Rivals Rankings Week: Who should be the top three prospects in 2023?

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The 2023 rankings cycle is coming to a close this week. The final list of 5-stars will be released on Monday, followed by the updated Rivals250, offensive position rankings, defensive position rankings state rankings, junior college rankings, and transfer portal team rankings on each of the subsequent days

The national recruiting analysts – Clint Cosgrove, Adam Friedman, Adam Gorney, Nick Harris and Ryan Wright – give their takes on who should be in the top three of the final rankings.

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

Sunday: Who should be the top three prospects in 2023?

Monday: Five-Star Countdown | Meet the new five-stars | Latest recruiting news on five-stars

Tuesday: Rivals250 released | Biggest Movers | Gorney’s thoughts

Wednesday: Offensive position rankings released

Thursday: Defensive position rankings released

Friday: State rankings released

Saturday: Roundtable

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COSGROVE’S TAKE: 

No. 1: Dante Moore

No. 2: Keon Keeley

No. 3: Arch Manning

After an up and down week of practice at the All-American Bowl, Moore shined brightest when the lights came on with a nearly flawless performance during the game. This is exactly why I love Moore so much. He is the ultimate gamer with incredible field vision, pinpoint accuracy and an unfazeable mentality on the field. Edge rushers come at a premium and there are few with Keeley’s upside in the 2023 class. The 6-foot-6 defensive end has incredible length with the explosiveness and athleticism to be a lethal pass rusher at the next level. When Keeley reaches his physical peak, he will be as complete of a defensive end as you will find. I struggle with putting Manning in the top three due to my limited evaluation and the fact that we’ve never seen him perform against elite competition at off-season events. That being said, I would be foolish to not recognize the type of talent Manning is and the caliber of player he will likely become. The Texas signee has the ultimate pedigree, can make every level of throw with ease, is polished beyond his years and has been training for this since the day he was born.

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FRIEDMAN’S TAKE: 

No. 1: Arch Manning

No. 2: Dante Moore

No. 3: David Hicks

At No. 1 overall I’d like to see Arch Manning. He is the most mentally prepared quarterback we’ve seen in a long time, he has exceptional abilities throwing the ball, and he has the physical tools to be successful from Day 1. After him the picture becomes less clear for me. Position value comes into play more at the top of the rankings than anywhere else so quarterback and defensive line are the two places that I look. Dante Moore is my No. 2 overall quarterback. The game seems to move really slowly for him and he is a very natural thrower, even if he isn’t as great an athlete as Nico Iamaleava. At No. 3, I have David Hicks. He can wreck a game plan from the inside of the defensive line much like Aaron Donald can at the NFL level, even if their skills are not entirely similar. Of course, I’d like to see Iamaleava, Keon Keeley and this incredible receiver class near the top of the rankings but those three players would be my first picks off the board.

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GORNEY’S TAKE:

No. 1: Arch Manning

No. 2: Nico Iamaleava

No. 3: David Hicks Jr.

I wish Manning participated in national events over the years but he didn’t. That still does not take away the fact that wherever he’s thrown, he’s been the best quarterback there, he put up phenomenal high school performances and he’s a special prospect with tremendous upside at Texas. Players like Iamaleava hardly ever come around so it’s difficult to keep him off the No. 1 line but second in the entire class isn’t bad. The Tennessee signee has such special arm talent, he can run not only to escape pressure but to pick up valuable yards and keep defenses honest and his leadership abilities are unique as teammates are drawn to play with him. I’m not comparing Hicks to Alabama‘s Will Anderson because they’re different players but when I saw Anderson just physically dominate at the All-American Bowl, I had the same feeling when Hicks just manhandled everybody at the Under Armour Game and then the Polynesian Bowl. He’s such a violent, intense, physical force that he could make an argument for No. 1 overall.

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HARRIS’ TAKE: 

No. 1: Arch Manning

No. 2: David Hicks Jr.

No. 3: Nico Iamaleava

Arch Manning headlines my top three because of his consistent production in his four years at Isidore Newman along with his elite physical build, arm talent and IQ. When evaluating quarterbacks, the hardest thing to account for can sometimes be the mental aspect of playing the position, but there are zero concerns about Manning’s ability to take on a complex offense and succeed with quality decision-making. David Hicks Jr.‘s strong senior season paired with his torturous run on his all-star game tour makes him the top defensive prospect in the country and No. 2 overall in my book. His college ready frame and athleticism will make him an immediate contributor for Texas A&M. Nico Iamaleava’s combination of size, arm talent and elusiveness makes him one of the more fun quarterback prospects I’ve ever covered, and deserving of a No. 3 overall ranking. After he fills out, Iamaleava will be one of the more physically challenging quarterbacks to defend in college football along with his already elite intangibles.

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WRIGHT’S TAKE

No. 1: Caleb Downs

No. 2: Damon Wilson

No. 3: Peter Woods

If Downs’s college career is anything like what he did for Mill Creek, SEC receivers and running backs are in for a long three to four years. Downs is a sideline to sideline defender who can play centerfield and cover. When the ball is in the air, Downs’ mentality is the pigskin is his. Putting everything together as a defensive end, Wilson is the most complete defensive end in the 2023 class. There may be weakside defensive ends who are faster or strongside ends that are bigger, but none have the full package to get after the quarterback and seal the edge like Wilson does. Wilson has a relentless motor outworking offensive linemen with a knack of making the big play when needed. Like him as a defensive end or a defensive tackle, Woods is an absolute nightmare for offensive linemen. The Thompson High School product showcased his skills at the UA Next practices and game dominating throughout. His speed and strength will be disruptive against ACC defenses forcing offensive coordinators to double team him when possible.

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