No. 40: Shamar Easter, TE (Arkansas)
Shamar Easter is the sixth and final tight end to make this year’s list and is another potential game-changer. Easter might actually be the top overall athlete in the class of 2023 after taking third at the Arkansas 2022 Decathlon, which is a two-day competition that consists of 10 different track and field events: 100 meters, 400 meters, 1500 meters, 110 hurdles, shot put, discus, high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Easter is also a straight up rim protector who averaged close to three blocks a game as a junior at Ashdown. On the gridiron, the Natural State’s top-ranked senior caught 30 passes for 519 yards and five touchdowns last fall. He figures to be a weapon one day for Sam Pittman and the Razorbacks.
No. 41: J’Ven Williams, OT (Penn State)
Penn State commit J’Ven Williams broke a 15-year old Pennsylvania record when he launched a shot 66-7.75 at the 2A state meet back in late May. The person Williams surpassed? That would be Penn State track and field great Joe Kovacs, who captured silver at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. Williams, who pushes people around in Reading Wyomissing’s Wing-T attack on Friday nights, was also the state champion this spring in the discus and his personal best of 189-0 in the event ranked in the top 10 nationally for the 2022 high school season. He is set to start classes a semester early in State College and is likely only going to morph into even more of a monster once working under the direction of Nittany Lions strength coach Chuck Losey.
No. 42: Jamari Johnson, ATH (Louisville)
Is he a tight end or a defensive lineman? What about a future offensive lineman? It’s anyone’s guess, but there’s a lot to like about Jamari Johnson when it comes to his frame and functional athleticism. The year-round athlete, who also plays basketball and throws shot put, measured in at just over 6-foot-4, 255 pounds back in March. More impressively, the Inglewood (Calif.) product came in with an 82-inch wingspan to go along with size 16 shoes. One other thing we like about Johnson? The fact that he won the long ball toss at the annual Steve Clarkson Quarterback Retreat back during the summer months by launching a pigskin 72 yards in the air. Sure, Johnson used to be a quarterback, but that’s still wild — he wasn’t supposed to have a better arm than actual Elite 11 finalists.
No. 43: Johnsley Barbas, DB (Houston)
Ok, we song. Damon Wilson isn’t the strongest recruit pound-for-pound this cycle. It’s actually (probably) Johnsley Barbas. Open up Tik Tok right now and search “Barb_Official” or try to find “jbarbas1” on Instagram. You will see video after video of Barbas performing advanced calisthenics routines including one trick where he does a running front flip and dips his head into a bucket of water seated on a 5-foot stool before safely landing on two feet. Barbas, who is expected to play safety for the Tigers, is also known to turn some heads during Roswell (Ga.) Centennial’s workouts as he squats 500 pounds and can bench close to 300 pounds. He hopes to eventually open a gym of his own one day that centers around bodyweight movements.
No. 44: Ryne Shackelford, WR (Purdue)
Ryne Shackelford has what it takes to be that pesky Purdue wide receiver that gives Ohio State and Michigan fans fits every year (think David Bell, Rondale Moore or even Taylor Stubblefield). Shackelford not only ran a hand-timed 4.41 in the 40-yard dash for the Buckeyes at a summer camp last year, but is Ohio’s reigning DII state outdoor champion in the 100-meter dash (has gone as low as 10.57), 200- meter dash and long jump (24-1.5 is his best). Shackelford doesn’t have much meat on his bones (he was under 180 pounds back in March), but he’s still a strong sucker, hence the 500-pound trap bar deadlift. In three years at Lagrange Keystone, Shackelford has caught 114 passes for 1,882 yards and 26 touchdowns while also scoring three more times via the return game.
No. 45: Caleb JacksonRB (LSU)
To get a sense for how hard it is to tackle Kaleb Jackson, one must first acknowledge the fact that three games into his junior season he had run for 516 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 23 carries (that comes out to 22.4 yards per carry) . Sure, that type of production might not have come against the stiffest competition that Louisiana has to offer, but by the year’s end, Jackson had amassed 2,031 rushing yards and 29 scores while averaging 14.7 yards per touch for Baton Rouge Liberty Magnat. Jackson’s calling card seems to be his top-end gear, which was likely refined on the track over the years. He placed fourth as both a junior and sophomore at the Pelican State’s 4A state track meet in the 100-meter dash and has gone as low as 10.66 with the wind at his back.
