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Fact or Fiction: Tavien St. Clair is in the mix for No. 1 in the Rivals250

Rivals national recruiting analyst Greg Smith is joined by rankings director Adam Friedman, national recruiting analyst Sam Spiegelman and DottingTheEyes.com’s Jeremy Birmingham to tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.

MORE FACT OR FICTION: Miami has overtaken LSU for five-star DJ Pickett

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

MONDAY: Who should be No. 1?

TUESDAY: Five-Star Countdown | Tavien St. Clair moved into five-star status

WEDNESDAY: New Rivals250 unveiled | Gorney goes position-by-position | Biggest risers

THURSDAY: New offensive position rankings released | QB rankings breakdown | RB rankings breakdown | WR/TE rankings breakdown | OL rankings breakdown

FRIDAY: New defensive position rankings released | DL rankings breakdown | LB rankings breakdown | DB rankings breakdown | ATH rankings breakdown

SATURDAY: New state rankings released | Who is No. 1 in each state?

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CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2026 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | State

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1. Tavien St. Clair is now in the discussion for the No. 1 prospect in the Rivals250.

Birmingham: FACT. There are plenty of reasons to think that Tavien St. Clair belongs in this discussion even before putting on his film.

Ohio State had plenty of options at quarterback in the 2025 class and picked St. Clair to be the guy to lead the Buckeyes in the summer of 2023. He’s rewarded their faith in him with a relentless pursuit of improvement both on and off the field. His physical stature — at nearly 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds – is the most college-ready of any QB in the cycle and his baseball background makes him one of the most natural passers in the country. He’s dominated every camp he’s attended and heading into the summer, and the Elite 11 Finals, he’s positioned to stake his claim as the nation’s best overall 2025 prospect.

The film, the size, the arm strength, the accuracy and the work ethic — especially considering St. Clair has only been fully committed to playing quarterback for two years — are all elite. He’s just scratching the surface of what he can be down the line.

Smith: FACT. This is shaping up to be a fun back half of the year for this 2025 cycle. Part of the reason for that is there is no guarantee that USC commit Julian Lewis stays in the No. 1 spot. St. Clair is one of the prospects that is pushing for that spot.

We’ll get a few more major data points with the Ohio State commit in person. Part of our team will see him at the Elite11 Finals in California. All of our national team will see him at Rivals Five-Star in Jacksonville.

St. Clair is already in the discussion but it's in the background right now. After this summer that conversation could be difficult to ignore.

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2. Trey McNutt is the closest defender to five-star status.

Justin Garcia/Rivals.com

Friedman: FICTION. Trey McNutt has been outstanding every time we've seen him and his stock continues to rise but there are a couple other players who could be slightly closer to earning their fifth star. Florida State defensive end commit Javion Hilson and Michigan defensive end commit Nathaniel Marshall have elite traits and have the tools to succeed at the college level and beyond.

On top of that, the defensive end position is valued above safeties in terms of the NFL Draft. At the end of the day, all three of these prospects could end up being five-stars so McNutt's abilities should not be looked down upon.

Smith: FACT. Friedman makes a valid point on the positional value because McNutt is a safety. If one thing will hold him back it’s that. However, he makes a great case to be the next defensive five-star prospect.

He’s an elite athlete and a real ball hawk in the back seven. He’s had a very impressive offseason and I expect that to carry over into his senior season in Ohio. His track speed translates to the football field and he’s dynamic enough to get looks on the offensive side of the ball in college.

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3. A Midwest QB is the biggest threat to Julian Lewis’ No. 1 position ranking.

Spiegelman: FACT. The 2025 recruiting cycle is absolutely loaded at the quarterback position. It's shaping up to be one of the deepest and most talented crops of passers in a few years, and that'll only get more interesting as various offseason events ramp up this summer and most importantly, into their senior seasons.

Julian Lewis remains QB1 in the Rivals250, and there are two Midwest quarterbacks right behind him inside the top 11 entering June. Bryce Underwood checks off every box as far as arm talent, throwing with accuracy and anticipation, as well as physical stature. Tavien St. Clair has a lot of those same traits and has also enjoyed a strong off-season, including a fantastic showing at Rivals Camp Series. This cycle is loaded at a premium position, and whether it's Lewis, Underwood or St. Clair at the top, I expect all three inside the top 10 when it's all said and done.

Smith: FACT. One of the biggest surprise storylines right now with the 2025 recruiting class is that Julian Lewis’ spot at No. 1 is in real danger. The fact is that Lewis himself hasn’t done a lot to lose the spot but it’s about what Underwood and St. Clair have done this offseason.

We don’t see Underwood a lot but when we get a glimpse of him, he’s outstanding. He’s got all the traits to be a future first-round pick. St. Clair is about the same level of athlete that Underwood is but also has the intangibles and make-up that has coach Ryan Day very excited.

Underwood and St. Clair are the only two quarterbacks that can challenge Lewis this cycle. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them finish in any order in the final rankings.

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