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December 3, 2012
The latest Rivals100 for the class of 2013 has been released and, as always, there are many moves up and down that will cause discussion. With three new five-stars and a fourth gaining his fifth star back, there is also a strong push toward the No. 1 spot held by Loganville (Ga.) Grayson defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. Could someone unseat the big end, and who earned the coveted extra star?
"This is always the ranking where players position themselves for a final push forward heading into the final weeks of the season and into all-star games," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. "In-season evaluation is extremely important, and it's interesting to see guys who stepped up their games, as well as tracking players who haven't really taken that next step."
There have been a lot of moves near the top.
"We finally have a wide receiver as a five-star, something we have every year but hadn't found yet this season," Farrell said. "And we added a big-time defensive end who can play linebacker at the next level and another defensive back in a year loaded at cornerback and safety. And, of course, we have a running back from Oregon who forced his way back to five-star status. It's been a fun season for evaluation."
The receiver, of course, is Crete (Ill.) Crete Monee star Laquon Treadwell, who checks in at No. 10 overall in the country.
"Coming out of the summer, Treadwell had clearly established himself as the nation's top receiver in the 2013 class. This fall, though, he took his game to the next level and turned in one of the most impressive high school seasons we have seen in the Midwest in some time," Rivals.com Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt said. "He is so big, so fast, so powerful and so fundamentally sound, he could help out a college team right now."
"Allen is an animal on the field and has a nonstop motor," Farrell said. "His junior film was amongst the best in the country, but to reach five-star status for us he needed to fill out, and he has done that. He's a legit 250 pounds now, has very thick legs, and he is still good in space. Allen never stops going, and he will be a star at 'Bama."
The additional defensive back added to the five-stars is Mission Viejo (Calif.) safety Max Redfield, who has impressed Rivals.com West Coast analyst Adam Gorney and jumped to No. 24 in the country.
[ MORE: Can Nkemdiche hang on to the No. 1 spot? ]
"There was some consternation on moving Redfield to five-star, but after thinking about it for a while and watching him dominate at safety and wide receiver, he definitely deserved the bump up," Gorney said. "Redfield is an elite athlete first and foremost. He has superb athleticism, looks great physically and is equally useful on both sides of the ball. He's one of those players who could continue to blossom in college and be a really special player because he has all the physical tools to be great."
Finally, it's obvious that the Oregon running back is Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha speedster Thomas Tyner, who will play his college ball at home for the Ducks and moved back up to No. 21 overall.
"Tyner did everything possible to prove he was one of the best running backs in the country, and so he deserved to be moved back to five-star status," Gorney said. "The Oregon commit had an amazing season and, just as important, he stayed healthy throughout the entire season. Tyner averaged more than 330 yards per game and more than 12 yards per carry, which means he dominated pretty much every time he had the ball in his hands."
Aside from the new five-stars, there were some movers and shakers as well in the Rivals100.
Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood defensive end DeMarcus Walker, another Alabama commitment, jumped 63 slots to No. 34 overall in the country. He is joined by fellow Alabama commitment ArDarius Stewart from Fultondale, Ala., who jumped 67 slots to No. 46.
"Walker is an ideal strong-side defensive end with a linebacker's agility. He's an excellent pass rusher who has an ultra quick first step," Rivals.com Southeast analyst Kynon Codrington said. "He sets the edge against the run and sheds blockers well to find the ball carrier. Walker finished the year with 16 sacks and 30 tackles for loss and is always productive."
"Stewart is explosive with the ball in his hands and accounted for 44 touchdowns on offense as a senior," Kodrington said. "He could line up at corner for Coach Saban in Tuscaloosa or play on offense. Either way, he is a playmaker who is only going to get better."
Other big moves in the top 50 included Ashburn (Va.) Stone Bridge quarterback Ryan Burns, a Stanford commitment and a teammate of Allen, jumping 20 spots to No. 43 overall and taking over the No. 3 quarterback position nationally, and Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, a Clemson commitment, moving up 28 spots to No. 48.
"Burns has the best combination of physical skills of any quarterback in this class when it comes to size, mechanics, arm strength, scrambling ability and accuracy," Farrell said. "The problem is that he runs a wing offense in high school and doesn't get to throw as much as many other quarterbacks. It will be a huge transition for him from that to college football, especially at Stanford, but we can't ignore his physical skills."
"As for Robinson, he is one of the most productive receivers in the state of Georgia and he has tremendous upside," Farrell said. "He has good size, he's a downfield threat but he can also make tough catches to move the chains."
Three prospects in a row in the Rivals100 made huge jumps. Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski County tight end Hunter Henry, Marietta (Ga.) Walton running back Tyren Jones and Clairton (Pa.) wide receiver Tyler Boyd all jumped 60 slots or more to check in respectively at Nos. 58, 59 and 60.
