Safety Myron Rolle, from The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., was Scout.com's top-ranked prospect in its preseason Hot 100, and now is ranked No. 5.
There is much sentiment among Scout analysts that Wells, who has committed to play for Ohio State, could have the same impact as Maurice Clarett did as a true freshman a few seasons ago for the Buckeyes. Wells, 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, finished his senior season with 2,134 yards and 27 touchdowns on 223 carries. He also did not have a strong supporting cast on a team that finished 5-5.
Wells had several 200-yard plus games this year and capped the season by going for 355 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries against rival Akron Buchtel.
"Wells deserves to be the No. 1 player in the country because he's the most college ready running back in the country and he also has tremendous upside," said Chris Pool, Scout.com's Midwest recruiting editor. "The 6-1, 225-pounder is a powerful tailback that runs north-south with explosion. Wells has tremendous speed, he can make defenders miss and he'll be a difference maker in Columbus as a true freshman."
Wells is also the top-ranked Ohio senior in the January edition of Ohio High, due out within two weeks.
"In one early season game, Wells was looking to run left but found himself quickly under attack from the backside," wrote Ohio High (and Bucknuts) recruiting editor Duane Long. "He saw the tackler and with one step had stepped away from the tackler and took the play backside for a nice gain. He had some longer runs in the game, but this was his best run. It showed the quickness you never expect from backs this size.
"His ability to change direction at his size is beautiful to watch. When you think big back, you think power, but Wells is not just a power back. When it is time for contact, you see the impressive power back that he can be, but until he someone gets a hand on him you see an elusive slashing back with great feet and outstanding vision. You get the complete package with Wells.
"Now on to the question of whether or not Wells is better than Maurice Clarett. My answer: Clarett was a more polished back at this point, but Wells is a more gifted athlete and will be a better player by the time his college career is done."
Offensive lineman Andre Smith of Birmingham, Ala; wide receiver Percy Harvin of Virginia Beach, Va.; running back/safety Stafon Johnson of Los Angeles, Calif., and others were considered for Scout.com's No. 1 spot. Wells got the nod in a close call over Smith.
Wells plans to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 7 in San Antonio. He then plans to enroll at Ohio State in time for spring quarter so he can participate in spring practice with the Buckeyes.
"Wells is a big back with good speed," said Jamie Newberg, national recruiting editor at Scout.com. "He has the ability pound it between the tackles and run with authority. Wells has excellent balance, vision and can surprise you with his elusiveness and lateral movement. He just has that rare combination of size, speed, quickness and power that is so hard to find."
Here is the new Scout.com top 10:
1. Chris Wells RB Akron, Ohio (Ohio State verbal commitment)
2. Andre Smith OL Birmingham, Ala.
3. Percy Harvin WR Virginia Beach, Va.
4. Stafon Johnson RB/S Los Angeles, Calif.
5. Myron Rolle S Princeton, N.J. (Florida State verbal)
6 Vidal Hazelton WR Chatham, Va.
7 Sam Young OL Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
8 Mitch Mustain QB Springdale, Ark. (Arkansas verbal)
9 Matthew Stafford QB Dallas, Texas (Georgia verbal)
10. Sergio Kindle LB Dallas, Texas (Texas verbal)
From the new Scout.com national top 100, Ohio State has verbal commitments from three players. That group includes Wells as well as Cincinnati Colerain OL Connor Smith (22nd nationally) and Coldwater LB Ross Homan (83rd).
Here is the full Scout.com national Hot 100 as updated on Tuesday:
Note: Scout.com will release all the revised regional 100s on Wednesday.