The newest edition of the Rivals100 Round Table is the first for the class of 2005. The Rivals100 team recently completed the first part of the rankings with the unveiling of the Rivals100 list. Quite a few quality players were nominated for the list but did not make it.
The analysts discuss several players who people need to keep an eye on over the next few months.
Mike Farrell: There is a great group of defensive players, including play makers like linebacker Jerome Hayes and cornerback Mike Brown, which you also nominated for Rivals100 consideration, what do you like best about those guys and are there any other prospects you think could climb the rankings from your region?
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Hayes is a player who could make an impact on either side of the football in college. Most schools want him as a linebacker and he's very quick, takes good angles and is physical, but still has some rough edges. If he doesn't work out at linebacker, he could be a college fullback with his size and speed. Brown is a great leaper (40-inch vertical) and super fast (4.31-second 40-yard dash at NIKE). He's also very strong for his size and changes direction well as a cornerback and running back. I like him better as a running back than some others do, but with his coverage skills and jumping ability, he'll be a cornerback in college most likely.
Other players who could climb the rankings include Lancaster (Pa.) Conestoga Valley wideout Stephen Smalls, Randallstown, Md. cornerback Jamari McCollough, Westwood (Mass.) Xaverian Brothers quarterback Zack Asack, Leominster, Mass. running back/safety Anthony Bizzotto and Hackensack, N.J. safety Danny Oquendo, all of whom stood out this spring at various combines. These guys will all push for high three-star status.
Brian Gates: One player that has really started to make some waves with scholarship offers now that he’s starting to send his film out is Omaha (Neb.) Creighton Prep tight end Zack Potter. Does he have a real shot at making the list in the future?
I do think Zack Potter can make the list as the season goes on and we make adjustments to it. Omaha is a town that produces quality football players each year and schools across the region are taking note of the 6-foot-7, 240-pound Potter.
The film he has begun to distribute is making a good impression and the summer camps he goes to will let him show his talents to coaches in person. He already has four scholarship offers from Big 12 Conference schools and the list will only continue to grow as his film becomes more available to more schools. If he continues to make progress on the field and turns that into a good senior campaign, he could very well move up into the future releases of the Rivals100.
Bill Kurelic: Todd Denlinger and Jim Cordle were two guys you nominated for the Rivals100 and they just missed making the list. Talk about what makes them special players and where they would rank stacked up against players at their positions over the past few years in Ohio.
Todd Denlinger is the top defensive lineman in the state of Ohio this year. He has pretty good size, runs well, and is very athletic for a lineman. He compares favorably with many of the top defensive tackle prospects to come out of the Buckeye state the past few seasons.
Jim Cordle is a big guy who plays with a very aggressive style. In many years he would have a chance to be the top offensive lineman in the state of Ohio, just not this year because of the presence of super talent, Alex Boone. Cordle has what it takes to be a very good one at the next level.
Tim O’Halloran: You said all along that this was a special year in the state of Illinois. There were quite a few prospects represented from the Land of Lincoln that made the list, but still a few of your top picks didn’t make the list. Who would you put next on the list if you were making it up and why?
I still have no questions whatsoever about the overall quality and depth of this recruiting class in Illinois, and as far as the prospects who have already been ranked from Illinois, it's a good start, yet only a start in my opinion. When I personally struggle to come up with a Top 50 Illinois prospects listing in April because of so many talented players being left out, that's a very good sign in my world. This class has the potential top to bottom of having a record number of D-I signings, and several players have the ability to break thru any pre-determined number of stars.
Bolingbrook's Ryan Bain is a player that must be given serious consideration for the next go-around of four-star rankings. Bain has 18 offers and counting this late spring is the type of prospect that has all of the tools to be an impact player on the college level in my opinion. Bain had one offer entering the May evaluation period, and once the coaches started to eyeball him in person Bain's stock just exploded.
Libertyville lineman David Moosman is also one of several offensive line recruits in this class that will continue to pick things up again from an overall offer standpoint starting on September 1. The same can also be said of Prospect offensive lineman Eric Hedstrom, who entered May with minimum looks and offers and finished May as one of the top overall line prospects in this Illinois based class.
Several others who are players to watch include Lockport quarterback Jake Christensen, Joliet Catholic linebacker Chris Jeske, Glenbard West star Tom McAndrew and Highland Park linebacker Scott Smith.
Greg Biggins: Kyle Reed had a great spring and looks to be one of the fastest rising quarterbacks in the nation, but he did not make the list. Talk about what makes him so special. And were there guys that you were disappointed didn’t make the list, and why?
