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August 5, 2007
Are there major shakeups in the national top 10? And will Blaine Gabbert get his fifth star?
Those burning questions will all be answered on Monday as Rivals.com releases its second Rivals100 ranking for the class of 2008. This updated ranking was based upon countless hours of observations at summer camps, combines, 7-on-7 tournaments and further film evaluation of prospects.
While many players are just now strapping the pads on for the start of fall practices, a solid group of players definitely improved their stock over the summer months and those improvements are reflected in the newest ranking.
The biggest question mark with the Rivals100 is whether or not Terrelle Pryor of Jeanette, Pa., will remain as the nation's No. 1 player and top quarterback overall. The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder looked good earlier this summer when Rivals.com was on hand for a passing tournament. However, there are plenty of other players hot on his trail, which made the debate for No. 1 quite intense.
Patrick Johnson, a cornerback from Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely, had a stronger summer than almost any other prospect in the nation. Not only was he very good at Florida's Fright Night Lights Camp, he was extremely impressive at USC's Rising Senior Camp . It was in Los Angeles where Johnson asked the Trojan coaches to put the best receivers in the camp up against him, and it was there that he shut down everyone he faced.
And what about Julio Jones?
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound receiver from Foley, Ala., looked great at the National Select 7-on-7 Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Jones continues to get bigger, stronger, faster and he commands the attention of the defense no matter where he goes. He's also one of the nation's hardest workers. He knows that he's good, but he's not letting that stop him from striving to get better.
Any conversation when talking about the top player in the nation must also include Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure running back Darrell Scott and Summerville, S.C., receiver A.J. Green. They are simply too talented to not be under consideration for the nation's top spot. Both are expected to put up monster numbers as a senior, proving why they are the cream of the crop. Plus, a lot of consideration was given to Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside quarterback E.J. Manuel after his strong performance at the Elite 11 Camp.
The Rivals100 is dominated by talent from the Big Three states of California, Florida and Texas.
The Sunshine State features 13 players, including six players in the national top 25. Florida leads all of the states with six five-star prospects, showing how deep and talented the state is in this year's class.
Texas is right up there with Florida with 13 players overall in the top 100. Running back Jermie Calhoun remains ranked as the top player in the Lone Star State, but will he be in the national top 10?
California has five players in the national top 40, including three in the top 11 and 10 players overall. Scott remained the top player in the Golden State, but he is joined by at least one newcomer to the Rivals100.
Other prime-time talent producing states include Ohio with seven players. The big news in Ohio is that there are now two five-star players in the Buckeye State. Which player moved up to the five-star level? Prime-time candidates include athlete Devoe Torrence and receiver DeVier Posey.
Georgia has eight players in the top 100, including five-star prospect DeAngelo Tyson of Statesboro, Ga., and four-star running back Richard Samuel. Matching Ohio is Alabama with seven prospects. Jones obviously remains ranked as the top player in the state, but you'll have to wait until Monday to see where the other players in the state landed. Pennsylvania and Virginia each have five players make the list.
Other notable states include South Carolina and Michigan with three, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, Mississippi, Colorado, Nebraska, North Carolina and Maryland with two.
When it comes to the positions, offensive tackle and receiver are the premium spots.
Offensive tackle leads the way with 16 players on the list. It's followed closely by receiver with 15 players. The athlete position is next with nine players, followed by cornerback and running back at eight. Notably, there is still only one dual-threat quarterback (Pryor) on the list, but there is a new position represented in the Rivals100 with one player. That position is the all-purpose back spot.