Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Social icon element need JNews Essential plugin to be activated.

Rivals Rankings Week: Too low? Too high? Our analysts debate

[ad_1]

The rankings update for the 2025 class has wrapped up and there were plenty of big movers and controversial decisions that coaches, players and fans are discussing. The national analyst team – Adam Friedman, John Garcia Jr., Adam Gorney and Greg Smith – sit down at the Rankings Roundtable and discuss.

1. Who might be ranked too high?

Winston Watkins

Winston Watkins (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Friedman: The stats and the acclaim tell me one thing but my eyes tell me something slightly different when it comes to running back Jordon Davison. The five-star and No. 1 back in the nation was the best running back on a team that featured the top running back in the 2024 class and might have the most well-rounded skill set of any running back in this class. That being said, I’m not sure Davison is the most talented running back in the nation when projecting to the NFL Draft. His explosiveness and playmaking ability in the open field leaves a little to be desired. I’m not saying Davison should plummet in the rankings but he might be a touch too high for my liking.

Garcia: Winston Watkins has been a star since middle school and continues to live up to the billing at every turn at the prep level. He is borderline dominant as a route-runner, with great pound-for-pound strength and ball skills despite his frame. But that’s the thing, elite slot receiver and returner types aren’t typically among the first batch of prospects off the board come NFL Draft season unless there is another gaudy trait to attach to it. Watkins is quicker than fast at this time, so unless the top-end speed begins to match then the top 20 ranking is probably slightly high.

Gorney: Andrew Maddox is a beast, he owns the inside of the defensive line at Hattiesburg (Miss.) Oak Grove and he has a ton of talent coming from an NFL legacy family but if he doesn’t move down from No. 29 nationally then by signing day that would mean he’s a five-star prospect. I just don’t see that right now especially in an age where defensive tackles are longer and leaner going in the early round of the NFL Draft. Maddox is great and has dominating traits but somewhere in the 50-range seems more likely.

Smith: The knock on Winston Watkins has always been about his size even though he’s performed well in every setting we’ve seen him in. The former Colorado commit is a dynamic playmaker but is he dynamic enough to make up for the size concerns at the next level? There are also wide receivers like Caleb Cunningham, Jaime Ffrench and Dallas Wilson who could potentially wrestle five-star status away from him.

*****

2. Who do you think is ranked too low?

Tavien St. Clair

Tavien St. Clair (Birm/Dotting the ‘Eyes)

Friedman: Ohio State just added some incredibly talented quarterbacks to its roster in Air Noland and Julian Sayin but that doesn’t seem to be discouraging Tavien St. Clair. The Ohio native, who committed to the Buckeyes back in June, has the tools to really thrive at the next level. St. Clair completed more than 70-percent of his passes last season with a 37-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio and more than 3,000 yards through the air in addition to more than 350 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. That accuracy combined with the athleticism clearly evident on film makes me think St. Clair could be a five-star candidate.

Garcia: Dallas Golden had as big a breakout campaign during the 2023 season as any skill prospect in the state of Florida, working at various offensive positions and within the secondary to help Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep to a surprising run to the state championship. So the floor, as a pure play-maker, is certainly easy to see. But Golden projecting to the collegiate level, focusing in the secondary as an explosive cornerback type, makes for an even more impressive proposition for the future. The athletic foundation and premium position value makes his spot in the Rivals250 not seem high enough.

Gorney: Jayvan Boggs had 93 catches for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns in his junior season at Cocoa, Fla. He committed to Ohio State over many other national offers. And there is now talk that Boggs is very similar to former five-star receiver Brandon Inniss, who also signed with the Buckeyes. So Boggs being ranked as the No. 13 receiver in the class seems too low. It feels like Boggs should be in the top 10 if not higher and I suspect that will happen as this recruiting cycle goes on.

Smith: Owen Strebig, a Notre Dame commit, is an interesting choice here because he did rise 22 spots within the Rivals250. However, Strebig has an opportunity to continue climbing the rankings and we could have put him even higher. At 6-foot-8 and 295 pounds, he’s a mammoth offensive tackle prospect with power and sweet feet. He’s a safe bet as a player that will continue to make noise in the 2025 cycle.

*****

3. Who did you fight for that will make you look smart down the road?

Julian Lewis

Julian Lewis (Ryan Young/Rivals.com)

Friedman: As we saw at the NFL Combine this week, massive defensive tackles over 300 pounds did not perform well in the speed drills and we’ve already gone ahead and adjusted the rankings to reflect that trend. Maxwell Roy and Trent Wilson are Rivals250 prospects who directly benefited from that adjustment. They are two of the more athletic and agile interior defensive linemen in this class and do not lack playing strength either.

Garcia: KJ Lacey has so many of the modern quarterback traits colleges covet to his name. He is athletic, comfortable on the run and a bit of a gunslinger, though productive at the prep level. The 2022 state champion can whip the ball to all three levels with ease and he’s gotten a bit bigger over the last six months, too. As he heads into the all-important offseason between junior and senior year for passers, Lacey has a chance to chase a fifth star on Rivals before he gets to Texas to play for Steve Sarkisian.

Gorney: There was a very hearty and healthy debate about moving Julian Lewis to No. 1 in the 2025 class and essentially going over elite offensive tackle David Sanders Jr. I definitely led the charge to move Lewis up not because I dislike Sanders, but because I believe the USC quarterback commit is an elite talent, a superstar talent. I still rue the move not moving Bryce Young to No. 1 in his recruiting class and Lewis could have that level of impact on college and beyond.

Smith: East St. Louis defensive back Charles Bass was the second-biggest riser in the country during this rankings refresh. Bass is an elite safety prospect that can impact the game in a big way from the defensive backfield. He’s got the athleticism to hang with wideouts in coverage but isn’t afraid to make big hits either. Missouri is a program to watch in his recruitment but keep an eye on Michigan, Illinois and Arkansas as well.

[ad_2]

Next Post