Player rankings for the 2020 football class expanded from a top 10 to a top 20 on Thursday. The initial top five was released at the end of the 2017 season, then grew to 10 in April.
Here are some thoughts on how those rankings came together:
The same rules apply to all classes. The formula I use for players rankings starts with the level of scholarship offers.
But I have also spent hours watching game film, attending practices and camps and receiving feedback from coaches across the state. More than 50 players in the class were considered for this edition of the rankings.
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Changes at the top
Zavier Betts remains the No. 1 overall prospect in the class and it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon.
The top four had only one change: Xavier Watts moving ahead of Jevyon Ducker. They both have scholarship offers from Purdue, but Watts also has one from Iowa State.
Moving to No. 5 is Lincoln Southeast safety Isaac Gifford, who was an oversight in the initial rankings and holds an offer from Oregon State. Isaac is the brother of Lincoln Southeast grad and current Husker linebacker Luke Gifford.
Burke vs. Hoskins
Creighton Prep's Reid Burke is the top-rated quarterback. Burke had a strong sophomore season prior to being injured in the state playoffs. Omaha Central's Abe Hoskins has all the tools and potential to be the best quarterback in the class. Hoskins was injured in the Eagles' second game last season and missed the remainder of the season.
Depth at running back
Ducker is the top-rated running back in a very strong class. If you include Miko Maessner (Kearney) that means five of the top 20 are running backs — Maessner's primary position is running back but he also plays defensive back. Four of those five are in the top 14. The newcomers are Millard South's Isaiah Harris at No. 13 and Ashton Haussmann at No. 20. Ashland-Greenwood's Bryce Kittrell moves from No. 7 to No. 14.
The Metro area is heavily represented. Fourteen of the top 20 and seven of the top 10 are from Metro area schools. No. 18 Jadus Ellis started his career at Millard North and transferred to Lincoln High this summer. All but two players that made the watch list are also from metro Omaha schools.
Omaha North vs. Burke
It doesn't appear the cupboard will be bare anytime soon at Omaha North and Omaha Burke. You can even throw Bellevue West into that mix with two players in the rankings and one more (Nate Sullivan) on the watch list. Those three schools dominated the player rankings. Marques Sigle, Aveon Barnes, Tre Fairgood-Jones and D'Anthony Cribbs will be starters and play bigger roles for Omaha North in 2018.
Omaha Burke was represented well with Watts at the top. The three Burke players (Michael Payne, Jaylon Roussell, Caleb Robinson) on the watch list should see their roles expanded this season.