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June 29, 2007

The Breakdown: Wide Receivers

In "The Breakdown," veteran talent scout Randy Rodgers is analyzing film of a select group of the nation's top prospects for Rivals.com. Rodgers has more than 35 years of experience in the college recruiting arena. He was the recruiting coordinator at the University of Illinois (1988-91) and the University of Texas (1992-97) and is one of the leading authorities on high school football talent analysis in the country. In this edition, Rodgers takes a look at wide receivers.

Wide Receivers
Tavarres King
6-1, 169, WR, Mt. Airy (Ga.) Habersham Central
King in action

Appears skinny and wiry on tape, but has great open field skills. Really dangerous as a punt and kickoff return man. Has vision in open field, sets up blockers really well. Definitely a "catch and run" receiver, who is utilized best on short passes, screens, reverses, etc. Most dangerous after the catch.
Deion Walker
6-4, 186, WR, Christchurch (Va.)
Walker in action

Nice combination of size and speed. Athletic enough to play quarterback. Has really good deep speed. Outstanding concentration on deep balls, and really good sideline awareness. Soft hands. A lot bigger than most of the players on the field. This competition appears to be small school, but he passes the litmus test of dominating the competition.
Chris Tolliver
6-1, 180, WR, Rayville (La.)
Tolliver in action

Really, really fast and really, really dangerous. Can go deep, but best used as a short to medium range receiver where he can run after the catch. So much faster than competition. Excellent change of direction skills, can make tacklers miss, likes to reverse field. Can really blow by DBs and has separation speed when he needs it. Averaged almost 20 yards per catch. Outstanding as a kickoff returner—has a nice sense of hitting the crease at full speed.
Jameel Owens
6-3, 210, WR, Muskogee (Okla.)
Owens in action

What impressed me most was how "smooth" he was. Doesn't appear as fast as listed, but he runs away from tacklers. Decent route runner and a strong runner after the catch. Is really a triple threat—can run, catch, and throw—and so he becomes a weapon for coaches that like trick plays. Can line up anywhere and be effective.
Julio Jones
6-4, 215, WR, Foley (Ala.)
Jones in action

Really outstanding feet for a big man. Gets out of trouble when hemmed in. Has acceleration and can run after the catch. Shows really good concentration on deep balls. Team can use him on reverses and short routes. Too big to collision, so he can't be pressed at the high school level. Hard to tackle in the open field.
Aldarius Johnson
6-2, 200, WR, Miami (Fla.) Northwestern
Johnson in action

One thing you can see is his speed. He creates separation because of opponent respect for speed. Catches with hands, gets feet down quickly after the catch and is ready to make a move and run. Would guess he could also be a good return man.
Michael Floyd
6-3, 195, WR, St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin Derham Hall
Floyd in action

Dominates the competition. Big target who is hard to tackle after the catch. Uses body well to shield defenders on both short and deep balls. Catches with hands, shows good concentration on deep balls over the head. Looks like a big running back after he catches the ball and actually plays that spot some. What I think separates him from others is his wide variety of inside routes—ability to run crossers, digs, curls, drags. He can be a standout as an inside or outside receiver.
D.J. Shoemate
6-0, 219, WR, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
Shoemate in action

Listed as an athlete in the database, because he plays running back as much as wide receiver. Excellent speed, can make tacklers miss. Most dangerous after the catch, because he is a running back. Would be a terrific third down back, because he has some bulk, and really runs choices and wheel routes effectively. Impossible for HS linebackers to match up with. Committed to USC. Does a lot of the things that a former USC running back, now in NFL, can do.
A.J. Green
6-4, 185, WR, Summerville (S.C.)
Green in action

Really a special player. Can make all the plays. Big enough that he can't be pressed by HS corners. Outstanding deep speed to create respect, which leaves him open underneath. Big, soft hands. Has the ability to make tacklers miss. Physical player who is an outstanding defensive player, could be a big time safety, but has good enough feet to play corner at this level. Committed to Georgia—can't imagine him not playing right away.
Brice Butler
6-2, 178, WR, Norcross (Ga.)
Butler in action

Really smooth. Has tremendous body control, terrific sideline awareness, excellent jumper, who will win all the "jump balls." Outstanding in the red zone, because he is equally effective on posts, corners and fades because of size, jumping ability and body control. Physical runner with stiff arm, can make tacklers miss. Really does a nice job breaking routes off and would clearly be the go-to guy on all third and fourth down plays.

Next up: Randy Rodgers breaks down the linebackers

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