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Senior season evaluations lead to 2023 On300 rankings update

Charles Power11/21/22
Article written by:On3 imageCharles Power

CharlesPower

AFI w_ Jackson Arnold, Dashawn Womack and Jven Williams in college uniforms afi

On3 has updated the On300 football prospect rankings for the 2023 cycle. This rankings release marks the fifth update this year and is primarily driven by senior season evaluations.

Updated 2023 On300

The senior season is a pivotal evaluation point in On3’s rankings process. The final high school season proves to be among the best indicators of ability as a college football player, manifested by the NFL Draft. On3 has taken in a considerable amount of video, including an extensive number of full high school games in generating this update. We also have tracked production through the majority of the senior season, as most states are currently in the playoffs.

Movement in this update largely accounts for what we’ve seen through the bulk of the 2022 season. The next and final update will focus heavily on all-star game evaluations along with the remaining balance of high school action over the next month.

It is important to understand that the nature of recruiting rankings lends to residual movement of prospects whose ratings remain unchanged. While update is more robust than many prior, roughly two-thirds of On300 members did not see their rating change.

Our goal is to assess a prospect’s long-term potential in college football, as manifested by the NFL draft. We now have 26 prospects rated as five-stars and will finish with 32 five-stars every cycle. 

Let’s get into some of the storylines surrounding this update.

Manning retains top spot, minor movement within top 10

Arch Manning holds on to the No. 1 overall spot in this update. The Five-Star Plus+ Texas quarterback commit has showed progression as a passer, adding velocity to his passes while also turning in very efficient play to this point in the season. Manning has completed close to 63 percent of his passes for 2,226 yards (10.7 yards per attempt) for 34 touchdowns with zero interceptions. While interception total is certainly not everything, we can’t recall a top quarterback prospect throwing zero interceptions as a senior in recent memory. Manning and his 8-2 New Orleans Isidore Newman team are in the midst of the playoffs and face a stiff test this week against Baton Rouge University Lab. The race for the No. 1 spot remains up in the air and will be settled in the final update, as evaluation points remain – including the remainder of Manning’s senior season.

Tennessee quarterback commit Nico Iamaleava remains as the No. 2 overall prospect in the On300. Iamaleava’s Downey (Calif.) Warren team wrapped up its season two weeks ago. The 6-foot-5.5, 195-pounder continued to show his rare physical skills as a senior flashing a top arm along with twitchy movement skills.

Uncommitted EDGE prospects Keon Keeley (No. 3), Damon Wilson (No. 4) and USC wide receiver commit Zachariah Branch (No. 5) remain top-five prospects. Keeley is having yet another strong season at Tampa Berkeley Prep, tallying 23.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks thus far. Wilson continues to look like one of the more gifted pass rushers in what is a strong cycle at the position. Branch’s status as the cycle’s most dynamic skill player remains unchanged to this point.

Penn State interior offensive line commit Jven Williams makes the move up to No. 6 overall and now ranks as the top offensive line prospect in the cycle. This comes on the heels of some very strong senior video from the 6-foot-5, 290-pounder. Williams has unique movement skills and functional athleticism at 17 years old. While ranked as an interior offensive lineman, he has the potential to play guard or tackle at the next level. It’s also worth noting that national all-star game evaluations will factor heavily into the final offensive line pecking order.

Oklahoma EDGE commit Adepoju Adebawore (No. 7), defensive lineman James Smith (No. 8), Oregon wide receiver commit Jurrion Dickey (No. 9) and Notre Dame offensive tackle commit Charles Jagusah (No. 10) round out the top 10.

Three new five-stars

This update adds three new five-star prospects, bringing the current total to 26.

Oklahoma quarterback commit Jackson Arnold earns his fifth star and leaps up to No. 12 overall. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is having a very strong season at Denton (Texas) Guyer. Arnold has been tearing up the Lone Star state’s highest classification as a senior, completing 69 percent of his passes for 2,859 yards (10.43 yards per attempt) and 31 touchdowns against three interceptions. Arnold has also continued to to show his ability as a run threat, rushing for 513 yards and 14 more scores to this point. The Sooner pledge has one of the stronger and quicker arms among quarterbacks in the cycle and has made continued progress as a player on Friday nights. He’s consistent on a week-to-week basis and plays at his best in the showcase games. We’ve also seen Arnold show some progress in working against pressure and navigating within the pocket. It’s also worth noting Arnold has many more opportunities to impress as he and Denton Guyer are primed for a deep playoff run in addition to being the highest-rated quarterback set to play in a national all-star game.

