Sports Illustrated unveils Preseason SI99 of nation’s top prep football players
NEW YORK -- August 24, 2020 -- Sports Illustrated today unveiled its Preseason SI99 -- the 99 high school football seniors from across the nation that it ranks as the frontrunners for its coveted 2020 SI All-American first team.
This Preseason SI99 stems from SI’s watch list of 1,000 players that was unveiled last month -- following what is believed to be the widest, most in-depth analysis and breakdown of tape of any recruiting class ever -- and a subsequent ranking of top 10 players in each of 14 different position groups.
“Our ranking of the top 99 reflects where the game of football is going,” said SI All-American recruiting director John Garcia Jr. “We’ve refined position groups. We’ve eliminated the outside linebacker position, because those guys in today’s game are more edge rushers, and added the nickel position. We’ve broken receivers and tight ends into two groups each -- slot and wide receivers, and traditional (Y) and hybrid (H) tight ends.
“But one part of the game that hasn’t changed is the focus on protecting and destroying the quarterback. Our top five players illustrate the point -- two are defensive ends and one an offensive tackle.”
Among the Preseason SI99 highlights:
- The list includes a pair of brothers -- twins Tommy and James Brockermeyer of Fort Worth, Texas -- who are verbally committed to Alabama
- 24 of the 99 have yet to verbally commit to a college (with 8 of the top 20 undecided).
- Of the 75 who have verbally committed, Ohio State has secured the most, with 10. The Buckeyes are followed by Alabama (8), Clemson (6), Georgia (5), and Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Tennessee (4 each).
- The states most represented in the SI99 are Florida (16), Texas (14), California and Georgia (9 each), and North Carolina, and Pennsylvania and Washington (6 each). The DMV (Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia) also has 6.
SI ranks Caleb Williams, a quarterback out of Gonzaga College High (Washington, D.C.) as the No. 1 player in the nation. Ranked second -- and No. 1 on defense -- is defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau of Eastside Catholic High in the Seattle suburb of Sammamish, Wash. Williams is verbally committed to Oklahoma and Tuimoloau looks to be down to a finalists list of Oregon, Ohio State, USC, Washington, Alabama and Stanford.
The evaluation process will continue “until the list of 1,000 contenders coalesces around just 25 young men who can say proudly they are the best of the best -- they are Sports Illustrated All-Americans,” says Garcia.
The candidates will be narrowed to 250 finalists and then a Postseason SI99 from which the 25-member first-team SI All-Americans will be selected.
The Preseason SI99 (with each name hotlinked to the player’s bio, SI analysis and video highlights) is as follows, with college verbal commitment noted: