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September 1, 2009

Four new five-star prospects in the Rivals100

MORE: The Rivals100 | Rivals100 expert chat

Rivals.com analysts were on the road in July and August at big national events such as the Champion Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 Tournament, the EA Sports Elite 11 and the FBU Top Gun Camp, and those events helped spark some of the biggest changes in the Rivals100.

New film also was evaluated, and practices and scrimmages played a role in some of the moves.

After being previously ranked as the No. 4 player in the nation in the July rankings, Hillside (Ill.) Proviso West receiver Kyle Prater climbs to No. 2. His performance at Gridiron Kings helped set him apart from everybody in the event. Prater earned raves as the event's best receiver, and he also was the best prospect overall in the eyes of Rivals.com analysts.

"He should have the same impact at the next level as Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Michael Floyd and DeAndre Brown did as a true freshman," Rivals.com analyst Barry Every said.

Prater moves ahead of Temple (Texas) High running back Lache Seastrunk and Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde defensive end Ronald Powell. They previously were ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, and now are No. 3 and No. 4. Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat of Plano (Texas) Plano West and running back Marcus Lattimore of Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes remained fifth and sixth in the nation, and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd of Philadelphia George Washington moves from ninth to seventh.

The No. 8 spot is where the first major move shows up.

After being ranked No. 31 previously, Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford defensive back Keenan Allen now is a five-star prospect and the nation's eighth-best prospect. Allen's climb came after a commanding performance at the Top Gun Camp, where he wowed everybody in attendance with his good instincts and ability to always be in the right position to make the big play.

Strong showings by several prospects at the Elite 11 helped shuffle the quarterback rankings.

Michigan commitment Devin Gardner of Inkster (Mich.) High blew everybody away with his showing at the camp in California, and he's now the nation's top-ranked quarterback prospect.

"His potential is almost limitless, and he could be a major terror for defensive coordinators at the next level," Every said. "Gardner should be a two- to three-year starter, with all-conference and NFL potential."

Jake Heaps of Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline long had been thought of as the best pro-style passer in the country, and he proved it at the Elite 11. He climbed the rankings from 99th to 55th, just ahead of Phillip Sims at No. 58. Heaps is a BYU commitment; Sims, who is from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith, has committed to Alabama.

New five-star members

Joining Allen as new five-star prospects were offensive linemen Robert Crisp from Raleigh (N.C.) Athens Drive; defensive back Latwan Anderson of Cleveland Glenville; and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa of Portland (Ore.) David Douglas.

Crisp moved from No. 32 to No. 11, and Anderson was bumped up from No. 35 to No. 17. Odighizuwa actually slid one spot, from 19th to 20th, but still picked up his fifth star.

Crisp's move came after a strong showing at Top Gun. Every analyst had him as the event's best offensive linemen. His aggressive, physical nature and added size surprised many.

Anderson was second to Prater when it came to overall dominance during the two days at Gridiron Kings. He had five interceptions in the actual tournament, including two returned for touchdowns. Anderson has backed up the performance at Gridiron Kings with strong showings on the field, including in early scrimmages against talented programs.

Odighizuwa stood out in everything he did all summer, so it was no surprise to see him walk away with the recognition as the best defensive lineman at Top Gun. After wowing at California's summer camp and earlier at the U.S. Army National Combine, he already was on the verge of getting his fifth star and the performance at the Top Gun event helped seal the deal.


Rivals.com analysts got another chance to see Darius White of Fort Worth (Texas) Dunbar in person at Gridiron Kings. The less-than-stellar performance caused White to slide from No. 6 to No. 27 overall. He is now the No. 3 receiver in the nation. Garland (Texas) High linebacker Tevin Jackson made a major move, from No. 188 to No. 33 overall, with a remarkable showing at Gridiron Kings.

Another significant move came with Robert Woods moving to the No. 9 spot. He previously was the No. 16 player and a five-star prospect, but Woods - a USC commitment from Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra - was the best player on the field at the NIKE 7on Tournament in Beaverton, Ore., in late July. Rounding out the top 10 was James Hurst, an offensive lineman from Indianapolis Plainfield who moved up one spot from No. 11. He is a North Carolina commitment.

The state of Florida leads the way with 19 players in the Rivals100, followed by California at 15 and Texas with 13. Linebacker Jeff Luc of Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast remained the top prospect in the state, but he dropped from No. 10 to No. 12 overall. Gerald Christian was a big mover from the Sunshine State. He moved up from No. 110 to No. 51 overall. He is a tight end from Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer who has committed to Florida.

Palmdale (Calif.) High cornerback Joshua Shaw edged closer to becoming a five-star prospect after impressing at Gridiron Kings. Shaw climbed to No. 23 overall and is the No. 4-ranked player in California, behind Powell, Woods and athlete Anthony Barr of Los Angeles Loyola. Two major California prospects made this edition of the Rivals100 after missing the previous one - running back Jordon James of Corona High at No. 92 and defensive back Dietrich Riley of La Canada St. Francis at No. 94.

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