I think Reed is a guy who if you see him just one time, you might not be blown away by him. If you see him over the course of a couple of days and get to learn his personality, there's no question he's going to be a special player in college. Physically he has all the tools and I love his attitude and how hard he wants to compete.
I wasn't really disappointed about any players not making the list to be honest, I thought it was very well done but do feel Reed was more deserving over a couple of other quarterbacks who made the cut.
Jeremy Patterson: Chris Keys, Carlos Thomas and Gabe McKenzie were guys that were on the Rivals100 bubble that didn’t make the list. Breakdown these guys and talk about what makes them elite recruits.
Keys has some off the field issues that concerns the staff right now, but if he gets that straightened out he has all the tools to be special on the college level. He is big, fast and physical. He could play wide receiver or safety on the college level, but I look for him to end up at safety. He is a very, solid player and has a good chance to be on the next edition of the Rivals 100.
Carlos Thomas absolutely dominated the competition at the Atlanta NIKE camp. Several college coaches stated that they thought he was the best wide receiver in attendance. Thomas is a little thin, but possesses speed and moves that few can match. He is one of the most athletic kids in the country.
I went to every NIKE camp this year, except for Texas A&M and Iowa, and by far, the most physically imposing prospect I saw during the whole circuit was Gabe McKenzie. This guy is a beast! His 40-time, though not stellar, was very solid and he looked fantastic during drills. I think he is a tight end on the college level, but definitely has the frame to play defensive end as well.
Brian Stumpf: As the manager for the EA SPORTS Elite 11 Quarterback camp, you’ve had a chance to see all of the nation’s top quarterbacks. Only seven true quarterbacks made the first Rivals100, who are some other gunslingers that we need to keep our eye on that could merit consideration for the nation’s top 100 by the time the summer is out?
Two quarterbacks that certainly belong amongst the nation's elite are Joe Cox out of Charlotte (N.C.) Independence and the aforementioned Kyle Reed of Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds. Both have already been invited to the 2004 EA SPORTS Elite 11 and for good reason.
Out of all the quarterbacks we saw on tour this year, it would be hard to name one more consistent or accurate than the 6-1 Cox. After seeing him in Atlanta, there was no doubt in our mind that he was one of the nation's best and the colleges would pick up on that in time. The Georgia Bulldogs did just that this week and while it was a tough situation for Cox, he de-committed from Duke for UGA.
Reed is less polished but few signal callers ooze with potential like the Bay Area standout does. He's a strong-armed passer who spins it well with very good feet, and he really opened some eyes with his showing at the EA SPORTS Elite 11 QB Workout in Berkeley back in May. He has all the physical tools and also a great demeanor which will make him a quick study and a pleasure to coach for noted quarterback guru Jeff Tedford at Cal, when Reed enrolls in the fall of 2005.
Jeremy Crabtree: Who are two or three players that you gave serious consideration to putting on the Rivals100 team that didn’t make it for one reason or another?
There are a few kids that I really felt strongly about that didn’t make it. I was blown away by Miami Monsignor Pace running back Conredge Collins when I was down in Miami scouting players after the NIKE Camp. Not only is he 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds, but he consistently runs in the 4.5 range, but with it being a freak year in the state of Florida and at running back it was somewhat hard to put him on there. There are a lot of good running backs in Florida this year, especially guys like Antone Smith and Maurice Wells, but I think you have to put Collins right up there, too.
People in Dallas have been calling Lincoln star athlete Byron Eaton a living legend for a few years now. He’s done things on the football field and basketball court that will never be replicated. He’s got mad skills in both, and that’s one of the big concerns about Eaton from a football aspect. He keeps going back and forth on whether or not he’s going to be a football guy or a basketball guy. If he sticks with football he would easily be one of the nation’s top five athletes, but while he’s away playing hoops it allows others that are focused on football only to somewhat catch up to him. He’s special, indeed, though.
Darrius Heyward-Bey is a guy that Mark Thomas at MDVarsity.com is extremely high on, and the more I started to check on him, the more I think you can make a serious case for him being the No. 3 player in the state of Maryland. He’s one of the fastest players in the entire nation with 10.5-second 100-meter time and a 6.83 60 meters. For those of you that don’t know track, that’s flat out smoking.
Rick Kimbrel: Will Powers is a prospect you’re extremely high on but he did not make the list. What makes him so special and what does he do best on the football field. And were there guys that you were disappointed didn’t make the list, and why?
Will has an excellent burst off the line of scrimmage and that makes him tough to block. He combines physical skills with high intelligence. Powers has it all the tangibles and intangibles to be highly successful on the D-I level. Yes there are players that I thought deserved to be on the list but you can't get that personal about rankings. We as a staff do the best we can and for the most part we do a great job. The readers will let us know who we missed on soon enough.