247Sports updated its national rankings on Wednesday, with several prospects finding themselves on the move.
Louisiana standouts in OT Cameron Robinson (pictured) and RB Leonard Fournette currently top the 247Sports national rankings.
New No. 1
West Monroe (La.) High offensive tackle Cameron Robinson moved from No. 5 to No. 1 following a dominant performance at The Opening, an invite-only all-star camp held last week at the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon that featured the majority of the nation’s top prospects.
Right behind Robinson at No. 2 is fellow Bayou State standout in running back Leonard Fournette of New Orleans St. Augustine. Both Robinson and Fournette now have franchise ratings of 101. Past prospects to earn a franchise rating (101 and higher) from 247Sports includes Ole Miss defensive end signee Robert Nkemdiche (101 in 2013), South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (105 in 2011) and Alabama offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio (102 in 2011).
“After getting a look at Cameron Robinson and what he can do athletically and the upside he brings to the table, we decided he was the No. 1 prospect in the country and assigned franchise ratings (101) to both he and running back Leonard Fournette,” 247Sports National Recruiting Director JC Shurburtt said. “You can make a strong case for Fournette being No. 1, but we use position value based on NFL Draft data to guide us. Adrian Peterson did not go No. 1 overall. Trent Richardson did not go No. 1 overall. So according to our criteria, with it being so close, we went with Robinson, who has elite upside and ability and showed that at The Opening.
Woodbridge (Va.) High five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand was previously ranked as the nation’s top-ranked prospect for 14 months. He is now slotted at No. 6 overall.
“Da’Shawn Hand is a great football player and a five-star person,” Shurburtt said. “I don’t normally dislike moving prospects in the rankings because they sort of are what they are and I’m a professional. But, I will say I hope Hand makes this look like the biggest mistake in the history of ranking prospects because I’m personally so high on the kid, not just in football, but in life. The bottom line is that our team of national analysts did not think he was No. 1 overall after comparing him to other top prospects and so others moved ahead. We certainly will be watching him moving forward and like I said, there’s no bigger fan of Da’Shawn Hand than me.”
More on Robinson's rise to No. 1 can be read in this 247Sports feature here.
Big Year At Running Back
Uncommitted prospect Joe Mixon is one of three new five-star running backs.
Fournette and Florida commit Dalvin Cook remained five-stars, with Cook moving a spot up to No. 20 in the national rankings. Joining those two as five-star running backs are Joe Mixon, Royce Freeman and Georgia commit Nick Chubb.
The nation’s top-ranked all-purpose back out of Oakley (Calif.) Freedom, Mixon climbed 25 spots and checks in as the No. 12 prospect overall.
“The only concern we had about Mixon was his top-end speed, but he quickly dismissed those concerns at The Opening,” Shurburtt said. “He’s 6-foot-1, 209 pounds and has the best hands of any back in the country. We’ve talked about position value a great deal and can’t think, outside of Fournette, who is a once every five-six cycle type of back talent-wise, of a more valuable running back prospect in the country.”
The pride of Freedom (Calif.) High, Freeman jumped 53 spots to No. 18 nationally.
“Freeman is a player that we’ve heard a lot about and seen at camps, but we wanted to get a good look at how he compared physically in an environment like The Opening and he passed the test with flying colors,” Shurburtt said. “There are college coaches that think he’s a better pure running back than Mixon and he compares favorably to former Oregon and current NFL running back Jonathan Stewart. He’s 6-feet tall, 227 pounds, runs 4.58 consistently and has excellent feet. He’s just a big-time prospect 16 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border in rural California that we wanted to be sure about.”
Out of Cedartown (Ga.) High, Chubb climbed 84 spots to No. 27 nationally
“When I saw Chubb in person last season, he got tired from playing so many snaps and was less-than-impressive (it was against Ohio State five-star defensive back signee Vonn Bell’s team),” Shurburtt began. “I am glad, after watching him at The Opening and finish out his junior year that I was wrong about him. Chubb is 5-foot-11, 227 pounds and hung a 4.47 40 on the board at The Opening. He moves well and is a tireless worker with a low bust factor. Given all the understood attention on Sony Michel, Chubb sort of flew under-the-radar, but there’s no question as things stand today he’s the better running back prospect.”
Other big-time backs ranked inside the Top100 includes… Racean Thomas, who moved up three spots to No. 62. Chubb’s fellow Georgia commit Sony Michel. Notre Dame pledge Elijah Hood climbed 55 spots to No. 76.
Texas A&M bound signal-caller Kyle Allen is now the nation's top-ranked quarterback.
Allen Takes Over Reigns As Top Quarterback
It’s been a memorable summer for Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain signal-caller Kyle Allen, who announced his commitment to Texas A&M in early June. He absolutely tore up the camp circuit the last two months en route to becoming 247Sports top-ranked quarterback.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Allen is up 24 spots to No. 23 in the national rankings.
