Look Ahead: Analysts preview weekend
Rivals.com analysts are canvassing the country again this week to check out the top talent in person. Here's where they'll be and where their attention - prospects listed alphabetically - will be focused.
Analyst: Adam Gorney
Game: Fontana (Calif.) Summit vs. Etiwanda (Calif.), Thursday at A.B. Miller High School
Devon Blackmon, Fontana Summit, 6-0/175, ATH
Blackmon moved up to No. 20 nationally by Rivals.com and he had an outstanding performance at Gridiron Kings in Florida this summer. Can he back up his ranking in the season opener? How effective will the four-star recruit be on both sides of the ball? Rumors abound that UCLA is his leader. Is that true?
Marcus Mason, Etiwanda, 5-10/180, RB
Fresno State, UTEP, Washington State, Weber State and Northern Arizona is an early list for Mason, one of the top running backs at the Palo Alto Nike Camp this spring. Running behind Jamal Prater and the rest of Etiwanda's offensive line, can he put together a solid performance in the season opener?
Jamal Prater, Etiwanda, 6-4/290, OL
Some believe Prater, an Oregon commit, is one of the best offensive linemen in Southern California but he hasn't been given the respect he deserves yet. This could be his chance to emerge as one of the top players in the Inland Empire. His recruitment came down to Washington State and Oregon but the Ducks won out earlier this month. Can he dominate Summit's defensive line?
The only athletes rated higher than Blackmon by Rivals.com are Florida State commit James Wilder Jr. from Tampa (Fla.) Plant and Los Angeles Crenshaw running back De'Anthony Thomas, a USC pledge. Both are five-star commits. … Prater's father is 6-foot-7 and although he's expected to play guard at Oregon that could change if he hits another growth spurt. … Four-star recruits Aaron Gipson (Oregon) and Marvin Jones (Cal) played at Etiwanda.
Analyst: Brian Perroni
Game: Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely vs. Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Stranahan at Lockhart Stadium, Thursday
Adrian Burton , Ely, 5-9/168, CB, 2012 prospect
The somewhat smaller defender had a solid showing in camps and 7-on-7 tournaments this summer. Will that success translate to the field? If so, he will be a prospect to watch as recruiters evaluate 2012 prospects.
Avery Johnson, Ely, 6-2/180, WR, 2012 prospect
The big junior wide receiver proved himself to be one of the best in the state as a sophomore in 2009. The brother of current LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, Johnson is gaining consideration as possibly the state's top prospect in the class of 2012.
Conard Johnson, Ely, 5-11/220, ILB
Johnson played down the road at Dillard a year ago before moving to Ely this summer. A smart inside linebacker, he has offers from Tulsa, Vanderbilt and Chattanooga. Local favorite Miami could offer with a strong early-season showing.
Ely is looking for a deeper playoff run this year after a third-round exit at the hands of St. Thomas Aquinas last season. It has the horses to do it, especially if Avery Johnson progresses even further from a big sophomore campaign. … Stranahan could be down after losing star RB/CB Corey Tindal to Boyd Anderson this spring. Without Tindal in coverage, Johnson has the potential to put up big numbers.
Analyst: Barry Every
Game: LaGrange (Ga.) at Griffin (Ga.) Spalding, Thursday
Javonte Daniel, LaGrange, 6-3/215, WDE
Does Daniel have the size and growth potential to be a defensive end or does he project as an outside linebacker in college?
Chris Mayes, Spalding, 6-5/295, DT
Mayes, a Georgia commitment, is one of the best-looking prospects on the hoof in the entire country, according to those who have seen him in person, and this is only his second year of playing football.
Zay Sharp, Spalding, 6-2/200, RB
Is the Louisville commit a huge bruising running back or will he project at another position?
Chauncey Smith, LaGrange, 6-1/225, ILB
Is the Southern Miss commit strictly an inside linebacker or is he athletic enough to project at outside?