Uncommitted tight end Duce Robinson adds a fifth star, moving up to No. 21 overall. The Phoenix Pinnacle standout has long-been ranked as the cycle’s top tight end prospect and continued to look the part as a senior. The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder had a big final prep campaign, catching 59 passes for 1,172 yards and 10 touchdowns. Robinson’s movement skills both within the route and after the catch paired with his upside in contested catch situations make him the clear top tight end prospect in the cycle, in our opinion. Robinson, who also doubles as a star baseball player and MLB prospect, has taken official visits USC, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. The Trojans and Bulldogs lead in his On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine.

LSU EDGE commit Dashawn Womack was on the cusp of five-star status in the prior update. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder breaks through here, now checking at No. 21 overall. Womack has turned in a strong senior season while playing a national schedule at Baltimore St. Frances Academy. He looks to be one of the more polished pass rushers in what is a strong cycle at the EDGE position. Womack’s combination of ready-made size, high-end verified athleticism, pass rush skills and physicality result in an EDGE prospect with few tangible holes at this stage.

Uncommitted cornerback Desmond Ricks drops from the five-star ranks after reclassifying from the 2024 to 2023 cycles. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder still checks in as a top 50 prospect. In assessing the cornerback position, we felt Ricks’ new rating of 96 more accurately reflects where he slots in among the 2023 cornerback group based on what we’ve seen throughout the season to this point.

Movement with the quarterbacks

Four quarterbacks follow Arch Manning, Nico Iamaleava and Jackson Arnold within the top 100. Five-Star Plus+ USC commit Malachi Nelson remains as a five-star prospect, checking in at No. 19 overall.

Cincinnati commit Brady Drogosh makes one of the bigger jumps among the position, earning a 95 rating and vaulting up to No. 49. We’ve long held that Drogosh has one of the higher upsides among the deep quarterback cycle. After watching his progress as a senior, feel the Warren (Mich.) De La Salle is up there with Nico Iamaleava in having some of the best physical tools among 2023 signal callers. Drogosh owns a big frame 6-foot-4, 200-pounds with a 10 3/8 inch hand to go with high-end on-field athleticism. He’s been among the most dangerous run threats at the position dating back to his junior year.

While that remains the case, we’ve seen Drogosh make continued progress as a passer this fall. He’s playing very efficiently while flashing a big arm. Heading into last weekend, Drogosh had completed 68.7 percent of his passes for 1,871 yards (11.2 yards per attempt) and 33 touchdowns against four interceptions. He’d also rushed for over 1,100 yards and 13 scores looking like a freight train moving downhill on designed runs. While Drogosh still has plenty of room to improve as a passer, he’s shown signs of growth that we view as highly encouraging relative to his long-term projection — all while being a dominant high school football player in leading his team to a bid for a second straight state title.

Oregon commit Dante Moore retains his 95 rating, turning in a solid if not spectacular senior season to date. Moore is a well-known commodity at this point as a four-year starter and regular on the national 7-on-7 circuit. The Ducks commit had completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 1,787 yards (8.8 yards per attempt) and 24 touchdowns against three interceptions heading into the weekend.

Clemson pledge Christopher Vizzina comes in behind Moore at No. 60 overall. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder had a relatively tough senior season, as his Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian squad finished with a 3-7 record. We’ll get to see Vizzina in a neutral setting in January at the All-American Bowl.

The strength in the 2023 quarterback cycle is in the group’s depth of blue-chip prospects. 10 more signal callers fall within the On300, with several risers and a few new entries.

Washington State commit Sam Leavitt was among the bigger surprises in evaluating the position. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has some of the best senior video among 2023 quarterbacks, making a number of eye-popping throws this fall. Leavitt has shown an easy, live arm and some high level playmaking ability while completing over 70 percent of his passes for over 3,000 yards and over 40 total touchdowns en route to leading his West Linn (Ore.) High team to the state final. The Cougar commit checks in at No. 141 overall in this update.

