football Edit

Class of 2016 Rivals250: Risers, sliders

The updated Rivals100 for 2016 Presented by Under Armour was released on Monday with a new No. 1 in Lake Stevens, Wash., quarterback and Georgia commit Jacob Eason. After a season of games, there were plenty of changes along the way as well and movers both up and down within the top 100 players in the country.
The same could be said in the release of the new Rivals250 for 2016 as many prospects were juggled around in the rankings after their junior seasons were closely watched by Rivals.com analysts across the country.
Some of the biggest movers include Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake wide receiver Theo Howard, who finished his season with 52 catches for 869 yards and seven touchdowns. California's 2016 crop of wide receivers is off the charts and Howard has proven to be one of the best.
A number of recruits that were unranked in the first iteration of the 2016 rankings have moved way up in the Rivals250 after phenomenal campaigns. Others have moved down. With so much time left in the 2016 recruiting cycle, there will inevitably be even more movement along the way.
RISERS
Howard has it all for a wide receiver from great athleticism, great route-running ability and outstanding hands. He can catch a short pass and make cornerbacks miss for extra yards or he's even better being a deep threat because of his outstanding speed. -- Adam Gorney, Rivals.com West Recruiting Analyst
S
Damar Hamlin
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
106
159
+53
Hamlin's length, athleticism and instincts make him one of the best defensive backs in the country. With his great overall speed, Hamlin can cover a large area, making it difficult for quarterbacks to find open receivers. He's also not afraid to sick his nose in the box to stop the run. -- Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst
SDE
Amani Bledsoe
Lawrence, Kan.
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
111
NR
NA
Bledsoe has an incredible build and is improving technique-wise. He's quick off the edge and will become even more of a force as he adds more muscle in his upper body. He does not rely too heavily on power as things stand now, making the likelihood that he develops into a truly versatile matchup nightmare high. Bledsoe is a prospect with a massive upside. -- Rob Cassidy, Rivals.com Midlands/Southwest Recruiting Analyst
WR
Jack Jones
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
114
198
+84
Jones has electric speed and he is one of the shiftiest receivers in this class. He is best when he catches a short pass and then does a lot of dancing to maneuver around defenders. Sometimes, his moves are unreal and it looks like a video game. But it's real, so Jones is tough to tackle. He has great hands and in the open field nobody is catching him. -- Gorney
OG
Terrance Davis
Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
117
155
+38
Davis is one of those offensive linemen that has incredible strength and can move nearly any defensive tackle out of the way. He plays with very good leverage and drives his feet well on contact. If Davis can get his hands on a defensive lineman, it is very hard for them to disengage because of Davis' power. -- Friedman
WR
Mecole Hardman
Elberton (Ga.) Elbert County
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
118
236
+118
Hardman is an electric talent who did a little bit of everything for his team this fall. Originally we had some concerns about his size and how it would translate to the next level, but with his explosiveness and play-making ability, it's starting to look more and more like he has the potential to be a special offensive talent in the right offensive scheme. -- Woody Wommack, Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst
WR
Michael Pittman
Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
119
NR
NA
The UCLA commit is a big receiver at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds and he's a massive target on the outside. His dad played in the NFL, so he knows what it takes to play at the highest level and he is unstoppable against smaller cornerbacks because Pittman also has impressive speed. He's someone with a good off-season who could keep moving up the charts. -- Gorney
TE
Mark Birmingham
Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
120
163
+43
Birmingham has a great combination of size and speed. He has excellent hands and is a major deep threat in the passing game. Birmingham, a Duke commit, will be a match-up nightmare because he is faster than linebackers and bigger than safeties. -- Friedman
S
Brady Breeze
Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
121
168
+47
Breeze committed to Oregon early and the Ducks could be getting a special prospect. He is best at safety where he can come down into the box and be really physical but he's also athletic enough to drop in coverage and play the deep ball. Breeze also plays offense, but he's a special defensive back and is the top player in the state of Oregon next recruiting cycle. -- Gorney
ATH
A.J. Taylor
Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
122
NR
NA
Taylor did it all for Rockhurst as a junior and staked his claim to the title "top junior in the state." His future is likely at wide receiver, but he plays running back and defensive back at the high school level. He also returns punts. Taylor's cuts are sudden and he's smooth out of breaks. His field vision and speed are also notable. -- Cassidy
SDE
Karamo Dioubate
Philadelphia (Pa.) Prep Charter
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
123
NR
NA
