Ranking the top 25 college football recruits regardless of class

Sports

With fall and spring high school seasons in the books and a busy college football recruiting camp circuit wrapping up, our scouts are ready to rank the top football prospects, regardless of class.

While all-class football rankings can be a more difficult challenge than for basketball, especially given the significance of physical maturity, there is and always will be superseding talent. It is important to note that for prospects in the 2023 and 2024 classes, we considered the ceiling for both their physical and mental development. We also provided a player comparison for each of the 25 stars on our list.

To be clear, the prospects below don’t yet have the skills of the established college football talents listed, but they do have the potential to develop matching skill sets based on their similar games and makeup.

1. QB Quinn Ewers
Southlake Carroll High School (Texas)
Class of 2022

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound signal-caller is the best natural passer in the Lone Star State since Kyler Murray. Ewers completed 72.4% of his passes for over 4,000 yards with 45 touchdowns and only three interceptions as a sophomore. In four playoff games against terrific competition, Ewers completed 71% for 1,424 yards and 17 TDs without an INT. In seven games last fall, Ewers threw 28 touchdowns to just five interceptions battling through a hernia injury that required surgery during the season. The Ohio State verbal still has Texas recruiting him heavily.

Player comparison: Zach Wilson, BYU

2. DT Walter Nolen
Saint Benedict (Tennessee)
Class of 2022

Nolen checks in at No. 2 overall in the 2022 class — as well as here — and jumped up several spots within the top 10 from the last year’s all-class rankings. He has continued to grow, now checking in close to 6-4 with nearly an 80-inch wingspan. Nolen is a disruptive force with his outstanding blend of size, quickness, power and agility. He is a competitive big man that violently sheds blockers and hunts down ball carriers. Nolen is among the most talented and promising defensive tackles we have evaluated in recent cycles. June official visits to Florida and Michigan are on the schedule. Alabama, LSU and Ohio State also figure into a future decision.

Player comparison: Tyler Davis, Clemson

3. DE Lebbeus Overton
Milton High School (Georgia)
Class of 2023

A two-sport athlete who also contributed to Milton’s state championship basketball team, Overton possesses a rare combination of size and explosiveness. He has excellent lower body flexibility and is not only physical and strong enough to overpower blockers, but also moves extremely well for his size in pursuit. Overton’s foot quickness and agility on the hardcourt can be seen in the trenches, as his short-area quickness and redirection skills are elite. Georgia will be working to fend off Alabama, Auburn, Florida and others to keep the elite talent home.

Player comparison: Byron Young, Alabama

4. DE Shemar Stewart
Pace High School (Florida)
Class of 2022

Ranked fifth on this list a year ago, Stewart has continued improve and impress and even bumped up a spot. Lengthy with a big frame, the 6-5, 255-pound Florida native continues to fill out while maintaining excellent edge speed and explosiveness. His further physical development has also allowed him to be a powerful presence versus the run as well. Stewart will defeat blockers and blow up plays at the point of attack. LSU has been a mainstay on Stewart’s list for a while and will receive a June official visit. Clemson, Georgia, Texas A&M and Miami are also in the hunt.

Player comparison: Myles Murphy, Clemson

5. QB Arch Manning
Isidore Newman School (Louisiana)
Class of 2023

Believe the hype. As expected given his pedigree — he’s Peyton and Eli’s nephew — Arch has advanced understanding of how to play the position and ability as a passer. He led Isidore Newman to a 9-1 regular-season record as a freshman, passing for over 2,400 yards with 34 touchdowns and only six interceptions. In a condensed sophomore season, he accounted for 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing almost 72% of his passes. He’s clearly the best athlete in terms of mobility out of all the Mannings and is blessed with the same poise. Alabama, Texas, Georgia and Clemson have received the most mention early on with a June full of unofficial visits just two weeks away.

Player comparison: Andrew Luck, Stanford

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Arch Manning runs up the middle for a goal-line touchdown vs. Booker T. Washington.

6. CB Travis Hunter
Collins Hill High School (Georgia)
Class of 2022

Cornerback is a premium position, and there is a high priority on prospects who stand at least 6-feet and can run. Hunter checks those boxes and has displayed terrific hands and ball skills on offense as well. The five-star’s length and excellent high-point skills translate very nicely over to defense when projecting for college. His combination of physical tools allows him to not only be a lockdown corner, but a playmaker as well. He can turn an interception into a touchdown with exceptional speed. The Florida State commit resembles what Seminoles fans have come to expect from their secondary over decades of excellence. Florida State will have to keep Hunter in the fold with Alabama and other Southeast schools expected to get a visit.

Player comparison: Tony Grimes, North Carolina

7. DT Peter Woods
Thompson High School (Alabama)
Class of 2023

Not quite as thick and filled out as Nolen yet, we are still similarly excited about the 6-3, 250-pound Woods and feel he can be a premier defensive tackle prospect as well. An equally explosive and powerful player, he can penetrate and disrupt as well as fire off low and win with strength and leverage. A member of a state championship program that includes a multiple Power 5 prospects, Woods is a player whose effort and leadership skills are praised just as highly as his physical skills by Thompson’s staff. Florida and Florida State are among the many programs trying to pull Woods away from in-state powers Alabama and Auburn.

