2025 ESPN Junior 300 rankings: Top classes, scheme fits, under-the-radar prospects

ByCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill ESPN logo
Thursday, December 21, 2023

Editor's note: This story originally ran in October when the rankings we updated.

We updated theESPN Junior 300 player rankings for the Class of 2025.

While there are no changes at the very top as QB Bryce Underwood and offensive tackle David Sanders remain ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. We saw movement inside the top 10 and several prospects make their first appearance inside the coveted rankings.

DT Elijah Griffin and WR Dakorien Moore are now in the top five following strong junior season performances. Overall, 31 prospects enter the rankings led by lockdown corner Dawayne Galloway who debuts at No. 78 overall.

Here's a breakdown of the latest rankings:

Jump to a section:

Top classes

Rising up the rankings

New faces

Under-the-radar players

Best fits

Top classes

The 2024 cycle is still in motion but with the early signing period rapidly approaching and the 2025 class on the horizon it's a good time to take a peek ahead and see which teams are getting a jump on their future recruiting efforts.

Georgia Bulldogs: UGA has signed seven straight top-three classes and currently are in the lead to sign the top-rated class for 2024. Showing great consistency on the recruiting trail Georgia is off to a strong start for 2025 as well. During UGA's recent title runs, the tight ends played a key role and the Bulldogs are reloading at this position. They have a pair of ranked tight ends committed in Under Armour Future 50 participant Ethan Barbour, who moves well and has good hands, and Elyiss Williams, who possesses a big frame at 6-foot-7 and can develop into a player in the mold of former Bulldogs TE Darnell Washington. They have also scored early in-state on defense as well led by five-star DL Justus Terry -- a tough interior player with nice arm length, strength and lateral mobility. OLB Jadon Perlotte out of Buford High School is a rangy edge defender that can rush the passer as well as make plays in space. They went into the home state of rival Alabama to land one of the top OL prospects in Micah Debose, a competitive multi-sport athlete whose other sports include soccer and tennis.

Alabama Crimson Tide: A consistent presence near the top of the recruiting rankings, it is not surprising to see the Crimson Tide among the fast start classes for 2025. The class is led by two of the top three rated receivers in the class in Ryan Williams and Jaime Ffrench. The top-rated prospect in the state of Alabama, Williams was the first sophomore named Mr. Football in the state and in his high school career thus far already has hauled in over 140 passes and 40 receiving TDs. Ffrench, at roughly 6-foot-1 with good body control, is a target with a wide catch radius. Anthony Rogers is a versatile weapon that can be used out of the backfield or as slot receiver. Bama added OT Mason Short and OG Dontrell Glover from the state of Georgia.

Oklahoma Sooners: The Sooners' first class as a member of the SEC already has a strong foundation before they even officially join the conference. They continue to build and strengthen their defense, but it is not shocking to see this 2025 class anchored by offensive firepower. Three ESPN Junior 300 WRs are on board in Gracen Harris (No. 131), Jaden Nickens (No. 142) and Elijah Thomas (No. 213).Harris is a little quicker than fast, but can be sudden in his movements and has good, quick hands. Nickens is an in-state win and bigger target with nice length that can adjust to the ball well. The Sooners also stayed in-state for their QB, Kevin Sperry,a passer with a quick release and good accuracy who has completed 68% of his passes. He also moves well and is second on his high school team in rushing. They do have some defense in the class in three-star Ka'Mori Moore, a stout interior presence with good power who can help stuff the run.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: The Fighting Irish have one of the bigger classes at this stage led by QB Deuce Knight out of Mississippi.A lefty with good arm strength as well as good mobility, Knight brings nice physical tools and upside to develop. With a good tradition of identifying and developing TEs the Irish have a ranked prospect on board in James Flanigan, whose father is a Notre Dame alum and whose grandfather played in the NFL. Justin Thurman is a running with a good blend of speed, quickness and explosiveness and demonstrated that with among the overall top testing numbers from this past camp season.

Oregon Ducks: The Ducks are bringing in a familiar name at the QB position in the son of former Oregon QB Akili Smith. Akili Smith Jr. is a tall (6-foot-5), lean prospect with good physical upside. While he needs to continue to fill out, he already displays good arm strength which should only improve and he can do a good job of adjusting and changing arm angles. He is closing in on 2,000 yards passing and 23 TDs. Oregon has also secured early on some future potential targets in ESPN Jr. 300 WRs Dallas Wilson and Adrian Wilson. Dallas, out of Florida, is a tall, rangy target (6-foot-3) with good hands and feel for getting open and Adrian, out of Texas, is a receiver with good agility that can generate yards after the catch.

