They are the best of the best. The players that are wanted by every program and destined to make a big impact at the college level and beyond.
5 stars: Darius Hamilton
Darius Hamilton has been playing football since the age of six.
Rivals.com has identified the first five-star prospects for the 2012 class and is unveiling them this week. Twelve prospects have been awarded five-stars but are not ranked at this time. The final five-star prospect to be featured is Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep defensive end Darius Hamilton.
Darius Hamilton, DE, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep
Attributes: 6-4, 245, 4.65
Top schools: Offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, USC, Wisconsin and others.
Analyst's take: "Hamilton is a rarity in that he could play inside or outside and any of the four defensive line positions in a 4-3 set. He's big, agile, well coached, shows great technique and has a terrific motor. He takes excellent pursuit angles, is very strong at the point of attack and sheds blocks with ease. He's an outstanding athlete who will get pressure on the quarterback whether he's at tackle or end and as he adds size he won't lose any of his athleticism or agility." - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com
Why he's a five-star: "This guy understands pad level and using his long arms to keep defenders off his body. His long, thick frame will allow him to grow into a monster-sized defensive end similar to Richard Seymour." - Barry Every, Rivals.com
His coach says: "Darius gets great separation between himself and his opponent and he has long arms and knows how to use them. He's a two-gap player who can also play one-gap and go back and forth so he is hard to account for and you don't know where he's going to be. He shocks people, gets off blocks well and takes on double-teams effectively. He's also a hard worker and a tough kid who loves football." - Don Bosco head coach Greg Toal.
Odds and ends: Hamilton is the son of former Pitt and New York Giants great Keith Hamilton. He hails from a school that has produced dozens of D-I prospects in the last decade including former five-star linebacker Brian Toal, current Green Bay Packer Ryan Grant and numerous players in college today. Hamilton emerged as a junior with a dominating performance against Baltimore (Md.) Gilman and 2011 four-star Darius Jennings. Hamilton just turned 17 in December and is younger than almost everyone else in his class and he hopes to get his driver's license soon. He has played football since six years old and also played basketball until he gave it up his sophomore year to focus on football. His favorite NFL player was Armani Toomer and he grew up a fan of the Virginia Tech Hokies as he has family in Virginia.
NFL player comparison: Shaun Ellis, New York Jets