Both teams are coming off losses: Griffin (Ga.) Spalding fell 40-0 to cross-town rival Griffin (Ga.) and LaGrange (Ga.) lost 27-13 to Newnan (Ga.). … Kentucky currently has five LaGrange players on the roster. … LaGrange has been one of the better programs in the state of Georgia, going 103-16 since 2001.
Analyst: Barton Simmons
Game: Batesville (Miss.) South Panola at MUS (Memphis), Friday
Nickalos Brassell, South Panola, 6-0/175, WR/CB
Rivals100 prospect with offers from around the country. Brassell is considered one of the best athletes in the country and rightly so. But is he a true wide receiver? Is he physical enough to be a major presence on defense? Though he's a great highlight film guy, Brassell will need to show better consistency.
Qyendarius Griffin, South Panola, 5-10/210, RB/LB
Played linebacker as a junior but has taken over starting running back duties for South Panola, emerging as one of the top backs in the state early. Griffin has the size and ability to potentially turn into a major recruit. This game is a great opportunity for Griffin to assert himself as a legitimate FBS running back
Isaac Gross, South Panola, 6-3/270, DT, 2012 prospect
Was a rare sophomore starter on the stout South Panola defense in 2009 and was extremely effective. This year brings an opportunity for Gross to emerge as a national recruit.
Kendrick Market, South Panola, 5-10/185, S/QB/RB
Three-star prospect who is one of the top playmakers for the Tigers. Market is an undersized prospect but he is a big-time playmaker. Can he show that he has a true college position? Can he make a big enough impact to compensate for his size?
Temario Strong, South Panola, 6-1/205, LB, 2012 prospect
Another physical player with a familiar Batesville surname that enters his second season as a starter. Similar to Gross, Strong has a chance to emerge as an elite recruit with a big junior year.
This will be the fourth consecutive year that I have seen a South Panola game and every year there is another terrific rushing performance. In 2007, it was Tig Barksdale rushing for 286 yards on 31 carries in a dominating win over Tupelo. In 2008, it was Nick Parker taking over as a starter and rushing for 180 yards against Olive Branch. Last season, Parker once again topped the 100-yard mark with 108 yards in a win over Olive Branch. This year, Qyendarius Griffin has an opportunity to continue the tradition. …MUS has won its last 28 games but much of that has been behind the arm and legs of current West Virginia quarterback Barry Brunetti. Now Toby Baker will try to continue the success as he takes over at quarterback for the Owls.
Analyst: Mike Farrell
Game: Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe at Charlotte (N.C.) Independence, Friday
Jadeveon Clowney, South Pointe, 6-6/247, DE
Nation's No. 1 prospect with offers from all over the country. Clowney is arguably the most highly touted defensive end in more than a decade based on his size, speed, motor and ability to dominate games on his own. Does he live up to his amazing film in person?
Gerald Dixon, South Pointe, 6-2/235, DE
Three-star prospect with offers from South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Michigan State, Wake Forest and others. Is Dixon too undersized to be an effective defensive end in college and how much does having Clowney as his bookend free him to make plays?
Nyjee Fleming, Independence, 5-10/184, RB
Three-star running back put up prolific numbers as a junior and has offers from Virginia, North Carolina State, Duke, East Carolina. Is he big enough to be an every-down back in college?
Adrian Gamble, Independence, 6-2/175, WR
Three-star wide receiver committed early to Virginia. Had nearly 1,000 yards receiving last year but is he a possession receiver or a true deep threat at the next level?
Jimmy Gipson, Independence, 6-1/240, LB, 2012 prospect
He's the only underclassman on the radar for Independence. He's a big kid, but can he move well enough laterally to earn offers?
Tay Hicklin, South Pointe, 5-11/175, ATH, 2012 prospect
Junior plays quarterback in high school after his sophomore year was spent at receiver. He also plays a limited role on defense. He projects as either a wideout or defensive back in college.
Daniel Rhodes, Independence, 6-3/250, TE
First evaluation of this Illinois commitment that had 15 catches as a junior. How athletic and agile is he and can he stretch the field?