Player comparison: DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M

8. CB Domani Jackson
Mater Dei High School (California)
Class of 2022

Blessed with excellent measurables, this 6-1, 180-pound versatile defensive back with 4.5 speed is a physical defender against the run who possesses elite ball and tracking skills when defending the pass. At a school with double-digit FBS prospects, Jackson is the best with more than 30 offers already. Big, long corners are not common, plus he is ultra-physical and can be very disruptive in multiple schemes and alignments. The hometown USC Trojans will have to play keep away from Alabama and others for the next few months.

Player comparison: A.J. Terrell, Clemson

9. OLB Malik Bryant
IMG Academy (Florida)
Class of 2023

Bryant still has some development as a football player, but his skill set and talent jumps out on tape, as does his production. He shows excellent range, speed and coverage instincts, and is a knock-back tackler who lets his presence known on contact. He’s not always technically sound — a bit of a sandlot player — but he makes countless plays with physicality and explosiveness. Georgia and Alabama will likely battle this one out over time.

Player comparison: Nick Bolton, Missouri

10. DT Gabe Brownlow-Dindy
Lakeland High School (Florida)
Class of 2022

Among the more physically impressive prospects we have seen among the defensive line, Brownlow-Dindy shows impressive speed and quickness for his 6-3, 280-pound frame in a testing setting. He is an explosive big man that has posted a 33-inch vertical and 118-inch broad jump, NFL caliber numbers. He is not just a workout warrior, though, as those physical attributes translate to the field. The current five-star fires off the football and blows plays up in the backfield with explosiveness and power. This rare size-to-speed defensive tackle grew up a big fan of Oklahoma, but the Sooners have competition from Clemson, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Florida.

Player comparison: Jalen Carter, Georgia

11. QB Dante Moore
Martin Luther King High School (Michigan)
Class of 2023

For a young player, Moore is a difference maker with a great feel for the game. His recruitment has heated up significantly, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to his instincts as a passer and versatility seen on tape. He’s smooth, poised and can make the necessary throws with very good arm strength and accuracy. He has a knack for throwing guys open. He can change the game as both a runner and passer, which is coveted in today’s college game. Moore will have many of the top national powers battling it out for his signature, including Michigan and Notre Dame.

Player comparison: Jayden Daniels, Arizona State

12. WR Zachariah Branch
Bishop Gorman (Nevada)
Class of 2023

Branch is a track sprinter (10.5 100-meter) that can play football. What he lacks in ideal size (5-9, 162), he makes up for in elite speed, change-of-direction skills and game-breaker potential as a return man. He’s a jet with the ball in his hands and is gaining strength on his wiry frame. Don’t sleep on him in the slot; he’s a matchup nightmare with his speed up the seam and underneath separation ability. Branch’s recruitment is pretty open currently with an offer list nearing 20, including USC and Alabama.

Player comparison: Kayshon Boutte, LSU

13. CB Jacobe Johnson
Mustang High School (Oklahoma)
Class of 2023

Johnson has really impressed with his production and versatility on tape. As a corner, he possesses tremendous height and length and runs well with outstanding closing burst. When he arrives to the ball, Johnson can be punishing in nature, and the physical nature of his game should only improve as he continues to physically develop. A two-sport athlete who also holds Division I basketball offers, he also has strong ball skills. Stanford has offered the two-sport budding star with the home state Oklahoma Sooners considered a tough out.

Player comparison: Tyson Campbell, Georgia

14. CB Desmond Ricks
IMG Academy (Florida)
Class of 2024

Still young with plenty of time to develop further, the 6-1, 171-pound Ricks already impresses with his length, range, quick feet and flexibility. In addition to possessing many coveted traits for a top-tier corner at this early stage, he has also shown an aggressive and physical nature to his play. Ricks can press and set the edge as a run defender. With offers from LSU, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina and Miami, Ricks looks to be the next national recruit to come out of talent-rich IMG Academy.

Player comparison: Eli Ricks, LSU

15. QB Jaylen Bester
Harrison High School (Georgia)
Class of 2024

Bester is a talented player who is fun to watch. The scary part: He has a ton of growth and upside ahead of him. He makes all kinds of plays that freshmen don’t generally make. He’s a natural passer with great arm talent, poise and the ability to improvise when necessary. He will climb up Power 5 boards rapidly over the course of the next year as more coaches see him throw live. He already has offers from Arizona State and Florida State, among other Power 5 schools.

Player comparison: Matt Corral, Ole Miss

16. OT Devon Campbell
Bowie High School (Texas)
Class of 2022

Campbell may very well end up moving to guard in college, but regardless of where he might line up, he is an excellent offensive line prospect. He delivers a jolting pop on contact but also blocks with impressive mobility. This uncommitted five-star is a big body who is light on his feet. Agile with good balance, he can mirror rushers in pass protection and possesses tremendous range with the ability to adjust on the move at the second level. Texas was the early favorite, but the Longhorns are receiving serious competition from Oklahoma, LSU, Alabama, USC and Texas A&M.

