Which college football recruits in the Class of 2022 rose the rankings? (2024)

Oct 13, 2021, 12:00 PM

We updated the ESPN 300 rankings of the top college football recruits in the Class of 2022.

Defensive tackle Walter Nolen retains the No. 1 spot, and if he remains there then it will be only the second time in the ESPN rankings era that a defensive tackle finished at the top (Rashan Gary, 2016).

Nolen will be challenged, though. Significant risers in the top 10 shook up the new rankings. These moves are based off huge senior campaigns from a few notable prospects. We break down the prospects that rose up the rankings, those who achieved five-star status and those who went from unranked to top 300.

Changes in the top 10

Which college football recruits in the Class of 2022 rose the rankings? (3)

CB Travis Hunter
ESPN 300 ranking: 2
Previous ranking: 3
Committed to: Florida State

Before suffering a leg injury in his team's seventh game of the season, Hunter was having an excellent senior season as a shutdown corner -- and he was equally impressive at receiver. Through six games, the Seminoles commit had nearly 700 receiving yards and is arguably one of the best athletes in the ESPN recruiting era. His skill set is reminiscent of Minnesota Vikings and former LSU star Patrick Peterson when it comes to ball skills, versatility and the ability to dominate opponents on either side of the ball. Moving up while already being a top-three prospect is incredibly difficult, and a big return after injury -- in Collins Hill High School (Georgia) hopes he can be back for the playoffs -- could help him supplant Nolen.

OLB Harold Perkins
ESPN 300 ranking: 5
Previous ranking: 9

Perkins' physical tools that help him make an impact has bumped him into the top five. The nation's top-rated linebacker is a fluid playmaker who possesses an excellent blend of speed and quickness in pursuit. He's fluid in coverage, strong against the run and explosive as a pass-rusher. A highly productive sideline-to-sideline defender, Perkins also has showcased his value with great production as a running back. He's on pace to rush for 1,000 yards while also leading his team in rushing TDs.

WR Luther Burden
ESPN 300 ranking: 8
Previous ranking: 11

Burden showed off his polished skill set and dominance at this summer's Future 50 event. He has continued to impress this fall and moves into the top 10 overall, claiming the No. 1 receiver ranking with Evan Stewart deciding to forgo the remainder of the season. He's averaging 16 yards a catch so far and has recorded 10 receiving touchdowns. Also a threat as a returner, Burden is a legit playmaker in the mold of Arkansas WR Treylon Burks.

Newest five-star prospects

S Kamari Wilson
ESPN 300 ranking: 14
Previous ranking: 22

Our newest five-star has developed into a complete safety who can play in a variety of roles at the next level. Competitive and versatile, Wilson has added 10 pounds of muscle and become more powerful from last season. It shows as a tackler with his increased production near the line of scrimmage. Wilson has officially visited Georgia, LSU and .

Which college football recruits in the Class of 2022 rose the rankings? (4)

ATH Malaki Starks
ESPN 300 ranking: 10
Previous ranking: 34
Committed to: Georgia

Pound for pound, Starks could be the most dynamic two-way player in the class and earned his fifth star for this update. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound rock could play every skill position on the field and be an impact player. The state of Georgia's long jump champ also boasts a 10.5 in the 100-meter. The Georgia commit has fought through injuries this season but is a clear difference-maker when healthy.

Big mover on defense

Which college football recruits in the Class of 2022 rose the rankings? (5)

DT Jaheim Oatis
ESPN 300 ranking: 24
Previous ranking: 33
Committed to: Alabama

Oatis is a 6-foot-4, 350-pound lineman, and big players like him with short-area quickness are not easy to find. The Alabama commit has the mass and strength to eat up space and occupy blockers, but also has the initial burst and flexibility to disrupt as well. The mixture of size, power and quickness off the ball can make him a handful in the trenches. He is similar to former Crimson Tide and current Washington Football Team NT Daron Payne coming out of high school, although Oatis is a bit bigger.

Welcome to the ESPN 300

Which college football recruits in the Class of 2022 rose the rankings? (6)

WR Cody Hagen
ESPN 300 ranking: 259
Committed to: BYU

Hagen is not a prospect that will just wow in terms of physical stature, but don't blink, or else the 6-foot, 175-pound wideout will zoom right by. The BYU commit possesses big-play speed (10.52 100-meter) that transfers to the field. Fast enough to take the top off a defense, Hagen has also demonstrated he's more than just elite speed; he is also a polished route runner at this stage with good ball skills.

WR Barion Brown
ESPN 300 ranking: 275

A lean target who is fast and physical, the 6-1, 175-pound Brown is demonstrating he can be a big-play option. With excellent top-end speed (10.49 100-meter), he presents a vertical threat, and also possesses good body control to be able to adjust and make tough catches. A physical player who could project to cornerback as well, he will fight for yards and is dangerous after the catch. Still uncommitted, Brown remains a key target with several SEC teams in the mix, including Alabama and Kentucky.

CB Zeke Berry
ESPN 300 ranking: 283

Listed as a corner, Berry is a versatile defender with the ability to produce in a variety of ways. A contributor at running back as well at De La Salle High School in Concord, California, he projects to defense, where his coach has complimented Berry's instincts and team-first approach. He's a defender with a sturdy build, good speed and excellent agility, as well as an aggressive playing style. Berry can play in space and or in the box and defend the run. A recent Arizona decommit, the Wildcats had recruited him with comparisons to former versatile Michigan standout DB Jabrill Peppers.

Which college football recruits in the Class of 2022 rose the rankings? (2024)
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