Clowney has long been considered a heavy lean to South Carolina, but a visit to Alabama during the summer put the Tide right at the top of his list as well. ... South Pointe sent two four-star studs, athlete Stephon Gilmore and safety DeVonte Holloman, to the Gamecocks back in 2009 as well as wide receiver Charles Holmes. … Ironically, Holloman played at Charlotte (N.C.) Independence prior to moving and transferring to South Pointe for his senior year. … Independence is a legendary program and won 109 straight games and seven straight NCHSAA under former coach Tommy Knotts. However, this is not your old Independence program that produced great players such as Chris Leak, Mohamed Massaquoi, Hakeem Nicks and others, and Knotts is gone. … Fleming is considering a heavy lean to Virginia and will likely join his teammate, Gamble, in Charlottesville barring a surprise. … Rhodes jumped at his only offer from the Illini when it came in writing, the first player from Independence to go to the Big Ten since Rivals.com began recruiting coverage. … Gamble hopes to be the third straight receiver from Independence to head to the NFL from college as Massaquoi is currently with the Browns and Nicks is with the New York Giants.
Analyst: Brian Perroni
Game: Fort Myers (Fla.) North at Cape Coral (Fla.) Island Coast, Friday
Bryan Bosworth, Island Coast, 6-1/275, OL/DT
Though he has a similar name, this big Colorado State defensive tackle commit is of no relation to the former Oklahoma linebacker. Not much is known about Bosworth, but he is a big body that the Rams liked enough to offer early in the process. Could he be yet another sleeper from Southwest Florida?
Mike Dumas, Island Coast, 6-2/185, ATH, 2012 prospect
The big junior plays quarterback and defensive back for the Gators but could end up playing wide receiver at the next level.
Aaron Lynch, Island Coast, 6-6/245, SDE
Lynch held offers from nearly every school in the Southeast before committing to Notre Dame in late July. The No. 95 overall prospect in the country, Lynch could have the potential to move up even further in the rankings with a good performance. He shows a great motor and instincts on film, and we would like to see it in person.
Island Coast finished with a winning record and playoff appearance in their first year as a varsity program in 2009 but they are looking for more in Year Two. Behind the play of Lynch, who also plays tight end in addition to being one of the top pass rushers in the state, they could be in for a big season.
Analyst: Barry Every
Game: Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes at Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern, Friday
Rory Anderson, McEachern, 6-4/200, TE
Still trying to decide whether Anderson is just a huge possession receiver or a tight end?
Jefferson Ashiru, McEachern, 6-2/215, OLB
Has the ideal size for an outside linebacker, but not the production of fellow linebacker Marcquis Roberts.
Josh Clemons, Lowndes, 6-5/200, ATH, 2012 prospect
Is this huge underclassman a national-level recruit?
Chris Davis, McEachern, 5-11/161, WR
Slight receiver that lit it up at the Atlanta NUC in March. Can he do the same against an experienced secondary?
Kenneth Durden, Lowndes, 6-1/170, CB
Can the tall, athletic Durden play corner at the next level or is he a safety?
Xavier Hemingway, McEachern, 6-4/255, OT
Last year, he was very thin. Does he have the growth potential to be an offensive tackle in college or will he have to play inside?
Tyler Hunter, Lowndes, 6-0/190, S
Florida State commitment is bouncing back from a back injury that limited his play last season. Is Hunter a small outside linebacker or a strong safety?
Geraldo Orta, Lowndes, 6-0/180, S
Was committed to Clemson at one time, and has now opened the door for other colleges. This safety is so coveted by colleges around the Southeast.
Marcquis Roberts, McEachern, 6-1/205, OLB
Really interested in seeing him playing the run because I know this undersized linebacker can defend the pass based on his Tuscaloosa Nike performance?
Zarold Wilder, McEachern, 5-7/175, APB
Was the blocking back last season, but now is the go-to guy in the backfield. Can his tremendous performance at several camps this summer translate to the football field and earn him D-I offers?
Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern is coming off a bye week after losing a heartbreaker on a last-second missed field goal against Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge. … Lowndes has been one of the top 5A schools in the Peach State over the last decade, producing several stars over the years such as Greg Reid of Florida State. Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff played tight end at Lowndes.
Analyst: Adam Gorney
Game: Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra at Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame, Friday
George Farmer, Gardena Junipero Serra, 6-2/192, WR
Rivals.com rates Farmer as the top wide receiver, the best player in California and sixth in the country so expectations are high for the five-star to start the season strong. The last time we saw Farmer he was hampered by cramps at the NIKE 7on in Beaverton, Ore. Can he continue being a dominant player on the high school level?
Jason Gibson, Gardena Junipero Serra, 6-3/212, WDE
Gibson looked good at times during the Los Angeles NIKE Camp and now most schools are recruiting him as a defensive end, not a hybrid linebacker. Can the seventh-best weakside defensive end back up his ranking? Is it true California and UCLA are his favorites?
Woodson Greer, Gardena Junipero Serra, 6-1/190, OLB
Arizona State, Michigan and San Jose State have already offered Greer but he's hoping a big start to his senior season can earn him more offers. Gibson and Greer are the leaders on the defense so how productive can the outside linebacker be this season?
Kelly Hilinski, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 6-5/190, QB, 2013 prospect
The sophomore is one of the top young quarterbacks in California. He's going to get tested early on against a fierce Serra defense. Notre Dame has a demanding schedule this season so Hilinski will be tested almost every week. How will the sophomore handle things?
Marqise Lee, Gardena Junipero Serra, 6-1/187, ATH
Lee has emerged as one of the most productive players - especially on defense - in California and coach Scott Altenberg expects big things from Lee this season. He has moved up drastically in the latest Rivals.com rankings but we want to see him make plays during a game and not necessarily be a 7-on-7 star. He'll have his chance Friday night.
Conner Preston, Gardena Junipero Serra, 6-2/205, QB
In his junior season, Preston had about 3,500 passing yards with 44 touchdowns and eight interceptions, mainly throwing to Farmer and five-star athlete Robert Woods, a freshman at USC. Can the SMU commit continue putting up such big numbers? Will Lee become his No. 2 target after Farmer this season?
USC, Oregon, Alabama, Florida and Miami are a top five for Farmer and many believe the Trojans are the frontrunner for his services. He's not expected to announce his decision until the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. … Lee has made it no secret that he wants to play with Farmer in college. Rivals.com rates Lee as the fifth-best athlete nationally after numerous strong showings this summer. … The Sun Devils have a slight edge for Greer and the success Vontaze Burfict had at ASU last season is playing a significant influence on the Serra linebacker.
Analyst: Brian Perroni
Game: Miami (Fla.) Jackson at Miami (Fla.) North, Saturday
Marquise Blanchard, Jackson, 6-2/190, OLB, 2013 prospect
The sophomore defender is receiving a lot of hype as one of the top young players in Florida. Will he be intimidated by older and more experienced opponents in the first game of the year?
Ruben Carter, Jackson, 6-4/285, OL/DT
Carter was simply seen as a defensive tackle prospect until several strong camp showings this summer earned him some big-time offers as an offensive lineman. Set to play center for the Generals this year, a big question will be if he handles the position well in a game situation.
DeAndre Jasper, Jackson, 5-10/175, WR, 2012 prospect
Jasper was one of the best big-play threats in Dade County a year ago. As a sophomore, he averaged more than 17 yards per catch and scored 10 touchdowns. He is a smaller receiver, so does he have the speed necessary to overcome that?
Robenson Therezie, Jackson, 5-10/180, S
Therezie, who goes by the nickname "Cadillac," is one of the most physical players in South Florida. The four-star prospect is a bit on the shorter side for a safety so a big question is how well he moves in pass coverage. Can his cover skills make up for lack of height?
Though Jackson is only a Class 3A program, it has some of the top younger talent in the city of Miami. In addition to Jasper and Blanchard, linebacker Allen Singleton, safety Nate Taylor and defensive lineman Joe Jones are all players that will see significant recruiting interest in the coming years. A second-year coaching staff seems to have the program headed back to its once-proud roots.