No. 46: Micah Mays, ATH (Wake Forest)
Wake Forest has sold Micah Mays on the idea of being the next AT Perry for them. Mays might not be as tall as the All-ACC wide receiver, but he’s just as explosive. The three-sport athlete at North Palm Beach (Fla.) The Benjamin School took home state titles as a junior in the 400-meter dash (47.52) and triple jump (45-11.75) at Florida’s 1A meet. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Mays also secured third in the high jump (6-1.5) at states while anchoring a 4×400 squad that clinched a regional title a few weeks prior. When it comes to basketball, Mays might not be a high-flier like some of his Freaks List counterparts, but he can drive off the dribble and score. Penn State was talking with Mays before he decided to lock in a spot with the Demon Deacons but there are other suitors circling him before
No. 47: King Mack, DB (Penn State)
Safeties who hope to play on Sundays need to be able to cover a ton of ground as organizations continue to try and throw it around the yard. King Mack can do just that. The heart and soul of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas’ defense, Mack is football’s version of a five-tool center fielder that is best known for his speed as he was Florida’s 3A state champion in the 400-meter dash (46.25) this spring and also a state qualifier in the 100-meter dash (10.64). And while one can make the case that Mack might be a tad undersized at 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, his weight room maxes this summer (405-pound back squat and 305-pound bench press) suggest that he can hold his own in pads.
No. 48: DJ Oliver, RB (West Virginia)
DJ Oliver might be the best-kept secret in Florida. Or at least, he was before West Virginia flipped him from USF. He’s a 5-foot-11, 244-pound wrecking ball of a running back out that clocked the fastest 40-yard dash out of the 1,000 or so campers that worked out for USF this summer, going a blistering 4.52 in Tampa. The accolades don’t stop there for Oliver, who attends Port Saint Joe. As an 11th grader, he finished fourth at Florida’s 4A state track meet in the shot put and stood third on the podium at the Sunshine State’s 1A weightlifting meet after hitting a 310-pound clean and jerk. Oliver is pretty unique given his dimensions, but he has shown that he can make an impact on both sides of the ball after rushing for over 1,600 yards and totaling over 100 tackles as a junior.
No. 49: Connor StrawOL (Texas)
They say everything is bigger in Texas and that is indeed the case with Connor Straw, who tips the scales at 6-foot-6.5, 345 pounds. Straw is another Lone Star State-based powerlifter with solid technique. He owns some impressive numbers for a teenager: 575 back squat, 515 deadlift and 415 bench press. One other thing that separate straw from others? His size-19 shoes. For a quick point of reference, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Ben Cleveland only wears size-17 shoes while Los Angeles Charges offensive lineman Zion Johnson (a first round pick in 2022) only wears size-18 boots. Stroh is a multi-year starter at Frisco Wakeland that could become one of Arch Manning’s best friends in Austin if he keeps the pocket clean.
No. 50: Samuel Same, EDGE (Iowa State)
Iowa State has quietly turned into one of college football’s top developmental programs under the direction of Matt Campbell. So, it’s not surprising that the Cyclones’ 2023 commit list is littered with traits-based prospects with higher ceilings. Sam Same is our favorite of the group assembled thus far. It wasn’t too long ago that he was just a 5-foot-9 eighth grader, but after hitting a major growth spurt (he now lists himself at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds) he carved out a role rushing the passer out on the edge for Kansas’ Derby High. Same still has a long way to go from a developmental standpoint, but there aren’t many in middle America running sprints with parachutes tied to their waist or jamming in pregame layup lines.
247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports’ Gabe Brooks, 247Sports’ Cooper Petagna, 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman, 247Sports’ Greg Biggins, 247Sports’ Blair Angulo, 247Sports’ Brian Dohn, 247Sports’ Allen Trieu, 247Sports’ Chris Singletary, Irish Illustrated/247Sports’ Tom Loy, Horns247/247Sports’ Mike Roach and numerous other contacts all helped contribute to this list, which is the second annual College Football Prospects ‘Freaks List. You can check out 2021’s version for the 2022 class right here.