ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. high on Arizona HS products Bijan Robinson, Kelee Ringo

Jun 1, 2022, 8:59 AM
Bijan Robinson #5 of the Texas Longhorns reacts after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter agai...
Bijan Robinson #5 of the Texas Longhorns reacts after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the Kansas Jayhawks at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s early 2023 NFL Draft rankings include a pair of Arizona high school products in running back Bijan Robinson (Texas) and cornerback Kelee Ringo (Georgia).

Of the 25 prospects on Kiper’s debut big board released Tuesday, the Salpointe Catholic alum in Robinson landed at No. 10, a major compliment given considering running backs have rarely gone that high in recent drafts.

Robinson’s season ended when he dislocated his left elbow in November, but he showed elite ability in 10 games. In fact, he led the FBS in broken tackles forced per game (4.1) and averaged 112.7 rushing yards per game. He is a cut-and-go runner with outstanding vision and explosiveness. I don’t love drafting running backs in Round 1, but Robinson deserves this ranking; I grade based on ability, not my first-round philosophy. He’s going to be a first-round-caliber prospect.

Robinson set career marks across the board last season as a sophomore, compiling 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns on 195 carries. He also caught 26 receptions for 295 yards and four scores.

The Tucson native is Kiper’s No. 1 running back prospect in his early rankings.

As for Ringo, the Saguaro alum came in at No. 21 ahead of his sophomore year.

He is just scratching the surface of how good he can be. If you were designing the perfect NFL cornerback, he’d have Ringo’s speed, size and arm length. He has every tool to be a top-10 pick, but he needs to be more consistent this season and not just show a few flashes of brilliance.

Across 14 games last year, Ringo recorded 34 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and eight passes defensed.

One of those interceptions came on the biggest stage, helping Georgia seal a national championship victory over Alabama this past January with a pick-six.

Ringo is Kiper’s No. 3 cornerback prospect in next year’s draft.

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ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. high on Arizona HS products Bijan Robinson, Kelee Ringo