Syracuse quarterback commit LaNorris Sellers is enjoying a huge senior season while leading his Florence (S.C.) South Florence team to a No. 1 state ranking and an ongoing deep playoff run. The 6-foot-2.5, 217-pounder has accounted for 52 total touchdowns and just two interceptions to this point in the season while leading a highly explosive offense that has forced running clocks in three playoff games to date. Sellers flew under the radar prior to this fall after missing the majority of his junior season due to a freak injury. He’s made up for the missed time, showing off a strong downfield arm and considerable burst as a run threat. Sellers now ranks as the No. 156 overall prospect in the On300.

Washington commit Lincoln Kienholz (No. 116), Alabama commit Eli Holstein (No. 121), Florida commit Jaden Rashada (No. 151), Kansas State commit Avery Johnson (No. 160), Baylor commit Austin Novosad (No. 170), Alabama commit Dylan Lonergan (No. 176), Oregon State commit Aidan Chiles (No. 185), uncommitted Kenny Minchey (No. 204) and Iowa State commit JJ Kohl (No. 248) are the other On300 quarterbacks.

Movers within the top 50

This update also saw some movement within the top 50 outside of the five-star ranks.

USC EDGE commit Braylan Shelby checks in at No. 33 overall. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder owns a high-end combination of size, fluidity and quick-twitch athleticism that points to a high upside. Shelby often played as an off-ball linebacker in his career at Friendswood (Texas) High, but was highly productive and disruptive in pass rush opportunities.

Alabama commit Yhonzae Pierre is one of the more violent defenders we’ve watched in the 2023 cycle. The 6-foot-3.5, 220-pounder is explosive off the ball and finishes plays with authority. He’s also shown continued progression as a pass rusher. The Eufaula (Ala.) High standout now checks in at No. 34 overall.

Ohio State cornerback commit Jermaine Mathews has been a steady riser dating back to a number of strong performances on the summer camp circuit. He parlayed the off-season progress into a strong senior season at Cincinnati Winton Woods. Mathews is one of the more consistent playmakers among the corner group, picking off six passes as a senior in addition to making a number of plays on offense and special teams. The Buckeye pledge ranks as the No. 35 overall prospect in this update.

TCU commit Cordale Russell continues to show arguably the highest physical upside among receiver prospects in the 2023 cycle. The Dallas area native showed steady progress as a senior totaling over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns in 10 games. At 6-foot-3 and north of 210 pounds, Russell owns a large frame with elite length for the position to go with his bouncy athleticism and long stride in the open field. Russell ranks as the No. 6 receiver and No. 36 overall prospect.

Alabama running back pledge Justice Haynes‘ rating moves up to a 96 as he’s in the midst of an outstanding senior season at Georgia powerhouse Buford High. Haynes, who ranks as On3’s No. 2 running back prospect, has rushed for 1,528 yards and 19 touchdowns at 12.6 yards per carry so far this season. The 5-foot-11, 193 pounder now ranks as the No. 43 overall prospect in the On300.

24 new On300 entrants

No. 127 WR Yazeed HaynesGeorgia

No. 135 TE Ka’Morreun Pimpton – Vanderbilt

No. 138 DL Zachary Chapman – TCU

No. 141 QB Sam Leavitt – Washington State

No. 156 QB LaNorris Sellers – Syracuse

No. 157 ATH Saboor Karriem – Illinois

No. 178 CB Rickey GibsonTennessee

No. 181 LB Arion Carter

No. 183 S Braedyn Moore – Cincinnati

No. 210 DL Will Smith Jr.Ohio State

No. 225 EDGE Samuel Same – Iowa State

No. 261 DL Kelze Howard – Oregon State

No. 268 OT Trevor Goosby – Texas

No. 272 CB Colton Hood – Michigan State

No. 277 LB Jordan Bass – Pitt

No. 281 CB LeVar Thornton Jr. – Baylor

No. 282 LB Dylan Gooden

No. 284 WR Marquis Johnson – Missouri

No. 290 EDGE Dylan CarpenterLSU

No. 291 ATH Brandyn Hillman

No. 293 EDGE Desmond Umeozulu – South Carolina

No. 294 WR Tyler Brown

No. 296 RB Dylan EdwardsNotre Dame

No. 298 CB CJ Blocker – Utah