The college football recruits from the Class of 2022 you need to know


Defensive end Jack Sawyer, an Ohio State commit, is the top-ranked college football prospect in the Class of 2021, but who is the top-ranked high school junior?

The ESPN Junior 300 rankings for the Class of 2022 were released Wednesday, and there is plenty to digest with the list. For one, there is no shortage of quarterback talent.

The consensus No. 1: QB Quinn Ewers

Ewers is the latest potentially special quarterback to come out of the Lone Star State. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder playing for storied program Southlake Carroll High School completed a jaw-dropping 72.4% of his passes for 4,003 yards and 45 touchdowns with only three interceptions.

Ewers isn't just a pocket passer though. The ultra-talented signal-caller also can make plays with his feet to the tune of 568 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. While the season totals were stellar, it was his performance when the games meant the most that really elevated his status. In four playoff games, which included contests against Dallas-area powers DeSoto and Duncanville, Ewers completed 70.7% of his passes for 1,424 yards with 17 touchdowns and no interceptions.

While the stats are off the charts for a sophomore quarterback, it's the way he effortlessly makes all the throws with supreme accuracy, his ability to remain relaxed under duress and the moxie that set him apart from many of his peers.

The offers from many of the nation's best have poured in as well. While Texas and Oklahoma are believed to have the inside track early on, programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Washington have also extended offers.

A loaded 2022 QB class

Ewers headlines a deep quarterback class as the best-equipped player to make an early college impact. His accuracy sets him apart, and as of now, he projects to be a more advanced version of USC's Kedon Slovis.

That said, there are a lot of guys to be excited about in the 2022 quarterback class in both the pocket-passer and dual-threat categories because we feel this class has a lot of raw talent and a high ceiling for development.

Serra's Maalik Murphy possesses some many highly coveted physical traits, as does Gunner Stockton out of Georgia. Both display terrific arm talent. Murphy is a Jordan Love type, and Stockton has many similar qualities as a passer and athlete to Justin Herbert.

One of the premier athletes in this class is Jacurri Brown out of Valdosta, Georgia. He's a developing player in the passing game, but is a distinctive talent as a dual-threat in the mold of a Justin Fields. Ty Simpson is a really good blend of natural passing talent and athleticism. He's a passer first, runner second, but can really hurt opponents on the perimeter as a passer, similar to a bigger version of Ian Book. Walker Howard out of Louisiana is very similar to Simpson athletically, and they both have quick, smooth releases. Howard is crafty in his methods similar to Ole Miss' John Rhys Plumlee, only Howard is bigger.

Contenders for the No. 1 ranking

An extremely talented QB with a wealth of tools and promise, Ewers landed in the top spot of the initial Jr. 300 release, but that No. 1 spot was thoroughly debated. And with multiple updates still to come before the 2022 class signs, that debate is far from done, with several other contenders already in the mix, including these four:

DT Walter Nolen
IMG Academy (Florida)
ESPN Jr. 300 rank: 2

The biggest initial challenge came from Nolen, a defensive tackle who has shown he can be a disruptive force. From Mississippi but now at IMG Academy, Nolen immediately impressed off of film evaluation last fall as a sophomore. A powerful big man with a nice initial burst and violent demeanor in his play, he demonstrates excellent physical tools. Beyond that, though, the five-star has also shown he is a competitor who strives to improve. Already with multiple offers, he has competed in a few camps this year, and from just March to June has shown improvement in physical development, as well as testing numbers. That combination of natural ability and determination to get better makes him an extremely promising prospect and strong contender for the No. 1 overall ranking in the ESPN Jr. 300.

DE Shemar Stewart
Monsignor Edward Pace High School (Florida)
ESPN Jr. 300 rank: 3

Since 2011, there have been a handful of defensive end prospects who have held the No. 1 ranking, and that group could potentially grow bigger with Stewart in the mix. Another prospect that has impressed on film as well during recent in-person evaluation, Stewart possesses nice length along with first-step quickness and excellent functional strength. The five-star is also a very good and competitive athlete with tools to be a well-rounded edge defender who can not only harass quarterbacks, but also defend the run and be a factor in pursuit.

DE Aaron Wilson
St. Frances Academy (Maryland)
ESPN Jr. 300 rank: 4

Another edge defender in the mix is Wilson. With the loss of some spring camp opportunities, we have not seen Wilson in person yet this year, but his film speaks loudly. Explosive and powerful, he can be a handful for blockers, and the five-star also displays a nice closing burst to track down and punish ball carriers. Set to play his junior season at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Wilson is a defender to keep an eye on.

CB Domani Jackson
Mater Dei High School (California)
ESPN Jr. 300 rank: 5

Out of California powerhouse Mater Dei High School, Jackson is another five-star prospect in the discussion near the top of the rankings. Jackson has the tools to excel at a premium position thanks, in part, to his 6-foot, 185-pound frame. Between film and camp evaluation, Jackson is an athlete with not only nice size, but also good feet and speed. He also has strong ball skills to be able to shut receivers down as well make the big play when the opportunity is there.

Five sleepers in the Jr. 300

CB JaDarian Rhym
Valdosta High School (Georgia)
ESPN Jr. 300 rank: 236

Valdosta High has produced a number of talented skill players, and Rhym is next in line. The 6-foot-1, long-armed corner possesses elite feet and hands, which has resulted in earned early offers from Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Tennessee.

DT Zane Durant
Lake Nona High School (Florida)
ESPN Jr. 300 rank: 258

Though Durant might not have the frame of some others at his position in the class, the Sunshine State junior to be has elite movement skills that he put on display at Elite Underclassmen Camp in Jacksonville in June. Auburn, Tennessee, West Virginia, South Florida and UCF headline an early offer list that will expand greatly in the coming months.

QB Garret Rangel
Frisco Lone Star High School (Texas)
ESPN Jr. 300 rank: 270

Rangel was a first-year starter in 2019, and all he did was throw for 4,538 yards and 50 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He made a number of huge plays with his arm in the playoffs, throwing to Under Armour All-America Game receiver and Oklahoma signee Marvin Mims. Rangel has Power 5 offers from Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Northwestern and Vanderbilt with more to come.

DT Kwan Williams
McDonogh High School (Maryland)
ESPN Jr. 300 rank: 271

Like Durant, Williams stands 6-1, but it's his movement skills, physicality and motor that provide Williams with a high ceiling. After making 46 tackles, including nine for loss, Williams has seen his stock rise from college coaches with offers from Boston College, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Penn State, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

WR A.J. Johnson
Isidore Newman High School (Louisiana)
ESPN Jr. 300 rank: 278

A transfer from New Orleans McMain after his freshman season, Johnson had to sit due to transfer rules in 2019. While he will catch passes from Arch Manning at Isidore Newman when football resumes, his high ceiling and explosive ability has already earned him offers from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Miami and others.