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January 21, 2013

Plenty of big movers in final Rivals100


MORE RIVALS100: Meet the new five-stars | The List

The final Rivals100 for the class of 2013 has been released and, as always, there are plenty of moves up the rankings to note.

Aside from the new five-stars, the biggest mover was running back Alvin Kamara from Norcross (Ga.) Newnan who rose 101 slots to check into the top 50.

"The last rankings is always the one with the most movement because we have so much new information to review," said Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell. "We have more senior film as well as all-star practices and games where the best go against the best. That's why you see so many dramatic moves up and down and Kamara is a good example of that.

"But he's not the only running back to make a move up. I think this is a great year at the position and we found out it's even better than we thought."

In addition to Kamara moving to No. 45, running back Derrick Henry from Yulee, Fla., moved up 34 slots to No. 36, running back Keith Ford from Cypress (Texas) Cypress Ranch moved up 65 spots to No. 48, tailback Justin Davis from Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln jumped 54 spots to No. 62 and all-purpose back Dontre Wilson from DeSoto, Texas, rose 78 slots to No. 100.

Rivals.com Southeast recruiting analyst Woody Wommack broke down what allows Kamara to make such a jump.

"During the summer circuit, Kamara showed an array of skills that were perfectly suited for the non-contact game. But what I didn't see coming from Kamara was his toughness and ability to break tackles. Those traits combined with his quickness and vision has turned him from a likely third down back to a threat to make a big play every time he touches the ball," Wommack said. "If he continues to make the same strides he's made over the last six months as he heads into college, Kamara will be fun to watch."

Farrell, meanwhile, said Henry, an Alabama commitment, was impressive in proving that he was a true running back.

"Henry entered the U.S. Army All American Bowl as an athlete in our minds and left as a true running back," Farrell said. "Henry is still a tall, huge running back and provides defenders a big target, but he is sneaky fast, especially when turning the corner, he has excellent body lean and he always seems to fall forward for extra yardage. Those are all good traits and if he can keep his pad level low in college, he could be special."

Rivals.com Southeast recruiting analyst Kynon Codrington watched Ford, an Oklahoma commitment, and Wilson, a soft Oregon commitment, at Under Armour week.

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"Ford was the top running back for Team Nitro at the UAAG. In fact, he was probably the second best running back in the game behind Kamara. Ford's breakaway speed was displayed in the game on his 64-yard kickoff return. In addition to that he showed great vision, cutting ability, and lower body power in practice," Codrington said.

"Wilson's game is built on speed and make-you-miss ability. He flashed his game-breaking agility in the punt return game at the UAAG. His open field burst and acceleration is what spread zone read offensive coordinators crave. He is a mismatch in the passing game against linebackers or safeties on wheel or angle routes."

MOVING MEN
A look at the 13 prospects who jumped at least 50 spots in the final Rivals100 for the class of 2013:
Name Rank Prev. Rank
Chris Jones20 NR
Dorian Johnson31 168
Alvin Kamara45 146
Vonn Bell32 122
Brendan Mahon58 139
Dontre Wilson100 178
Tony Stevens95 164
Keith Ford48 113
Frank Herron23 82
Yannick Ngakoue88 145
Justin Davis62 116
Chris Hawkins34 87
Finally, Rivals.com West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney saw a lot in Davis to make the push up.

"Davis has moved back to the top-rated running back in California. He showed great burst and cutting ability at the Army Bowl and was much more impressive in pads then during the summer," Gorney said of the USC commitment. "He showed great vision once he got the ball and did a nice job finding little creases to gain yards. He's tough, too, and doesn't get tackled easily since he keeps his legs moving."

Others making big moves on offense include pass catchers Robert Foster from Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley, Alvin Bailey from Seffner (Fla.) Armwood, DeSean Smith from Lake Charles (La.) Barbe, James Quick from Louisville (Ken.) Trinity and Tony Stevens from Orlando (Fla.) Evans.

"Foster was 1B in regards to Laquon Treadwell's 1A at the Under Armour Game," Codrington said. "He did a nice job eating up the defensive back's cushion and showed deceptive speed out of his breaks. His high level of play against the nation's deep defenders and his big play potential is a reason why he moved up in the latest rankings." Foster, the Alabama commitment, moved 28 slots to No. 46 overall.

"As for Bailey, he isn't the biggest receiver but he does show big-play ability with the ball in his hands," Codrington said. "In my opinion, he is the most explosive receiver for the Gators' 2013 class and will help in the kick return game or slot as a freshman. He is more of a darter than blazer yet, he gets good separation from the secondary."

Bailey, a Florida commitment, moved up 38 slots to No. 63 overall.

As for Smith, Rivals.com Southwest recruiting analyst Jason Howell talked about the LSU commitment and his move up 24 slots to No. 68 overall.

"Smith is a big tight end and a very polished receiver," Howell said. "In Barbe's offense, Smith put up some gaudy numbers for a tight end and throughout the week at the Army All-American Bowl proved to be one of the most reliable, athletic pass catchers in attendance.

"Smith rarely lets anything that touches his big hands fall to the ground and has a chance to provide another dynamic to an already powerful LSU offense."

Rivals.com Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt broke down Quick's performance that led to a move of 38 slots to No. 76 overall.

"Physically, Quick still has some work to do to craft his body into a player who can consistently take the pounding of Division I football, but once he hits a college weight program he should be fine in that area," Helmholdt said of the Louisville commitment. "Beyond that, Quick possesses outstanding playmaking ability. He has the speed, the agility and the natural pass-catching abilities desired at the position, but he takes those attributes further by being an outstanding route runner and knowing how to set up defensive backs and create space for himself."

