5 Highest-Rated Football Recruits to Play for IMG Academy

IMG Academy, one of the nation’s top high school football programs of the past decade, has seen some of the game’s premier talent transfer into its program to suit up in the blue and white in recent years. This lengthy list of players got us thinking: Who are the best to have played football at IMG? We answer that question right here. Using the 247Sports Composite rankings, here are the five highest-rated recruits to play football for IMG Academy, each of whom was (or currently is) considered a five-star talent.

Desmond Ricks

Of the highest-rated recruits to play football at IMG Academy, the No. 1 ranking belongs to this current junior. A multi-year starter in the Ascenders secondary, Ricks is considered the No. 2 overall player in the 2024 class, as well as the No. 1 cornerback in the country.

Nolan Smith

The current Georgia Bulldog was rated the No. 1 overall player in the 2019 class. Smith enjoyed a strong 2018 season for the IMG Academy defense, collecting 47 tackles, 14.5 TFL and 6.5 sacks in just eight games.

JC Latham

Currently the starting right tackle at Alabama, Latham is the highest-rated offensive lineman to play for the Ascenders. Graduating in the 2021 class, he was considered a top 5 player nationally.

Xavier Thomas

Thomas was regarded as the nation’s No. 1 defensive end in the 2018 class, as well as a top 5 player nationally, before taking his talents to Clemson. In eight games with the Ascenders in 2017, Thomas recorded 34 tackles, 8 TFL, and 2.5 sacks.

Shea Patterson

Patterson was rated the No. 1 overall quarterback in the 2016 class, as well as a top 5 player nationally. The five-star led the Ascenders to a perfect record in 2015, passing for 1,533 yards with 21 touchdowns.

In addition to those five, here are a few others who are among the highest-rated recruits to play football at IMG Academy: Trey Sanders, Francis Mauigoa, Joshua Kaindoh, Evan Neal, Jerrick Gibson, Ellis Robinson IV, Eli Ricks, Winston Watkins, Dylan Moses, Bo Scarborough and Issac Nauta.

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