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September 2, 2011
Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on topics in a roundtable format.
Who is one player outside the Rivals250 after the latest rankings that you'd be shocked if he's not in there before National Signing Day?
Mike Farrell: Based on his film and everything I am hearing about him, I would be surprised if Antonio Morrison didn't crack the 250 by the end. He's a big kid who can move and bring the thunder as a linebacker. We just want to see if film translates in person.
Adam Gorney: One player who has a really good shot - and after further evaluation might have to move up in a big way if he has a good senior season - is Inglewood (Calif.) cornerback Devian Shelton. He was probably a little underappreciated going into this summer but he was fantastic at the B2G Elite Camp and could be one of the top cornerbacks in Southern California. With his athleticism and ball skills, Shelton could move into the top 250 for sure. Another prospect to watch is Hillsboro (Ore.) Liberty linebacker Brett Bafaro. The first time we saw him on the national level was at The Opening this summer in Oregon and he was thoroughly impressive and from a physical standpoint looked like a top four-star recruit.
Josh Helmholdt: There are a trio of Midwest receivers I have been hearing good things about all summer who we just have not had a chance to see in person in a while. Pickerington (Ohio) Central's Roger Lewis, Cincinnati (Ohio) Moller's Monty Madaris and Lombard (Ill.) Montini Catholic's Jordan Westerkamp are all rated at the highest level of the three-star tier. We'll see them this fall and if their performances match the hype, they could be in the discussion for the Rivals250 in the next update.
Chris Nee: Miami Beach athlete Ricardo Louis has a real legitimate shot at making a move toward the 250 during his senior year. He is a really talented, big athlete who is expected to get an opportunity to show more on the field as a senior than he has been able to in the past, due to the way he has been used by his high school.
Keith Niebuhr: There isn't one that stands out to be perfectly honest. Instead I'll go with a player who might have a good shot of breaking through. That would be outside linebacker Cassanova McKinzy of Birmingham Woodlawn. We didn't get to see him this summer, but I got a good look at McKinzy this spring. Physically, he's very gifted; he's the type of linebacker that can do numerous things. With a solid fall, I think he'll have a legitimate chance of getting the bump.
Brian Perroni: Denton (Texas) Ryan linebacker Jordan Richmond has a very good shot of climbing into the Rivals250. Though five-star defensive end Mario Edwards gets most of the attention at the school, Richmond is strong against the pass and the run. The team has arguably the top defense in the state of Texas and will almost assuredly make a deep postseason run, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for Richmond to impress.
In looking at the current Rivals250, which prospect in it seems to be the biggest overachiever in that bunch?
Mike Farrell: I'll go with running back Dennis Norfleet from Michigan for one simple reason - size. It's easy to be written off as a non-250 guy when you're 5-7 and 170 pounds, but he's dynamic at everything he does and he's physical and not afraid to take hits or run between the tackles on film. During the spring and summer he just kept making us believe.
Adam Gorney: I really think Spring (Texas) Dekaney running back Trey Williams is a big-time overachiever. For someone to be that undersized at 5-8 and 175 pounds and to have that big of an impact is pretty impressive. Williams, the second-best running back in the 2012 class behind Johnathan Gray, who has outstanding size, rushed for more than 2,000 yards in 10 games in his junior season. He had a strong summer and is really a top-notch player despite being smaller than everyone else.
Josh Helmholdt: If we're talking about the prospect who has made the most out of his physical tools, I'll say New Lenox (Ill.) Providence Catholic offensive tackle Ryan Ward. The 6-6, 270-pound Ward does not have the physical gifts of a D.J. Humphries or an Andrus Peat, but he gets the most out of his talent because he plays with excellent technique and has a constantly running motor.
Chris Nee: I would throw Eagle (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum in that category. Not really well known at the start of the year, he stole the show at the Elite 11 event. It was one of a few camps where he showed his great accuracy, solid arm strength and high-level football smarts at. He went from relative unknown to a top 40 player in the nation.
Keith Niebuhr: Clearly, it's all-purpose back Brian Kimbrow. Generously listed at 5-9 and 165, he likely is the smallest guy in the top 250, but arguably has the biggest heart. This kid is fearless. He plays as if he thinks he's 6-foot, 225 pounds. When Kimbrow competes, he seems to be fueled by all those who say he's too small to make it big.
Brian Perroni: The term "overachiever" has some negative connotations at times but I don't want this to be taken as a bad thing at all. I think, in my region, the guy is probably Patterson (La.) outside linebacker Lorenzo Phillips. The Florida commit is not the biggest or fastest prospect on the field and does not necessarily stand out on the hoof, but he simply makes plays.
What player should be most motivated to improve his current ranking, based on the belief that he has more skills than what he has shown so far?
Mike Farrell: With his offer list and speed, I don't think North Carolina running back Keith Marshall cares much what our rankings are, but almost everyone else has him as the No. 1 running back in the country. Yet there is still an in-state contingent that feels that Marshall isn't even the go-to back in his own state much less the country because of Todd Gurley. I don't buy into Gurley being better than Marshall and Marshall is still our No. 1 all-purpose back overall, but an amazing senior season, a strong Shrine Bowl and a great performance at the Under Armour Game can make us believers that he's a top 20 or top 10 national talent.
Adam Gorney: One player to watch is pro-style quarterback Travis Wilson from San Clemente, Calif., because he has the size and ability to be a four-star quarterback. There is a good argument for him to move up one notch but after some struggling during 7-on-7 tournaments this summer there was some hesitation. He definitely will have a chance to prove himself in Southern California this season. He has a unique delivery but he's so tall that he can get away with it. The Utah commit will be a guy to watch next time the rankings come around.
Josh Helmholdt: Toledo (Ohio) Whitmer defensive end Christopher Wormley looks great getting off the bus, but every time we have been out to scout him he has left us wanting more. There was a lot of hype around Wormley coming out of his sophomore year, but after scouting him at camps, games and scrimmages we have not seen the substance to justify that hype.
Chris Nee: Vero Beach (Fla.) defensive end Dwayne Hoilett has a shot to make a big move with a strong senior season. The undersized defensive end was consistently among the top performers at any and all camps he participated in. As a junior, he had just 34 tackles, four tackles for loss, and three sacks but expects those numbers to swell heavily as a senior. An extra 15 to 20 pounds on his frame should help the cause.
Keith Niebuhr: Kwon Alexander. Once a Rivals100 member, the linebacker from Oxford (Ala.) fell all the way to No. 170 this time around. People have wondered whether he is physical enough. Some say he's too light to be a big-time linebacker. Others claim he's not great in coverage. What competitor wouldn't be motivated by all of that noise?
Brian Perroni: San Antonio (Texas) Brandeis cornerback Colin Blake played his first season of high school football as a junior and the 6-foot-3, 185-pound defender was able to use his physical ability to make plays. With more time learning the game, he has all the physical tools to eventually be one of the top overall cornerbacks in the entire class. He will be fun to watch this year as he makes strides in his game.
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