Only two rankings updates remain for the 2023 class and one of them is just around the corner. This week the national recruiting analysts give an overview of the toughest questions they faced in this rankings update. Up next is the Mid-South region.
THIS SERIES: Toughest rankings questions in the East
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CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100
Who is No. 1 in Texas?
At the top of the rankings in the state of Texas, a handful of prospects have taken turns filling in the No. 1 spot since the class first debuted, as Anthony Hill, David Hicks Jr. and TJ Shanahan Jr. have all battled to separate themselves at the top.
With the cycle winding down, it’s only becoming harder to discern who is the clear-cut top dog, especially with other contenders such as Jackson Arnold and Peyton Bowen entering the mix this season as well. Hicks had a strong senior season and while Hill battled injury throughout the year, he was able to show his game-changing abilities when he was on the field.
This handful of names remain in the mix for the top spot ahead of the release next week.
How high do Jackson Arnold and Peyton Bowen go?
When deciding what prospects across the country should move from four- to five-star status, Jackson Arnold and Peyton Bowen were two of the first names off the board.
For Denton (Texas) Guyer this season, both have had game-changing impacts, whether it be Arnold filling up the stat sheet or Bowen finding a different way every week to score a touchdown on defense and special teams.
With five-star status almost certain, the question then becomes how far up each go in the rankings. Both are being considered for top 10 placement and both are in the mix to become the state’s top prospect ahead of their continued deep playoff run.
Is Rueben Owens II a five-star?
The question all year has been if a running back should be considered a five-star prospect in today’s game where NFL teams rarely draft a first-round running back.
However, there are special players that come along that fit the mold of what a first-round running back could look like, and El Campo (Texas) running back Rueben Owens II is just that.
Despite battling injury early in the season, Owens was equally as effective on the ground this season as he was during his eye-boggling junior season. This comes after a 7-on-7 season in which he proved his high value as a pass catcher as well.
There’s a lot to like about Owens’ game, and it’s possible that a big performance at the All-American Bowl could give Owens what he needs to attain the five-star status.
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What to do with Jayvon Thomas?
Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff four-star cornerback Jayvon Thomas saw a big rise in the rankings over the offseason after putting together one of the strongest playoff runs for a defensive back in the 2021 season.
However, going into 2022, Thomas suffered an injury that kept him out for the entirety of the regular season. This was Thomas’ second consecutive season missing the regular season after sitting out due to transfer rules in 2021.
But upon the start of the 2022 playoffs, Thomas has been utilized at running back for South Oak Cliff and he has done his part and then some: 14 carries for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
Despite a limited sample size, there is so much to like about Thomas from his frame to his football bloodline to his consistent game-changing ability, but it must be emphasized that the best ability is availability. If Thomas is to drop from No. 32 overall, how big of a drop can be warranted?
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