Paramus (N.J.) Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary has spent nearly a year and a half at the top of the Scout 2016 rankings and he continues to be the premier prospect in this year's class with the postseason 300 released today.
In fact, the top three stayed the same, with Gary followed by Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Nick Bosa, a commit to Ohio State at No. 2 and Allen (Texas) offensive tackle Greg Little at No. 3.
Moving in to the top five is Wake Forest (N.C.) defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, who comes in at No. 4 and he's followed by Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy quarterback Shea Patterson, a commit to Ole Miss, at the fifth spot
Up three spots to No. 6 is Houston (Texas) Westfield defensive tackle Ed Oliver and he's followed by two West Coast prospects in Lake Stevens (Wash.) quarterback Jacob Eason at No. 7 and Gardena (Calif.) Serra defensive end Oluwole Betiku at No. 8.
Half of the top ten comes from the Southeast and the top 50 added two more from the region.
"As the 2015 season comes to end, two elite prospects already in the top 50 have moved up in the rankings and added a fifth star," said national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons. "One is tight end Isaac Nauta out of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy and the other is safety Nigel Warrior out of Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge."
Nauta is the No. 1 tight end nationally while Warrior checks in at No. 2 nationally at safety.
"Nauta is about as sure-thing of a prospect as there is in this class. He is an early enrollee and at 6-4, 240 pounds, he is physically ready to go with the ability to be an inline blocker and catch passes as a receiver. He is a complete tight end with the potential to play on Sundays after he competes at Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma State or Ole Miss," said Simmons. "Warrior is a ball-hawk in the secondary with great instincts and the ability to read the quarterback's eyes to make plays on the ball. He has great instincts, he is a complete player, and one who will likely end up at Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State or Tennessee."
The Midlands added a new five-star in the postseason Scout 300 in Brandon Jones, a 6-foot-0, 190-pound safety from Nacogdoches (Texas), the only major change from the region.
“There were not a lot of rankings changes this time around in the Scout 300 as far as the Midlands is concerned," said national recruiting analyst Greg Powers. "But one player who was able to get back on the field and play a healthy season was Jones. As a result of his senior performance and what we saw from him testing-wise at The Opening he has leapfrogged a few players and is now in the regional Top 5 and a five-star prospect. He is a safety who can tackle, can cover, and runs a sub 4.5 40-yard dash."
Knocking on the door of a fifth star after a monster senior season is Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian athlete and USC commit Michael Pittman, who made a big jump out West, moving from the No. 90 player in the country to the No. 34 player nationally.
"Pittman had a big senior season and answered a lot of questions we had about whether he could be a full time receiver in college," said national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins. "He always had size, strength and toughness but he showed much improved hands, speed and the ability to run after the catch. He’s a matchup nightmare at the next level and could earn a coveted 5th star with a strong showing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl."
"Love, a Washington commit, not only earned a 4th star but moved in to the Scout 300 at No. 274. He’s a long, athletic corner with good short area quickness, the speed to run with the quick receivers and is the most physical cover man in the state," said Biggins. "Hattis is a player we’ve always liked and his senior film was very impressive. He’s a mauler who has great strength and toughness but is also light enough on his feet to play either tackle spot in college. He should do quite well at Stanford."
"One of the biggest movers in the Midwest was Royce Newman. He's a 6-foot-7, 260-pound high school tight end who is exactly the kind of guy we've seen make the transition to left tackle and have big success before. Given his athleticism and the blocking dominance he showed as a senior, we believe that will happen here too," said national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu. "Jonah Morris was added to the Scout 300. After a big time season where he helped Akron Hoban win a state title as a wide receiver and linebacker, we shifted him to "athlete" and upgraded him to four-stars. He's a long, lean kid who could play on either side of the ball at the next level."
In the East, quarterback Brandon McIlwain from Newtown (Pa.) Council Rock, is now in the Scout 300 after a big offseason and senior campaign.
"The South Carolina commit, made a huge jump and is now a four-star prospect and the No. 2 quarterback in the East Region," said national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn. "He improved his accuracy, and is a true dual-threat player. He has plus arm strength and athleticism, is quick in his release, and he can cause havoc for a defense when a player breaks down. To top it off, he is an elite baseball player who could be selected in the first two rounds of the Major League Baseball draft."