College Football

Breaking Down 5-Star Recruits in 247Sports' 1st Class of 2016 Rankings

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystApril 23, 2014

Breaking Down 5-Star Recruits in 247Sports' 1st Class of 2016 Rankings

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    Georgia quarterback Jawon Pass
    Georgia quarterback Jawon PassCredit: 247Sports

    The recently revealed 247Sports rankings provide an early glimpse at the 2016 football recruiting class. Sophomores throughout the nation are beginning to feel the spotlight shine brighter as collegiate interest builds at a rapid pace.

    We analyzed the early ratings position by position to break down prospects labeled "elite" after two high school seasons. The list features 42 5-star talents, already exceeding a 2015 class that includes 34 players with that rating.

Quarterbacks

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    California prospect Malik Henry
    California prospect Malik HenryCredit: 247Sports

    Total 5-stars: Three

    Top-Rated Prospect: Jacob Eason (Lake Stevens, Wash.)

    The 6'5", 205-pound passer already possesses ideal size behind center. Eason has attracted offers from Florida State, Washington State and Oregon State.

    He will throw for college scouts during three separate sessions at Lake Stevens High School during the next month, so expect his offer list to expand if things go smoothly. He passed for nearly 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 games as a sophomore, per MaxPreps.

     

    Best of the Rest

    Malik Henry (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) is the nation's No. 1 dual-threat quarterback. He threw for more than 2,300 passing yards and accounted for 24 total offensive touchdowns last season, according to MaxPreps.

    He holds scholarships from USC, UCLA and Arizona State. His offer list has expanded to include Notre Dame, Nebraska and Tennessee this month.

    Jawon Pass (Columbus, Ga.) has also seen his recruitment process heat up lately. The 6'5", 235-pound prospect picked up offers from Notre Dame and Nebraska in March, while Florida, Miami, North Carolina and Clemson are also in the mix.

    He threw for 23 touchdowns last season, adding 11 more scores on the ground. He named Mississippi State his leader earlier this month, per 247Sports.

Running Backs

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    New Jersey prospect Kareem Walker
    New Jersey prospect Kareem WalkerCredit: 247Sports

    Total 5-stars: Two

    Top-Rated Prospect: Tavien Feaster (Spartanburg, S.C.)

    Feaster dominated during his sophomore campaign, averaging nearly nine yards per carry. He finished the season with more than 1,400 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, per MaxPreps.

    Clemson, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida State and South Carolina each offered before December. He visited the Volunteers in March and has drawn interest from Auburn.

     

    Best of the Rest

    Kareem Walker (Wayne, N.J.) helped lead DePaul High School to a 10-win season, collecting offers from Penn State and Temple during the fall. He rushed for 1,164 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013, per MaxPreps, while averaging more than 10 yards per attempt.

    His offer list has grown to include Alabama, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan since January. The 6'1", 190-pound back visited Rutgers and Penn State last month.

Wide Receivers

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    Florida receiver Darnell Salomon
    Florida receiver Darnell SalomonCredit: 247Sports

    Total 5-stars: Four

    Top-Rated Prospect: DeKaylin Metcalf (Oxford, Miss.)

    Metcalf is the latest top-tier pass-catcher to pledge to Ole Miss. The hometown playmaker committed to the Rebels before his sophomore season and has spent significant time on campus since his decision.

    He caught 52 passes for 618 yards and eight touchdowns as Oxford reached the 2013 state title game, per MaxPreps. He is the son of Terrence Metcalf, who was an All-American offensive lineman at Ole Miss and played seven years in Chicago after being drafted by the Bears in 2002.

     

    Best of the Rest

    Courtney Lark (Bellaire, Texas) caught 34 passes for 514 yards and seven scores as a sophomore. The 6'1", 170-pound prospect added an offer from Maryland last week.

    He previously received offers from SMU and Texas Tech, which presented early in-state options. He is one of the Lone Star State's most impressive underclassmen.

    Darnell Salomon (Hollywood, Fla.) has received significant interest since his sophomore season ended. Early offers from UCF, Georgia Tech and Miami are now joined by those from Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, West Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia.

    He finished his 2013 campaign with 47 receptions for 896 yards and nine touchdowns. He attended a Hurricanes junior day in January.

    Devin Duvernay (Sachse, Texas) was a dual threat on offense last fall. He rushed for nearly 300 yards and two scores while catching 46 passes for 774 yards and 11 touchdowns.

    The 5'10", 175-pound speedster also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. He already holds offers from Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Oregon State and Baylor.

