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Exciting QB Faizon Brandon plus Raja Bell’s son and Kobe Bryant’s nephew headline Class of 2026 rankings

On Wednesday, 247Sports crowned quarterback Faizon Brandon of Greensboro’s Grimsley as the new No. 1 prospect in the 2026 class

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247Sports

Greensboro, North Carolina, is located less than an hour-and-a-half northwest of Raleigh, the state’s capital. It’s the Tar Heel State’s third-most populous city and annually produces an impressive quantity of nationally coveted football prospects. But Greensboro has never claimed a No. 1 overall prospect – until now. 

On Wednesday, 247Sports crowned quarterback Faizon Brandon of Greensboro’s Grimsley as the new No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2026. Grimsley had previously been ranked No. 74 overall. The Class of 2026 prospects will be juniors in the fall of 2024 high school football season. 

In his first year under center, the 6-foot-4 Brandon guided Greensboro (N.C.) Grimsley to a 13-1 record and a quarterfinal appearance in the state playoffs. The tape shows a potential game-breaker at football’s highest levels as he can stay on schedule and get the ball to his playmakers while also improvising when needed in the face of pressure. 

What also stands out about Brandon are the stats. He’s as clean as they come with his completion percentage (68.9), yards per attempt (11.05) and interception rate (one every 92.3 passes) all top marks in the class. The same goes for his testing profile: 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 4.5 seconds in the short shuttle as a freshman.

Brandon, who now holds a grade of a 98, becomes the first quarterback from North Carolina to earn five-star status since Drake Maye, who is expected to hear his name called Thursday night in the first five picks of the 2024 NFL Draft. The two are a bit different stylistically, but do share one notable similarity in basketball as both averaged double figures on the hardwood as sophomores. 

What else you need to know about 2026’s Top247 Rankings

  • A little over a year from now, 247Sports will name 32 five-stars for the class of 2026. That’s to reflect the 32 first-round picks of the NFL Draft. To kick things off, three players earned a five-star designation Wednesday: Brandon, wide receiver Chris Henry Jr. and offensive tackle Immanuel Iheanacho. Henry is the son of the late NFL receiver and is committed to Ohio State.
  • There are more great bloodlines, too: Dia Bell, son of former NBA player Raja Bell, is a promising quarterback who ranks No. 21 overall in the class. He showed plenty of field command in Year 1 as a starter for Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage, passing for 1,929 yards (10.2 yards per attempt) and 20 scores. And at No. 26 overall in the class is Jett Washington, who’s the nephew of the late Kobe Bryant. Washington was originally viewed as a wide receiver, but left his mark as a safety at one of America’s more talent-rich programs (Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas). 
  • Georgia quarterback commit Jared Curtis was previously the top-ranked player in the class (following Julian Lewis’ reclassification from ’26 to ’25) and is still considered an elite prospect, though he drops down to No. 8 overall. 
  • The state of Texas has a rich history of running back production — Doak Walker, Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson, Priest Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian PetersonJamaal Charles, and countless others — and is set for a monster crop in that regard after a quiet few seasons. Four of 247Sports’ top five running backs are Lone Star State products, including the nation’s No. 1 running back, Davian Groce of Frisco Lone Star. 

Check out 247Sports for more VIP recruiting intel on the Top 32 players in the Class of 2026.

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