The Rivals100 has long been synonymous with excellence in the college football recruiting world. It's a goal for some players, an honor for others and motivation for those trying to make the list or move up on it. The top 100 college football prospects in the country comprise the annual list and each release brings with it discussion, disagreement and debate. Led by California stud quarterback Jimmy Clausen and punctuated with Louisiana big man Will Blackwell, the June Rivals100 is here.
This year's Rivals100 is led by a stellar class of big men on both sides of the football. More than a third of the prospects on the list this year play in the trenches led by 23 defensive linemen. Washington (D.C.) Coolidge tackle Marvin Austin leads a group of 11 interior defensive linemen, three of whom earned five-star status. Austin checks in as the No. 2 player in the country behind Clausen while Seffner (Fla.) Armwood big man Torrey Davis and Detroit Cass Tech stud Joseph Barksdale both cracked the top 20.
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Avondale (Ariz.) Agua Fria freak Everson Griffen leads the defensive ends at No. 5 nationally followed by Darien (Ga.) McIntosh County Academy star Allen Bailey and Chicago (Ill.) Simeon speedster Martez Wilson in the top 25.
On the other side of the ball, an impressive 15 offensive linemen made the 100 led by Wisconsin monster Josh Oglesby and Texas road grader Tray Allen, both top 10 national prospects. Allen leads a group of seven interior linemen, a large number for any recruiting year, while Oglesby is joined by seven other offensive tackles.
But the big men aren't the only ones making a splash this year. The wide receiver and quarterback positions are loaded with talent and represent a good portion of the list. Hempstead, Texas wideout Terrance Toliver at 6-foot-5 leads a tall and athletic group of wide receivers. None of the 13 wide receivers who made the Rivals100 is under 6-foot-0 and more than half are 6-foot-3 or taller. Throw in four tight ends, led by Bristol (Conn.) Central's Aaron Hernandez, and you have a stellar group of pass catchers in the 100.
Eleven running backs dot the Rivals100 with an emphasis on size and speed. Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview waterbug Caleb King and North Fort Myers, Fla. phenom Noel Devine might not be the biggest backs, but their speed and vision allow them to stand out amongst the rest. Six different running backs, including Westlake (Cali.) Oaks Christian horse Marc Tyler and Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy big man Broderick Green, check in at more than 200 pounds.
Clausen, Tylers' teammate at Oaks Christian, leads a double-digit group of signal callers in the June Rivals100. Six of the top 50 players in the country do their work under center with Clausen, Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes gunslinger Willy Korn, Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic's John Brantley, Hampton, Va. dual-threat Tyrod Taylor and Texarkana (Tex.) Texas fireballer Ryan Mallett all earning five-star status.
After a weak year in 2006, the cornerback position is loaded with potential stars for the class of 2007. Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside athlete Eric Berry is joined by five other corners who stand 6-foot-0 or taller. Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain's Eugene Clifford leads a solid group of seven safeties.
The athlete position is a bit thin this year with just four representatives, but Mansfield (Tex.) Summit's John Chiles and River Ridge (La.) John Curtis utility man Joe McKnight both placed in the national top 15.
The weakest position in June's Rivals100? Linebacker. With Anaheim (Cali.) Servite hitter Chris Galippo heading this group as the lone five-star, only five linebackers made the cut, an unusually low number.
The states of Texas and Florida have the most representatives in the Rivals100 with 13 players each, followed closely by California with 10. North Carolina (6) South Carolina (5) and Michigan (4) all have loads of talent this year, placing more prospects on the list than usual. On the flip side, Mississippi (1), Virginia (2), Pennsylvania (2) and Louisiana (4) come in a little lighter than usual.
The defending national champion Texas Longhorns dominate the Rivals100 with nine verbal commitments followed by Southern Cal, Notre Dame and Florida with three commitments each. North Carolina, South Carolina and Ole Miss are all off to excellent recruiting starts with two committed players each on the Rivals100.
Devine is the smallest Rivals100 selection at 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds while Oglesby is the biggest at 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds. Hialeah (Fla.) Miami Lakes running back Armando Allen is the fastest prospect on the list with a 4.31-second 40-yard dash run at last year's NIKE Camp in Miami.