8. IMG Academy
Location: Bradenton, Fla.
18-19 Record: 7-1
Final Super 25 Rank: 5
Why them: Does No. 8 seem a little low for IMG Academy after finishing in the top five four years in a row? The Ascenders might begin next season higher than this, but they lost some of the top talent in the country with their 2019 graduates.
Nolan Smith, the top player in Florida and No. 2 in the Chosen 25, is off to Georgia. The No. 2 player in the state and top running back in the country, Trey Sanders, is going to Alabama and will be joined by Evan Neal, who was ranked by 247Sports as the top offensive tackle and No. 7 prospect in the country. Sanders’ backfield partner, Noah Cain, the No. 6 running back, will play at Penn State. Those are just four of the 10 players that IMG loses who were ranked among the top 50 players in Florida.
But by no means is the cupboard bare. The Ascenders bring back 11 players rated three-star or better. Transfers have already started coming in, including five-star 2021 defensive end JC Latham. It would be no surprise to see IMG rise from here; the Ascenders just need to prove they can win without their 2019 class.