This week the 2018 recruiting cycle comes to a close, with the completion of the final early-signing period. The recruiting class of 2023 will be assembled one year from now, and the process will be quite different from the one we’ve witnessed in the last year.

Shy away from the national championship talk and the NFL draft hype this spring, and instead focus on the college football recruiting process. The 2017 cycle is in full swing, and that means a lot of the kids we have heard about for the last few years are starting to get serious about making a decision. Here is a list of the top 20 recruits in college football, and the list of schools that are recruiting them.


  • Craig Haubert.


ESPN Staff Writer

    • National recruiting analyst and ESPNU analyst
    • Over a decade of coaching at the college and professional level.
    • Graduate of the University of Indiana and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
  • Tom Luginbill.


ESPN Analyst

    • Senior National Recruiting Analyst for
    • Coach in four professional football leagues
    • Graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and Marshall University.

The ESPN Jr. 300 has been released for the 2023 college football recruiting class, and there is a lot of talent and spots open for discussion.

Due to COVID 19 restrictions on high school students, this first ranking for students was based heavily on personal evaluation of camps and activities by our scouting team.

To help you find out who is on the list and who are the best recruits, here is everything you need to know about the ESPN Jr. rankings. 300 2023.

Pronunciation for #1

DE Lebbeus LT Overton
Milton High School (Georgia)

It wasn’t easy to make the first pick in this first edition of the ESPN Jr. 300, but there were plenty of examples of why Overton deserves to be the first pick in the 2023 rankings. Overton faces top competition as we continue to place the highest value on pass rushers.

Defender Lebbeus Overton is the No. 1 defender in the 2023 class. Three steps

In terms of size, he is a physically imposing defender with broad shoulders that allow him to carry his weight well, while being extremely agile and quick. At 6-foot-11 and 100 pounds, he may not be as tall as Jadeveon Clowney (6-5) or Miles Garrett (6-4), but he has similar length with an 81-inch wingspan.

Overton also has the same rare combination of speed, power and explosiveness. In blocking schemes, it must be played with two teams or it will seriously disrupt the backfield. While he is strong enough to take blocks and be reliable against the run, he also moves with remarkable speed to get around offensive linemen as a pass-rusher. Overton has excellent lower body flexibility and hunter bend, which is evident on the court; he is a member of the Milton basketball team that won a state championship.

Although he quickly became a promising player in his sophomore year and received several offers, Overton continues to look for opportunities to compete and hone his skills with an intense, hard-working approach. His exceptional mentality, combined with his superior physical attributes at this stage, has earned Overton the top spot in our initial 2023 rankings. Clemson, Alabama, Texas A&M and Oklahoma are already considered top contenders.

QB-PP Arch Manning
Isidore Newman School (Louisiana)

It’s still early, and there’s still a lot of football to be played, but Manning might be at the top of the MVP race. It is easy to look at him and see all the beneficial physical attributes, but there are two distinctive qualities that set him apart: Serenity and nuance.

2 Connected

It’s not often that promising players his age, even in his first season, show as much confidence as he did. The nephew of Super Bowl champions Peyton and Eli Manning acts calm and with a sense of timing. His body language and ability to remain calm when the situation is not ideal comes instinctively.

What does Nuance mean? It is a sense of what is needed for a particular throw – speed, feel, power, rhythm, timing and layering. Manning has a good feel for the trajectory of the ball and how to get his receivers open, placing them where only they can catch the ball. He can run with the ball in coverage, which minimizes the risk. There’s a lot of pressure on Manning and he seems to be handling it well so far. Clemson, Texas, Alabama and Georgia are some of the schools he visited in June.

High angle

College football coaches stress the importance of a cornerback’s length and range in the perimeter. Size, long limbs and reach are attributes, and this group certainly has them.

Of the five cornerbacks in the top 50, only one is smaller than 6-foot-1, Javien Toviano (6-foot-1). The 6-2 Cormani McClain, ranked fourth, ran the 40-yard dash with a laser in 4.58, which is NFL standard.

Tony Mitchell, the No. 21 pick on the list, is a real threat in both directions with his combination of speed and ball skills, and yes, he’s big (6-2) and tall. A.J. Harris, picked 29th, may not have as much speed as the others, but he is 6-2 and has excellent rebounding (4.25 shuttle).

