Ranking the Top 50 Early CFB Recruiting Signees

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2020

Ranking the Top 50 Early CFB Recruiting Signees

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    Julian Fleming
    Julian FlemingCredit: 247Sports

    College football's 2020 recruiting cycle will effectively reach its end after Wednesday's national signing day. While a few handfuls of top players remain unsigned, most prospects sent in their paperwork during the December period.

    And before the untethered players make it official, we're reviewing the December prospects one last time.

    B/R previously ranked the top 25 offensive and defensive players in the 2020 cycle. The following top 50 merges those lists but adds a few more prospects and is focused on players who have signed a national letter of intent.

    Otherwise, 5-star defensive lineman Jordan Burch, running back Zachary Evans, offensive tackle Broderick Jones and 4-star safety Avantae Williams would be included in the rankings.

    Each profile features a note about the prospect, including a personal detail, previous stats or college outlook.

50-46. Mayer, Ratledge, Nelson, Stroud, Ngata

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    50. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 232 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Not only is Mayer the top-ranked player from Kentucky, but he's also the Bluegrass State's first 5-star product in five cycles. The most recent was former Alabama running back Damien Harris in 2015.


    49. Tate Ratledge, OT, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 322 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    When the Dawgs lost offensive line coach Sam Pittman to Arkansas, some wondered if any of Georgia's commits would follow. According to Rusty Mansell of 247Sports, however, Ratledge said Pittman told him to stay at Georgia.


    48. Jack Nelson, OT, Wisconsin

    Height/Weight: 6'7", 273 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Nelson is a Wisconsin legacy. His father, Todd, played offensive line for the Badgers from 1984 to 1988. And in the 1989 NFL draft, the Phoenix Cardinals selected Todd in the 12th round.


    47. CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

    Height/Weight: 6'2½", 194 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Stroud heads to Ohio State with a chance to start in 2021, though he'll likely take a redshirt this year. Justin Fields is expected to declare for the NFL draft after next season, and Gunnar Hoak will be a senior in 2020. Stroud will compete with fellow 4-star Jack Miller.


    46. Daniyel Ngata, RB, Arizona State

    Height/Weight: 5'9", 180 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    The ASU-bound running back is the brother of Clemson receiver Joseph Ngata and former Washington linebacker Ariel Ngata, who entered the transfer portal this offseason.

45-41. Rivers, Phillips, Rosemy, Rogers, Kennedy

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    45. Jalen Rivers, OT, Miami

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 331 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Rivers attended the same high school, Oakleaf, as outgoing Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman. Because he plays a position of need, Rivers has an opportunity to make a similar impact as Quarterman, a four-year starter for the 'Canes.


    44. Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

    Height/Weight: 5'10½", 178 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Utah induced a last-second flip during the early signing period, snatching Phillips from Ohio State. The 4-star corner had committed to the Buckeyes in June 2019.


    43. Marcus Rosemy, WR, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 195 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Rosemy attended South Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. According to Pro Football Reference, the high school has 14 active NFL playersincluding a trio of star defensive linemen in Nick Bosa, Joey Bosa and Geno Atkins.


    42. Justin Rogers, DT, Kentucky

    Height/Weight: 6'2½", 311 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Kentucky has only signed two 4-stars from Michigan under Mark Stoops, who's been at the school since 2013, but both attended Oak Park. Rogers will join 2018 signee Marquan McCall, who collected 21 tackles last season and will be an important piece of the 2020 rotation.


    41. Demouy Kennedy, ILB, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 215 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    From 2013 to 2017, Alabama signed its state's No. 1 prospect. However, Clemson infringed on the Tide's territory with Justyn Ross in 2018, and Georgia followed suit by snagging George Pickens in 2019. Kennedy ends that brief streak.

40-36. Jacobs, Chaney, Scott, Card, Davis

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    40. Curtis Jacobs, OLB, Penn State

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 220 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Jacobs visited a few other programs, but he spent plenty of time in Happy Valley. He landed a scholarship offer from the Nittany Lions in 2018, committed to Penn State in February 2019 and made five additional trips to the school before his official visit on the weekend before the early signing period.


    39. Don Chaney Jr., RB, Miami

    Height/Weight: 5'10½", 203 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Chaney, who enrolled early at Miami, won three consecutive state championships in the high jump. Last year, he cleared 6 feet, 7.5 inches for his third straight Florida state title.


    38. Gee Scott Jr., WR, Ohio State

    Height/Weight: 6'2½", 207 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Scott put together a breakout senior year. During his previous two seasons, the wideout collected 83 catches for 1,432 yards and 15 touchdowns. Then in 2019 alone, Scott racked up 76 receptions for 1,453 yards and 15 scores.


    37. Hudson Card, QB, Texas

    Height/Weight: 6'2½", 179 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Card attended Lake Travis High School, which has produced a few familiar quarterbacks. Notable alumni include 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer, as well as Michael Brewer (Texas Tech, Virginia Tech) and Garrett Gilbert (Texas, SMU).


