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November 29, 2011
The new Rivals100 was released Monday and it featured movement all throughout the list after Rivals.com's analysts saw many prospects during the season so it is only fitting that the updated Rivals250 is loaded with some drastic changes, too.
Let's start at No. 102 with J.C. Coleman, an all-purpose back from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith, who skyrocketed 129 spots. The Virginia Tech commit thoroughly impressed Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell this season.
"Coleman had a tremendous senior season and has become stronger and more of a threat to run inside, the only thing that had been holding him back a bit," Farrell said.
"I knew how good he was in space and what a threat he was as a receiver, but now he's continuing to emerge as an every-down back and I think he could be the next great one at Virginia Tech. He's so low to the ground and strong it's just hard to get a good shot on him."
Coleman was the biggest mover in the second part of the 250 release but not the only major one as Baltimore (Md.) Gilman School athlete Cyrus Jones (67 spots), Bastrop, La., inside linebacker Denzel Devall (28 spots) and Jenks, Okla., running back Alex Ross (64 spots) all moved up significantly in the top 150. Jones moved to No. 106, Devall to No. 114 and Ross to No. 138.
"Jones is so versatile and I think he's come a long way since his junior season where he had many good games against weaker opponents but struggled at times with the better ones," Farrell said.
"As a senior he has added strength and speed and watching him go head-to-head against five-star Stefon Diggs as both a receiver and cornerback was exciting to see. Jones could play at a high BCS level as either a cornerback or receiver and he is a game-breaker on both sides of the ball."
Rivals.com Southwest analyst Brian Perroni said: "Previously listed at outside linebacker, Devall lined up at inside linebacker this year and played it very well. He moved up to the No. 2 overall player in the state of Louisiana because of his ability to play downhill against the run as well as cover the tight end over the middle.
"Ross was injured much of his senior year but averaged almost 10 yards per carry when he was able to play. He is relatively new to the running back position and he proved his big junior season was not a fluke."
There were a bunch of prospects that moved up in the 150-range with Ocala (Fla.) Vanguard defensive back P.J. Williams jumping 40 spots to No. 150. Right behind the Florida State commit is Oklahoma City (Okla.) Heritage Hall wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who moved up 88 spots.
Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain outside linebacker Joe Bolden (32 spots), Barrington, Ill., offensive guard Dan Voltz (16 spots), San Antonio (Texas) Brandeis cornerback Colin Blake (24 spots), South Bend (Ind.) Washington athlete David Perkins (11 spots) and Citra (Fla.) North Marion tight end Sean Price (24 spots) all made significant jumps as well.
"Williams has excellent versatility at the defensive back spot that would allow him to play safety or cornerback at the next level," Rivals.com Florida analyst Chris Nee said.
"He has good size, athleticism and excellent hips that make him dangerous as a cornerback. At the safety spot he shows a willingness to come down in run support and play physical but also a nose for the football in space and is very good at positioning himself to make a play on the ball. In a zone defensive scheme, he will be a real asset."
Perroni said: "Though high school teammate Barry Sanders gets most of the attention on the team it is Shepard who put up huge numbers this season. With his speed he is a big-play threat anytime he gets the ball in space."
Later in the Rivals250, San Antonio (Texas) Ronald Reagan quarterback Trevor Knight moved up 66 positions to No. 179. West Roxbury (Mass.) Catholic Memorial linebacker Camren Williams jumped to No. 162 from out of the rankings. Powder Springs (Ga.) Hillgrove athlete Kenyan Drake made the jump from not rated to No. 184.
Three other non-rated prospects who made big moves were Miami (Fla.) Norland offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, Bollingbrook, Ill., inside linebacker Antonio Morrison and Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson cornerback Daje Johnson. They are now Nos. 200, 201 and 203, respectively.
The first major mover down the list is Centerville, Ohio, defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo, who went from No. 64 down to No. 109. Two others from the Midwest that got bumped down were Detroit Cass Tech inside linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone, who went down 85 spots and Akron (Ohio) Hoban defensive end Greg McMullen, who dropped from No. 106 to No. 188.
Rivals.com Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt explains those decisions.
"Odenigbo is a great athlete who plays hard, but his relative inexperience in the game comes out in his play recognition," Helmholdt said. "The other concern is that he does not have a true college position. He plays defensive end, but is built more like an outside linebacker. We still like his future potential, but after seeing him in person again this fall we felt he was a little too high in the earlier rankings.
"As a junior, Jenkins-Stone played an aggressive, downhill style of football player and was all over the field. We saw him live in two and a half games as a senior, though, and he had lost that aggressive style and was playing back on his heels. Jenkins-Stone has also grown very little since we saw him the first time as a sophomore and that raises questions about his ability to add the necessary strength and bulk to play inside in college.
"McMullen burst onto the scene in 2009 with a great sophomore campaign, but regressed as a junior and this fall just disappeared too many times in ball games."
There were three players out of Texas that took a dip in the latest rankings as Houston (Texas) Klein Forest dual-threat quarterback Matt Davis slid 57 positions, Euless (Texas) Trinity outside linebacker Brian Nance went down 57 spots and Brenham, Texas, inside linebacker Timothy Cole fell 51 places.
"Davis only played half a game as a junior because of a torn ACL," Perroni said. "He looked great as a passer over the summer and moved way up in the rankings but he struggled to make decisions over the course of his senior season. He is still ranked very high but it is hard to ignore the fact he completed less than 50-percent of his passes.
"Nance is yet another player coming off an ACL tear as a junior. In several games this year he was a step slower than in the past but even more concerning was the fact he was not playing as aggressively as a year ago. He did not make nearly as many plays this season."
The third-biggest fall in the Rivals250 after Jenkins-Stone and McMullen came from Rochester (N.Y.) Aquinas Institute defensive tackle Jarron Jones, who slipped 81 spots to 159.
"Jones is an example of a prospect that has a higher ceiling on the opposite side of the ball schools are telling him he'll play," Farrell said. "As a defensive tackle, he lacks great burst and power and he isn't as physical as he needs to be.
"As an offensive tackle however, he is raw and unsure of himself, but he has good feet and doesn't need that same physical mentality to be as successful. But wherever you project him, Jones is raw and should be destroying competition in Western New York and that doesn't come out on his senior film."
Another player who was significantly dropped after much debate was Zeke Pike, who fell from No. 104 to No. 145. Rivals.com Southeast analyst Keith Niebuhr said Pike's progression from his junior to senior season was not enough.
"This is reflected in his 2011 statistics, particularly his mediocre touchdown-to-interception ratio," Neibuhr said. "Nonetheless, this is someone with a lot of tools, and he will have a chance to impress at the Army All-American Bowl."