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December 11, 2008

Running backs among big movers in Rivals250

MORE: The 2009 Rivals250 | The Rivals100: A new No. 1 | The next class: 250 to Watch 2010

As always, the new Rivals250 is hot on the heels of the latest release of the Rivals100.

While there may not be as much drama involved today, there are a few big movers in the 250 - led by TCU commitment Waymon James.

RIVALS250 MOVER
Roderick McDowell moves from outside of the Rivals250 all the way up to No. 110.

James, a 5-foot-8, 190-pound fireplug who chose TCU over offers from Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Georgia Tech and others, impressed Rivals.com National Analyst Barry Every with his lower body strength and ability to bounce off tackles. James moves from No. 191 in the last Rivals250 all the way up to No. 103 on the current list.

"James reminds me in some ways of Barry Sanders," said Every. "He has a very low base and is powerful. He has great change of directions as well, but the thing about James is that he will simply bounce off tacklers. He's also a great receiver and he's learned to be humble, to be a team-first guy. TCU is getting a good one."

Every was also impressed with Sumter, S.C., all-purpose back Roderick McDowell. The Clemson commitment moves into the Rivals250 at No. 110.

"Not only is McDowell the fastest player in the state of South Carolina, but he's proven that he's not just a track kid," said Every. "He has great lateral ability and is explosive in space. He also has very good hands and can make you miss when he's outside. In space he's impressive."

And yet another running back, Tampa (Fla.) Chamberlain standout Dontae Aycock, is a newcomer to the list. Aycock checked in at No. 154. Rivals.com National Analyst Jamie Newberg was impressed with the 5-foot-10, 216-pounder.

"Aycock is a running back playing quarterback, but if he went to a school like Georgia Tech or someplace like that he could play QB because he has a pretty good arm," Newberg said. "As a running back he has it all, he has a strong lower body, good balance, good speed and good vision. He's the real deal."

Two defensive backs and a tight end break up the string of running backs making major moves in the Rivals250. Cornerbacks Josh Hunter from Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek and Dominic Clarke from Frederick (Md.) Tuscarora check in at Nos. 165 and 167 respectively from outside the 250. Rivals.com National Analyst Mike Farrell feels both will be impact players in college.

"When it comes to Hunter, his senior film is outstanding and he's one of the few guys at 6-foot-2 who can flip his hips and play cornerback at the next level," Farrell said. "North Carolina is getting a good free safety, but Hunter could be a dynamic cornerback.

INS AND OUTS OF THE RIVALS250
IN (Rank)OUT (Prev. Rank)
RB Roderick McDowell (110) QB Ryan Mossakowski (139)
RB Dontae Aycock (154) S Chris Metcalf (167)
CB Josh Hunter (165) QB Josh Nunes (208)
TE Philip Lutzenkirchen (166) ATH Josh Robinson (245)
CB Dominic Clarke (167) WR Kevin Norwood (246)
WR Willie Haulstead (221) LB Trevor Erno (247)
RB Rex Burkhead (238) C Blake Treadwell (248)
CB Osahon Irabor (248) C Patrick Lewis (249)
TE Barrett Matthews (249) DE DeOnte Arnett (250)
"While Clarke doesn't have Hunter's size, he's as physical as they come at corner and he is great in space. He's a sure tackler, he's physical and he runs very well. His closing speed is impressive and he's just a hard guy to work against. Ohio State fans are going to love him."

Checking in at No. 166 between the two corners is Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen. Newberg raved about the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder who is a soft verbal to Auburn.

"Lutzenkirchen is an Aaron Hernandez type of tight end who can flex out and be a downfield threat," said Newberg. "He has great hands, hands of a wide receiver, and he has long arms and good speed. He's a threat in the passing game wherever he ends up."

Rounding out the additions to the latest Rivals250 are a big wide receiver, a do-everything athlete, another cornerback and a physical tight end. Titusville, Fla. wide out Willie Haulstead recently passed the eyeball and football test for Every.

"He's as big as advertised, every bit of 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds and he uses his hands well to get off the line of scrimmage, to catch the ball and to fight for position," said Every of the soft commitment to Florida State who lands at No. 221. "He has great body control and he's fast enough for a guy that size."

Every was also impressed with Plano, Texas, all-purpose back/athlete Rex Burkhead who breaks into the Rivals250 at No. 238.

"Burkhead is one of the best all-around football players you'll see," said Every. "He can do everything he has excellent vision, good hands, he's tough, he can run and he's a special teams kid as well. He does everything well. He's the type of kid who will find a place on the field."

Upland, Calif., cornerback Osahon Irabor sneaks into the 250 at No. 248. He is followed by Galena Park (Texas) North Shore tight end Barrett Matthews at No. 249. Rivals.com National Recruiting Editor Jeremy Crabtree spoke well of Irabor, while Every raved about Matthews.

"Irabor had a tremendous senior season. He's not only bigger and stronger, but he's faster," said Crabtree. "We also were impressed with how he competed in big games against some of the top talent in the Inland Empire. He's got great size, too. That's something that really stands out to me."

"Matthews is a tough, physical blocker," said Every. "You might think he's an undersized tight end at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, but he's a dominating blocker for his size. That complements his great hands and ability to be a threat in the passing game."

In addition to those mentioned above, a few other players made slight jumps in the rankings. Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes athlete Greg Reid jumped from No. 196 to his current slot at No. 178, Chesapeake (Va.) Great Bridge wide receiver Logan Heastie moved from No. 186 to No. 175 and Greenville (Fla.) Madison running back Chris Thompson crept closer to the Rivals100 by moving from No. 120 to No. 104.

Reid is committed to Florida, Heastie will play his college ball at West Virginia and Thompson is committed to Florida State.



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