SPORTS

Rivals Rankings Week: Five-Star Countdown for 2024


It’s the postseason rankings update for the 2024 class, and as always we kicked off Rivals Rankings Week with the Five-Star Countdown. Today, we counted down all the five-stars from No. 26 to No. 1, with recruiting director Adam Gorney providing his thoughts on each player.

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

Sunday: Who should be No. 1?

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

Tuesday: New Rivals250 revealed | Gorney goes position-by-position | Biggest movers in new ranking

Wednesday: New offensive position rankings revealed

Thursday: New defensive position rankings revealed

Friday: New state rankings revealed

Saturday: Rankings Roundtable

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1. WR JEREMIAH SMITH

Gorney’s Take: There has not been a No. 1 overall wide receiver since Dorial Green-Beckham in 2012 but there has not been a receiver like Jeremiah Smith since arguably Julio Jones in the 2008 class. He’s fast, he’s strong, he has awesome hands and a phenomenal work ethic to be the best.

The Ohio State commit, who is being heavily pursued by Florida State, has all the physical tools to be unstoppable in Columbus much like Marvin Harrison Jr.

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2. QB DYLAN RAIOLA

Gorney’s Take: Dylan Raiola fell from the No. 1 overall spot but stayed the top-rated quarterback because even after transferring to Buford, Ga., for his senior season, the Georgia commit still put together a phenomenal season.

The five-star quarterback is already physically ready to play in the SEC, he has a phenomenal arm, showed he can be a terrific decision-maker and is someone who has a real competitive drive to his game.

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3. DE WILLIAMS NWANERI

Gorney’s Take: The Missouri commit can do all the prototypical defensive end things – line up wide, attack the offensive tackle and overpower him, use his speed to the outside – but Williams Nwaneri does so much more.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound five-star defensive end uses his elite speed to track players to the sideline on stretch plays. He can knock people around and put fear into running backs as he pursues. Nwaneri has proven to be so much more of a defensive player than just a hand-in-the-ground defensive end.

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4. QB JULIAN SAYIN

Gorney’s Take: Julian Sayin completed more than 75 percent of his passes for 2,369 yards with 24 touchdowns and one interception this season but more than stats, the Alabama commit stands out for so many other reasons.

The five-star is extraordinarily smart and composed at the quarterback position, rarely makes a bad throw and has a quiet confidence and competitiveness about his game that makes him extra special.

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5. WR CAM COLEMAN

Gorney’s Take: Late last week, the new five-star receiver flipped from Texas A&M to Auburn and coach Hugh Freeze just landed someone who could be the new favorite target in the Tigers’ offense. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Cam Coleman jumped 19 spots all the way to fifth in the country because he has the size, hands, physical and playmaking ability to be elite.

He’s not as physically imposing as Jeremiah Smith nor electric as Micah Hudson but he’s a perfect mix of both and he might have the most natural ability.

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6. WR MICAH HUDSON

Gorney’s Take: Micah Hudson moves so fast on the field that it looks like his highlight tape is intentionally sped up. It’s not. That’s just how electric Hudson is starting into his routes, into his breaks, catching the ball and then accelerating by defensive backs who are unsuccessfully trying to get him on the ground.

Texas Tech beat Texas A&M and many others for Hudson and he could have an immediate impact in Lubbock.

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7. DT DAVID STONE

Gorney’s Take: From active, violent hands to a motor that never stops, David Stone has emerged as the best interior defensive lineman in the 2024 class. What makes him extra special is that he wants to prove it on every snap. He can shed double teams, he’s aggressive and just never stops being on attack mode.

The Oklahoma commit, who’s originally from the state but playing at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, continues to grow as well.

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8. DB ELLIS ROBINSON

Gorney’s Take: The Georgia commit can do it all at cornerback – be physical and aggressive with receivers or run stride for stride with them and then compete for deep balls. Ellis Robinson can step in front of passes and pick them off, use his length to tip balls away or come up in press coverage and make it difficult for receivers to get off the line.

Even with position coach Fran Brown off to Syracuse, Robinson remains locked in with the Bulldogs.