Dioubate exploded onto the scene this season after dominating opposing offensive lines. His quickness and aggressiveness have been too much for any offensive lineman he has faced to date. Dioubate's arsenal of pass rushing moves is already pretty extensive. -- Friedman
WR
Josh Imatorbhebhe
Suwannee (Ga.) North Gwinnett
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
130
NR
NA
After just recording a handful of receptions as a sophomore, Imatorbhebhe began the 2016 cycle as a three-star. But after exploding on the field during this past season and easily hitting 1,000 yards receiving, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound wideout now has the on-field production to match his impressive physical gifts. -- Wommack
CB
Nigel Knott
Madison (Miss.) Germantown
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
136
NR
NA
Knott has the athletic ability to play cornerback and the size and range to play safety. He is capable of delivering big hits and he has the ability to jump a route for the interception. He is the type of versatile defensive back college coaches love, and in 2014 he recorded 112 tackles, four interceptions, and 12 pass break-ups. He recorded 104 return yards on his four interceptions as well. -- Jason Howell, Rivals.com Mid-South Recruiting Analyst
WR
Steffon McKnight
San Diego (Calif.) Mira Mesa
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
140
228
+88
What stands out most about McKnight is that he can run routes but he doesn't slow down in and out of his breaks. He cuts really well to deceive cornerbacks and then once the ball is in his hands, he explodes by anybody in the secondary. -- Gorney
SDE
Oluwole Betiku
Gardena (Calif.) Serra
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
145
NR
NA
Betiku is still very raw as a football recruit because he's only been playing for about a year. But there is no questioning his athleticism and physical ability. His technique will improve and sharpen as he continues to play and with him dominating games already, it should only get better as Betiku gets more comfortable with what's expected. -- Gorney
CB
Patrice Rene
Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
150
248
+98
Rene is a versatile defensive back that can play cornerback or safety. He is very physical and has good length. Rene showed that he is very good at anticipating routes and jumping throws in front of him. -- Friedman
C
Connor McGovern
Lehman (Pa.) Lake Lehman
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
157
NR
NA
McGovern has manhandled nearly every defensive lineman he has faced. He gets off the line and makes contact with the defensive lineman very quickly. McGovern has the strength and and athleticism to drive his man off the ball and control where he goes. -- Friedman
RB
B.J. Emmons
Morganton (N.C.) Freedom
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
166
NR
NA
Emmons is a powerful back with game-breaking speed and a nose for the end zone. When running between the tackles, Emmons has the strength to take a pounding but also has the vision and the awareness to make the most out of every carry. He is very explosive out of his cuts makes it very difficult for defenders to get a clean hit on him. -- Friedman
ILB
Koby Quansah
West Hartford (Conn.) Kingswood Oxford
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
173
206
+33
Quansah's instincts and speed helped him destroy game plans this season. His ability to decipher a play quickly and be in the right place to make a play is impressive. Quansah plays with great physicality and is a big-time hitter. -- Friedman
WDE
Terrell Hall
Washington (D.C.) St. John's College High
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
178
NR
NA
Hall is a long, athletic defensive end with sky-high potential. There is a ton of room left in his frame for him to add good weight and he is still expanding his repertoire of pass-rushing moves. Hall plays with good discipline and it is very hard for teams to run to the outside against him. -- Friedman
S
Marlon Character
Atlanta (Ga.) Grady
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
181
NR
NA
Character was originally ranked as an athlete and still plays both ways, but his future appears to be brightest on the defensive side of the ball. He's a big hitter who covers a ton of ground at safety, but also has the coverage skills to handle wide receivers in one-on-one situations. -- Wommack
OT
Clark Yarbrough
Woodberry Forest (Va.) Woodberry Forest School
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
187
NR
NA
Yarbrough has had the skills to be a four-star for a while, but his body has developed and it has helped him dominate opposing defensive linemen. He has very good quickness, plays low and uses proper technique. Now that Yarbrough has added a lot of strength, he has really taken his game to new heights. -- Friedman
DQB
Tylin Oden
Columbia (Tenn.) Spring Hill
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
189
NR
NA
Oden emerged essentially out of nowhere this fall, bursting onto the scene once his junior highlights were released late last month. Oden is a long, lanky quarterback (6-foot-5, 190 pounds) with a strong arm and excellent speed. He's still raw and is learning how to be a quarterback, but his ceiling is sky high. He will spend the offseason fielding interest from some of college football's top programs. -- Wommack
DQB
Jalen Hurts
Channelview, Texas
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
190
218
+28
Hurts is a mobile quarterback who was a standout in one of the toughest districts in Texas. He improved his mechanics and accuracy and he did a better job of picking his spots to run. He is more than capable of making plays with his feet, but he did a better job of keeping his eyes downfield with the ball ready to throw. -- Howell
CB
Isaiah Gilchrist
Bellevue, Wash.
