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March 19, 2012

Initial position rankings for 2013 released

MORE: The 2013 Rivals250

2013 POSITION RANKINGS:
PQB | DQB | APB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | OG | OC | DT | WDE | SDE | ILB | OLB | CB | S | ATH | K

The initial Rivals250 for the class of 2013 was released in February along with a handful of other prospects gaining four-star status.

Now it is time to release the first set of Rivals.com full position rankings for the class.

The Rivals250 will see a re-release relatively soon but it was not changed this time around. Also, no new four-star prospects were added this time around. Many of the high three-star prospects could see themselves as four-stars in the next update - and maybe even a few could see themselves in the Rivals250 or even the Rivals100.

It is an incredibly strong year for pro-style quarterbacks with five-star Max Browne leading the way in the Top 25 at the position. Fayetteville (Ark.) High passer Austin Allen leads the new group of prospects in the rankings at No. 17 and for good reason.

"Allen comes from a football family and simply knows the game well," Rivals.com Southwest recruiting analyst Brian Perroni said. "He has a big arm but is also accurate. It's no surprise to see his stock soaring as of late."

A trio of prospects from the Southeast in Montgomery (Ala.) Carver's Jeremy Johnson, Lexington (Ky.) Catholic's Kyle Bolin and Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter's Eddie Printz also find themselves near the top of the three-star rankings.

Though Texas five-star commit Tyrone Swoopes sits atop the dual-threat quarterback list, the state of Florida is well-represented in the rest of the Top 20. South Florida pledge Asiantii Woulard leads the way at the top of the list of three-star prospects.

"Woulard is a converted wide receiver to quarterback who showed a lot of good signs of development as a junior," Rivals.com Florida/Southeast recruiting analyst Chris Nee said. "He is a very talented athlete who can create with his legs, but also is willing to stand in the pocket and throw down the field. He has a strong arm and solid accuracy with the ability to stretch the field vertically. He is also a very capable thrower on the move."

Just like the quarterback spot, the running back group in the class of 2013 is incredibly deep as well. Five-star Oregon commit Thomas Tyner is the headliner but there is a strong group of three-star prospects as well. Texas A&M commit James White of Pearland (Texas) Dawson is the top new player at running back while fellow Aggie pledge Johnny Jefferson of Killeen (Texas) Shoemaker leads the newly ranked all-purpose backs.

"White is a big kid at 6-foot, 200 pounds and he is not afraid of contact," Perroni said. "He has surprisingly good speed as well and does a good job of finding his holes.

"Jefferson was impressive at the Army combine in January and his film shows an incredibly quick player with the ball in space. He did not have the opportunity to show off his receiving skills for Shoemaker but he is not a typical tailback and will be very dangerous at the next level as a pass-catcher."

Though there are not many true fullbacks in the rankings at this time, Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Carolina Forest's Harold Atkinson is No. 1 in the Top 5 at the position.

"Atkinson is a big, strong, powerful fullback that also is a capable runner," Rivals.com Southeast recruiting analyst Keith Niebuhr said. "Not only can he move the chains in a short-yardage situation, but he is capable of breaking one from time to time. He also has a pretty good set of hands. As far as fullbacks go, he's pretty complete."

Wide receiver is always one of the hardest positions to rank as there are so many different sizes and skillsets needed to fill out a complete roster. Texas commit Ricky Seals-Jones sits atop the list but a pair of prospects from opposite sides of the country in Isaiah Jones of Milton (Fla.) High and Francis Owusu of Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian are at the top of the newly-ranked players.

"Jones is a big wide receiver with smooth athleticism," Nee said. "He is the big threat at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds making him a prototype to do work on the outside as a vertical threat. Where he surprises is his ability to attack towards the middle of the field and make things happen in the open field after the catch. He has begun to emerge since his junior video began to spread in February."

"Owusu was a little overshadowed this past season by UCLA signees Jordan Payton andIshmael Adams in Oaks Christian's offense," Rivals.com West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney said, "but he should emerge as one of the top receivers in Southern California next season. He shows off great hands and a burst of speed where if he gets past the cornerback, nobody is going to catch him."

The tight end position is led by Penn State pledge Adam Breneman but fast-rising Texas commit Durham Smythe of Belton (Texas) leads the newcomers to the Top 25.

"Smythe saw his stock soar this spring as schools looked for all-around tight ends," Perroni said. "The Belton offense did not give him a chance to put up huge numbers but his film is impressive as both a receiver and a blocker."

As was the case a year ago as well, the offensive tackle spot has several highly-ranked players with 35 already having earned at least a four-star ranking with five-star Laremy Tunsil leading the way. There is plenty of talent outside that 35, though, and Philadelphia (Pa.)William Penn Charter's Mike McGlinchey is tops among the new three stars.

"McGlinchey is very tall for an offensive tackle but he isn't awkward like many his size and he is aggressive and physical," Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. "His wing span and good feet as well as his long frame make him tough to get around."

