fort lead the way although Hicks and Bradford could be way out in front there and both have five-star potential. Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances’ Jireh Edwards is a hard-hitter and after seeing Bralan Womack a few weeks ago in 7-on-7, he’s grown up a lot over the last year or so. Dominick Kelly and Markel Ford are two four-stars who might move up even more.



Corey Sadler
Corey Sadler

A lot of these prospects will be moved to their correct positions over time and especially this early the athlete group gets pretty cumbersome. But right now Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech’s Corey Sadler leads the way followed by Waco (Texas) University’s London Smith.

Who could I see moving way up from this group? Marietta (Ga.) Sprayberry’s Jorden Edmonds and Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna’s Derrek Cooper are two to watch.