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
196
231
+35
Gilchrist plays both ways at running back and cornerback, but we think his position for the future will be on the defensive side. He is an intelligent, crafty defensive back who doesn't fall for double moves and is always sticking right by the receiver. -- Gorney
PQB
Brandon Peters
Avon, Ind.
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
198
NR
NA
Peters is a new evaluation. We had not seen enough of him to rate him prior to his junior season, but we were in attendance at one of his early games. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder has clean arm mechanics and can make all the throws. His accuracy is still developing and he'll need to improve his game management and field vision, but he is a gamer who will respond with his play when the game is on the line. -- Josh Helmholdt, Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst
ATH
Cameron Lewis
Monroe (La.) Wossman
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
204
NR
NA
Lewis is a big, versatile athlete with a lot of potential. He could project to several positions and has played a number of positions. He has clocked 4.4 40-yard dash times and he showed he was a big-play threat with the ball in his hands as a junior. -- Howell
SDE
Isaiah Chambers
Houston (Texas) MacArthur
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
208
NR
NA
Chambers has a motor that just will not quit. He also has a big frame and a long wing span. Chambers is still quite raw, but his size is something you cannot teach, and he is driven to succeed. As a junior, he had 22 sacks and was a constant presence in the backfield of opposing teams. -- Howell
CB
Donte' Vaughn
Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
210
NR
NA
Vaughn is the next big prospect to come out of Whitehaven and spent the fall starring as the school's top defensive player. At 6-foot-2, he has the size of a safety, but with fluid hips and long arms, he is the rare prospect who will likely play corner at the next level. With a premium on big corners, Vaughn is already a hot prospect who will only become a bigger name as he starts making regular visits to campuses in the spring. -- Wommack
SDE
Justin Madubuike
McKinney (Texas) McKinney North
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
212
NR
NA
Madubuike has a big build and long arms to go with it. He can play both inside at defensive tackle or outside on the edge. He does a great job of getting off blocks and getting down the line. In 2014, he put together another strong season with 35 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks. -- Howell
WR
T.J. Vasher
Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
231
NR
NA
Vasher has turned heads on both the football field and the basketball court and in 2014 he posted big numbers on the gridiron. He shows great body control and he positions himself well in jump-ball situations. He also showed he could separate from defenders and has deep-threat ability. He finished the season with 67 receptions for 993 yards and 12 touchdowns. -- Howell
OT
Michael Jordan
Canton (Mich.) Plymouth
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
232
NR
NA
It was apparent soon after the first class of 2016 rankings came out that Jordan was in need of a bump. At the Ohio State Friday Night Lights Camp in late July, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound Jordan dominated the competition, showing great feet for a big offensive lineman. He is athletic enough to play the left tackle position and has the strength to battle with bigger defensive ends. -- Helmholdt
WDE
Khalid Kareem
Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
233
NR
NA
We saw the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Kareem this off-season, but wanted to wait until we saw him in a live game before rating him. Kareem broke out in his junior campaign, registering 19 sacks and living in opponents' backfields. He has the quickness to stay on the edge in college, but also handles the point of attack well and can disengage and pursue. -- Helmholdt
DT
Naquan Jones
Evanston, Ill.