Big movers

WR Dakorien Moore | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 5

Previous ranking: 10

Committed: LSU Tigers

Moore is one of the biggest difference-makers in the 2025 class. Nobody has an answer for him on defense. Moore is averaging a staggering 24.5 yards per catch with nine touchdowns on 31 receptions. He has been the catalyst for Duncanville (Texas), one of the best high school programs in the country and is one of those prospects that could play any skill position on either side of the ball. At 6-foot, 180 pounds, he is not the biggest player, but he is extremely explosive. Moore ran a laser-timed 4.5 40-yard dash at our Under Armour Camp circuit and long-jumped over 22 feet in track and field last spring.

OLB Jonah Williams | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 23

Previous ranking: 58


Williams, a safety who is listed as an outside linebacker, can be a versatile player with his combination of size and speed. He's already 6-foot-3, 205 pounds with length and will continue to fill out and grow into that role. Williams is already displaying impact ability regardless of alignment. He shows flashes reminiscent of 2019 ESPN 300 safety and former Notre Dame standout Kyle Hamilton. Williams has elite range to both match up in coverage and act as a sideline-to-sideline presence. He displays excellent ball skills, and his length and leaping ability allow him to win contested matchups. That production has shown up this season. Williams has two interceptions and seven touchdowns on just 12 catches. In addition to playmaking tools, Williams also shows good toughness. He can be a physical, wrap-up tackler and brings ball carriers down in space.In nine games this season, Williams has 46 total tackles, four tackles-for-loss, five passes defended, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles and recoveries. He has also chipped in with 12 receptions for 312 yards and 7 TDs.

DT Nathaniel Marshall | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 74

Previous ranking: 195


While the 6-foot-4, 265-pound plays tight end and DL in high school, and shows good ball skills, his power transfers to the defensive trenches where he's a disruptive menace. Marshall, who also plays basketball and was defensive player of the year in his league as a sophomore, looks to have taken another big step this season. He possesses good explosiveness and can use good power to push blockers back. His range helps separate him from other big, strong defensive linemen. Marshall's impact extends well beyond the tackle box. He has shown he can be a factor down the line as well as downfield.

DB Tariq Hayer | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 90

Previous ranking: 180


Hayer continues to show that he is one of the premier defensive backs in the 2025 class. He is a versatile player that contributes at both corner and safety. Hayer has outstanding speed, posting one of the best laser-tested 40-yard dash times of this past camp season with a 4.54. That shows in his play with his range and ability to match up and run with receivers. In addition to his speed, he is also aggressive in his play and quick to come up and support the run.

Notable new entries

CB Dawayne Galloway | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 78


Galloway is one of the fastest players in this class. After posting track times of 10.4 and 21.1 in the 100 and 200-meters respectively, it's easy to see the speed transition to the film. He's just under 6-foot-2 with long arms and the ability to run with anybody. He has the ability to change the game with the ball in his hands and has upside as a return man.

CB Mason Alexander | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 162


It's no secret we love tall corners, especially those who run a 10.7 100-meter and have ball skills like a wide receiver. He has tested well including a 22.4 200-meter, but most importantly his production matches his athleticism. He can play on the inside or outside similar to Terrion Arnold at Alabama. This season, Alexander has played in nine games with 38 total tackles, eight passes defended, a forced fumble and three picks.

RB Bo Walker | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 184

Committed: Georgia Bulldogs

Walker might not wow in speed testing, but he plays fast in pads. He is short, but not small. Walker is a pinball with excellent contact balance and agility. He rarely goes down upon first contact, is tough to get a clean shot at and is always falling forward. Walker reminds us of former Tulane RB Tyjae Spears. Walker posted a 19.4 Max Speed MPH at 5-foot-9 192 pounds.

WR Jerome Myles | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 165


At almost 6-foot-2 and just 200 pounds, Myles has posted one of the better max speeds of players in this class. He clocked in on tape at 20.4 MPH. He is a big, imposing target who reaches top speed rapidly, which not only makes him a vertical threat, but also a player who can elevate and take the ball away from people when contested. Myles reminds us of Tre Harris at Ole Miss.

ATH Brandon Finney | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 201


Finney was a prospect we first saw in camp in Baltimore this spring, but there was not much film to go off early on. Midseason film shows a long, rangy, athletic pass catcher with sneaky good speed. He also doubles as a corner/safety on defense. He's not quite as tall but is reminiscent of Oklahoma's Jayden Gibson as an outside target that can go get it.

Under-the-radar prospects

QB Tavien St. Clair | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 226

Committed: Ohio State Buckeyes

St. Clair is an exciting prospect because he is nowhere near a finished product. He's big, athletic and can make all the throws. He's much better on film as a junior than he was as a sophomore. There are times when he really flashes big time ability but needs to be more consistent fundamentally. He reminds us a bit of Tennessee's Joe Milton when he came out of high school.

