The Final Scout 100 for 2015
From the top of the class to Rocky Top.
That’s where Concord (Calif.) Clayton Valley defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie is now and where he’ll be after Signing Day.
The five-star Tennessee commit held on to the top spot in the final 2015 rankings, thanks to a stellar week at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and for the first time since 2009, the Vols will have Scout’s No. 1 prospect.
McKenzie is also the first player from the West to end up No. 1 in the final rankings since Everson Griffen in 2007 and the first California prospect since Mark Sanchez in 2005.
"It’s a tremendous blessing to get the recognition from Scout to be the No. 1 player in the nation," said McKenzie. "It’s extremely humbling and makes me want to work even harder so that way I’m the No.1 high school player and the No. 1 college player after these four years."
Another defensive tackle, Albany (Ga.) Westover five-star Trenton Thompson, aGeorgia commit, finished the year No. 2, pushing McKenzie for the top spot before ultimately settling in right behind his future SEC East counterpart.
Martez Ivey, the five-star offensive tackle from Apopka (Fla.), is the highest ranked prospect on offense, coming in at No. 3 overall and staying as the top offensive tackle in the class. Ivey is also the only offensive prospect in the top ten.
Mesquite (Texas) Poteet outside linebacker Malik Jefferson, the Midlands’ top prospect, finishes the rankings at No. 4, the highest ranked prospect committed to Texas since Sergio Kindle (No. 6) in 2006.
Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar F. Smith defensive end Josh Sweat comes in at No. 5 followed by fellow Florida State commit Derwin James at No. 6, the Haines City (Fla.) safety the highest ranked defensive back in the class.
In a loaded year for cornerbacks (three of the top 10 players in the class are corners), Long Beach (Calif.) Poly five-star Iman Marshall ends the year as the nation’s best and is ranked No. 7 nationally.
Seffner (Fla.) Armwood defensive end Byron Cowart comes in at No. 8, one of four players from the Sunshine State in the top 10.
The second highest rated prospect on offense is Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco five-star quarterback and UCLA commit Josh Rosen, who is No. 12 overall and finishes the year as the nation’s top quarterback prospect.
The Southeast leads the way with 35 prospects in the Scout 100.
Five of the top ten prospects in the country and eight of the top 15 call the Southeast home.
Aside from Thompson’s move to No. 2, Nashville (Tenn.) Hillsboro defensive endKyle Phillips made a huge jump in the rankings.
"Phillips moved up over 70 spots in the final rankings. He came back this season from shoulder surgery, and as the season went on, Phillips got better. The Tennessee commit went out with an impressive week as an Army All-American and was in the final discussion for a fifth star," said national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons.
Tennessee is keeping Phillips in-state
Another big jumper in the South is Montverde (Fla.) Academy offensive linemanAbdul Bello, who checks in at No. 68.
"Bello is my favorite story in this class," said national recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg. "This is a kid that moved to the states from Nigeria. He’s played 13 games plus a spring game in his entire football playing career. Florida State is getting an offensive tackle that’s a blank canvas with as much upside as anyone in this class. He’s enormous (6-6/303), athletic, and intelligent. Bello wants to be a great player and has fallen in the love with the game. He has improved so much since I saw him this spring and was a pleasant surprise at Under Armour earlier this month. Bello needs a red-shirt in Tallahassee and he’s certainly a player to watch for the Seminoles in the very near future."
The West has 24 prospects in the Scout 100.
Included are three players ranked No. 1 at their positions: McKenzie at defensive tackle, Rosen at quarterback and Marshall at cornerback.
The highest rated four-star nationally is from the West as well in Riverside (Calif.) Poly cornerback Ykili Ross.
"Ross jumped up from No. 99 to No. 37 and the highest rated 4-star prospect in the country," said national recruiting analyst, Greg Biggins. "It’s definitely well deserved as Ross had a big season, on both sides of the ball this past year and then had a very impressive showing during the Army All-American practices. He can play receiver, corner or safety in college but will likely start out at corner for USC.
Ross is the highest rated four-star nationally
Also jumping in to the Scout 100 is record setting Folsom (Calif.) quarterback Jake Browning, the two-time California state player of the year.
"Browning, who comes in at No. 97, put up ridiculous numbers the past two seasons but the issue was we hadn’t see him in person over the spring/summer or early fall. After watching him torch a very good Oceanside team in the state championship game, we were believers and feel he has a legitimate shot to early playing time forWashington as soon as next fall," said Biggins.
The Midlands is next up with 21 prospects in the Scout 100.
Three of the top 11 prospects in the country are from the region, with Jefferson and Sheffield joined by Gladewater (Texas) five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mackcoming in at No. 11.
Two other Lone Star State natives moved in to the top 50.
"With a strong performance down the stretch in the post-season and the All-American contests running back Ronald Jones and Kris Boyd both bumped up to Top 50 national prospects," said national recruiting analyst Greg Powers.
Boyd’s senior season put him in the Top 50
But it wasn’t just Texas that dominated from the Midlands. Missouri also had a trio in the top 100.
"Alabama commit Hale Hentges stood pat as far as regional rankings are concerned, but slid up three spots to No. 98, giving the Show Me State three prospects in the top 100 to go with Drew Lock (Missouri) and Alex Ofodile (Oregon)," said Powers.
The East checked in with 12 players in the Scout 100.
Two of them are the top-rated players at their position, Sweat at defensive end and Avon (Conn.) Old Farms five-star tight end Chris Clark.
Two big movers in the Scout 100 are Brandon Wimbush, the Notre Damequarterback commit from Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep and Gaithersburg (Md.) defensive end Kamonte Carter, a commit to Penn State.
"Wimbush made a big leap(No. 144 to No. 72) because of the consistency he showed, and his ability to play well in big games," said national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn. "Wimbush always had a big arm, but his accuracy got better, his pre-snap reads improved and his ability to get through his progressions quickly stood out. He also can make plays with his feet, which gives him an added dimension."
Wimbush jumped in to the Top 100
Carter had been in the top 100 but moved up 14 spots.
"Carter jumped up 14 slots to No. 58, and a big reason is his combination of size, length and his athleticism," said Dohn. "He changes direction well, and his ability to get up the field and alter plays is something Penn State will benefit from quickly."
The Midwest rounded out the top 100 with eight prospects in the final rankings, including two in the top 50.
"There was not a ton of big movement, but Barajas got a slight bump into the national top 50 after his strong performance at the Army Bowl," said national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu.
Beckner stays No. 1 in the Midwest
A pair of running backs also moved up in the Scout 100.
"Two of the top running backs in the Midwest, L.J. Scott from Hubbard (Ohio) andMike Weber from Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech continued their ascent after great senior years coupled with strong All-Star performances," said Trieu.
NOTES and NUMBERS
The final Scout 300 for 2015 will be released on Friday, January 16.
Scout national recruiting analysts Allen Trieu, Brian Dohn, Chad Simmons, Greg Biggins, Greg Powers and Jamie Newberg contributed to this story.