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
246
NR
NA
The 6-foot-4, 289-pound Jones is a physical specimen, ideally suited for the three-technique defensive tackle position. We were already planning to move him up based on junior year film, but seeing him in-person at camp in late November clinched four stars for the Chicagoland prospect. He has a great first step and quick hands, making him a tough assignment for interior offensive linemen. -- Helmholdt
CB
Wayne Davis
Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
247
NR
NA
Davis proved he has a good nose for the ball and even better instincts this season. He racked up a lot of interceptions and was good at baiting quarterbacks into bad throws. Davis is also very physical and is very tough against the run. -- Friedman
OG
John Simpson
North Charleston (S.C.) Fort Dorchester
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
248
NR
NA
Simpson emerged this fall as a dominant prospect on the offensive line, showing excellent footwork and good strength while working as a tackle. He will likely play at guard at the next level and with his athleticism, he has the ability to translate his talents into several different types of offensive schemes. -- Wommack
SLIDERS
CB
Trevon Sidney
La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
107
30
-77
Sidney is a fantastic two-way athlete and really has a future at cornerback, but he didn't have as big of an impact in his junior season as previously expected. He was a tad overrated to begin with and we think this is an appropriate move with others having really stellar junior seasons. -- Gorney
WR
Cameron Chambers
Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
112
48
-64
Chambers is a big wide receiver with reliable hands that runs crisp routes. He's a good downfield threat and his straight line speed is very good. Chambers could be more explosive out of his breaks and that would help him separate from defensive backs better. -- Friedman
CB
John Broussard
Phenix City (Ala.) Central
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
141
83
-58
Broussard is still a very talented player, but his upside may not have been as high as we originally projected because of his size. At 5-foot-11 and 164 pounds, Broussard is still a good cover corner who will likely bulk up, but we want to see more from him before we include among the absolute elite at his position. -- Wommack
OLB
Brendan Ferns
Saint Clairsville, Ohio
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
171
102
-69
In the offseason, we were very impressed with how well Ferns played in space for a player his size, and that came through on film as well. But after his junior season, we want to see him do a better job of taking on blocks, holding up at the point of attack and shedding and pursuing. -- Helmholdt
RB
Denzel Mitchell
Hamilton, Ala.
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
203
148
-55
There are still too many questions about Mitchell's top end speed as a feature back and his ability to run away from defenders at the next level. He's a big, bruising back and he shows burst at times, but it's not quite consistent enough to warrant his initial high ranking. That being said, we still like his potential at the proper program that utilizes his assets and Ole Miss could be that fit. -- Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director
ATH
Robbie Robinson
Hampton (Va.) Phoebus
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
214
120
-96
Robinson moved for a variety of reasons. He was moved to athlete because he had a bigger impact with the ball in his hands than he did at cornerback this season. In camps, he excelled playing cornerback but he was never really tested during the season. He also slid because so many new prospects were ranked for the first time and slotted above him. -- Friedman
ATH
Jordan Fuller
Old Tappan, N.J.
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
217
100
-117
There is no doubt Fuller is an explosive, game-changing athlete when he is on the field. He can play a variety of positions and be productive wherever he lines up, but he was hindered by injuries this season and his impact was limited. Fuller will have to perform with more consistency to maintain a high rating. -- Friedman
OT
Ryan Johnson
Brentwood, Tenn.
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
228
180
-48
Johnson has ideal measurables for an offensive tackle, but is still pretty raw in terms of his development. He showed promise as a run blocker this season, but is still limited when it comes to his mobility as a pass blocker. If he's going to be an elite tackle prospect, Johnson will have to continue to work on his footwork. -- Wommack
OT
Stewart Reese
Fort Pierce (Fla.) Fort Pierce Central
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
229
190
-39
Reese is a giant, but might be more suited to play inside than he is outside if he doesn't check his weight a bit and work on his footwork. Tackles are more coveted than guards and while we haven't moved him inside yet, we need to see more of him in the next few evals to see if he's a top 200 caliber talent overall. -- Farrell
S
Eric Burrell
Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
235
203
-32
Burrell is a ball-hawking, hard-hitting safety that seems to be in the right place at the right time. His overall speed and ability to change directions quickly could be improved. The main reason for his slide is that new players were evaluated and ranked ahead of him. -- Friedman
OLB
Tuf Borland
Bolingbrook, Ill.
NEW RANK
PREV. RANK
DIFFERENCE
250
192
-58
Borland is a high football IQ-type who is always around the football and plays above the sum of his physical tools. The question with him is how high is his upside, and is he close to maxing out? He does not have great size for the position, but there is talk he may have some growth left in him and that could increase his ceiling. -- Helmholdt
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Rivals100: Big movers
Mike Farrell
National Recruiting Director
Rob Cassidy
Midlands/Southwest Recruiting Analyst
Adam Friedman
Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst
Adam Gorney
West Recruiting Analyst
Josh Helmholdt
Midwest Recruiting Analyst
Jason Howell
Mid-South Recruiting Analyst
Woody Womack
Southeast Recruiting Analyst
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