    36. Fred Davis II, CB, Clemson

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 192 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Clemson has a star-filled recruiting class, but Davis is the only cornerback in the haul. While the Tigers aren't necessarily thin at the position, Davis should play regularly as a freshmanespecially if Clemson has lopsided scores so often again.

35-31. Wedig, Tyree, Smith, Evans, Jones

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    35. Trey Wedig, OT, Wisconsin

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 320 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Only twice in the last 10 recruiting cycles has Wisconsin failed to sign the state's No. 1 prospect. Wedig is the fourth straight top-ranked in-state player to join the Badgers.


    34. Chris Tyree, RB, Notre Dame

    Height/Weight: 5'10", 179 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Tyree assembled an efficient high school career. While scampering for 3,930 yards on 458 carriesa superb 8.6 per attempthe also grabbed 49 passes for 695 yards. Tyree, who will arrive in the summer, totaled 44 touchdowns.


    33. Arian Smith, WR, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 170 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    While he's a talented football player, Smith has also enjoyed success on the track. In 2019, the Florida native won a state championship in the 200 meters with top-three finishes in the 100 and long jump.


    32. Desmond Evans, DE, North Carolina

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 240 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    To say he lived in the opponent's backfield might be an understatement. Over the last two seasons, Evans racked up 145 total tackles with a ridiculous 60 for loss and 23 sacks. North Carolina is hoping to see even a fraction of that production immediately.


    31. Jaylon Jones, S, Texas A&M

    Height/Weight: 6'1½", 190 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Jones will play in the secondary at Texas A&M, but he provided some offensive production in high school. As a senior, he caught 30 passes for 549 yards and five touchdowns.

30-26. Boutte, Jarrett, Simpson, Capehart, Manning

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    30. Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 180 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Don't pencil him into the starting lineup, but Boutte has a chance to climb the depth chart. LSU must replace slot receiver Justin Jeffersonwho paced the FBS with 111 receptionsand Boutte could be the answer if he surpasses Trey Palmer.


    29. Rakim Jarrett, WR, Maryland

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 208 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Despite a 3-9 record in 2019, Maryland managed to steal the receiver from the national champions. The D.C. product flipped from LSU to the Terps during the early signing period.


    28. Trenton Simpson, OLB, Clemson

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 224 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Simpson landed scholarship offers from 20-plus schools, but he patiently waited on Clemson. The Tigers' offer finally arrived during his official visit, which happened on the weekend before December's signing period. Simmons committed on the spot.


    27. Demonte Capehart, DT, Clemson

    Height/Weight: 6'4½", 295 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Although he's a top prospect, Capehart isn't even the featured piece of Clemson's defensive line haul. The Tigers have two 5-stars ahead of Capehart, who tallied 84 total tackles with a terrific 35 stops for loss in his last two seasons.


    26. Dontae Manning, CB, Oregon

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 185 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Missouri hadn't produced a 5-star prospect since Dorial Green-Beckham in 2012, but Manning ended the streak. The Oregon-bound corner is considered the No. 3 player at his position.

25-21. Burton, Sherman, Sewell, Carter, Sanders

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    25. Jermaine Burton, WR, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'0½", 190 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Georgia swiped Burton at the last moment, flipping his commitment and landing his signature during the early signing period. Burton had been pledged to LSU since April 2019.


    24. Mekhail Sherman, OLB, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 234 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    An imposing linebacker who will arrive in Athens this summer, Sherman put together a good showing in the Under Armour All-America Game. He notched six tacklesincluding four in the fourth quarterwith two stops for loss.


    23. Noah Sewell, ILB, Oregon

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 266 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Sewell has three brothers who play college football and is joining one at Oregon. Penei Sewell, a left tackle, is arguably the best player in the entire country. He was a unanimous All-American choice as a sophomore in 2019.


    22. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 301 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    The term "athlete" is thrown around too much in analysis; of course they're athletes—they play at a high level. But a defensive tackle who can throw down a windmill dunk? That's an athlete.


    21. Drew Sanders, ATH, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 232 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Previously committed to Oklahoma, Sanders flipped to Alabama in April 2019. The 5-star rushed for 37 touchdowns in high school but will be a linebacker for the Crimson Tide. Sanders piled up 173 tackles with 31 for loss over the last two seasons.

20-16. Smith-Njigba, Bigsby, Braswell, Smalls, Anderson

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    20. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 188 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Smith-Njigba hardly could've been tougher to defend in high school. He posted 83-plus receptions and 1,300-plus yards in three straight years, topping out at 103 catches and 2,162 yards as a senior. Smith-Njigba totaled 75 touchdowns during that span.


    19. Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 210 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    While his given name is Cartavious, Bigsby earned the nickname "Tank" early in his football days. "When I was younger, I played rec ball and my mom told me that I run the ball like a tank," he said, per Hannah Goodin of GPB Sports.


