The ability to scout high school recruits for the college game has never been more scrutinized than it is today. And in the social media age, tracking the progress of recruits on the high school field has never been easier. But it can still be a bit of a guessing game when it comes to predicting which recruits are going to be big hits and which could fizzle out quickly. And with the transfer portal open for business, players have an opportunity to find a better situation to fully realize their potential, if not exceed expectations in a new environment.
The Class of 2019 certainly packed some big-time talent for the college game, many of which are heading off to a career in the NFL. But if you had to re-rank this class, how much would it change? Who were some of the players who may be ranked higher if you had a chance to revise the rankings with the benefit of hindsight?
We’ll give it a crack here with the Class of 2019.
Note: This list references the 247Sports Composite rankings.
1. Evan Neal, OL, Alabama
No. 1 OT, No. 7 overall
It seems the recruiting experts were right on this one. Neal was a rock for the Alabama offensive line and heads off to the 2022 NFL Draft as arguably the best lineman in the class.
2. Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
No. 1 WDE, No. 2 overall
This was another recruit that lived up to the hype, and Oregon is thankful for that. Thibodeaux is the top defensive lineman in the country and would probably still be ranked No. 2 in a re-ranking.
3. Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
No. 5 S, No. 60 overall
It may be hard to believe now that there were once four safeties deemed better than Hamilton, but he would rocket to the top of a re-ranking after witnessing his skills and performance on the field.
4. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
No. 1 CB, No. 3 overall
Sticking in the defensive secondary, LSU’s top cornerback lived up to the hype coming out of high school as well. While Kyle Hamilton moves ahead of Stingley here, it’s really a coin flip between the two if you had to choose between them.
5. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
No. 2 ILB, No. 19 overall
Georgia knew it was getting a fierce linebacker in Dean, but even the Bulldogs may have been surprised at the time if you told them they were adding a Butkus Award winner (although he did win the award in high school too).
6. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
No. 2 WR, No. 20 overall
Ohio State has managed to sign some elite wide receivers, and Wilson is a part of that trend. Arguably the best receiving prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft, Wilson was a nightmare for opposing defenses in Columbus.
7. George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
No. 4 SDE, No. 59 overall
Purdue picked up a major recruiting victory by signing Karlaftis, who became one of the top defensive linemen in the Big Ten during his college career. Keeping Karlaftis home would have been even more well-received if we had the chance to look into the future and evaluate this re-ranking.
8. Travon Walker, DT, Georgia
No. 3 DT, No. 22 overall
Walker stayed close to home and became a key player for a dominant Georgia defense that helped pave the way to a long-awaited national title. He would likely be moved up the rankings for the Class of 2019 and break his way into the top 10.
9. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
No. 16 WR, No. 103 overall
Making one of the biggest jumps up the re-ranking would be Burks, who was a leading receiver in the SEC in 2021. Any team in need of a pass-catching weapon would be happy to have Burks, and Arkansas keeping him home worked out quite well for the Razorbacks.
10. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
No. 3 Dual QB, No. 93 overall
The 2021 season didn’t go quite according to plan for Howell, but he would still be moved up significantly if re-ranking the Class of 2019 based on his entire collegiate career with the Tar Heels.
Best of the Rest:
(in alphabetical order)
David Bell, WR, Purdue
No. 19 WR, No. 113 overall
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
No. 22 RB, No. 339 overall
Jadon Haselwood, WR, Oklahoma
No. 1 WR, No. 4 overall
John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
No. 40 WR, No. 275 overall
David Ojabo, DE, Michigan
No. 19 SDE, No. 314 overall
Mycah Pittman, WR, Oregon
No. 15 WR, No. 94 overall
Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina
No. 1 Pro QB, No. 11 overall
Wan'Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
No. 1 APB, No. 87 overall
Nolan Smith, DE, Georgia
No. 1 WDE, No. 1 overall
Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
No. 9 RB, No. 152 overall
Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland
No. 5 Pro QB, No. 180 overall