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November 3, 2010

Look ahead: Top prospects square off

FROM THE ROAD: 2011 Offense | 2011 Defense | Underclassmen

Rivals.com analysts are canvassing the country again this week to check out the top talent in person. Here's where they'll be and where their attention - prospects listed alphabetically - will be focused.


Analyst: Brian Perroni | Follow Brian on Twitter: @bperroni

Game: Irving (Texas) MacArthur at Euless (Texas) Trinity, Thursday

Top prospects:
Jalen Brown MacArthur, 6-0/173, CB
Brown highlights
Is the Notre Dame commit a true corner or will he need to move to safety in college?
Brandon Carter Trinity, 5-11/161, WR
Can the Oklahoma commit show the athleticism that has the Sooner coaches projecting him as a cornerback at the next level?
Jason Frimpong MacArthur, 5-11/180, ATH
Frimpong highlights
Does he project as a quarterback, wide receiver or running back?
Johnny Haynes MacArthur, 5-10/180, WR
Haynes highlights
Can the Oklahoma State commit show the speed and quickness needed to overcome his lack of size?
Nila Kasitati Trinity, 6-4/247, TE
Kasitati highlights
Is the Baylor commit a tight end or an offensive lineman at the next level?
Hiva Lutui Trinity, 6-3/275, OG, 2012 prospect
Can he be dominant in both the running and passing games?
Suleiman Masumbuko Trinity, 6-3/270, DT
Masumbuko highlights
Can the Baylor commit show that he should be included when talking about the top defensive tackles in the state?
Brian Nance Trinity, 6-3/210, OLB, 2012 prospect
Is he on the same level as the other elite junior in-state linebackers?
Jonathan Yenga Trinity, 6-2/197, LB
Yenga highlights
Can he get big enough to play on the inside in college?

Quick Kicks:
Trinity is ranked as the No. 3 team in the country in the RivalsHigh100. They won the Class 5A-Division I state title last year and are looking to repeat. They have former players on almost every Big 12 roster. MacArthur needs to pull the huge upset to make the postseason.


Analyst: Chris Nee | Follow Chris on Twitter: @RivalsCNee

Game: Tallahassee (Fla.) Rickards vs. Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby, Thursday

Top prospects:
T.J. Davis, Godby, 6-0/175, CB, 2012 class
Davis highlights
Davis is a cornerback with good size and speed in the Godby secondary. A strong sophomore campaign earned him early offers from the likes of Clemson, Florida State, Ole Miss, Ohio State, South Carolina and others.
Laith Harlow, Godby, 6-5/230, TE, 2012 class
Harlow has prototypical tight end size at 6-5, 230 pounds. He is a big target in the passing game and has shown decent hands in the past. How is he developing as a complete tight end? Is his future at tight end or could he grow into being an offensive lineman?
Quayshun Smith, Godby, 5-9/157, CB
Smith highlights
Smith is undersized at 5 feet 9, but possesses excellent speed, sub 4.4 forty. He is primarily a defensive back who could also be used as a slot receiver or in the backfield. He holds offers from Arkansas, Florida International and Middle Tennessee State.

Quick kicks:
After starting their season 0-5, Godby has won three consecutive games. On the other hand, Rickards enters the game on a three-game losing streak. Last season, Godby won a nail-biter beating the Raiders 21-20.


Analyst: Barry Every | Follow Barry on Twitter: @barryevery

Game: Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland at Deland (Fla.), Friday

Top Prospects:
Cortez Davis, Mainland, 6-3/200, S
Davis highlights
One of the top safety ball-hawks in the country may actually be a better receiver.
Marlin Lane, Mainland, 6-1/205, RB
Lane highlights
Is he completely healthy and back to his form from mid-season a year ago?
Trey Pettis, Deland, 6-5/290, OC
Pettis highlights
Does he have the versatility to play center and guard at the next level?
De'Ante Saunders, Deland, 6-0/180, ATH
Saunders highlights
Every analyst has a different opinion at what position he will play for the Gators - safety, cornerback or receiver.

Quick Kicks:
This is one of the most anticipated matchups in Volusia County. Last November these two teams played twice and split the contests. Mainland has turned its season around after a dismal start and is looking to avenge a 26-0 loss to Deland in the second round of the playoffs last season. Coach Kevin Pettis is looking to take Deland back to the state championship game.


