Rivals Rankings Week: Five-Star Countdown


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It’s the postseason rankings release for the 2023 class, and there have been five players added to the list of five-stars, bringing the total to 26.

Today, we kick off Rivals Rankings Week with a countdown of those 26 five-stars, along with recruiting director Adam Gorney‘s thoughts on each.

MORE: Recruiting rumor mill as Early Signing Period nears

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

Sunday: Who should be No. 1?

Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Meet the new five-stars | Latest recruiting news on five-stars

Tuesday: Rivals250 released | Biggest Movers | Gorney’s thoughts

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: State rankings released

Saturday: Roundtable

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Gorney’s Take: There were some lengthy discussions about which receiver should be No. 1 in the class and while we sided with Brandon Inniss for now, Carnell Tate has all the tools to be special as well.

The Ohio State commit has great hands, he’s long and can run by defensive backs. Tate has everything you’re looking for in an elite receiver and a big showing at the all-star games can move him back to tops at the position.

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Gorney’s Take: What started at the Elite 11 this past summer has carried over to his senior season as Jackson Arnold has been phenomenal. It would be nearly impossible to keep him off the five-star list after those performances.

The ball pops off his hand, he’s a phenomenal decision-maker and the Oklahoma commit is a big-time gamer as well with dual-threat capabilities. He’s completed nearly 70 percent of his passes with 31 touchdowns and three picks, and has rushed for 17 more scores. The Sooners are getting a special one.

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Gorney’s Take: He’s all of 6-foot-8 and 330 pounds, and Kadyn Proctor can move extraordinarily well for that size. Plus, he plays with toughness, strength, a mean attitude as he wants to dominate the defensive lineman into submission and then go to the second level to search out more victims.

The Iowa commit, who recently visited Oregon, has all the tools to be a first-round NFL Draft pick and he’s bigger than most of those players now.

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Gorney’s Take: Anthony Hill is just so productive all over the field and in so many ways. The former Texas A&M commit, who is looking mostly at Texas now, can come up and make plays around the line of scrimmage, he can diagnose plays to the outside and use his athleticism to stop the ball carrier, he can play in space – anything the coaches ask him to do, Hill has the capability to get it done.

Gorney’s Take: In one-on-one situations, Zachariah Branch is nearly unstoppable to slow down because of his speed, athletic ability and how he maneuvers around the field. That’s why the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman receiver could be so special in coach Lincoln Riley’s offense – in space with the ball in his hands, Branch can do special things.

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Gorney’s Take: Samson Okunlola has the best of both worlds because he’s not only big and physical but he’s also long and athletic. Okunlola likes to push people around and dominate physically, but also has the footwork, length and speed to handle edge rushers with ease.

Miami, Ohio State and others have made him a top target because Okunlola can do so much along the offensive line.

Gorney’s Take: The Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco prospect was so good, so dominant and so unstoppable in a regular season game coming off the edge against Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei that if we could’ve changed his ranking then, we would’ve made him a five-star that day. In a playoff win over Mater Dei, Matayo Uiagalelei was great on defense and also caught a touchdown pass because he’s such a natural athlete.

Now he’s paired that with his elite physical tools to become one of the best players in the class. He’s like a more athletic JT Tuimoloau at Ohio State.

Gorney’s Take: Desmond Ricks, the Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy five-star cornerback, reclassified from the 2024 class and yet he still is among the top group in 2023 because of all his special ability.

He already has the size to make an impact in college. He’s aggressive and confident in his abilities. Ricks can play on an island and he’s really competitive and tough when the ball is in the air.

Gorney’s Take: Originally from American Samoa, Francis Mauigoa started as a defensive end at San Bernardino (Calif.) Aquinas. Mauigoa has come a long way quickly as an offensive tackle and is now one of the best in the 2023 class.

Mauigoa is big, strong, plays with intensity and toughness, and probably projects as a right tackle for the Hurricanes and beyond.

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Gorney’s Take: The former Notre Dame commit, who’s high on Alabama and Georgia now, has essentially the same wingspan as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Travon Walker. Keon Keeley has so many other special qualities as well.

The Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep standout is excellent off the edge, he has rare physical tools and athleticism, and surprising power when needed to go back inside to make plays. That wingspan is going to have a lot of coaches and NFL executives interested.

Gorney’s Take: There might not be a more focused competitor in the 2023 class than TJ Shanahan, who does his best work as an interior offensive lineman because he can exert his power and will over his opponents and dominate with his physical ability.

The Texas A&M commit is as fierce and determined as they come and by the fourth quarter he’s still going to be looking to go to battle against defensive linemen. In a pinch, Shanahan can move outside but the five-star does his best work in the trenches.

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Gorney’s Take: One of the best-looking receivers not only in this class but recently, Hykeem Williams has the size and length to really make an impact as an outside receiver. What some people forget about the Florida State commit is that he has the ability to run by defenders whether it’s catching a short pass and making a move or stretching the field with the deep ball.

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Gorney’s Take: It’s almost unfair to rank Duce Robinson as a tight end because he plays more as a split-out wide receiver and he has the athleticism to do it as well. His size and athletic ability are so unique that it’s hard to find a comparison especially among tight ends.

Robinson moves so well and he’s so productive – 64 catches for 1,228 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. That’s more than 19 yards per catch; not someone who’s just moving the chains down the field.

Gorney’s Take: Over the long term, Javien Toviano might stay at cornerback or he might move to safety but either way, the Arlington (Texas) Martin standout is going to make an impact in the secondary.

Toviano has the length and fluidity to stay at cornerback and he can run with almost any receiver but if he continues to develop physically, moving him to safety just means a team is going to have a really fast and instinctual player in the back.

LSU looks like the frontrunner at this point.

Gorney’s Take: Nyckoles Harbor could make an impact at tight end or defensive end and he’s legitimately one of the best athletes in Rivals’ history, as his track times put him in elite company.

As a defensive end, his get-off and pursuit is excellent and while he’s still developing as a tight end, having that speed and playmaking ability is special.

South Carolina, Michigan and others are duking it out.

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OTHER RANKINGS

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100

TRANSFER PORTAL: Transfer ranking

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