Analyst: Barton Simmons
Game: Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne vs. Canton (Ohio) McKinley, Sunday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio
Braxton Miller, Wayne, 6-2/185, QB
Rivals100 prospect has committed to Ohio State. Miller is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country. In this game, Miller will have his second straight high-profile game to prove that he is elite not only as an athlete but also as a passer. He can state his case as the top quarterback in the 2011 class.
Steve Miller, McKinley, 6-4/230, DE
Four-star prospect committed to Ohio State. One of the top talents in the state of Ohio, I'll be looking to see if Miller has taken his game to the next level, playing with more consistency and dominating for a full four quarters.
The game within the game in this one will be Miller vs. Miller. The two will be facing each other on their future home field at the Horseshoe. Steve Miller may want to get all the shots in that he can because Braxton will be off limits when they face off on the practice fields in college. Braxton's athleticism will be a good test for Steve, a big, physical end.
Analyst: Barton Simmons
Game: West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer vs. Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville, Monday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio
Jacoby Brissett, Dwyer, 6-5/225, QB
Four-star quarterback is one of the top uncommitted passers in the nation. Also a basketball player, Brissett missed all of the offseason camps and combines so I'll be anxious to look closely at how polished and accurate he is as a passer because the tools are clearly there.
Cardale Jones, Glenville, 6-5/217, QB
Three-star quarterback with a national offer list. After a breakout performance last week, it will be interesting to see if that success can carry over to another high-profile matchup.
Curt Maggitt, Dwyer, 6-3, 195, DE
Four-star defensive end has offers from around the country. One of the most explosive players in the country, Maggitt is a tweener as far as his size. Can he play in space and be a linebacker? Is he physical enough at the point of attack to shed blockers at defensive end?
Nick O'Leary, Dwyer, 6-4/235, TE
The Rivals100 tight end is the top player in the country at his position. No one's stock has soared as much as O'Leary's of late. A dominating performance on a national stage could inch him even closer to five-star status.
Andre Sturdivant, Glenville, 6-2/249, LB
Three-star prospect with a massive frame. Sturdivant is an active, physical linebacker but does he have the athleticism to play the position on the next level and be effective in coverage? He will get tested against an athletic Dwyer team.
Aundrey Walker, Glenville, 6-5/355, OL
Four-star prospect with a host of offers has size but he'll need to show that he can effectively move at that size and that he is in good enough shape to be a factor late.
Shane Wynn, Glenville, 5-6/147, WR
Three-star wide receiver is well-known for his speed. Against an athletic Dwyer, that speed will be put to the test.
This is the Rivals.com national game of the week pitting the No. 4 team in the country (Glenville) against the No. 11 team in the nation (Dwyer). Both teams have a ton of talent and some of the top senior prospects in the country, but I'll be looking to see what underclassmen emerge for two programs that always have more talent waiting in the wings.
Analyst: Barton Simmons
Game: Pickerington (Ohio) Central vs. Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith, Monday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio
J.C. Coleman, Oscar Smith, 5-7/169, RB
The quick scatback already holds a few offers as he begins his junior season. Is Coleman the next major recruit to come out of the talented Oscar Smith program?
Quinta Funderburk, Oscar Smith, 6-5/204, WR
Three-star prospect has great size and is an obvious red zone threat and possession receiver. Does he have the speed to be a big-play threat? Does he have the hands to be reliable on the next level to move the chains?
Eilar Hardy, Pickerington Central, 6-1/175, S
The Notre dame commitment is a natural, smooth athlete and one of the steadiest performers in the Midwest. A lot will be asked of him to help contain the explosive Oscar Smith offense.
Oscar Smith has some great pieces on offense but it is replacing the most productive quarterback in the history of Virginia high school football in Phillip Sims. … It will be a great matchup to see Hardy try to corral Coleman in the run game and match up with Funderburk in the pass game.