    18. Chris Braswell, DE, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 220 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Alabama has created a pipeline from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. Braswell is the fourth 4- or 5-star prospect to join the Tide in the last three recruiting cycles, following 2018 5-star Eyabi Anomathough he's since transferred to Houstonand 2019 4-stars Shane Lee and Darrian Dalcourt.


    17. Sav'ell Smalls, DE, Washington

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 244 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Smalls rose to 5-star status as a linebacker, but he spent 2019 a little closer to the line of scrimmage and was named the North Puget Sound League Defensive Lineman of the Year. Washington, though, lists Smalls as an outside linebacker.


    16. Will Anderson, DE, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 230 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    One of 13 early enrollees for Alabama this cycle, Anderson has a chance to play immediately. The Tide must replace 24 combined tackles for loss from Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis. Anderson posted 38 sacks during his last two seasons.

15-11. Dexter, Washington, Demas, Robinson, Bowman

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    15. Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida

    Height/Weight: 6'6½", 286 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Playing against Dexter must've been miserable. As a senior, per MaxPreps, he gathered 125 tackles with 35 for loss and 18 sacks. And in 2018 and 2019 combined, Dexter forced 14 fumbles.


    14. Darnell Washington, ATH, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'7½", 261 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Though he's headed to Georgia for football, Washington was a productive basketball player too. He averaged 11.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per game as a junior, according to MaxPreps.


    13. Demond Demas, WR, Texas A&M

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 182 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Demas transferred to Tomball High School for his senior year, but the Texas-based recruit was ruled ineligible. Nevertheless, he won a state title in long jump as a sophomore and caught 50 passes for 1,574 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2018. Demas is a sensational athlete.


    12. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 200 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Robinson put up numbers in high school like he was playing a video game. During each of his last three seasons, the Texas-bound running back crested the 2,000-yard mark while totaling more than 100 touchdowns for Salpointe Catholic in Arizona.


    11. Demarkcus Bowman, RB, Clemson

    Height/Weight: 5'9", 191 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    While he's a terrific talent, Bowman might not be a nationally recognized player for several seasons. Travis Etienne surprisingly decided to return for his senior year, and Lyn-J Dixon will likely be Clemson's featured back in 2021 unless he turns pro.

10-6. Ricks, Gilbert, Murphy, Johnson, Ringo

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    10. Elias Ricks, CB, LSU

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 192 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Ricks attended California powerhouse Mater Dei but transferred to IMG Academy so he could graduate early. The plan worked as hoped; Ricks enrolled at LSU in January.


    9. Arik Gilbert, TE, LSU

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 253 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Gilbert's brother is Deangelo Yancey, who's seventh in Purdue history with 2,344 receiving yards. Overall, he tallied 141 receptions and 20 touchdowns. That production led the Green Bay Packers to choose him in the fifth round of the 2017 draft.


    8. Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 260 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Murphy attended Hillgrove High School in Georgia, which has enjoyed a run of future NFL players lately. Bradley Chubb and Evan Engram became first-round picks, and Kenyan Drake won a national title at Alabama before getting selected in the third round.


    7. Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

    Height/Weight: 6'7", 290 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Johnson's father, Paris, played at Miami (Ohio) and was a fifth-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 1999. He later served as an assistant coach at Michigan State and Pitt.


    6. Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 205 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Ringo took his official visit to Georgia on the final weekend before December's signing period. Though he quietly signed with UGA, he waited until the All-American Bowl to announce the decision.

5-1. Flowe, Young, Fleming, Uiagalelei, Bresee

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    5. Justin Flowe, ILB, Oregon

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 225 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Thanks to Flowe, Oregon has landed a 5-star defender from the Los Angeles area in two straight cycles. Last year, Kayvon Thibodeaux chose the Ducks. Flowe will attempt to follow Thibodeaux's path to freshman All-America honors.


    4. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

    Height/Weight: 5'11", 183 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Before enrolling at Alabama, Young earned MVP honors at the All-American Bowl. He completed six of nine passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, leading the West team to a 33-20 victory.


    3. Julian Fleming, WR, Ohio State

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 199 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Only 90 miles separate Fleming's high school from Penn State, but he turned down the nearby school. Fleming took nine unofficial visits to Penn State before committing to Ohio State.


    2. DJ Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson

    Height/Weight: 6'4½", 246 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    Uiagalelei could be the backup to Trevor Lawrence right away after second-stringer Chase Brice decided to transfer. Clemson's only other returning scholarship QB is Taisun Phommachanh, who attempted 12 throws before taking a redshirt in 2019.


    1. Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 290 lbs

    1 Thing to Know

    For seven straight years, Clemson has ranked no worse than sixth nationally in tackles for loss. Perhaps unfairly, the defensive powerhouse adds a player in Bresee who collected 66.5 such takedowns during his last two high school seasons.


    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from NCAA.com, cfbstats.com or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.

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