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October 13, 2008

Shakeup near the top of the Rivals100

MORE: The 2009 Rivals100 | Chat about the Rivals100

The new Rivals100 is out and there was plenty of movement with the nation's top prospects. Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley still holds the top spot, but there was a reshuffling behind him.

Checking in at No. 2 overall is Bastrop (La.) wide receiver Rueben Randle, while Wichita (Kan.) East running Bryce Brown, Wheaton (Md.) Our Lady Good Counsel linebacker Jelani Jenkins and St. Louis Gateway defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson round out the top five.

"Barkley is still the top prospect with pro potential," said Barry Every, national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "He has all the tools, is physically gifted with a strong arm and has great size."

Moving into the top 10 are Pensacola (Fla.) Escambia running back Trent Richardson (No. 7) and Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure athlete Patrick Hall (No. 10). Meanwhile, defensive tackles Jamarkus McFarland of Lufkin (Texas) High and Jacobbi McDaniel of Madison(CQ) (Fla.) Madison County moved to Nos. 13 and 15, respectively.

Going into this Rivals100 revision, there were 26 five-star recruits. Two more five-star prospects have emerged in Atlanta Booker T. Washington cornerback Branden Smith and Foley (Ala.) High offensive tackle D.J. Fluker.

"Smith combines exceptional speed with good change of direction and body control," Every said. "He also has excellent hands and is the type of player who will have offensive plays designed for him because he can score at any time. Most speed guys are stiff and unable to adjust to the ball. Not Smith. He's a football player first who also happens to be a track star.

FIVE-STAR MOVER
Sheldon Richardson is now the nation's top defensive tackle prospect at No. 5 overall up from No. 22.

"Fluker is a prototypical NFL first-round choice as an offensive tackle. He's a 6-foot-7, 325-pound giant who can really move his feet, and that alone makes him special. He also has long arms and superior lateral movement, which will help him be a great pass blocker. And he plays with a nasty streak."

Other movers in this edition of the Rivals100 include Tampa Plant quarterback Aaron Murray, Lake Charles (La.) Barbe cornerback Janzen Jackson, Greenwood (S.C.) defensive end Sam Montgomery, Danville (Va.) George Washington running back David Wilson and Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway cornerback Corey Brown.

"Corey Brown has great ball skills and he has really improved over the past year and become a really dominant defender," said Mike Farrell, another national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "David Wilson is like a bull at running back. He's hard to tackle on initial contact, and he's not running behind a very good offensive line but still putting up big numbers."

NEW FACES IN THE 100

There are six new members in the Rivals100 Pahokee (Fla.) wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson, Warner Robins (Ga.) Northside defensive tackle Abry Jones, Leesville (La.) running back Michael Ford, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood defensive end Ryne Giddins, West Des Moines (Iowa) High offensive lineman David Barrent and East St. Louis (Ill.) High wide receiver Terry Hawthorne.

"After missing most of his junior season, Ford has done everything to help his stock this year," said Barton Simmons, the Southeast recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "He broke Cecil Collins' single-game rushing record at Leesville and he's essentially putting up ridiculous numbers. Ford is running great between the tackles and has become a special-teams force. He's a great pickup for LSU.

"Nu'Keese (Richardson) has been has been electric with the ball in his hands playing quarterback. He has shown he will be a huge asset in Florida's offense with his ability to make people miss and his flat-out speed. After bulking up this offseason, Abry Jones has shown strength and versatility. He's proven he can be a force at tackle but moves like a defensive end."

INJURIES TAKE THEIR TOLL

INS AND OUTS OF THE RIVALS100
IN (Rank)OUT (Prev. Rank)
WR Terry Hawthorne (60) DE Craig Drummond (94)
DE Ryne Giddins (61) RB Washaun Ealey (99)
RB Michael Ford (74) RB Eddie Lacy (73)
OT David Barrent (80) S Jawanza Starling (100)
DT Abry Jones (91) ATH Donavan Tate (95)
WR Nu'Keese Richardson (95) LB Jordan Whiting (64)
Going into the season, the nation's top ranked defensive recruit was Phoenix Desert Vista defensive end Devon Kennard. He made his way to the No. 2 spot overall, but he recently tore his ACL and will miss the rest of this season. Kennard now is No. 6.

Meanwhile, Chicago Morgan Park defensive end Craig Drummond hasn't played this season because of a foot injury and now is just outside the top 100.

"Devon (Kennard) was having a tremendous season until the injury," said Jeremy Crabtree, the national recruiting editor for Rivals.com. "He's still a tremendous prospect with great potential. In the long run, he should have a successful career and we think the world of him."

WHERE ARE THEY FROM AND WHERE ARE THEY GOING?

Florida leads the way with 15 prospects in the Rivals100. California has 12 and Texas has 11. Six states have five players each in the Rivals100 Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Sixty-two prospects in the Rivals100 have committed. USC leads the way with eight commitments. Ohio State is No. 2 with seven, LSU and Texas each have five and Alabama has four.



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