The recruiting timeline is growing longer at the beginning end.
Each year a growing number of offers are sent out in advance throughout the country and the class of 2006 is no exception. That's why it's never too early to develop a national list of players that should stand out. The Rivals100 signifies the top 100 players in the nation, and this early pre-evaluation period list will be updated again after May, when the college coaches complete spring assessments of the top players.
The players are listed in alphabetical order by position and not ranked numerically.
As expected, the big three talent pools of Florida, Texas and California are well represented on the list and appear to be stacked again. Eleven Sunshine State players made the list, followed by California with nine and Texas with eight.
After a somewhat down year for quarterbacks in 2005, it appears to be a slightly better crop in 2006.
There are 10 quarterbacks that made the initial list, led by two super stars from Texas and two super stars from Pennsylvania. Sherrod Harris of Arlington (Texas) Bowie and Matthew Stafford of Highland Park, Texas, are the Texas gunslingers and the Keystone State is represented by Pat Devlin of Exton (Pa.) Downington East and Jeremy Ricker of Harrisburgh (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt.
So who's the top quarterback for next season?
That's a tough question to answer early on. Stafford got the nod on the Rivals.com junior All-American team, but great cases could be made for all of the quarterbacks that made the list and more film and personal observations will need to be made.
There are also a few familiar last names on the list.
Marcus Sims of Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian is the younger brother of former Rivals.com national top prospect Ernie Sims. Immokalee, Fla., running back Javarris James is the is the cousin of current Indianapolis Colts and former Miami Hurricane running back Edgerrin James. Carvers Bay, S.C., two-way lineman Clifton Geathers is the younger brother of Robert Geathers, a four-star recruit by Rivals.com in 2001 before he starred in college at UGA.
And don't forget about Darian Hagan Jr., the son of former Colorado Buffalo superstar Darian Hagan. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound safety from Los Angeles Crenshaw led the nation in interceptions this past year with 13.
Virginia and the Carolinas continue to show that they're some of the deepest talent pools in the nation with numerous representatives on the initial list.
Virginia, highlighted by Rivals.com junior of the year Percy Harvin, placed five players on the list, and North Carolina had three and South Carolina put four on the team. Some local observers have called this crop in South Carolina the best in the last five years and defensive backs Byron Maxwell and Prince Miller are already attracting national attention.
Missouri also bounced back after not placing any players on last year's top 100 list. The first list is highlighted by Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst defensive back Phillip Strozier, who's already picked up offers from Kansas and Missouri, quarterback Josh Freeman and defensive tackle Adrian Clayborn.
Freeman, of Grandview, Mo., picked up offers from Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa before he finished his junior season. Clayborn will be an elite national recruit that will have offers from all the big boys.