The offensive guards were an incredibly tough position to rank as there is quite a bit of talent there compared to recent years. Reeve Koehler is No. 1 on the list but several new players found themselves highly-ranked among the three-star prospects. Austin Droogsma of Gulf Breeze (Fla.) High is the highest-ranked of the new additions.

"Droogsma is capable of playing offensive guard or center," Nee said. "He has good size at 6-3, 310-pounds and does a good job of using his hands effectively in blocking while also displaying light, agile feet. He is a well-balanced blocker who does a good job of both anchoring himself and keeping his man in front or by getting out of his stance, down the field, and acting as a bulldozer in the running game."

Since most top offensive linemen play tackle for their high school programs it is tough to project players to center. Texas commit Darius James is at the top of the list as he plays some center for his school but he could also play guard of even defensive tackle for the Longhorns. Another versatile prospect in Bryce King of Dillon (S.C.) High is the top three-star player at the position.

"King is an outstanding center prospect that has nice size, excellent strength, good feet and solid technique," Niebuhr said. "This is a player who fires off the ball with a great amount of power and doesn't stop trying to get is defender to the ground until the play is over."

Ranking the best on defense

On the defensive side of the ball, five-star prospect and the No. 1 overall player in the country Robert Nkemdiche was a no-brainer at the top of the weakside defensive end list while fellow five-star Kenny Bigelow heads the strongside list. A pair of very athletic prospects came in at the top of the new additions though in Torrodney Prevot of Alief (Texas) Taylor and Josh Augusta of Peoria (Ill.) High.

"Prevot was a guy who we did not have complete film on when we last met for rankings," Perroni said. "He is one of the most impressive edge rushers in the country and he could see some major movement next time around."

"Augusta is an amazing athlete with a ton of upside," Rivals.com Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt said. "Besides defensive line, he also lined up in the offensive backfield and split out to as a wide receiver. He plays very light on his feet for a big kid, and that likely comes from years spent on the basketball court, where he is also a standout for Peoria High."

Montravius Adams is atop the defensive tackle Top 30 while Miami pledge Keith Bryant of Delray Beach (Fla.) High is the top newcomer.

"Bryant is a thick defensive tackle with quick feet and a good motor," Nee said. "He is very good off the snap at getting into his blocker, shedding blocks, and getting into the offensive backfield where he quickly closes on the quarterback and shows the ability to pursue laterally out of the pocket. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle is a very physical tackler."

At linebacker a pair of players from Georgia takes top honors at their respective positions. Five-star Alabama commit Reuben Foster headlines the outside list while Auburn commit Trey Johnson is the top inside prospect. Tops among the new additions are Matt Rolin of Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods and Darian Claiborne of Port Allen, La.

"Rolin is very active and equally impressive moving forward or backward," Farrell said. "He's a terrific athlete who has excellent closing speed and sideline to sideline ability."

"Claiborne does a little bit of everything for Port Allen as he was their leading passer and rusher as a junior," Perroni said, "but he definitely projects to the defensive side of the ball. He could play inside or outside but his ability to come down and fill the hole in the middle makes him an ideal Mike linebacker candidate."

In the secondary, the cornerback spot is the most top-heavy overall position now with three five-star prospects in Kendall Fuller, Ohio State commit Cameron Burrows and Vernon Hargreaves III while the safety spot is led by five-star Su'a Cravens. The top new addition at corner is Brendan Langley of Marietta (Ga.) Kell while the top new safety addition is Michael Johnson of Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington.

"Langley is a well-built cornerback that has terrific length and is a very good all-around athlete," Niebuhr said. "He knows how to use his size and strength well in coverage, and does a nice job making a play on the ball. He reacts quickly in the secondary and possesses extremely good closing speed."

"Johnson has the versatility to play cornerback or safety," Nee said. "He is a very good playmaker who does an excellent job of attacking the ball and going after it when it is put in the air. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound defender doesn't just play the ball, as he also shows the ability to duck his shoulder and pop a receiver as the ball is coming in or make a tackle on a running back once they get through the front seven."

The athlete spot contains both quick and shifty players as well as some jumbo prospects. Tops on the list is Georgia commit Derrick Henry of Yulee (Fla.), who fits the latter category at 6-3, 241 pounds, as does new three-star addition Elijah Qualls of Petaluma (Calif.) Case Grande.

"The thing college coaches love about Qualls is that he's a big kid at 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds and he can play on either side of the ball," Gorney said. "He can play fullback or move to the defensive line and so his versatility and his athleticism really stand out."

At the kicker position, no players have yet been awarded three stars but Auburn commit Jimmy Hutchinson of Kennesaw (Ga.) Harrison leads the early Top 5.

2013 POSITION RANKINGS:
PQB | DQB | APB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | OG | OC | DT | WDE | SDE | ILB | OLB | CB | S | ATH | K



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