College Football Recruiting: The 10 Biggest Changes in the Rivals 100
Rivals has just released their reranking of the top 100 recruits for 2011.
While it won't stop North Korea from escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, it is...kind of interesting.
Recruits have been competing throughout the summer to improve their rankings and accrue offers from the top schools, so it's only natural that Rivals wasn't right their first time around (even though it felt darn good to fisk them for it).
I've looked at 10 of the biggest changes on the list—recruits jumping up or dropping down several slots, or appearing out of nowhere—and tried to explain where they came from.
Take a look.
Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix and Karlos Williams Gain a Fifth Star
Of course, the biggest news with any reranking is the new five stars.
This reranking features two: Alabama commit Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix and Florida State commit Karlos Williams.
Williams is no surprise. He tore up the Gridiron Kings event, snagging three interceptions and bringing one back 99 yards for a touchdown. He showed off his impressive size and elite athleticism, and quieted any concerns that he is a "tweener" linebacker/safety prospect. He's currently the No. 11 player in the class.
Rivals tabbed Clinton-Dix the top defensive back at Gridiron Kings and was also the MVP of a Tuscaloosa Nike camp. They loved his versatility and ability to play one-on-one, which is what stands out most in 7-on-7 settings.
Rivals has been extremely hesitant to bestow fifth stars in this class—one article mentions at this time last year, there were 20 (to compare, Scout begins with 50). Having only covered 2011's recruits from the beginning, I can't explain the discrepancy—this class looks just as talented as the last one.
My guess would be Rivals is keenly aware of just how obsessed the average college football fan is becoming with recruiting, and they're making the process that much more engrossing to follow.
Jeff Driskel Jumps to No. 17
Four-star quarterback Jeff Driskel inched that much closer to five-star country, jumping from No. 31 to No. 17 in the reranking.
Driskel had one of the better summers of any recruit, winning the Elite 11 MVP award in July after doing the same thing at a Nike Camp in Gainesville in April. He's proving why the Gators' QB recruiting went totally quiet after his commitment.
Scouts are drooling over his strong arm, mobility and pocket presence, and many think he'll toe the line between Tebow and John Brantley perfectly in terms of what he brings to the Florida offense.
La'El Collins Jumps to No. 4 Overall
Not really a major jump considering he was already a top 10 prospect, but LSU commitment La'El Collins leapfrogged Deanthony Thomas and George Farmer for the number four spot behind James Wilder, Jadeveon Clowney and Tony Steward.
Collins is drawing more and more praise not just for his strength, but for the completeness of his game. He is as able a pass-blocker as a run-blocker and, to paraphrase Rivals, dominated linemen who had dominated other linemen at LSU's summer camp.
Barring a stellar senior year from Cyrus Kouandjio, Collins looks to have put the top tackle spot in the class out of reach, and may now have designs on cracking the top three in the class.
CB Marcus Roberson Jumps to No. 30
Cornerback Marcus Roberson (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) jumped from the No. 105 to the No. 30 position in the class, and is now the No. 5 cornerback.
Rivals attributes this to his great performance at the Gridiron Kings event, where he snagged "multiple interceptions" and was called the top cornerback there. He also made the All-Performance team.
He's a bigger corner who will remind some of 2010 Alabama commitment Demarcus Milliner. Florida and Auburn lead a long list of contenders for his services.
ATH Marqise Lee Jumps from No. 87 to No. 39
Rivals reinforced their initial assessment of ATH Marqise Lee by jumping all the way to the No. 39 player in the class.
Lee was part of the jumble of athletes (Odell Beckham and TJ Thorpe also come to mind) that Rivals included on their initial rankings.
But Lee looks to have deserved the praise. He snagged seven picks in the Nike 7on Tournament in Oregon (nearly outshining teammate George Farmer, who slipped in this recent reranking) despite not being in "football shape."
He plans on joining Farmer at the next level. With USC's emphasis on versatility, I could see him winding up with an offer from the Trojans.
RB Mike Blakely Drops from No. 22 to No. 34
I hate to say I told them so, but Rivals quietly conceded that Florida running back Mike Blakely was ranked too high at his original position, No. 22.
Blakely dropped to No. 34, despite putting on a strong showing at the Gridiron Kings event in Orlando, where he showed off good hands, the ability to separate from linebackers and play through contact.
He's still likely to hover in the top 50, but I don't see him moving back up even with a great season. For what it's worth, Florida leads for him.
Teddy Bridgewater Jumps from No. 140 to No. 68
One of the biggest omissions of the original Rivals100 has been corrected.
Miami commit and do-everything quarterback Teddy Bridgewater finally debuted in the reranking at No. 68 overall. He's now the No. 5 dual-threat QB in the class.
His unorthodox style of play hampered his original assessments, but this time around, recruitniks like that no matter how he does it, Bridgewater gets it done.
Independent recruiting website ThaRinger ranks Bridgewater as high as the top QB in the class, and I would consider them as reputable and effective in film breakdown as anybody else. Glad to see him finally get the attention he deserves.
QB J.W. Walsh Jumps from No. 114 to No. 74
Oklahoma State QB commitment JW Walsh also enjoyed a major jump in the ratings courtesy of a strong showing at the Nike 7on tournament in Oregon.
The 6'2", 190 lb native of Denton, Texas led his team to the finals of the tournament and showed off his quick release.
His showing at the Elite 11 wasn't as strong—scouts took issue with the tightness of his spirals—but they also appreciated his quick release and ability to read a defense.
Bizarrely, he's listed as the No. 4 dual-threat QB in the class, ahead of Bridgewater, despite being behind him in the rankings.
Charone Peake Jumps from No. 91 to No. 51
For some reason, Rivals is still keeping wide receiver Charone Peake out of the top 50. But at least they moved the four-star recruit up 40 spots to No. 51, and he's now the No. 6 receiver in the class.
Peake is a five-star to Scout and one of the bigger, better route runners in the class. He's reminded me of Georgia's AJ Green on numerous occasions, and nearly committed to the Bulldogs before picking Clemson earlier this summer
Peake hasn't been quiet on the camp circuit, catching "nearly double digit touchdowns" at the National Select 7-on-7 held in Hoover, AL.
Nick O'Leary Is Now the Top Tight End in the Class
Another recruit who benefited greatly from the Gridiron Kings event, Florida tight end Nick O'Leary jumped ten spots, from No. 36 to No. 26 overall, and is now listed as the top tight end in the country.
O'Leary edged out recent Washington commit Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who slipped in the rankings from just outside the top 10 to No. 36.
O'Leary was the offensive MVP of the champion southeast team at GK, hauling in everything thrown his way including a handful of touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
He's the headliner of a modern hybrid wide receiver/tight end class, one whose receiving talents outweigh their blocking abilities.