Player comparison: Emil Ekiyor Jr., Alabama

17. WR Evan Stewart
Liberty High School (Texas)
Class of 2022

Being a great route runner at a young age shows a prospect has a savvy understanding of the game and knows how to use nuance to get open. Despite Stewart’s physical traits — elite speed (10.5 100-meter), quickness and ability to win one-on-one matchups — he’s unique because he knows how to get open purely as a route runner and not just on ability. One of the top two-sport athletes in the country, Stewart could walk away from football tomorrow and receive track offers from around the country in jumping events (24-6″ long jump). The one-time Texas verbal has Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma in contention.

Player comparison: Chris Olave, Ohio State

18. DE Kavion Henderson
Leeds High School (Alabama)
Class of 2024

Henderson may only be a freshman, but at a loaded Under Armour Camp this past March, he put others on notice that he is among the most promising defensive end prospects in the country, period. A disruptive presence off the edge, he flashes excellent first-step quickness combined with good length to stay clean off blockers. The Alabama native already has good functional strength, as well as agility. Considering he still has three seasons ahead of him, Henderson will be an exciting player to watch develop. Georgia and Tennessee are doing their best early to make a statement before Alabama and Auburn offer the in-state elite talent.

Player comparison: Will Anderson Jr., Alabama

19. WR Brandon Inniss
American Heritage (Florida)
Class of 2023

Inniss has been a star since day one of high school in South Florida with a natural wide receiver skill set, including terrific ball skills. Far from a finished product, he has grown to 5-11 and is closing in on 180 pounds with 4.5 speed. The Florida native has excellent change-of-direction skills and has gotten faster each time he has been laser timed over the last two recruiting cycles, all while adding size, which makes him even more coveted. Inniss is nearing 35 offers, including many of the nation’s top powers.

Player comparison: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State

20. ATH Emmett Mosley
Servite High School (California)
Class of 2024

Mosley is a lot like 2023 class WR Zachariah Branch in terms of measurables (6-feet, 174 pounds) and skill set, but Mosley could also project on defense. He has gotten bigger but still has major room for physical development. He is a difference maker in every facet of the game, and he’s just a freshman. Mosley is so explosive and sudden with the ball in his hands that defenders must give him some cushion and keep him in front of them. He’s savvy for a young prospect, showing good route-running skills and a feel for finding open zones. Arizona and Arizona State have offered, as well as LSU, but expect him to have at least 30 offers this time next year.

Player comparison: Tutu Atwell, Louisville

21. OT Tyler Booker
IMG Academy (Florida)
Class of 2022

It was not that long ago that Booker was more focused on developing as a defensive tackle, but has over the last year bought into developing on the other side of the ball and since seen his stock soar. The 6-5, 300-pound Booker is strong and flexible with good feet. He has also demonstrated strong leadership qualities as well that can allow him to be a key importance presence for a program not only on the field, but off it as well. Booker has one of June’s most impressive official visit schedules in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Ohio State and Oregon.

Player comparison: Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

22. OLB Harold Perkins
Cypress Park (Texas)
Class of 2022

Perkins possesses all the tools to be a playmaking presence off the edge and a defender teams have to game plan around in college. A prospect with strong physical upside, he’s also tough to run from, with excellent sideline-to-sideline pursuit speed and range. The versatile Perkins also displays excellent burst off the snap to exploit tackles as a pass-rusher. Already among the premier prospects in the country, he is just scratching the surface and has room for growth. Texas A&M will get the first official visit in June, and the Aggies are joined by programs such as Alabama, LSU, Texas, Florida and USC.

Player comparison: Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma

23. OT Francis Mauigoa
IMG Academy (Florida)
Class of 2023

Mauigoa is a powerful big man who could play on either side of the ball, but he has more upside and impact potential as an offensive lineman. Mauigoa has the natural size and strength to manhandle opponents at times, but he is more than just mauler; he also possesses good flexibility, agility and balance. Still a bit raw, but with an opportunity to develop and consistently work against top competition at IMG, he has the tools to be an outstanding OT. All the national offers are already on the list, including USC, Oregon and Michigan.

Player comparison: Jackson Carman, Clemson

24. CB Charles Lester
Riverview High School (Florida)
Class of 2024

Despite just being a freshman, Lester looks like a junior physically and plays with savvy beyond his years. His recruitment will explode this coming summer and fall, and he should grow into his long frame as a perimeter defender. He plays corner, safety and over the slot, which is excellent scheme versatility for such a young kid. Indiana and Michigan State were the first to offer.

Player comparison: Josh Jobe, Alabama

25. RB Richard Young
Lehigh Senior High School (Florida)
Class of 2023

Young is about as complete a back as anyone will find: speed, power, strength, balance, vision and a decisive style that wastes little time making cuts. He is a downhill runner with a slashing style that makes him very difficult to get a clean shot at. Not only could he be a load carrier, but he can also make opponents miss while separating with his 10.9 100-meter speed. Young averaged almost 10 yards a carry as a sophomore. His offer list includes more than 35, led by Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida and Florida State.

Player comparison: Bijan Robinson, Texas

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