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May 13, 2011

Roundtable: Predictions for next round

MORE ROUNDTABLES: May 6 | April 29 | April 22 | April 8

Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on topics in a roundtable format.

With the initial 2012 rankings released this week, what position do you expect the biggest changes from prior to the next rankings?

Mike Farrell: I'll say inside linebacker because there have to be some guys out there who haven't emerged yet or guys who will step things up and rise in the rankings. When the top-ranked guy at the position is outside the top 100, either it's a really bad year at the position or guys will step up. I'll guess the latter.

Adam Gorney: There are 12 offensive linemen in the top 50 so it will be interesting to see how they get rearranged, go up in the rankings or drop heading into the next rankings. Do all of them deserve to be there? Some of those questions will be answered after this weekend because Erik Magnuson and Kyle Murphy are expected at the Palo Alto NIKE Camp and so is five-star defensive tackle Aziz Shittu so a lot of big-time competition is anticipated. Fans have to remember that these were initial rankings. After seeing all of these players again and more often, there are destined to be some serious changes.

Chris Nee: Quarterbacks will likely see the most movement. Still quite a few camps remain for players to emerge.

Keith Niebuhr: I'll go with quarterback. Right now, there are two quarterbacks in the top 50 and four in the top 100. With the Elite 11 finale coming up this summer, that will provide the perfect opportunity to compare and contrast the top signal-callers in one setting. I'd expect some significant movement (up and down) after that.

Brian Perroni: With several Elite 11 regional camps and the national event in Los Angeles coming up, a lot of quarterbacks will have a chance to be seen in the next few months. Guys such as Tyler Matthews could make a case to move up even further while prospects could fall. A few names usually come out of nowhere at the position as well after strong camp showings.

Who is one prospect inside the 250 that you envision making the biggest climb up the rankings from here?

Mike Farrell: Tough question because it involves predicting the future but I'll say Reggie Ragland is one I really think will move up. It's hard for me to understand how he is so highly ranked based on the film that is available out there, but we just got two more games worth of highlights so now we have more to go on. I know how highly coveted he was by the Alabama staff and I know many coaches rave about him and he looks good in the latest clips, so he could be a guy who moves up. I don't see a five-star in the newest film, but by the time all is said and done we will have seen him live in games as well as at an all-star game.

Adam Gorney: Although he's already at No. 160, I think Denver (Colo.) Mullen quarterback Cyler Miles has a solid chance of moving up even higher in the rankings. He plays at a respectable program, had tremendous numbers last season, performed well at the U.S. Army National Combine and is putting together an impressive offer list. Miles is expected at the Palo Alto Elite 11 workout on Friday and his performance there could go a long way in him moving even higher up the charts.

Chris Nee: Boynton Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Jessamen Dunker has a shot at marching toward the top. I want to see him in action to see if he is consistent. His highlights are outstanding. I think he has a ton of potential to develop even further.

Keith Niebuhr: Linebacker Reggie Ragland. Ragland checked in at 217, a spot many deemed too low. Ragland's sophomore film was mostly of him at another position and he also didn't attend any camps we were at. Because of these factors, we had little info to process, which made it difficult to rank him. Now, we've seen his junior highlights, and they look good.

Brian Perroni: A guy in my region with a ton of potential to move up is San Antonio (Texas) Brandeis cornerback Colin Blake. He is a big cover corner at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds. Last season was his first to play high school football as he had concentrated on basketball prior to his junior year. Things seemed to come natural to him and his film is very good. However, from everything I've heard this spring, he has made huge strides in Year Two of football. He is currently the No. 161 prospect in the country but he could see his stock go up considerably from there.

Who is one prospect outside the 250 that you fully expect to jump into the rankings by August?

Mike Farrell: Linebacker Antonio Morrison could make a huge leap, especially with my thoughts on inside linebacker and how there aren't that many highly ranked right now. He's a guy I could see inside the 250 next time around once we get more game film on him.

Adam Gorney: Tough question because there are so many candidates but I think if Seth Jacobs continues to do well and impress coaches, the Arroyo Grande (Calif.) outside linebacker can make the list. Others to consider are Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton safety Reggie Daniels and Jeremiah Allison, Joe Robinson and Sam Awrabi, three defensive players from California.

Chris Nee: Keith Brown has a great shot. He landed just outside the 250 this time around. He is the top inside linebacker in Florida.

Keith Niebuhr: Joshua Holsey, a cornerback from Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside. Holsey, who now has more than two dozen offers, is among the country's fastest players, and has excellent ball skills (probably because he's also a pretty good receiver). The only knock on him is that he's 5-foot-9. However, it's my belief that his all-around abilities more than make up for that. He plays big for his size and is surprisingly physical. His stock is definitely rising.

Brian Perroni: One player that has a chance to make a jump is DeSoto (Texas) cornerback Bryson Echols. The state of Texas currently has 32 four-star prospects and Echols checked in at No. 33 on my list this time around. I'm really looking forward to seeing him early in the season. Since fellow cornerback Jalen Mills transferred to DeSoto, teams won't be able to simply throw away from Echols all game. It gives him a big opportunity to show his coverage skills against elite receivers.

As this 250 came together, did anything surprise you about the way it turned out compared with what you had expected going into the meetings?

Mike Farrell: The balance of the big three states was nice to see. Players in California seem to emerge or blow up later than they do in Texas and Florida but this year a bunch of guys have already jumped onto the radar early. I think that bodes well for the balance down the line. We have 18 prospects from Florida in the Rivals100 in what appears to be another deep year, 16 from California is what also appears to be a deep year and 14 from Texas in a down year in the Lone Star State. Overall in the 250, the numbers are tight as well with 34 in Florida and 30 each in Texas and California.

Adam Gorney: There was less bickering than I expected. All kidding aside, I was surprised that there was little disagreement on the No. 1 player, Dorial Green-Beckham. Usually, there is a longer conversation about naming the top player but we all agreed Green-Beckham deserved that spot. I was in full support of having Aziz Shittu as a five-star recruit after seeing him dominate the Los Angeles NIKE Camp and even though not many other analysts saw him in person, they pretty much all agreed. His film was so impressive too that it was an easy call.

Chris Nee: I was surprised by the lack of quarterbacks. It just appears to be a tough year to peg numerous top signal-callers.

Keith Niebuhr: Being that this was my first time going through the process of putting together the initial 250, I was struck by how many good players didn't make it. When I was on the outside looking in, I never paid much attention to the just-misses. But as we started getting into the 220s, 230s and 240s, it began to hit me that quite a few immensely talented prospects weren't going to make it. The problem isn't that they aren't 250-type kids; it's that the competition for those 250 spots is so strong.

Brian Perroni: I personally think it is a relatively down year, at least at the top level, in the state of Texas. We did not keep track of numbers when it came to putting together the lists so, when we tallied things up in the end, I was really surprised to see 14 players from the state in the Rivals100. Only 16 others were in the final 150 spots of the Rivals250.



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