“Allen did everything he was supposed to do at the Elite 11 and had his 7-on-7 team won the championship, I haven’t been told this, but it’s my belief he would have won the Elite 11 MVP,” Shurburtt explained. “Allen is tall, has a great arm, is cerebral and while he’s a great high school quarterback currently, he still has a ceiling. He’s the only quarterback we are rating five stars currently, but Keller Chryst, Will Grier, Jacob Park and David Cornwell all are in the mix.”
The 6-foot, 185-pound Samuel is up 57 spots to No. 25 nationally while the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Holley’s rise saw him go from No. 73 to No. 28.
“When you watch Curtis Samuel on film, he’s an animal on both sides of the ball,” Shurburtt said. “We knew that, which is why we ranked him early in the Top100. Well, then you go and start looking at the numbers (consistently in the 4.4 range, with a 4.36 at The Opening) and how he plays in a 7-on-7 and there’s fluid athleticism to go along with his tenacity and physicality on the field. I think his highest upside is on defense, but I think his offensive ability is right there. A creative staff will find a way to use him within their offensive scheme if that’s what side of the ball he plays.
Ohio State OLB commit Dante Booker climbed 73 spots to become a five-star prospect.
“I felt like Samuel could be a big riser for us, but what surprised me was Thomas Holley. To have played the amount of football he’s played, he’s somewhat polished. Given that he will only get better, we felt like there were not too many prospects across the country with his limited experience that had the combination of basement (he’s already very good) and ceiling (he can potentially be great) that he did.”
Booker & Lane Earn Five-Star Status
Ohio State outside linebacker commit Dante Booker jumped 73 spots to No. 16 nationally, making the Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary standout the highest-rated pledge in the Buckeyes recruiting class. He is also the top-ranked prospect at his position.
“After Booker blew us all away at The Opening with his testing (6-3, 212, 4.52 in the 40), I took another look at his junior film. Not only is Booker fast, he’s football fast, instinctive and a great playmaker. There’s talk he could put his hand down in college and that would be fine. He also can play in space well enough to remain at linebacker. Booker is a special player right now, but after digging in on who he really is as a prospect and what he showed at The Opening, he has special potential as well.”
"Lane was dominant during the 7-on-7 portion of The Opening and as he showed us on film last spring when we ranked him in our initial Top25 Class of 2014 prospects, he catches nearly everything and has excellent size and speed,” Shurburtt said. “It's debatable if Lane or Speedy Noil end up as the top receiver prospect in the country for this cycle and that is something we will be watching closely moving forward."
There was a plethora of prospects that shot up the rankings, many making their debut in the Top247 for the first time.
Big risers included new members to the Top247 in Houston (Texas) Lamar safety John Bonney, Saint Paul (Minn.) East Ridge center and Alabama commit J.C. Hassenauer, Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy defensive end Derek Barnett, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman receiver Travis Rudolph, Hinsdale (Ill.) Central teammates in center and Michigan State commit Brian Allen and tight end and Michigan verbal Ian Bunting, St. Louis (Mo.) University cornerback Raymond Wingo, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington defensive end Chad Thomas, Manahawkin (N.J.) Southern Regional tight end Mike Gesicki, Lithonia (Ga.) King cornerback and South Carolina bound prospect Wesley Green, National Elite 11 Quarterback Competition winner Sean White, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham tight end Dalton Schultz, Bolivar (Mo.) High standout and Arkansas quarterback commit Rafe Peavey, Cleveland (Ohio) Shaker Heights defensive end and Tennessee verbal Joe Henderson, Overland Park (Kan.) Shawnee Mission West cornerback and Jayhawks pledge Andre Maloney, Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral receiver and Ohio State verbal Terry McLaurin, Washington (Pa.) High running back Shai McKenzie, Orange Park (Fla.) Oakleaf linebacker and Miami commit Darrion Owens, North Carolina offensive tackle commit Caleb Samuel, Portland (Ore.) Jesuit linebacker Joey Alfieri and future Purdue quarterback David Blough from Carrollton (Texas) Creekview.
With the many prospects that went up, that meant that several others had to drop in the rankings.
“With it being the midway point of the cycle and the season forthcoming, we felt it was important to clear the deck a little bit, so we re-evaluated every prospect on the list,” Shurburtt explained. “Of course, we had more to go on with some that we saw at The Opening and during the spring/summer, there were players that moved down because others moved up and we had to make position/state rankings fit. There are some players that we received new information on and we came to the conclusion we were just wrong. It happens and the important part is to get the list as accurate as possible at every release, but especially at the end. We feel like in the short time we’ve been at this, we have done pretty well calling our shots. The vast majority of the five-star prospects in this class that were named five-stars in May of 2012 remain five-stars today, according to both the 247Sports rankings and the recruiting industry-generated 247Composite, so we feel very good about where we are at.”