ATH Micah Matthews | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 211


Matthews isn't quite big enough to be a true H-back, but he's fun to watch. He's not a true wiggle type of receiver, either. He's essentially a big power back. His versatility, though, is a true asset. If he gains weight, he could become a utility weapon in the mold of Florida State's Jaheim Bell.

DT Kevin Wynn | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 249


Wynn is a two-gap noseguards with one-gap, first-step explosiveness. What he lacks in height, he compensates for in leverage, power at point of attack and shooting gaps. He can hold up and anchor double-teams on the inside but does not necessarily need to come off the field on third down. His motor catches your attention. In eight games this season, Wynn has posted 49 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss with four sacks.

OT Devin Harper | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 102


The 2025 class is shaping up to rebound at the offensive line position after a down year in 2024. Harper has nearly an 80-inch wingspan and looks to be filling out nicely as he grows into his frame. He is displaying good body quickness and improvements in agility in pads. He is quick to get hands on defenders and use his frame, strength and good effort to control and push opponents around. This is a player with very good physical tools. If he continues to make positive strides, he'll likely rise in the rankings.

TE Linkon Cure | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 106


Opponents in the state of Kansas are finding out it's impossible to cover Cure one-on-one. He is 6-foot-6, but his playmaking ability extends beyond being a big body. In five games this season, Cure has 23 receptions for 578 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has good hands and runs well. Cure, who also competes in the 100m hurdles and high jump, has quick feetand excellent agility that allows him to elude defenders off the line, create separation out of breaks and make people miss after the catch. He works both in-line and flexed out. While he needs to add some more mass, this is a tight end who can make plays and be a key weapon in college passing attacks.

OLB Jaedon Harmon | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 144


Harmon was one of the more fun prospects to watch in this evaluation period because he flies around and delivers hits. His explosiveness jumps out and he closes on the ball in hurry and makes a play. He displayed that explosiveness with a 33-inch vertical and 115-inch broad jump this offseason at the Atlanta Under Armour camp. Harmon is effective in coverage with ability to quickly close space and deliver a pop, but is at his best screaming downhill and blowing up running plays and hunting down QBs.

System fits

TE Elyiss Williams | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 19

Committed: Georgia Bulldogs

The Bulldogs continue to recruit at an elite level and have a pair of ranked tight ends committed in 2025 in Ethan Barbour and Williams. They're both good fits, but the latter jumps out. Current Bulldogs star Brock Bowers is an elite player when healthy, but during their two title runs, he was even more dangerous when paired with Darnell Washington. While Bowers will soon move on, Georgia has good talent depth to keep the position a strength and Williams can be an excellent complement at the position the way Washington was. He needs to continue to fill out but is also a massive presence at around 6-foot-7. He can be a red zone target like Washington was and is arguably a little better receiver at the same stage. He's not quite as big yet, but he can also develop into a strong blocker and help be an asset to their ground attack.

QB Akili Smith Jr. | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 82

Committed: Oregon Ducks

The younger Smith is a little taller and leaner than his dad who was a first round pick from Oregon. The two are not carbon copies, but the son did inherit some of his father's arm talent. He also has a quick, smooth release and can move well to create second-chance opportunities. Yes, it's a much different era now compared to when Akili Smith played for the Ducks, but you can see why the current staff is willing to bring back a familiar name. Smith Jr. might not be an immediate starter, but he has very good physical tools and upside and much like their current QB Bo Nix, whose father was a successful college QB, too. This season in 10 games, Smith completed 112 , whose father was a successful college QB, too. This season in 10 games, Smith completed 112-of-182 passes (61.5% completion) for 1,975 yards 23 TDs and 4 INTs. He has also carried the ball 33 times for 165 yards and three TDs.182 passes (61.5%) for 1,975 yards 23 TDs and 4 interceptions. He has also carried the ball 33 times for 165 yards and three TDs.

E.J. Colson | ESPN Jr. 300 ranking: 275

Committed: UCF Golden Knights

Colson lacks ideal size at about 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, and is not a consensus four-star prospect. Watching Colson, however, and you can see why UCF was not afraid to move early here. He proved to be worth the price of admission during an in-person evaluation this fall, throwing for 290 yds and three touchdowns while also running for 130 yds and a score in a tough, close loss to currently undefeated Colquitt County. He is a scrappy football player that can escape trouble, make plays on the move and, when needed, hurt defenses on the move. His mechanics are not polished, but he can get rid of the ball and change arm angles. Colson's arm strength is good for his size and he shows some touch. This is a good football player and headed to the Big 12 where there can be some points scored, and Colson can give the Knights a playmaker at the QB position.