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9. DE COLIN SIMMONS

Gorney’s Take: Twitched up and always ready to make a play, Colin Simmons is the quintessential defensive player for today’s college football. Comfortable in space or perfectly fine with his hand in the ground and coming off the edge, the Texas commit is always looking to make plays and pack a punishing punch at the end of it.

He can blitz off the edge, stand up and roam to make plays or drop in space. Simmons is always around the ball making something happen.

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10. DT JUSTIN SCOTT

Gorney’s Take: There has been some talk that Justin Scott could be an even better offensive tackle but only because he’s so athletic and that’s what makes him so special along the defensive line.

The Chicago (Ill.) St. Ignatius standout has really active hands and feet, sheds double teams easily and then can use power and speed to get in the backfield to be really disruptive.

Scott also provided one of the biggest surprises in the 2024 class when he recently flipped from Ohio State to Miami.

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11. LB JUSTIN WILLIAMS

Gorney’s Take: Justin Williams, a Georgia commit, can do it all at linebacker. If the coaching staff needs him to rush off the edge, no problem. If there is a blitz package up the middle, Williams can do it. If Williams needs to defend someone coming out of the backfield or drop in coverage or go sideline to sideline using his speed to make a play, the Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge can do it all.

That’s why he’s still ranked as the top linebacker in the 2024 class.

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12. DB KJ BOLDEN

Gorney’s Take: The Florida State commit finished with 644 yards and 14 touchdowns in his senior season – getting the ball thrown to him by five-star QB Dylan Raiola – and Bolden isn’t even planning to play wide receiver for the Seminoles.

That’s what makes Bolden so special is that whether at receiver or his No. 1 position of safety, the Buford, Ga., standout is always making an impact and doing something to help his team.

Auburn is still trying to flip him, while Georgia also is involved.

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13. OL JORDAN SEATON

Gorney’s Take: The Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy offensive lineman absolutely dominated this season and proved once again that he’s the best player across the line in the 2024 class. Jordan Seaton is nimble and athletic enough to dominate at offensive tackle or he can easily slide inside and use his power and toughness to grind defensive linemen into the dirt.

Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee and others are involved as Seaton earned his fifth star by having a huge senior season.

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14. DE EDDRICK HOUSTON

Gorney’s Take: For years, Eddrick Houston has been dominating along the defensive line and it has not mattered if he’s coming off the edge or playing inside. Houston is comfortable playing anywhere and using his speed and violent hands to get in the backfield to cause issues.

Houston might not have the elite length of fellow five-star Williams Nwaneri but the speed, toughness, physical play and production cannot be ignored.

Ohio State scored a huge win over Georgia, Alabama, Clemson and USC in his recruitment.

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15. QB DJ LAGWAY

Gorney’s Take: Statistics are not the end-all, be-all of rankings but sometimes it’s just foolish to ignore production especially at the level DJ Lagway produced this season. The Florida quarterback was simply incredible nearly every week and has now moved up to five-star status.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound quarterback – who actually looks bigger – completed 72 percent of his passes for 4,604 yards with 58 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Amazingly, Lagway also rushed for 957 yards and 16 scores as well.

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16. ATH TERRY BUSSEY

Gorney’s Take: The Texas A&M commit, who’s still being worked on by LSU and others, completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,457 yards with 21 touchdowns and three interceptions this season and also rushed 43 times for 765 yards and 10 more scores. And his best position is at defensive back.

That’s what makes Bussey so incredibly special: He can be plugged in anywhere and he’s a star all over the field.

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17. DE KAMARION FRANKLIN

Gorney’s Take: The similarities between Kamarion Franklin and former five-star Jeffery Simmons, a first-round draft pick out of Mississippi State, are too much to ignore. Both are elite defensive linemen from the state of Mississippi. Both were super productive in high school. Both were around 255 pounds at this stage and both played big, fast and strong.

Franklin has been an unstoppable force at Lake Cormorant, Miss., with a frame that could easily add weight in the coming years. The Ole Miss commit chose Simmons’ rival – but that might be the only difference.

