The debate didn't last long. The consensus among Rivals.com recruiting analysts was unanimous.
After Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde defensive end Ronald Powell dominated all week at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl - both during practices and by taking home most outstanding player honors in the game - he ended up No. 1 in the final Rivals100 for the Class of 2010.
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Powell's domination began in practices early in the week during one-on-ones against some of the best offensive linemen in the nation. Powell finished the game with five tackles, one sack and a forced fumble and added a 27-yard touchdown reception and a 97-yard return for a two-point conversion off a blocked extra point. Powell showed he has the versatility and athleticism to possibly play more positions at the next level.
"Powell has the speed, strength and athleticism to beat much bigger offensive linemen," Rivals.com analyst Barry Every said. "He can win battles up front using technique, speed or strength. He also has amazing athleticism that allows him to also possibly be used as a threat at tight end on offense or as a linebacker in certain defensive schemes. He should end up as one of the premier pass-rushing defensive ends in a couple years. He has all the physical tools to play this game for a long time."
San Antonio Madison coach Jim Streety, who coached the West roster in the Army Bowl, said the most outstanding player trophy Powell hoisted on Saturday in the Alamodome will not be his last.
"In about four years you are going to be seeing that guy somewhere on Sunday," Streety said. "He's an unbelievable talent."
Powell, who can bench press 355 pounds and has a 37-inch vertical leap, moves up from No. 5 in the previous rankings. Despite his impressive performances during Army week, his climb wasn't based entirely on what he did in San Antonio. He had an impressive senior season, helping Rancho Verde finish with an 11-1 record and reach the second round of the CIF playoffs.
"I've had the opportunity to coach a lot of excellent players and prospects over the years," Rancho Verde coach Pete Duffy said. "But Ronald has the potential to be the best ever. He's focused on becoming the best in everything he does, and it's been amazing to watch how he has transformed himself into not only a great player on the field, but a great person off of it. He's going to be a success in everything he does."
Others players who finished their high school careers as No. 1 overall prospects according to Rivals.com include Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin.
ALL-STAR GAMES SPARK MOVES
Unlike basketball recruiting, where analysts have myriad opportunities to watch top prospects go head-to-head against each other, football's main time for elite evaluations is in December and January - when regional and national all-star games are held.
Rivals.com analysts were on hand at the Hawaii Prep Football Classic, the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic, the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, The Maryland Crab Bowl, the Cobb Senior Bowl, the North-South Pinellas County All-Star Game, the FACA North-South All-Star Classic, the GACA North-South All-Star Classic and the two national all-star games - the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Under Armour All-America Game.
Those events gave Rivals.com analysts plenty of chances to see how the nation's elite players have progressed as seniors. In many cases players improved their stock, but in some cases players' rankings dropped based on their performances.
On the positive side, behind Powell are the nation's former top two players - offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson and receiver Kyle Prater - who finish at No. 2 at No. 3, respectively.
At No. 4, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd slides up from ninth after a remarkable week of practices in San Antonio. Safety Keenan Allen, another player who had a great week at the Army Bowl, moves up from eighth to fifth.
Also moving up after their Army Bowl performances were defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa (from 20th to eighth) and defensive tackle Cassius Marsh (from No. 183 to No. 33). Another big jump was made by Cincinnati Princeton athlete Spencer Ware. The LSU commitment's performance all week in San Antonio blew the analysts away and saw him move from No. 131 to No. 19. He earned a fifth star for his effort in San Antonio, as did Olive Branch, Miss., offensive linemen Shon Coleman (No. 22).
There were also some significant moves upward from the Under Armour game. Staten Island (N.Y.) Curtis defensive end Dominique Easley rocketed up the charts from No. 107 to No. 7 after earning MVP honors in the game and showcasing a virtually unstoppable motor in practices. Calhoun, Ga., receiver Da'Rick Rogers also moved up (from No. 13 to No. 9) after a great week. Linebacker Christian Jones also climbed from 38 to 20 and is now a five-star prospect.
Then there was defensive end William Gholston from Detroit Southeastern. He recorded 113 tackles and an astonishing 27 sacks as a senior, then dominated anybody he faced in the Under Armour game. His efforts in Orlando, Fla., and as a senior helped him earn a fifth star as he moved from No. 54 to No. 21.
A few other key movers from the Under Armour game were Mike Davis of Dallas Skyline and Luke Joeckel of Arlington, Texas. Davis moves from No. 129 to No. 34 after having three catches for 53 yards and touchdown in the game, and Joeckel went from No. 165 to No. 39 after starting at left tackle.
SEASTRUNK SLIPS DOWN
Temple, Texas, running back Lache Seastrunk spent the entire recruiting season ranked as one of the nation's top-10 prospects and as one of the elite offensive players in the country.
But late senior film evaluation and then a full week of watching him at practice in San Antonio gave Rivals.com analysts enough ammunition to drop him from No. 4 to No. 26. Despite his struggles, Seastrunk remains a five-star recruit and Rivals.com's Barton Simmons still sees a big upside in him.
"Lache raised questions for some people in San Antonio with his running style," Simmons said. "At this point, he's too east-west and just looked hesitant to really get between the tackles and work for tough yardage. He also showed some ball security issues.
"He remained a five-star because he is still one of the biggest home-run threats in this entire class. With the right system and coaching in his corner, he can still become a special football player."
Seastrunk remains one of the nation's few elite uncommitted players. He's considering Auburn, LSU, Oregon, USC and others.
We'll release the remainder of the Rivals250 tomorrow, and our analysts will be available on a rankings chat that is scheduled for 1 p.m. Central time.