Playing cornerback is still relatively new to Brendan Langley, but when he decided to give that position a try in 2011 it was a wise move.
Today, he is among the South's most coveted prospects. At last check, the 6-foot-1 185-pounder had more than a dozen offers, with 11 of them having come from SEC programs.
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In the latest round of Rivals.com rankings, Langley is one of several new four-stars that fell just outside the new Rivals250.
"As a cornerback, Langley really has most of the tools college coaches are looking for," Rivals.com Southeast anayst Keith Niebuhr said. "He can run well, he has the strength to be physical, his hips are relatively fluid and the bonus is his size and arm length. There's no doubt that Brendan is still pretty raw at corner, but when you look at his longterm physical potential - and that's largely what rankings are based on - he has an extremely high upside."
A handful of the other additions also came at cornerback: Kirk Garner of Olney (Md.) Good Counsel, Tavares Garner of Manvel (Texas) and Rashard Robinson of Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely.
"Tavares Garner was a complete unknown when he became the first commitment in Texas Tech's class but, since then, he has seen all kinds of attention come his way," said Southwest analyst Brian Perroni. "Even though Manvel did not have spring ball in pads, he still was incredibly impressive in coverage during in-school workouts and 7-on-7 action. He is a big kid that can play physical but also has very good coverage skills."
At pro-style quarterback, Danny Etling of Terre Haute (Ind.) South Vigo was one of two to earn a fourth-star.
"After committing to Purdue in April, Etling still went out and hit the camp scene hard in May, taking part in three camps over the course of three days," Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt said.
"The highlight of that tour was a performance at the Elite 11 in Columbus, Ohio, where he stood toe-to-toe with some of the top quarterbacks in the Midwest and elsewhere, and just missed taking home MVP honors. Etling has all the tools to be a multi-year starter in the Big Ten."
Jared Goff of Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic also made the move up.
"The first time I saw Goff was at the Oakland Elite 11 and I was immediately impressed," West Coast analyst Adam Gorney said. "He's tall, smooth, has a big arm and can make all the passes. I know California took Zach Kline last year but he's going to have some pressure on him once Goff gets to campus. Goff had an outstanding junior season and he's come into this offseason with a bunch of strong performances. I saw him at the Oakland Elite 11 and NIKE Camp and then this past weekend at a 7-on-7 tournament. Goff has been good every time and could move up even higher in the rankings."
Gorney also had praise for new four-star running back Craig Lee of Redlands (Calif.).
"There has been so much talk about Lee here in Southern California but he doesn't attend many camps or 7-on-7 events so we haven't been able to see him in person yet," Gorney said. "He has outstanding size, looks great and had a nice junior season but before we can move him into the 250 we'd love to see him compete against some quality competition in the numerous events held here in California."
At receiver, Robbie Rhodes of Fort Worth (Teas) Southwest got the bump. So did tight end Josh McNeil of Durham (N.C.) Hilside.
"McNeil still needs to fill out, but when you combine his frame with his ability to run solid routes and make just about every type of catch, that's hard to ignore," Niebuhr said. "He's still learning the position, and it should be fun to watch him develop during the remainder of the year."
Rounding out the four-star newcomers on offense are tackle Mike McGlinchey of Philadelphia (Pa.) William Penn Charter School and guards Josh Boutte of New Iberia (La.) Westgate and Ira Denson of Madison (Fla.) Madison County.
At weakside defensive end, Ebenezer Ogundeko of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Thomas Jefferson and Naim Mustafaa of Alpharetta (Ga.) moved up.
"Ogundeko is raw and still needs to refine his game, but you can't ask for a better looking prospect on the hoof and his athleticism and strength are off the charts," Rivals.com National analyst Mike Farrell said. "He's a player who could be an end in a 4-3 or a linebacker in a 3-4 and his versatility and physical presence made it too hard to keep him down at three."
Joey Ivie of Dade City (Fla.) Pasco and De'Asian Richardson of Orange Park (Fla.) are the additions at strongside defensive end.
"Ivie has continually progressed since his junior season concluded and is a ferocious force whether it is off the edge or working inside on the defensive line," Florida analyst Chris Nee said. "The 6-foot-4, 270 pound defensive lineman followed up a strong junior campaign with an excellent showing at the Rivals/VTO Sports event in Florida in late April. He has a great combination of size and speed, and does an excellent job of using his hands to get off of blocks. His best asset is his strength."
Three defensive tackles got the bump: Keith Bryant of Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic, Tevin Lawson of Denham Springs (La.) and Hardreck Walker of Houston (Texas) Westfield.
"Bryant, who landed just outside the Rivals250, is a disruptive force at the defensive tackle spot," Nee said. "He does a good job of working from a low point of attack showing good burst and leg drive off of the snap getting underneath blockers and throwing them off-balance. He does his best work in a straight line and is effective at crashing the pocket and flushing out the quarterback. He is a handful to deal with due to his thick build on his frame."
Walker also has impressed.
"It's a very deep year in the state of Texas for defensive tackles so sometimes Walker seems to be forgotten about a bit," Perroni commented. "He is fun to watch on tape as he is very quick for an interior lineman and he was also dominant at the Dallas Nike Camp."
At outside linebacker, Freddie Stevenson of Bartow (Fla.) and recent South Carolina commit Matt Rolin of Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods moved up.
"Rolin's film is very impressive but we wanted to see how big he was in person before adding that fourth star," Farrell said. "While he's not the biggest linebacker, he is tall and has a frame to fill out and based on his ability in coverage and his instincts that scream out at you on film, he's a four-star kid all the way."
Rounding out the group of four-star newcomers is athlete Jerel Morrow of Emporia (Kan.) and QB Anthony Jennings of Marietta (Ga.).
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