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June 14, 2004The smoke has finally cleared and all of the pieces are in place. The first Rivals100 team for the class of 2005 is complete.
With the release of players ranked No. 91 through 100 on Monday, the nation's most elite prospects finally have been given the credit they deserve. Prospects near the bottom of the list might be perceived to be less talented than some at the top, but anybody making that assumption would be incorrect.
That's because they're all elite prospects - especially No. 91 on the list, Charlotte (N.C.) Independence receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.
Massaquoi is likely ranked too low and will be moved up quite a bit in the next rankings period. After racking up a ton of receiving yards as a junior, he has continued to excel on the summer camp tour, including an impressive stop at the Atlanta NIKE Training Camp. At the camp, Massaquoi came in at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds. He then turned out a very fast 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash and a 4.16-shuttle time.
"He's a five-star player," one SEC recruiting coordinator said. "You guys really have him ranked too low. He's the best player in North Carolina, and he's proven that on the field and everywhere he's been this summer. He's better than any receiver we recruited and signed last year."
Massaquoi lists Georgia, Clemson, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Tennessee and Virginia as his top teams. He said last week that he might be ready to make a decision in two or three weeks.
Hawkinsville, Ga., defensive tackle Brandon Perry continues the trend of strong defensive tackles in this class by landing at the No. 92 spot.
The 6-3, 285-pound standout has offers from many colleges, including USC, Florida State and Georgia. He earned all-state honors as a junior and a sophomore, but his junior season was memorable when he racked up 16 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks.
Florida seems to produce many ball-hawking cornerbacks who also have the ability to be big-time safety prospects. One who fits that mold this year is Miami Killian star Demetrice Morley, the nation's No. 93 player.
Morley, who racked up 53 tackles, nine interceptions and 10 pass break-ups as a junior, could easily project as a safety prospect in college because of his size, speed and ability to close on the ball. Yet, he says most of the teams - including LSU, Miami, Florida, Florida State, N.C. State and Oklahoma - like him at cornerback.
"Pretty much every school I have talked to has told me that they want me as a cornerback and not a safety," he said. "All of my offers are as a corner. They have told me that they like me as a corner because of my speed."
Either way, you can't go wrong with Morley because he's a playmaker. Want more proof? Check out his three punt and two field goal blocks in 2003.
Denver Mullen running back Maurice Greer cracks the Rivals100 at No. 94 and earns the nod at the top player in the state of Colorado, but his teammate Jesse White isn't too far behind him at the No. 96 spot. Both players work amazingly well together with White blowing open holes and Greer dancing through them with ease.
Greer, 5-11, 185 pounds, rushed for 2,186 yards and 30 scores as a junior, earning him first-team all-state honors. He also had 10 receptions for 59 yards receiving, which showcases his versatility and ability to be a well-rounded and complete back.
"Maurice is a kid that has really dedicated himself to improving both on and off the field," Mullen coach Dave Logan said. "He has been fun to coach and I'm glad I'll have him for another year."
White, a 6-3, 290-pound center who is already committed to UCLA, has some of the most amazing feet that you'll see in any offensive line prospect this year. He's been clocked as low as 4.9-seconds in the 40-yard dash and that comes through on his tape. What also comes through is his aggressive nature.
"I'm an aggressive blocker," he said. "I'm not afraid to get down in the trenches and fight and claw to open holes for our running backs."
Killeen (Texas) Harker Heights offensive guard Michael Shumard committed so early in the recruiting process to Texas A&M that people throughout the Lone Star State have forgotten how talented this kid is. Shumard, who is 6-5 and 290 pounds, is one of the most dominating blockers you'll see on tape.
He has great pad leverage and stays low to blast through opponents, and you can often find him getting up to the second or third level looking to pick off a linebacker or a defensive back after he's destroyed his first block.
"I'm best at acknowledging what the defense puts in front of me," Shumard said. "I always know where everybody is at. I'm good at running down defensive backs down field and going out there and making the big block in the right situation."
He's a quarterback. He's a receiver. He's a defensive back. He's an athlete. No matter where you're recruiting Pflugerville, Texas, standout Todd Walker, you know you're recruiting one of the nation's best and the No. 97 player overall.
A pure athlete that also stars at quarterback, Walker (6-2, 185) has been timed consistently in the 4.3-second range in the 40 and with a 36-inch vertical leap. But don't rule out him playing quarterback on the next level because he does have great leadership skills, a great command of his offense and a more than adequate arm to be a success on the next level.
"He's our quarterback, but some people think he'll be a defensive back in college," his coach, George Herman, said. "I just know he's good enough to play college football."
Behind Walker is defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase of Alief (Texas) Hastings, the nation's No. 98 player. Oghobaase is a mountain of a man at 6-6 and 295 pounds. That alone makes him stand out above the crowd, but his ability to bust through offensive lines and chase running backs down from sideline-to-sideline has attracted offers from teams such as Arizona, Florida, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
Oghobaase does have a bit of a tendency to take some plays off. If he can keep that motor running all throughout his senior season, watch for him to shoot up the rankings because he has some physical gifts that just can't be coached.
No. 99 on the list is one of the most decorated passers in the state of Florida, quarterback Harrison Beck of Clearwater (Fla.) Countryside. Beck made waves recently when he committed to Nebraska, signaling the Huskers' shift from a power-run offense to a more diverse and West Coast-style passing attack.
Beck, who measured 6-1 and 205 pounds at the Miami NIKE Training Camp, put up numbers as a junior that attracted quite a bit of attention from the college coaches. He threw for 2,300 yards and 21 touchdowns, while also rushing for 150 yards. With offers from quarterback-friendly schools such as Florida, Ole Miss, N.C. State and Michigan, Beck has all of the tools to be a special quarterback on the next level.
But what can't be measured with his physical ability are his leadership skills. Beck is one of the smartest quarterback you'll find in the nation this year and uses that mental talent to guide his team to success in big games. Beck compares that mental ability to his favorite NFL quarterback, Brett Farve.
"Brett Favre is my favorite quarterback," Beck said. "I like his whole style of playing, his demeanor. He's got that never quit, do-everything-you-can-to-win attitude. I think you see a lot of those things in me."
Gretna, Va., quarterback Vic Hall has been hearing for some time now that he's too short to be an impact college quarterback. His answer to that: don't let his height fool you and just look at his stats and his game footage. Those two things alone are simply amazing and easily warranting the ranking as the No. 100 player in the nation.
Hall, who one college coach compared to Joe Hamilton because of his 5-9, 168-pound frame, threw for 3,033 yards and 31 scores as a junior. He also stole the show at the Charlottesville NIKE Training Camp, where he was the camp favorite, despite several other highly-regarded quarterbacks in attendance.
"I ignore the talk about me being too short," Hall said. "Actually that motivates me to play harder and it makes me want to get better. Basically, I just ignore it. I just like to go out there and make big plays to help my team win."