Tight Ends

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    Georgia prospect Isaac Nauta
    Georgia prospect Isaac NautaCredit: 247Sports

    Total 5-stars: One

    Top-Rated Prospect: Isaac Nauta (Buford, Ga.)

    Tight end recruits are rarely ranked among the upper echelon of prospects in a class, so Nauta is considered a truly elite talent. The 6'5", 240-pound playmaker, an immediate starter at Buford High School, is rated No. 16 overall by 247Sports.

    He caught 19 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns in 2013 while demonstrating dominant blocking skills. He has visited several programs who've offered him, including Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State.

     

    Best of the Rest

    Nauta is the only 5-star tight end prospect at this point. Kaden Smith (Flower Mound, Texas), Cary Angeline (Exton, Pa.) and Naseir Upshur (Philadelphia, Pa.) are highly ranked 4-star recruits who could eventually enter that territory.

Offensive Linemen

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    Louisiana prospect Willie Allen
    Louisiana prospect Willie AllenCredit: 247Sports

    Total 5-stars: Nine

    Top-Rated Prospect: Gregory Little (Allen, Texas)

    The 6'5.5", 282-pound tackle dominated during his first season as a starter. He helped pave the way for Allen to win a second straight state championship and protected coveted 2015 quarterback prospect Kyler Murray.

    Little is the No. 1 overall sophomore prospect in the 247Sports rankings. His list of campus visits already includes LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

     

    Best of the Rest

    Ben Cleveland (Toccoa, Ga.) is the latest elite offensive tackle to warrant attention in the Peach Tree State. The 6'7", 322-pound Stephens County High School standout is ranked No. 6 overall in the 2016 class and holds offers from Florida, Auburn, Georgia and Clemson, among others.

    Liam Eichenberg (Cleveland) and Patrick Hudson (Silsbee, Texas) are also rated among the country's top 10 sophomore prospects. Eichenberg is uncommitted with offers from Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State, while Hudson pledged to Texas A&M last month.

    Jauan Williams (Washington, D.C.) is one of the most intriguing recruits in this class. The tackle is relatively raw, but his strength and 6'7" frame command collegiate attention, with offers including Tennessee, Virginia Tech, UCLA, Clemson, Maryland and Ohio State.

    Willie Allen (New Orleans) is the latest coveted prospect to emerge at perennial national powerhouse John Curtis Christian High School. The 6'6", 265-pound tackle has added offers from LSU, Michigan and Notre Dame since February.

    Ben Bredeson (Hartland, Wis.) is sure to draw constant attention in Big Ten Conference country. The versatile lineman visited Wisconsin, Ohio State, Tennessee and Michigan earlier this month.

    John Raridon (West Des Moines, Iowa) is rated No. 1 nationally among guard prospects. The 6'4", 260-pound Valley High School product has collected offers from Oklahoma, Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska.

Defensive Linemen

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    New Jersey prospect Rashan Gary
    New Jersey prospect Rashan GaryCredit: 247Sports

    Total 5-stars: 12

    Top-Rated Prospect: Shavar Manuel (Tampa, Fla.)

    The 6'3", 262-pound defensive end is rated No. 2 nationally among 2016 prospects. He provided a dominant presence at Blake High School during his underclassman career, tallying 103 tackles and 29 sacks in two seasons.

    He compiled 25 tackles for loss and six fumble recoveries in 2013. His offer list includes Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Florida.

     

    Best of the Rest

    Julian Rochester (Powder Springs, Ga.) gives the Peach State a top-ranked defensive tackle for the second straight year (2015 prospect Trent Thompson is the No. 1 overall player in 247Sports' composite rankings). The 6'5.5", 280-pound prospect, who produces at a high rate for dominant Georgia program McEachern High School, has spent significant time on campus at Georgia and Auburn.

    Edwin Alexander (Hammond, La.) emerged as an early target for several SEC squads, including Ole Miss, Florida and Alabama. The tackle tallied 11.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss in 2013, committing to LSU in November.

    Rashan Gary (Scotch Plains, N.J.) makes it three defensive tackles who are rated among the nation's top 10 sophomore prospects. He is arguably the best defender in Northeast recruiting territory, collecting offers from Florida State, Rutgers, Alabama, Florida and Penn State.

    Dexter Lawrence (Wake Forest, N.C.) is another dominant defensive tackle from the East Coast. The 6'5", 300-pound menace provided serious push up the middle as a sophomore, securing 56 tackles and five sacks, per MaxPreps.

    The rankings feature several standout defensive ends, including Los Angeles pass-rusher Breland Brandt. The Windward School star holds offers from USC, Miami, UCLA and Washington after registering 63 tackles and 10.5 sacks as a junior, per MaxPreps.

