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Rivals Rankings Week: Storylines To Follow With Top 2026 Offensive Linemen

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The first Rivals250 for the 2026 class has been released and now it’s time to break down each position. We continue with the offensive linemen by looking at four big storylines moving forward.

NEW 2026 POSITION RANKINGS: Pro-Style QB | Dual-Threat QB | Running Back | All-Purpose Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Offensive Tackle | Offensive Guard | Center

A TRIO OF TACKLES IN THE TOP 10

Keenyi Pepe

Keenyi Pepe (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Offensive tackle has always been considered a premium position and the 2026 class is reflecting as much, early on, with a trio of tackle projections in the top 10 of the Rivals250. Jackson Cantwell not only occupies the top tackle projection, but he is also the top offensive projection in the class at No. 2 overall – sitting as the current top threat for the top spot occupied by defensive lineman Jahkeem Stewart.

IMG Academy’s Keenyi Pepe is No. 7 overall, as the second-ranked tackle talent, and Ohio’s Maxwell Riley checks in at No. 9 overall. Each is uncommitted despite gaudy offer lists.

Cantwell hails from Missouri but his recruitment has been national for some time despite his youth. He recently visited Georgia and Missouri while Notre Dame entered the race for his services last weekend.

Pepe is at IMG but is originally from the West Coast, where many think he’ll highly consider when it comes to his college choice, though his time in the South has him more curious about Georgia, Miami and even Ohio State.

Speaking of the Buckeyes, they’re the favorite for the in-state star Riley, though the Avon Lake product is also being courted well by ACC programs Clemson and Florida State at this time.

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TACKLES FILLING OUT THE RANKS

Drew Evers

Drew Evers (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Beyond the top group, there is depth at the tackle position early on. Six tackles are in the national top 50, and six more made the top 100. Twenty-five made the Rivals250, with the position bringing in the most blue-chip volume outside of wide receiver (38) and athlete (32) among all positions.

Surprisingly, though it could soon change, none of the Rivals250 offensive tackle prospects have made a verbal commitment to date.

Among the highest-ranked to highlight beyond the top trio (see above), Lone Star State native Drew Evers debuts as the No. 4 offensive tackle and the top-ranked sophomore overall in the talent-rich state of Texas. Texas A&M, where he has some family ties, as well as Oklahoma look like two of the early favorites for the Flower Mound product. Pennsylvania’s Kevin Brown, a West Virginia legacy, has Penn State and Notre Dame also on his trail, among others.

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GUARDS SCARCE BUT STRONG

Jakobe Green

Jakobe Green (Rivals.com)

Only six prospects projected to play guard in college made the initial Rivals250, including three from the state of Florida. From within the Sunshine State, second-ranked guard Grant Wise has seen his recruitment blow up of late, as the Miami legacy was just at Clemson and has seen both Georgia and Alabama join the offer race during March. Lake Minneola (Fla.) High’s Chancellor Barclay and Niceville (Fla.) High’s Jakobe Green also made the cut from the state.

The top-ranked guard projection at the moment is Virginia native Darius Gray, who already sits beyond the 20 scholarship offer-mark as a sophomore. He just kicked off a massive visit swing through SEC, Big Ten and ACC country, so his recruitment could be fairly open. Pennsylvania’s Tyler Merrill and Georgia’s Camron Thompson round out the guard making the initial cut.

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DRAMA WITH THE TOP-RANKED CENTER

Three centers made the cut for the first Rivals250 for the class, and the first name on the list is heavy in the news for his recruitment along with that ranking. Zykie Helton backed off of a longtime commitment to Alabama over the weekend with plenty of SEC and ACC suitors on his trail after a fall bout with Crohn’s disease.

With so much going on, Helton has reset his recruitment, though Georgia and Auburn are close to home and have pushed at different times. Last month, the sophomore told Rivals the Bulldogs began to push even harder when he initially committed to the Crimson Tide. Kalen DeBoer’s program may have a shot to bring him back into the class one day, as Helton does admit to having grown up a fan of the program before joining the commitment list last July.

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