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January 10, 2005

The Hot 11: Turner leads the way on the first day

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The national all-star game in San Antonio is an opportunity for many of the nation's top players to show out and either improve or decrease their stock in the eyes of national recruiting analysts. Rivals.com now presents a look at the Hot 11 players from Monday's practices in the evaluations of recruiting analysts Jeremy Crabtree, Mike Farrell and Jeremy Patterson.

1 Patrick Turner, WR

Turner of Nashville (Tenn.) Goodpasture is a man child, a wide out with a tight end body and great hands. If you try to get physical with him, he'll dominate you. If you sleep on his speed, he's past you. He can't be muscled off the line, runs precise routes and catches everything thrown his way. He'll be a dominant red zone threat instantly in college and is emerging as arguably the nation's top wide receiver.

2 DeMarcus Granger, DT Ranked as a five-star player, Granger of Dallas Kimball was probably the most physically put together defensive tackle for the West. Heading into the game a lot of the talk surrounded the nation's No. 2 defensive tackle, Jerrell Powe. However, Granger easily look more physically ready to make the leap to the next level with a great frame that is already put together like a college tackle. He was also impossible to block in practices on Monday.


3 Kenny Phillips, DB Phillips of Carol City High School in Miami is a big, rangy safety prospect in the mold of Ed Reed with his big play potential on the defensive side of the ball. A player that is always around the football, never seems to be out of place, loves to play physical and has excellent instincts, Phillips has a quiet air of confidence about him. He seemingly challenges you to beat him and revels in the fact that you can't and probably won't. NR
4 Demetrice Morley, DB Morley of Miami Killian is as good as he tells you he is. Morley is brash, cocky and annoying -- at least to opposing wide receivers -- and will do whatever it takes to get under your skin. He plays physical bump and run and has the closing speed to make up for any lost ground if he's beaten off the line. Morley also has tremendous ball skills for a defensive back and has a killer instinct, often going after the interception rather than making the safe play. If you don't beat Morley one-on-one, which you likely won't, expect to hear about it on the way back to the huddle. NR
5 Reggie Smith, DB Smith, the standout defensive back from Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe spent a lot of time playing safety in the first day of practices, but he showed why time after time he probably will be one of the top shutdown cover corners to come out of this class. Smith intercepted two passes and almost got a third in five consecutive plays. There is no doubt at all that Smith is a magnet to the football and he has the speed and natural instincts that you look for in an elite defensive back.


6 Rey Maualuga, LB Maualuga of Eureka, Calif., was one of the stars of the CaliFlorida Bowl last week in Miami, where he showed the open field ability to run down anybody with the football in his hand. He showed flashes of that again on Monday and was the headliner in what is a stacked linebacker group that includes fellow five-star standout Ryan Reynolds. There is just something about Maualuga that screams standout immediate impact player. Maybe it's his confidence. Maybe it's his amazing frame. Maybe it's his athletic ability. Ok, ok, Maualuga is the total package. NR
7 David Nelson, WR Because of his size at 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds, Nelson of Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider proved to be match-up problems all day long for the West defensive backs. Nelson would use his size time after time to out leap defenders and make big catches. But it was on the shorter routes that Nelson really took his game to the next level. On a curl route where he turned to his right originally, Nelson had to twist his body to the left and make what was an amazing catch on a ball that was poorly thrown and only about a foot off the ground. NR
8 Jason Gwaltney, RB Gwaltney of Long Island (N.Y.) North Babylon one part body builder, one part track star and one part raging bull - all coming together to create a linebacker's worst nightmare. When you expect him to lower his head and bowl you over, Gwaltney will cut back on a dime and use his suprising speed to make you look foolish. And when you're finally prepared for his cutback ability, that's when you'll get a helmet square in the sternum. Speed, quickness and vison aren't supposed to come in 6-foot-0, 234-pound package and, with great hands to boot, Gwaltney is the latest and greatest player to come off the running back assembly line. NR
9 Ryan Perrilloux, QB Will it be Texas? Will it be LSU? For one day, Perrilloux of Reserve (La.) East St. John escaped the questions about his future and got to take out his aggressions on the football field. While both Perrilloux and Mark Sanchez looked solid in day one, Perrilloux gets the day one nod because of his overall athleticism. He was seen working on several trick plays that could help him become an even more vital part of the West offense on Saturday. He was also a natural with the ball in his hands with his ability to navigate defenders on the option and then connect on bullet passes all over the field. He definitely looked like the nation's No. 1 dual-threat quarterback. NR
10 Maurice Wells, RB Wells has quietly fallen from the nation's top running back and a five star prospect to the No. 66 spot overall in the country. However, if Monday was any indication Wells could be having a resurgence as he simply showed out in practice. He showed excellent quickness and speed in all drills and looked better than his No. 66 national ranking. He has a chance to increase his stock by continuing to have a solid week of practice. He is expected to announce his decision on Saturday and at this point it looks like the Ohio State Buckeye's are in the driver's seat.


11 Earl Heyman, DE The Louisville defender was not one of the more celebrated players coming into the game, but was perhaps the top defensive lineman on the east squad on Monday. He showed excellent speed coming off the edge beating the likes of Eugene Monroe and Chris Scott in one on one's. He has a great frame to add weight once he gets to the next level as well. At this point it is very likely that Heyman is going to stay in state and play for the Cards or Cats.


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