Analyst: Mike Farrell | Follow Mike on Twitter: @rivalsmike

Game: Washington (D.C.) Coolidge at Washington (D.C.) Dunbar, Friday

Top Prospects:
Donald Bouknight, Dunbar, 6-3/265, DT - Class of 2012
Bouknight has good size for a junior defensive tackle, but is he a MAC-level guy or can he be a high-level BCS prospect?
Jeremiah Everett, Dunbar, 5-11/172, RB - Class of 2012
Everett does a little of everything for Dunbar, so what position does he project at in college, a running back, wide receiver or cornerback?
Derwin Gray, Dunbar, 6-4/250, OL - Class of 2013
Gray's coach says he could be special and could be one of the best linemen out of D.C. by the time he's recruited. How are his feet and is he a tackle or a guard?
Devonte Matthews, Dunbar, 6-1/170, WR - Class of 2014
Matthews is a rarity, an impact player as a freshman at Dunbar. He already has great size for a young kid, but can he develop into the next Arrelious Benn with three years or development left?
Lamel Matthews, Dunbar, 6-1/174, QB - Class of 2013
Matthews could be the next great one out of Dunbar according to his coach. In leading his team as a sophomore he has been very careful with the ball and accurate. Is he a pocket passer or a dual-threat?
Vance Roberts, Dunbar, 5-11/166, CB
Roberts highlights
Roberts is rated as the top prospect in the D.C. area, a controversial choice with defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds boasting so many big offers. Is Roberts the real deal and will he be thrown at? How will he do in the return game where he had double-digit scores last season?
Curlee Walker, Dunbar, 5-11/180, RB - Class of 2012
Walker is a downhill runner who has excelled in the absence of three-star West Virginia commitment Vernard Roberts. Does Walker have the speed to be a BCS back and how is he in space?

Quick Kicks:
Dunbar has produced some great players over the years including current NFL standouts Vernon Davis, Vontae Davis and Arrelious Benn….Including Roberts, Dunbar has had seven players ranked four stars or more since 2002 with Benn being the only five star….Last year Dunbar won a defensive struggle at Coolidge 14-7….Coolidge is the school where former UNC star defensive tackle Marvin Austin started his career before he transferred to Ballou.


Analyst: Brian Perroni | Follow Brian on Twitter: @bperroni

Game: Spring (Texas) Dekaney at Houston (Texas) Westfield, Friday

Top prospects:
Desmond Jackson Westfield, 6-1/278, DT
Jackson highlights
Can the Texas commit have the same dominating performance in pads as he has put on in every camp he has attended?
Christian Jones Westfield, 6-3/199, WR
Jones highlights
The Northwestern commit is one of the more underrated receivers in the state this year.
Anthony Smith Westfield, 6-0/285, DT, 2012 prospect
Can his aggressive play cause colleges to overlook his lack of height?
Trey Williams Dekaney, 5-8/175, RB, 2012 prospect
Williams highlights
Can he live up to the hype of being one of the top juniors in the state?
Rodney Young Dekaney, 6-2/200, LB
Does he translate to an ILB or an OLB at the next level?

Quick Kicks:
Westfield was one of the most dominant teams in the Houston area until the opening of Dekaney a few years ago took many players from their talent pool. Dekaney has never made the playoffs but could with a win over their fierce rival this weekend.


Analyst: Chris Nee | Follow Chris on Twitter: @RivalsCNee

Game: Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast at Neptune Beach (Fla.) Fletcher, Friday