Rounding out the group is Stevens, newly committed to Auburn, who moved up 69 slots to No. 95 and impressed Farrell quite a bit.

"Stevens is tall and thin but he will fill out and what I like about him quite a bit is his willingness to block," Farrell said. "He made a couple of key blocks downfield in the Army Bowl and he caught the ball as well as anyone else all week long. He will be a reliable target for his quarterback in college."

Also, a few offensive linemen and two quarterbacks made nice moves in the Rivals100. Offensive guard Ira Denson from Madison (Fla.) Madison County moved up 25 spots to No. 55 while fellow guard Brendan Mahon rose 81 slots to No. 58 in the country.

"Denson is one the best run-blockers at the guard position. He pulls and traps very well for a guy his size, and as a drive blocker he displays good hand placement and power. He finishes blocks and is always driving his opponent backward," Codrington said of the Florida State commitment. "He can reach the second level and sustain blocks against quicker linebackers. He will need to watch his body weight and improve as a pass blocker, but his aggressiveness and tenacity will keep him on the field at the next level."

As for Mahon, Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman was impressed.

"Mahon got one of the biggest bumps in the rankings because he manhandled some of the best players in the country down at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl," Friedman said of the Penn State commitment. "He showed that he can handle the pass rush and was rarely fooled by the various stunts by the defensive line. When run-blocking, Mahon drove his man downfield as if the were on roller skates. On the most impressive things about Mahon is his versatility. At the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Mahon played center for the first time in his life and proved to be more then effective."

Quarterback Troy Williams from Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne pushed up 20 slots to No. 71 overall and fellow signal-caller Anu Solomon from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman reached the Rivals100 by moving up 32 slots to No. 99.

"Perhaps no quarterback in this class throws a prettier ball than Williams, who is also a threat running the ball which makes him even more lethal in any offense," Gorney said of the Washington commit. "He was outstanding at the Cal State Game, almost always throws a perfect spiral right to where it's supposed to be and has impressive arm strength as well.

"In his senior season, Williams completed nearly 72 percent of his passes and only threw six picks. That about encapsulates the outstanding season Williams had this year."

As for Solomon, Rivals.com West recruiting analyst Rob Cassidy loved what he saw of him at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.

"When the lights came on at Semper-Fi, Solomon was good really good. He was, by far, the best quarterback in the stadium on game day and showcased the kind of run-throw combination that has earned him the reputation of a rising prospect," Cassidy said of the Arizona commitment. "He is a true dual threat and hurt the East defense with his speed and accuracy. The fact that he's tailor-made to play in the Wildcats' offense didn't hurt his cause, either."

On defense, defensive backs made big moves, including Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., cornerback Chris Hawkins, Newnan, Ga., safety Tray Matthews and Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos De Niza safety Priest Willis.

"Hawkins has proved time and again, at all kinds of different national events, that he is one of the top cornerbacks in the country," Gorney said of the USC pledge, who moved 53 spots to No. 34. "But at the Army Bowl, he consistently shut down top wide receivers. He has gotten bigger and stronger and can no longer be considered undersized to make an impact in college. His performance in the Army Bowl brought about five-star discussion, but we decided to move him way up and keep him as the highest four-star prospect."

With Matthews, Helmholdt was impressed with his work at Army. "Even at a star-studded event like the Army Bowl where everyone is an All-American, Matthews stood out physically," Helmholdt said of the Georgia commit. "He is a solidly-built safety prospect who is an intimidating presence in the secondary.

"Matthews' coverage skills are solid, but he really stands out in run support where he does a great job coming up to fill and hits like a linebacker."

Rounding out the trio of defensive backs is Willis, who showed his athleticism at Under Armour.

"Willis isn't shy about telling his competition what he thinks of his skill set and rightfully so," Wommack said of Willis, who rose 49 spots to No. 56. "Willis is likely to be a safety at the next level, where his ball skills and ability to anticipate routes will serve him very well.

"He's not afraid to go after the ball and make a play, but rarely makes bad gambles. His one-on-one coverage skills could make it easy for him to play corner, but he's best served when he's surveying the field from the safety position and reading and reacting to the offense."

There were also a few movers along the defensive line and at linebacker. Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad from Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep moved up 48 spots to No. 49 overall, fellow end Wyatt Teller from Bealton (Va.) Liberty jumped 43 slots to No. 59 in the country and linebacker Yannick Ngakoue from Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy moved up 57 slots to No. 88 overall.

And finally, Ngakoue continues his push up the rankings.

"Muhammad made a big jump in the rankings after an outstanding performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he showed he has the strength to compete with elite talent," Friedman said of the Miami commitment. "That strength combined with his quickness off the ball and aggressiveness, showed us that Muhammad is one of the top players in the country at his position. If Muhammad can keep his speed as he bulks up in college he will be a force to be reckoned with."

Meanwhile, Teller is already physically impressive.

"The East team at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl was loaded with big combo defensive end/defensive tackle types, and Teller was one of the best," Helmholdt said of the Virginia Tech commit. "He could project anywhere from a three-technique to a seven-technique on the next level because he has the strength to battle on the interior, but also the athleticism to make plays on the edge.

"What really stood out to me down in San Antonio was his football IQ. One of the best plays I saw all week during practices was Teller sniffing out a screen and intercepting the pass."

"Ngakoue is the type of player that no matter where you line him up on the field he's going to make plays," Wommack said. "I could see him playing any three of the linebacker positions in college and having success. He's good against the run, where he has the ability to lock onto the ball carrier and attack downhill. He's also athletic enough to defend in the passing game and is good at changing directions in pass coverage, especially for a player his size."



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