football Edit

Rankings rewind: Hester, Chancellor

Kam Chancellor had a key interception against Peyton Manning on Sunday.
Over the last couple of years, Kameron Chancellor has become one of the top safeties in the NFL. So when he had one of his worst games in recent memory against San Diego two weeks ago, people were obviously surprised. However, just like any elite player does, Chancellor rebounded against Denver on Sunday with nine tackles, two passed defended and a huge interception in the fourth quarter of the Seahawks 26-20 overtime win.
At Norfolk (Va.) Maury, Chancellor was known more as a quarterback than a defensive back. He showed that by passing for 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in an injury-shortened junior season and then 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns in his senior season. Recruiting, however, was slow to take off for Chancellor as he had to wait until his senior season concluded before Virginia Tech, James Madison and Kent State all offered. A few days after an official visit to Blacksburg and before he was scheduled to take an official visit to James Madison, Chancellor ended his recruiting process with a commitment to Virginia Tech.
Chancellor started off as a quarterback in Blacksburg, but quickly made the move to cornerback. While he saw playing time in all 13 games as a true freshman, it wasn't until his sophomore season when he moved to a rover position that he truly began to excel. But, after finishing with 79 tackles and one interception as a sophomore, Chancellor was moved again to free safety. He started all 14 games and finished with 52 tackles, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. After thinking about leaving Virginia Tech early for the NFL Draft, Chancellor decided to come back for his senior season and finished with 68 tackles and two interceptions.
Chancellor was drafted by Seattle with the 133rd overall pick in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. After not starting a game in 2010, he began the 2011 season as the team's starting strong safety after the departure of Lawyer Milloy. Chancellor did not disappoint, as he was second on the team in both tackles and interceptions, and was named to the Pro Bowl. After finishing the 2012 season with a career-high 101 tackles, Chancellor signed a four-year extension in the spring of 2013. The highlight of his career to this point was his performance in Super Bowl XLVIII, when he finished with nine tackles and an interception during the rout of the Broncos.
Chancellor was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2006, the No. 20 ranked recruit in Virginia and the No. 27 ranked pro-style quarterback nationally, but he was not ranked overall nationally. In Virginia, the only other player ranked ahead of Chancellor who has made as big a mark in the NFL is Percy Harvin, who ironically is now also on Seattle. At the position, it's difficult to judge since Chancellor never played quarterback after high school. Looking back at things, it would have made more sense to categorize Chancellor as an athlete back in 2006, but with players of his caliber who could fit as a quarterback many systems and his desire to play the position, you have to go with what you know. He has obviously out-performed expectations and plenty of credit has to be given to the Virginia Tech staff, who was the only major program to offer Chancellor a scholarship.
Melvin Gordon
Four-star, class of 2011
Melvin Gordon and the Wisconsin offense had no trouble pushing Bowling Green around.
While running back Melvin Gordon had to wait his turn at Wisconsin, the current results were definitely worth the wait. In a 68-17 throttling of Bowling Green last Saturday, Gordon rushed for 253 yards and five touchdowns on only 13 carries, pacing a rushing attack that accumulated an amazing 644 yards on the ground.
At Wisconsin, Gordon started his career slowly because of an injury in 2011 that shut him down after three games and qualified him for a redshirt. In 2012, he played in all 14 games, starting four of them. He finished with 621 yards and four scores, including 216 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries during the Badgers' win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship Game. Last season, Gordon played in all 13 games and finished 10th in the nation and second in the Big Ten with 1,609 yards rushing. This season, as a redshirt junior, Gordon has already rushed for 431 yards and six touchdowns on only 46 carries. He came into the season on most pre-season All-American lists and on the watch list for such prestigious awards as the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Doak Walker.
Playing at Bradford in Kenosha, Wisc., Gordon rushed for 500 yards and 15 touchdowns as a freshman, 1,200 yards and 23 touchdowns as a sophomore and then 1,098 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Gordon took his game to another level as a senior when he finished with 2,009 yards and 38 touchdowns, earning him Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Wisconsin.
Gordon was on recruiting radars early, so a few months after his junior season concluded he already had offers from the Badgers, Minnesota and Iowa. Through the spring, the offers continued to pile up, including Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Indiana and Cincinnati. At this point in his process, Gordon was favoring Iowa. The summer took him to Tennessee and Alabama for visits, which resulted in an offer from the Vols. However, Gordon's recruiting process took an unexpected turn after a return visit to Iowa in late August, when he unexpectedly committed to the Hawkeyes, his longtime favorite. As his senior season progressed, Gordon began to waiver on his commitment to the Hawkeyes and de-committed a week before taking an official visit to Wisconsin in late November. Approximately a week later, Gordon decided that he wanted to stay closer to home and committed to the Badgers.
