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West Spotlight: Biggest questions prior to new rankings

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 West going into those meetings.

BIGGEST PRE-RANKING STORYLINES: Midwest | Southeast | Mid-Atlantic



Sean Dollars
Sean Dollars (Nick Lucero/

There is going to be significant debate and discussion about which running back is on top in the West region especially because the top two - Austin Jones and Sean Dollars - provide different things to an offense.

Dollars, an Oregon commit from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, is a speedster who can break it to the outside and is lethal catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s also muscular, so running between the tackles is not an issue as he can hide behind a bigger offensive line, find a hole and then use his speed to get to the second level.

Jones, who has also been impressive at numerous events this offseason, is more of a straight running back who makes his money between the tackles. He’s stockier and has more power than Dollars but he also has speed to stretch it to the outside and Jones has also been good coming out of the backfield to catch passes.

Dollars and Jones are neck-and-neck in the national rankings and throughout this recruiting cycle the two four-star standouts should not see much separation from each other.


Ryan Hilinski
Ryan Hilinski

Probably no quarterback in the entire 2019 class has had a better offseason than Orange (Calif.) Lutheran’s Ryan Hilinski, who has been phenomenal at numerous events and in many ways looks like a completely different player than he did at this time last year. He’s more physically developed and his game has gotten so much better so it’s no surprise to see him climb up the rankings.

And then there is Oklahoma commit Spencer Rattler, who was terrific at the Elite 11 and is going to an offense in Norman that should fit him perfectly. The Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle standout is already the top-rated dual-threat quarterback in the class but he could move even higher in the national rankings after impressive performances this offseason.


Kyle Ford
Kyle Ford (Nick Lucero/

One of the debates in the West region that will definitely carry on through their senior seasons is which receiver should be No. 1 and three California prospects are under the most serious consideration at this point.

All three have special qualities. Four-star Kyle Ford is a muscled up, outside receiver who has good speed, solid hands and he can be more physical than most defensive backs trying to slow him down. He’s a big target for Hilinski and should put up huge numbers again in his senior season.

There’s no question Mycah Pittman is jacked up as well and he has the speed to stretch the field on the outside. The four-star whose father played in the NFL can play inside or outside, he’s got phenomenal hands and he was really impressive last season.

Maybe neither player has as impressive film as Folsom’s Joseph Ngata, who shows off size, speed, awesome hands and fantastic route-running ability.

It’s currently a three-way race in the West for the region’s top receiver and each one has an argument to make.


Mykael Wright
Mykael Wright

Oregon is off to a fast start in the Pac-12 with the top-ranked recruiting class by a mile, the only school in the conference with more than one four-star pledge. The Ducks currently have five and some of them could be moving even higher in the rankings.

Four-star defensive back Mykael Wright has proven to be one of the top cornerbacks nationally. Three-star tight end Patrick Herbert is incredibly skilled. Three-star defensive back Cameron Williams has really emerged this spring and has looked impressive at numerous events including the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Los Angeles.

Across the board, Oregon’s commitments have looked impressive. And the Ducks’ lead in the conference could be getting even wider.

5. WHO’S NO. 1 IN REGION FOR 2020?

D.J. Uiagalelei
D.J. Uiagalelei (Nick Lucero/

The 2020 class in the region is one of the best in years with four five-stars already in quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, wide receiver Johnny Wilson, defensive end Sav'ell Smalls and linebacker Justin Flowe. Many others could push for five-star status as well. Now it’s time to figure out which one should be on top of that impressive list.

Uiagalelei is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound quarterback with a top-notch arm, great accuracy and he was outstanding in his sophomore season and this offseason. He’s also a high-end pitcher in baseball as well.

Flowe is a tackling machine who is one of the best linebackers in high school regardless of class. He’s fast and extremely physical and was one of the best overall prospects during the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp Series.

Smalls is a special defensive end with speed and toughness who is nearly unstoppable off the edge. He plays sideline to sideline and there is chatter that he’s one of the best prospects in the Pacific Northwest in recent memory.

And then there’s Wilson, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound standout at receiver who put up huge numbers in his sophomore season. He’s excellent on the outside and really has no problem taking over the game when the ball is thrown his way.