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May 19, 2014
Rivals100: Cowart takes over at No. 1
The new Rivals100 Presented by Under Armour has been released for the spring evaluation period for the class of 2015, and we have a change at the top. Seffner (Fla.) Armwood defensive end Byron Cowart is our new No. 1 player in the nation, moving up two spots from No. 3 and supplanting Albany (Ga.) Westover School defensive tackle Trenton Thompson, who slips to No. 3.
Whether Thompson camped or not this spring might be irrelevant (he did not) because of how dominant Cowart has been. The 6-foot-3, 257-pounder has drawn comparisons to Da'Shawn Hand, last year's No. 1, for his balance, agility and quickness. While Hand is a bit faster and perhaps slightly more agile, Cowart is stronger and more physical at the same stage. Meanwhile, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco quarterback Josh Rosen stays put at No. 2 after a great spring.
With such elite talents in the last few years like Hand, Robert Nkemdiche, Dorial Green-Beckham and Jadeveon Clowney, going bell-to-bell as the nation's No. 1 player has been commonplace. You have to go all the way back to 2010 when Ronald Powell unseated Seantrel Henderson during the final rankings cycle to find a swap at No. 1.
There were plenty of other changes of note. It's somewhat rare to add seven five-stars in one rankings cycle barring the final release, but with so many camps and 7-on-7 events in the spring, more and more players are showing they are deserving of the honor. Conversely, more players are also showing that perhaps their fifth star was a bit ambitious. Such is the case this time around with three prospects losing that coveted five-star status.
Now let's take a look at the rest of the big moves in the Rivals100. A big move is considered up or down 30 or more spots or moving into the coveted five-star class while any moves less than 30 are considered nominal. Negative moves of less than 30 slots, while certainly significant to prospects and the fan bases involved, are usually the result of so much upward movement from prospects that stood out during this evaluation cycle. The biggest jump among the seven new five-stars was 57 spots, while the biggest drop among the three prospects losing their fifth star was 26. The biggest jump into the Rivals100 is 132 spots and the biggest drop within the elite list is 36 spots.
This has been an exciting spring and this 2015 class looks like it will be a rollercoaster ride when it comes to rankings moreso than the last two years. Our team of national recruiting experts weighs in with their observations on the spring performances of these prospects.