For the first in its long history of rankings football recruits, Rivals.com has had player leap 12 spots to the perch as the No. 1 player in the nation.
Dexter Lawrence from Wake Forest (N.C.) is listed as the top player in the Class of 2016 in the latest Rivals 100 released Monday.
Should he remain No. 1, he would be the first defensive tackle to ever finish as No. 1. The only previous time a defensive tackle was ranked No. 1 at any point was when Trenton Thompson was briefly at the top in the initial rankings for the Class of 2015.
“We loved his film from his sophomore and junior years and he was absolutely dominant,” Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell said. “This is one of those things where it comes down to seeing him improve. We saw him in January, we saw him again in April and he continually improves. He strikes us as franchise defensive tackle.”
Lawrence, who is 6-5, 290, has a long list of college offers. He displaces quarterback Jacob Eason, who was No. 1 in the previous rankings. Eason, a Georgia commit from Lake Stevens, Wash., moved to No. 4.
“It doesn’t mean he’s the best DT we’ve ever seen,” Farrell said, “but this is the biggest jump to No. 1 we’ve ever had that I can recall. … You have to consider the bell-to-bell guys we’ve had over the years like Terrelle Pryor, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin. There are so many guys that started No. 1 and finished No. 1. There’s only a few years where there’s been jockeying around.”
Lawrence played on a defense that allowed 14 points per game as Wake Forest went 15-1, with the lone loss coming in the 4-AA state title game.
Look for more on the Rivals rankings in the coming days on USA TODAY High School Sports