    Isaac Garcia (Bellevue, Wash.) is another premier defender off the edge. The 6'4", 215-pound defender helped anchor a dominant defense during a 2013 state championship journey and received an offer from Washington State earlier this month.

Linebackers

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    Alabama linebacker Lyndell Wilson
    Alabama linebacker Lyndell WilsonCredit: 247Sports

    Total 5-stars: Four

    Top-Rated Prospect: Keion Joyner (Havelock, N.C.)

    Joyner helped push Havelock to a state title with consistent dominance at outside linebacker. He compiled 108 tackles, including 19 for loss, according to MaxPreps.

    The 6'3", 200-pound playmaker also picked up 7.5 sacks, intercepted two passes and forced seven fumbles. He visited Clemson and LSU in recent weeks, while Auburn, Ohio State and South Carolina have also emerged as early contenders.

     

    Best of the Rest

    Lyndell Wilson (Montgomery, Ala.) shines in the heart of SEC country and is being recruited accordingly. Offers from South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee have arrived since March, while in-state institutions Alabama and Auburn will be in the picture throughout.

    He secured 61 tackles and seven sacks as a sophomore at Carver High School, per MaxPreps.

    Caleb Kelly (Fresno, Calif.) deserves consideration as the top sophomore prospect in talent-packed California. Oklahoma extended his first offer in March, while Cal followed suit earlier this week. Expect plenty more Pac-12 programs to join the chase as his recruitment progresses.

    Jeremiah Moon (Birmingham, Ala.) is the second 5-star linebacker from Alabama. The 6'4", 200-pound prospect is well-suited for an edge-rusher role at the next level and spent time visiting the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa earlier this month.

    The Hoover High School star was part of a 2013 state championship squad and impressed at a Nike Football Training Camp event in Birmingham last month. He holds an offer from Mississippi State.

Defensive Backs

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    Texas prospect Deontay Anderson
    Texas prospect Deontay AndersonCredit: 247Sports

    Total 5-stars: Six

    Top-Rated Prospect: Eric Monroe (Houston, Texas)

    The North Shore High School safety is listed at No. 19 overall in the national rankings, which provides an early indication that this crop of defensive backs is viewed as slightly below other positional prospects at this stage. Monroe holds interest from Texas A&M and Alabama.

    The 6'0", 180-pound defender helped North Shore reach the third round of the 2013 state playoffs. He finished his sophomore season with first-team All-District honors.

     

    Best of the Rest

    Fellow Texan Deontay Anderson is also a star at safety. It's been a busy month for the Manvel High School sophomore, who's received offers from Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Washington State, Houston, Virginia Tech and North Carolina since the start of April.

    He collected 70 tackles and two interceptions last season. He started on varsity in 2012 as a freshman, racking up 55 tackles.

    John Broussard (Phenix City, Ala.) is the country's top-ranked 2016 cornerback at this stage. The 6'0", 164-pound prospect has picked up offers from Georgia, South Carolina, Southern Miss and Mississippi State this week. He visited Auburn last month.

    Kristian Fulton (Metairie, La.) also hails from the Southeast. The cornerback earned an offer from Louisiana Tech before the end of his freshman year, while Tennessee, Texas A&M, LSU and Florida are among the programs that have extended offers since his sophomore season.

    The Lone Star State boasts yet another big-time safety recruit in Brandon Jones (Nacogdoches, Texas). He tallied 95 tackles, five interceptions and a touchdown return in 2013, earning offers from Florida State, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, LSU, Ole Miss and Notre Dame. 

Athletes

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    Georgia prospect Demetris Robertson
    Georgia prospect Demetris RobertsonCredit: 247Sports

    Total 5-stars: One

    Top-rated Prospect: Demetris Robertson (Savannah, Ga.)

    Robertson is a dynamic playmaker in every phase of the game. He stars at Savannah Country Day School, where he emerged as a productive freshman in 2012.

    He elevated his efforts last fall, tallying seven offensive touchdowns, scoring on a kick return and compiling 90 tackles. The 6'1", 165-pound receiver and safety holds offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Clemson, Auburn and Georgia, among others.

     

    Best of the Rest

    No other "athlete" received a fifth star in this initial ranking, but 4-star prospects Trevon Diggs (Rockville, Md.), Scott Bracey (Richmond, Va.) and Brendan Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio) are knocking on the door. Diggs is the younger brother of Stefon Diggs, a standout rising junior at Maryland who is considered one of the top receivers in his class.


    Recruit information and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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