Rivals.com released its new Top 100 players for the Class of 2016 on Monday and its new Top 250 will be released Tuesday.
As quickly as the recruiting process moves these days, this is Rivals’ third update to its 2016 football prospect rankings with many more to follow before we get to Signing Day next February.
Georgia commit Jacob Eason, a quarterback from Lake Stevens, Wash., remains the No. 1 overall player.
Marlon Davidson, a 6-4, 268-pound defensive end from Carver in Montgomery, Ala., is No. 2 followed by quarterback Shea Patterson from Shreveport, La. Patterson is scheduled to announce his college choice Tuesday.
Rashan Gary, a 6-4, 290-pound defensive tackle from Paramus (N.J.) Catholic is fourth and Tampa Catholic wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers rounds out the top 5. Craig-Meyers is an Auburn commit.
Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell spoke with USA TODAY High School Sports about the new list and more recruiting topics.
USA TODAY HSS: Let’s start with the No. 1 player, Jacob Eason. What are you seeing from that warrants him being the top player at this point?
Farrell: “It’s getting close. I think this year there a lot of contenders for No. 1. He had a tremendous junior year. We got to see him in person in January and he’s just progressing along. He’s getting bigger and as he gets bigger, he is getting stronger. The stronger he gets, the better he is at making the more difficult throws. … The biggest thing he has to do is he needs to get a bit more mechanically set.”
USATHSS: Shea Patterson is scheduled to make his college commitment Tuesday. What are the differences between Eason and Patterson, who is No. 3 overall and your No. 2 quarterback?
Farrell: “They’re two different types of quarterbacks. Shea can do a lot of things to keep the play alive by moving around and making plays on the run. He’s not as big as Eason is. Eason sees the field a little better. Shea sees the field better when he’s outside the pocket. It should be a good battle for the No. 1 quarterback.”
USATHSS: There are two new five-stars in these rankings from last time in Derrick Brown, a defensive tackle from Lanier in Sugar Hill, Ga., and Ben Davis, a linebacker from Gordo, Ala. What have you seen to warrant adding the extra star?
Farrell: “Brown has added about 30 pounds since the summer and it’s looks like all muscle. He’s very well put together for a defensive tackle. He’s very light feet but can overpower you and shoot the gap. He’s an extremely special defensive tackle prospect at this point and a guy who can push for that No. 1 overall spot.
“Davis is an edge guy who can play middle. He’s 6-4 and going to play at 240, maybe 250 in college. He has a good frame to fill out. He has outside linebacker athleticism and coverage skills with inside linebacker instincts and quick-twitch ability. He’s another special kid.”
USATHSS: Who are some players you expect to potentially make some moves for the next rankings?
Farrell: “Elijah Stove, a wide receiver from Niceville (Fla.) is a special talent with the ball in his hands. (Stove is a four-star prospect at No. 29 overall.) He was outstanding in Florida last weekend in 7-on-7 and we’ll see him at our camp in March. He’s a guy who I’ve liked a lot better than most from the start and someone to keep an eye on.
“DeKaylin Metcalf, a wide receiver from Oxford, Miss., who is committed to Ole Miss is another kid whom I really like a lot. He’s a big, long striding receiver. His father (Terrence) played in the NFL.
“Both of those guys could make a push. There’s a lot of them out there. We only have 22 five-stars and it’s still so early. There are a few guys who can easily emerge as big playmakers and earn that fifth star and there are guys who have to step it up to keep it.”
USATHSS: It’s only February and this is the third update to the top 100. When is the next update planned?
Farrell: “It’s usually in May. I doubt we’ll do anything sooner but we leave it open. Back in the old days – as recently as three yers ago – our first list was in February. The industry has moved to ranking earlier; the colleges have moved to offering earlier and we’ve had to adjust. We’re still the slowest and the most meticulous, but this is way ahead of our pace.”