"Henry was already thought of as one of the top tight ends in the country, and as a senior he continued to prove he was one of the best," Rivals.com Southwest analyst Jason Howell said of the Arkansas, commitment who moved up 64 spots. "He has been more known for his abilities as a pass catcher over the years and often splits out wide, but as a senior he showed a well-rounded game, making his presence felt downfield as a blocker."
[ THE LIST: Check out the complete updated Rivals100 ]
"Coming into the season, there were concerns about whether or not Jones could handle the load of being an every-down-type running back. After a dominant year, those concerns were answered," Rivals.com Southeast recruiting analyst Woody Wommack said of the Alabama commitment, who jumped 90 spots. "For most of the year, Jones was Walton's workhouse, oftentimes logging 30-plus carries per game. In the offseason Jones dedicated himself to adding weight, and he managed to do so without compromising his tremendous speed. That, coupled with his excellent balance, vision and cutting ability, is why he made such a leap in the rankings."
"Boyd made one of the biggest jumps of any player (94 spots), and it was well deserved. His speed, vision, explosiveness, athleticism and receiving ability all justify his move up the rankings," Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic analyst Adam Friedman said. "There aren't many things he can't do on the football field. He set the WPIAL touchdown record, and he could play so many positions at the next level his versatility is almost unmatched."
The two players making the biggest moves into the Rivals100 are both running backs. West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade stud Terrell Newby and Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford all-purpose back T.J. Logan, a North Carolina commitment, made massive jumps.
"I remember seeing Newby at a 7-on-7 tournament this past summer and being really impressed after seeing him last season at Chaminade, but when I watched him in the game against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, I knew I was looking at a special prospect," Gorney said of Newby, who jumped 164 spots to No. 67 overall. "He has the unique ability to run between the tackles for tough yards or bounce to the outside and get to the corner. Newby can also catch the ball out of the backfield, which makes him a weapon in the passing game, and once he's in the open field nobody is catching him."
"With Logan, he could be the next Gio Bernard at North Carolina; he's that special," Farrell said. "He's the only player outside the Rivals250 to jump into the 100 this time around, and at this time of year that's hard to do. Logan is a great athlete who could play cornerback if needed in college. He's as productive a player as you'll find on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and he just dominates."
Six more players made large jumps inside or into the Rivals100: defensive back Tray Matthews from Newnan, Ga.; cornerback Cole Luke from Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton; safety Keanu Neal from Bushnell (Fla.) South Sumter; running back Ezekiel Elliott from St. Louis (Mo.) John Burroughs School; quarterback Jeremy Johnson from Montgomery (Ala.) Carver and defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad from Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep.
"Matthews followed a solid offseason with some excellent production on both sides of the ball for Newnan High," Wommack said of the Georgia commitment, who jumped 26 spots to No. 72. "Already an accomplished defensive player, Matthews stepped up when his team needed him on offense and turned out to be an excellent receiving option as well. His good hands and ball skills will serve him well as a safety at the next level."
"Saying Luke single-handedly willed Chandler Hamilton to a state title this season is inaccurate, but it's not as crazy a statement as it seems. Luke recorded five interceptions from his natural position of cornerback. He also was a threat in the return game and took significant snaps at running back and wide receiver," Rivals.com West analyst Rob Cassidy said of Luke, who jumped 126 slots to No. 95. "He scored a handful of touchdowns from each position. He changed games in nearly every way possible this season and was by far the best player on the state of Arizona's best team. Luke is as good in coverage as any corner out there, and what he lacks in tackling ability he makes up for by taking away an entire side of the field."
"Neal showed excellent coverage ability this summer at The Opening and has the athleticism to cover quicker receivers, but on the field he is a very good tackler who explodes on impact," Codrington said of the Florida Gators commitment after Neal moved up 27 slots to No. 81. "He was the key force on a defense that gave up 11 points per game while leading his team to an 11-1 season."
"What you see is what you get with Elliot. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, he's elusive enough to go around defenders and powerful enough to go through them," Cassidy said of the Ohio State commitment, who jumped 43 slots to No. 77. "He shines as a return man on the high school level, but his most undervalued talent is his ability to impact a game by catching passes out of the backfield. Elliot's versatility is a major reason why he continues to climb up the rankings."
"Johnson is a dominant player who is destroying the competition at a very high level of competition in Alabama," Farrell said of the Auburn commitment, who jumped 97 slots to No. 94 overall. "He's a huge kid who can pass with accuracy, move around a bit and simply knows how to make big plays and win. His upside is as high as any quarterback around; he is just raw in some ways."
"Muhammad's move up the rankings is due to his versatility, athleticism, instincts and explosiveness," Friedman said of the defensive end, who gained 59 spots to be ranked No. 97. "He has an impact on almost every play. Muhammad can put his hand on the ground and play against the run or rush the passer, and he can stand up and play in space. He always seems to make plays in big moments for his team."