Advance to trenches

DT Peter Woods
Thompson Public School (Alabama)
Rating ESPN Jr. 300 : 3

Ten promising IMG Academy students are ranked in the ESPN Jr. 300 for the class of 2022. But are any of them in the top 5? Player evaluation

There are three emerging defensemen in the top 11 in the country, and Woods leads this talented team. The five-star stands out for his dominance on film and was equally impressive in person at the ESPN High School Football Showcase Game last fall.

At 6-2 and 276 pounds, he’s not one of the most massive defenders, but he has elite starting speed and can be a disruptive force in the backfield as a result. Woods also plays with great leverage and shows excellent functional arm strength to control blockers.

Although he has yet to develop his size, he is a quick and agile player who can do damage with any pressure on the ball. It will be tough to beat Alabama, which is in the state, in the pledge battle.

OT Francis Mauigoa
img Academy (Florida)
rating ESPN Jr. 300 : 8

The 2023 offensive guard class doesn’t look deep right now, but two top-10 players have emerged: Kadyn Proctor (overall number 6) and the promising Mauigoa.

He is a massive prospect with impressive power, able to outsmart defenders and pass them time and time again. Mauigoa is 5’9″ and weighs 327 pounds. He also has good body control and agility to block opponents in space. While he has potential at the fullback position, it appears Mauigoa will move to the offensive guard position, which will help his development.

His career could be similar to other elite rucking prospects coming out of IMG Academy, such as five-star JC Latham in 2021 and current five-star Tyler Booker in 2022. Both originally preferred to play defense, but switched to IMG and started playing on the offensive line, allowing them to move up in our rankings. One difference: Mauigoa starts from the top. USF and Oregon are the biggest contenders for his talent, as well as Georgia and Alabama in the SEC.

Future risers

QB-PP Nicholas Iamaleawa
Warren High School (Calif.)
Rating ESPN Jr. 300 : 23

Normally a top-25 ranking leaves a low ceiling in the ESPN Jr 300 rankings, but Iamaleawa has the potential to become one of the best pass rushers in this class. After seeing his pitches in person, you can tell he has a lot of arm talent, but what makes the California native so interesting is his potential.

Quarterback Nikolaus Iamaleawa is the 23rd pick in the class of 2023. Three steps

At 6-6, Imaleawa has tremendous growth potential to add weight and strength, which will further increase his arm speed and overall physique. USC and UCLA are the top two schools in the West, as well as national powerhouses Alabama and Ohio State.

TE-H Duce Robinson
Pinnacle High School (Arizona)
ESPN Jr. 300 : 77

In total, there are 19 tight ends in this first edition, and Robinson is one of the most interesting. He caught our eye at the Under Armour Phoenix camp this spring with his tall stature, long body and developmental potential.

He is a great target, has good body control and ball skills to win contested games. With his combination of size and movement skills, Robinson has all the qualities to be a versatile weapon at the tight end position and create advantages in the scheme. Robinson’s father played at Florida State under Bobby Bowden. In addition to the Seminoles, Robinson has received significant offers from schools like Ohio State and Georgia.

CB Kodi DeCambra
Bishop Gorman High School (Nevada)
Rating ESPN Jr. 300 : 174

At Bishop Gorman, DeCambra may have been overshadowed by higher-ranked teammates Zachary Branch and Justin Rhett, but in every event he has competed in, DeCambra has grown and gotten faster. He is currently 6 feet tall and weighs almost 1.80 pounds. The four-star competitor set a time of 4.58 in the 40-meter dash and showed another vertical jump of more than 35 inches.

But given his commitment, impeccable footwork and man-to-man abilities, he should not be overlooked. DeCambra is currently interested in the Pac-12, with offers from Arizona State and Colorado.

OLB Grayson Howard
Andrew Jackson High School (Florida)
ESPN Jr. 300 : 241

Howard arrived at the Elite Underclassmen Orlando camp with no offers, but he stood out during testing (4.75 in the 40-yard dash) and in competitive drills. He was named MVP at his position and his list of offers has since expanded to include Texas A&M, South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Duke.

Howard has the size (6-3, 210), the frame to add volume, and can cover the field from end to end with excellent chase speed. This explosive midfielder should continue to rise in our rankings. He should be a versatile defender who can operate against the run as well as the pass.

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