There is a new No. 1 in the final 2012 Rivals.com Junior College Top 50. After debuting in the rankings as the No. 2 prospect, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Pierce C.C. safety Gerald Bowman finishes on top.
Though there were no five-star junior college prospects for the second year in a row, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound USC signee came close. Bowman's play was simply too hard to ignore.
"Bowman is one of the most aggressive defenders out there," Rivals.com West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney said. "He attacks the ball in the run game and isn't afraid to deliver big hits.
"I think USC liked his timing as well, though. He's not just a big hitter. He is certainly incredibly aggressive but he will sit back in pass coverage as well. He's just a very good all-around defender. He is a safety but he can play like a corner when he needs to."
Pierce head coach Efrain Martinez knows what kind of player he had the past two years in Bowman.
""He's the best safety we've ever had," Martinez said prior to the season. "He's the whole package. He's got speed, he can hit - he's just that good."
Scooba (Miss.) East Mississippi C.C. defensive end and Mississippi State signee Denico Autry checks in at No. 2 on the list while Thatcher (Ariz.) Eastern Arizona J.C. cornerback and Alabama signee Travell Dixon is No. 3.
Hutchinson (Kan.) C.C. wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, the No. 1 overall prospect on the preseason list, falls down three spots to No. 4 in the postseason rankings.
"Patterson is a very, very good player and having him at No. 4 should not be seen as a slight," Rivals.com Southwest recruiting analyst Brian Perroni said. "He has an incredible combination of size and speed and is a great return man for his size. There are just a few questions we have about him, especially after I saw him live against Coffeyville this year.
"He tends to be a little lackadaisical with his routes and sometimes allows defensive backs to take him out of the play too easily. He still has a very high ranking but we just couldn't keep him ahead of Bowman, Autry or Dixon."
Rounding out the top five is Brenham (Texas) Blinn College running back Marion Grice, a Texas A&M pledge.
There were four new additions to the four-star ranks in the postseason list including two Nebraska pledges. Thatcher (Ariz.) Eastern Arizona J.C. cornerback Mohammed Seisay comes in at No. 8 overall while Riverside (Calif.) C.C. linebacker Zaire Anderson is No. 13.
The other two new four-star prospects are both wide receivers including Arkansas pledge Courtney Gardner of Roseville (Calif.) Sierra C.C. and Kansas State signee Marquez Clark of Corsicana (Texas) Navarro College. Clark set NJCAA single-season receiving records this year with 98 receptions for 1,639 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Offensive tackle is the most predominant position in the rankings with 10 of the top 50 lining up at the spot. Will Latu, an Auburn commit from Santa Clarita (Calif.) College of the Canyons, is the highest-ranked of the group at No. 8 overall. Texas commit Donald Hawkins of Senatoba (Miss.) Northwest Mississippi C.C. is also a four-star prospect at No. 15 overall.
Brenham (Texas) Blinn College has the most prospects in the top 50 with four including Grice, Iowa State commits Eddie Porter and Ishmail Hayes and offensive tackle Chris Grisbhy. Corsicana (Texas) Navarro College, Scooba (Miss.) East Mississippi C.C., Perkinston (Miss.) Gulf Coast C.C. and Milledgeville (Ga.) Georgia Military College all check in with three prospects apiece in the rankings.