Breaking Down 247Sports' Updated 2015 Recruiting Rankings

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Breaking Down 247Sports' Updated 2015 Recruiting Rankings
Credit: 247Sports
Virginia defensive end Josh Sweat jumped to No. 1 overall.

Members of the 2015 recruiting class are just weeks away from beginning their senior seasons on high school football fields across America. Many of the marquee prospects have stayed busy this summer by participating in high-profile camps and showcases, including The Opening, an annual congregation of the country's top college recruits that took place last week at Nike's world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

These events provide analysts to dissect the skill set of athletes in a detailed manner since it's so difficult to hide deficiencies while competing against the best of your peers. Bleacher Report had an up-close view of all The Opening action, joined on the sideline by several well-respected recruiting services.

The collection of reporters at 247Sports quickly reassessed scouting reports for top-rated players, issuing new grades Wednesday based on evidence gathered this summer. Other websites have also updated their ratings, resulting in a revised edition of 247Sports' composite rankings.

This list is created courtesy of an algorithm that includes the assessment of several major media outlets, providing a comprehensive and multi-sourced look at the current class.

We reviewed the updated rankings, noting several impactful alterations. Here's a rundown of how the landscape has changed less than seven months shy of national signing day.

 

Josh Sweat Surges to Top Spot

Superb production, measurements and athleticism add up to create a special prospect in Josh Sweat, the nation's new No. 1 recruit. He tallied 94 tackles and 22 sacks in 2013, looking like the top defensive end on game film at Oscar Smith High School in Virginia.

The 6'4.5", 240-pound playmaker argubaly exceeded expectations at The Opening, running the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and finishing second in national SPARQ finals. Comparisons to No. 1 NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney quickly grew from whispers to roars, and it goes far beyond their similar hair styles.

Sweat is elite in every sense of the word, displaying agility normally shown by wide receivers while he chases down quarterbacks and dismantles blocking schemes. Despite dealing with a slight hip ailment in Oregon, he managed to take on the nation's most dominant offensive linemen and routinely win battles.

"You have to be perfect against him," 5-star offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt said. "Otherwise you're done. It's definitely a big challenge."

Martez Ivey, the top-ranked offensive lineman in composite rankings, echoed those sentiments.

"Josh is just a freak," he said. "I think we split our matchups (at The Opening), and he forces you to bring your best. That's the only way you can keep up with a player like him."

The pass-rushing menace remains uncommitted and is likely to stay that way entering his senior campaign. Several teams appear to be in the hunt, including Ohio State, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Florida State.

 

A Pair of Passers Enter 5-Star Territory

Before The Opening began, 19 quarterbacks assembled in Oregon for the Elite 11 finals. The competition annually features phenomenal prospects, and past participants include Andrew Luck, Tim Tebow and Matthew Stafford.

Blake Barnett and Jarrett Stidham rose to the occasion early and often during Elite 11 action, carrying momentum into 7-on-7 showdowns at The Opening. As a result, both passers are newly anointed 5-stars.

Barnett, who hails from Santiago High School in Southern California, was named Elite 11 MVP and led his squad to the 7on-7 championship. We bumped him ahead of fellow Golden State 5-star Ricky Town in our post-Elite 11 ratings, and the composite rankings also reflect that jump.

The 6'4.5", 200-pound Alabama pledge picked apart defenses with precision and outstanding deep-ball touch. When you factor in his mobility (695 yards and 13 scores on the ground in 2013), Barnett is a rare quarterback.

"When a play breaks down and the pocket starts to close in, I can make things happen," he said in Oregon.

B/R's Michael Felder focused on his performance during video evaluations at The Opening:

Stidham, a Texas Tech commit, is equally impressive as an athlete. He transitioned from receiver to quarterback as a junior at Stephenville High School in Texas, dazzling with 3,400 total yards and 44 touchdowns.

The 6'3.5", 190-pound passer flashed elite accuracy and above-average velocity in Oregon. His footwork was extremely solid and suggests he's worked diligently at his craft since switching positions.

"I feel more comfortable right now than ever before," Stidham said after an Elite 11 session.

It showed, and he's now the top-ranked dual-threat passer in this class.

Stidham and Barnett join Town, Josh Rosen (California) and Kyler Murray (Texas) in the 5-star echelon.

 

Receivers Rise After Impressive Efforts

Barnett didn't do damage alone at The Opening. He had plenty of help from fellow Alabama commit Calvin Ridley, a Florida standout who secured his fifth star.

The 6'0", 170-pound Pompano Beach High School playmaker caught two touchdowns in the 7-on-7 title game and earned overall MVP honors during closing ceremonies in Oregon. He rapidly formed a rapport with his future quarterback in the process.

"We really found a rhythm together," Barnett said following a 7-on-7 victory. "He's such a talented receiver, and it's big that we have a chance to build some chemistry before we both arrive at Alabama."

Ridley also put on a show in one-on-one drills while competing against the county's best defensive backs. His one-handed catch during opening day action was a top highlight of the week.

He broke down the ridiculous reception during a discussion with Bleacher Report:

Ridley now ranks 16th overall in the 2015 class, nine spots ahead of New Orleans receiver Tyron Johnson. The latest standout Louisiana pass-catcher was smooth when breaking in and out of routes throughout The Opening and regularly slipped into space downfield.

Johnson, a 6'1", 191-pound prospect from Warren Easton High School, caught 87 passes for 1,433 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. Texas Tech is currently the favorite for the 5-star's commitment, but Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma State are among teams that will challenge before signing day.

Florida product Deon Cain may be a quarterback at Tampa Bay Tech, but that didn't stop 247Sports from vaulting him to No. 1 nationally among receivers. That leap sends him to 45th overall in composite rankings, where he remains a 4-star prospect.

Cain was sensational in Oregon, appearing far more polished than many of his peers who've started at the position for multiple seasons. The scintillating athlete will move to receiver when he arrives at Clemson next year and could follow in the footsteps of Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins toward stardom as a Tiger.

 

Defensive Tackles Maintain Dominance

What we saw at The Opening only confirmed our belief that this is the strongest crop of interior defensive linemen of the decade.

There are six 5-star defensive tackle recruits in 2015 composite rankings. That amount really stands out when you factor in the fact that only 13 players earned 5-star status at the position from 2010 through 2014.

Georgia tackle Trent Thompson, who held the No. 1 spot before Sweat, didn't attend The Opening but still sits at No. 2 nationally on the composite list. He could face a challenge atop positional rankings from new Tennessee commit Kahlil McKenzie (California), who is now the second-highest-rated overall player in 247Sports' rankings.

Credit: 247Sports
Kahlil McKenzie had plenty to smile about at The Opening.

McKenzie is one of just two committed recruits in the 5-star bunch, joining Texas A&M pledge Daylon Mack (Texas). Thompson has yet to announce a decision, along with Rasheem Green (California), Shy Tuttle (North Carolina) and Daron Payne (Alabama).

Keep an eye on Hawaii native Breiden Fehoko, a 4-star prospect who was relentless in Oregon. The Texas Tech commit is now ranked No. 7 nationally among defensive tackles and collected 24 sacks in 2013.

"I came out here to prove myself as a top prospect, and I think I did that against some great linemen," Fehoko said on the final day of action in Oregon.

 

Recruit ratings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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