Gordon was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2011, the No. 2 recruit in Wisconsin and the No. 24 running back nationally, but he was not ranked overall nationally. In Wisconsin, Gordon was only ranked behind linebacker Jake Keefer, who also signed with the Badgers, but has had a less-than-productive career to this point. At the running back position, while the group overall has proven to have been quite deep with players like Bishop Sankey, Tre Mason and Ka'Deem Carey all making a name for themselves, it is obvious that Gordon should've been ranked higher. Keep in mind that coming out of high school there were many people who actually thought Gordon would become a better linebacker at the next level than running back, which curbed his ranking a little. Obviously these people have been proven wrong and it should be interesting to watch what level of play Gordon can take his play the remainder of this season and then further into the future.
Knile Davis
Four-star, class of 2009, signed with Arkansas
Knile Davis filled in for Jamaal Charles and helped the Chiefs upset the Dolphins.
In the NFL, a player needs to grasp an opportunity when it arises, which is exactly what Knile Davis did against Miami on Sunday. With Jamaal Charles out of the game with an injury, Davis responded with 132 yards rushing and one touchdown on 32 carries during Kansas City's 34-15 victory.
Davis was drafted with the 96th overall pick in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by Kansas City. In his rookie season, Davis played in all 16 games, starting one, as he finished with 242 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 70 carries. He actually scored his first NFL touchdown on a 108-yard kickoff return against Denver, the second longest kick return in league history. This season he has already rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns on 55 carries through the first three games.
At Arkansas, he appeared in 36 games, with 15 starts. He finished with 1,842 yards and 19 touchdowns on 349 careers during his Razorback career. After seeing minimal playing time as a true freshman in 2009, Davis had his biggest season as a sophomore with 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns. He then missed his junior season with an injury, and then returned in 2012 with 377 yards and two touchdowns.
Davis played his high school ball at Fort Bend Marshall in Missouri City, Tex. As a junior, Davis was only able to play four games before an injury shortened his season. He still managed to rush for 359 yards and two touchdowns. The first schools to offer Davis were TCU, Missouri, UCF and Houston, but plenty of other schools were intrigued by his potential by the spring after his junior season. With his offer total reaching 20 by the summer, Davis trimmed his list to Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri, where he also scheduled official visits. However, three of those visits never occurred because in early September Davis took an official visit to Arkansas, which is where he committed by the conclusion of his stay in Fayetteville.
Davis was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2009, the No. 166 recruit overall nationally, No. 17 running back nationally and the No. 18 recruit in Texas. At the running back position, Eddie Lacy, Lamar Miller, David Wilson, Trent Richardson and Bryce Brown were all ranked ahead of Davis and have also experienced high levels of success. In Texas, the results have been mixed, with Russell Shepard, Alex Okafor and Garrett Gilbert holding down the top three spots. Looking back at things, Davis was pegged correctly and we got his four-star ranking correct. He has ability, but it should be interesting to see how his NFL career progresses from here as he slides back to his backup role after Charles returns.
Dak Prescott and Josh Robinson
Both three-stars, class of 2011
Dak Prescott dove into the end zone for his lone rushing touchdown on Saturday.
Mississippi State has been looking for a signature win in the SEC for a few years and it happened on Saturday at LSU thanks to the play of Dak Prescott and Josh Robinson. Prescott passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, while Robinson rushed for a career-high 197 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries during the 34-29 victory.
Prescott and Robinson both came to Mississippi State in 2011 from Louisiana. Both also redshirted during their freshman season. Prescott only started seven games coming into the 2014 season, but had already accumulated 3,081 yards of total offense and accounted for 33 career touchdowns in his two seasons. Robinson also came into this season fighting for playing time, with only two starts in his 25 career games. However, he came into the season averaging 6.0 yards per carry, so a great deal was expected out of him in 2014 with the departure of LaDarius Perkins.
Prescott played his high school football at Haughton, while Robinson excelled at Franklinton. Prescott impressed during his junior season at Haughton with 2,172 yards passing and 27 touchdowns, and then was named First-Team All-State after a senior season that saw him pass for 2,860 yards and 39 touchdowns, plus rush for 951 yards and 17 touchdowns. Robinson experienced similar success at Franklinton. As a junior he rushed for 1,315 yards and 22 touchdowns and then as a senior he totaled 1,105 yards and 20 touchdowns, plus 558 yards receiving and seven scores.
Prescott earned his Mississippi State offer at the summer camp prior to his senior season. He quickly committed over other offers from Memphis, North Texas, McNeese State and Northwestern State. However, everything changed a few weeks before National Signing Day when LSU offered. Prescott responded by taking an official visit to Baton Rouge, but followed that up with his official visit to Starkville, which once again solidified his commitment to the Bulldogs. Similar to Prescott, Robinson also committed to the Bulldogs during the summer prior to his senior season. However, he never wavered and signed with Mississippi State over offers from Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, UCF, Memphis and Southern Miss.
Prescott was a three-star recruit in the class of 2011, and the No. 33 ranked recruit in Louisiana. He was not ranked nationally at his position or overall. Robinson was also a three-star recruit in the Class of 2011, the No. 30 ranked recruit in Louisiana and the No. 49 running back nationally. He was not ranked overall nationally. With both players just now seeing regular playing time at Mississippi State, the three-star ranking still seems correct. It is possible that if we look back again in a couple of years they may have been too low, but for now we got these two correct.
Mike Farrell
National Recruiting Director
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