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18. OL BRANDON BAKER

Gorney’s Take: The most athletic and tested offensive tackle in the 2024 class, Brandon Baker is not going to pound every defensive lineman into the ground and just use brute force to win at the line of scrimmage. The Texas commit is incredibly athletic and simply does not let any defensive ends get to the edge or to the inside of him.

The Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei standout plays right tackle on the best team in high school football bookended by Auburn commit DeAndre Carter and Baker dominated all season long to move to five-star status.

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19. DB ZAQUAN PATTERSON

Gorney’s Take: Zaquan Patterson plays safety but he also has cornerback skills. The Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna standout can sit in centerfield, scan the field and then he has the speed to make plays.

But the Miami commit can also cover the slot, step in front of passes for interceptions and make tackles in space. He has the speed, the length, the hit-stick ability and the confidence to trust his eyes and then go make a play all the time.

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20. DE ARMONDO BLOUNT

Gorney’s Take: A reclassification from the 2025 class, Armondo Blount is still a five-star prospect in 2024 because of his production off the edge and his power to win inside. The Miami (Fla.) Central standout is committed to Florida State but Miami is working hard to flip him back since he was once committed to the Hurricanes.

It makes sense because Blount is basically a longer, leaner and faster version of productive defensive lineman Rueben Bain, who has a little more power inside.

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21. LB KYNGSTONN VILIAMU-ASA

Gorney’s Take: The star defensive player on one of the nation’s top teams, Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa is not only a fantastic linebacker who leads the defense and makes plays all over the field but he’s mature beyond his years and projects as an elite player at Notre Dame.

People around the Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco program say Viliamu-Asa could be the best defender in program history and that’s certainly a big statement. The new five-star has more than backed it up by playing great close to the line of scrimmage or tracking players and using his speed to make plays.

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22. WR MIKE MATTHEWS

Gorney’s Take: Mike Matthews did not have mind-boggling statistics in his senior season but he also wasn’t playing with an elite quarterback so his performance in the all-star events will be crucial for his final ranking. The Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview star just does everything well – runs smooth routes, gets open against everybody and catches everything.

The Tennessee commit totaled 39 catches for 751 yards and nine touchdowns but one wonders what he could have done playing with another elite Georgia QB.

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23. WR RYAN WINGO

Gorney’s Take: Texas beat out Missouri in late October for Ryan Wingo and it was a massive recruiting win for the Longhorns (although the Tigers are not giving up). Wingo is a big-bodied receiver with great game speed and could be a deep threat in coach Steve Sarkisian’s offense.

The all-star performance will be a final determination, though, on where Wingo ends up in the rankings because it’s also true that after 143 receiving yards in the season opener for Wingo, he had just 426 the rest of the way. We’d like to see more production but there’s no doubt Wingo has special qualities.

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24. DE DYLAN STEWART

Gorney’s Take: The versatility Dylan Stewart brings sets him apart as a five-star defensive end. The South Carolina commit, who is still being pursued by Miami, Ohio State and others, has supreme athleticism and length off the edge and he’s comfortable playing multiple positions.

Stewart is excellent with his hand in the ground, or he can drop in space or he can move to multiple linebacker spots and make an impact there. That versatility and production is rare so Stewart has proven to be really special.

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25. QB AIR NOLAND

Gorney’s Take: In his junior season, the Ohio State lefty quarterback commit led his team to an undefeated season and a state championship as he threw for 4,095 yards with 55 touchdowns and four interceptions. Then the Fairburn (Ga.) Langston Hughes standout excelled at the Elite 11 over the summer.

But Noland’s senior season was slightly disappointed compared with his high standard, as he went 9-3 with 2,140 passing yards, 22 TDs and nine picks. There’s no question Noland is an impressive quarterback but will he finish this rankings cycle as a five-star? We will find out next month.

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26. LB MYLES GRAHAM

Gorney’s Take: Myles Graham has speed to cover sideline to sideline. He has toughness to engage blockers, get off the block and make tackles in the backfield. And there’s so much more to like about the Florida commit.

The Gainesville (Fla.) Buchholz standout has an NFL pedigree. He’s also a star running back who went for 418 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 44 carries.

The all-star events will be crucial for his final ranking. Linebackers are not coming off the board often in the first round so seeing him against national competition will be big.

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