West Spotlight: Questions about the 2025 rankings
Rivals.com national recruiting director Adam Gorney takes a look at a few of the most burning questions regarding the upcoming 2025 rankings update in the West region.
THIS SERIES: Questions about the 2025 rankings in the Mid-South | Southeast
Is the country’s best running back a five-star?
Jordon Davison rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore on arguably the nation’s best team at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei and he’s the featured back even on a team that has the top-rated all-purpose back in the 2024 class in Nate Frazier, who committed to Georgia this summer.
Davison is fantastic, and he's trustworthy with the ball in his hands. He could be an Ezekiel Elliott clone as he’s the best at running between the tackles, using his vision and then getting upfield, but he can also punch it outside and run by some people.
The only question is this: Are running backs valued in the first round anymore?
The 2023 NFL Draft seemed to say yes as Bijan Robinson (one of the most special high school backs in Rivals history) and Jahmyr Gibbs went in the first round. In 2021, Najee Harris (another elite superstar in high school) and Travis Etienne were first-rounders. But in 2022, none were selected.
There is no doubt less respect is being given to running backs in today’s game - and Rivals rankings are based off expected college performance and NFL positioning - but Davison might not be able to be denied. He’s too good, too solid of a player and as Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Texas and others pursue him he's too much of a wanted man to not bump up.
How high to put the outside linebackers?
Nasir Wyatt and Madden Faraimo could not be more different at the outside linebacker position, but they have one thing in common: Both 2025 prospects from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei and San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra Catholic can take over a football game.
Wyatt was unleashed as an edge rusher in Friday night’s win over Corona (Calif.) Centennial and he was causing all kinds of problems with his speed to the outside and a great spin move inside as he shut down one side of the field. Some teams like him as an edge, some even like him as a middle linebacker, where he can roam and make plays.
Faraimo is a physical specimen who might end up inside as he continues to grow, but he has great range. He used to play some safety and the high four-star linebacker has no problem coming down and making hits. He’s much more of a downhill physical threat, where Wyatt is explosive and can track anyone down. Both could be in the five-star discussion as things continue.
Are the Bishop Gorman offensive linemen too low?
Douglas Utu is one of the best offensive tackles in the 2025 class, a brick wall who lets no defensive linemen get by him as the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman standout uses power, a great base and a quiet dominance to just beat down opponents all game. He’s already a five-star and has probably maxed out in the rankings because No. 1 offensive tackle David Sanders could be the best player in the whole class.
Alofaituli isn’t the biggest interior offensive lineman but he was outstanding at the Future 50 and at the Next Gen event in Atlanta this summer. He simply does not lose reps and completely dominates at the point of attack.
The same pretty much goes for Kalaniuvalu, who hasn’t gotten the national exposure of Utu and Alofaitulu yet but has still shown great feet and incredible toughness. Both could be seeing a major bump in the rankings as time goes on.
Why is the top cornerback not getting more national attention?
Dijon Lee had a great summer, played opposite of five-star Devin Sanchez on Trillion Boys at the OT7 national tournament and looked the part. He has length and playmaking ability, and yet he still is sitting around a dozen offers.
Some major programs are involved - with USC, Arizona and Washington leading the way. But I do wonder: Where are Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Ohio State and some other standout programs who should be involved with him? At times, he and Sanchez were interchangeable on that 7on7 team as both have elite length and cover skills.
Maybe Jeremiah Smith beat Lee once or twice at OT7, but Smith beats everybody. He’s the best outside receiver we’ve seen in a long time. Lee is already a high four-star, has the physical tools to be special and looks like he could be a major steal for a Pac-12 team (USC has been rumored to lead) unless more national powers get in the mix soon.