Top prospects:
Eric Beverly, First Coast, 5-9/210, RB
Beverly highlights
Beverly is returning from a knee injury that has sidelined him a majority of his senior season. It is not a 100 percent that he will play on Friday, but if he does he brings another dimension to the Buccaneers offense. He is a talented, multi-purpose back who runs with power. He also has soft hands that make him a solid target in the passing game. Beverly is committed to Florida State.
Chris Black, First Coast, 5-11/160, WR, 2012 class
Black highlights
Black is one of many talented juniors on First Coast's squad. The speedy wide receiver has an ability to quickly stretch the field and is a weapon on both offense and special teams. He already holds a handful of offers, including Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Jared Henry, First Coast, 6-1/190, S
Henry highlights
The three-star safety is committed to South Carolina. He is very good in run support and plays effectively downhill. He is willing to drop his shoulder and punish the ball handler or a receiver across the middle. He is also solid against the pass, but very aggressive at going after the ball.
RB Mitchell Hester, Fletcher, 5-8/174, RB
Hester highlights
Hester, a soft Vanderbilt commitment, is knocked for his size but his play has been stellar. He is an all-purpose back who has great speed and has home-run ability every time he touches the ball. Over his career at Fletcher, he has racked up over 4,000 career yards.
Derrick Mitchell, First Coast, 6-5/285, DT
Mitchell highlights
Mitchell is a versatile defensive lineman who has the athleticism to play off the edge but also has the size and strength necessary to line up in the middle. The Florida State pledge will likely grow into a defensive tackle at the next level. The only knock against him in the past was him showing consistent effort on every snap, but his senior stats indicate he has been a consistent playmaker for First Coast.
Kenneth Myers, First Coast, 6-2/186, WR
Myers highlights
Myers recently committed to West Virginia. He is a long, lanky wide receiver who can play either in the slot or on the outside. Does he have the speed to stretch the field vertically or is he simply a target on short and intermediate routes?
Derrick Thorpe, Fletcher, 6-4/250, OT
Thorpe highlights
Thorpe is an offensive tackle prospect who has narrowed his list to three favorites - Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and South Florida. Thorpe possesses very good strength and a long torso. He is a player that could play on the offensive or defensive line.
Carl Williams, First Coast, 6-0/190, S
Williams highlights
Williams is another member of the First Coast secondary who has already made his commitment with him currently a soft commitment to Illinois. Miami is showing major interest and hopes to change his mind. Williams likely ends up at strong safety at the collegiate level.
Samuel Wood, Fletcher, 6-3/210, QB
Wood has adequate size at the quarterback spot and leads a prolific Fletcher offense. At this point, he holds offers from a pair of Ivy League schools, Brown and Cornell, but has hopes that his play over his senior year leads to more offers. He will be tested against a talented First Coast defense.

Quick kicks:
After a season-opening loss to Nease, Fletcher has rolled off seven consecutive victories and clinched a playoff berth. First Coast enters the game unscathed on the season, sitting at 8-0. The winner of this game will be crowned the District 1-5A champion and earn a first round home playoff game.


Analyst: Adam Gorney | Follow Adam on Twitter: @adamgorney

Game: Gardena (Calif.) Serra vs. West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade, Friday

Top prospects:
George Farmer, Serra, 6-2/192, WR
Farmer highlights
Farmer is the nation's top receiver, plays great defense and is a stellar return specialist. What can't Farmer do? He's already a five-star prospect and is dominating with stellar offensive players around him. Farmer has been outstanding in almost every game this season and nothing points to him letting off the gas.
Marqise Lee, Serra, 6-1/187, ATH
Lee highlights
Lee continues to move up the rankings and has proven he's one of the best athletes in the nation. He packs a surprisingly big punch when tackling and is most lethal on offense when he catches a short pass and then makes everybody miss while using his track speed for big gains. Lee is projected as a defensive back in college but what makes him so fun to watch is he's stellar all over the field.
Jason Gibson, Serra, 6-3/212, DE
Gibson highlights
Gibson is so difficult to block one-on-one off the edge. He's fast enough to go outside but also crafty enough to spin and move inside to get in the backfield. Gibson has speed and power when he tracks people down and pretty much every team runs away from him but he still has the talent to make plays.
Shaquille Richard, Serra, 5-9/165, RB
Richard highlights
Richard has rushed for almost 1,000 yards and has 10 touchdowns this season but doesn't get as much publicity because Farmer, Lee and Gibson are the headliners. The small back should be getting more recruiting attention especially if he continues to play so well and Serra keeps winning.
Conner Preston, Serra, 6-2/205, QB
Preston highlights
Preston is a classic pocket passer who works out of the shotgun and dissects defenses with precision passing and the luxury of having arguably the nation's best receiving corps. The SMU commit has more than 2,100 passing yards with 23 touchdown passes this season after having a huge junior season.
Woodson Greer, Serra, 6-1/190, LB
Greer could play a hybrid defensive end/linebacker spot because he's fast but also strong and can blitz or sit in coverage. When we saw him earlier in the season he hit an opponent so hard - a clean tackle - that he was wrongly whistled for a personal foul. He makes lots of plays for Serra's outstanding defense.
Matt Goudis, Chaminade, 6-0/160, K
Goudis highlights
Twelve of Goudis' kickoffs have been touchbacks this season. It will be important for the recent Boise State pledge to drive the ball on kickoffs so Serra will have to march 80 yards to score.

Quick kicks:
Farmer, Lee, Gibson and Greer are all uncommitted. There's a good chance all four will end up in the Pac-10 but none of them have made a pledge yet. … Both Serra and Chaminade are undefeated heading into Friday's game.


Analyst: Mike Farrell | Follow Mike on Twitter: @rivalsmike

Game: Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga at Washington (D.C.) St. John's College, Saturday

Top Prospects:
Kevin Hogan, Gonzaga, 6-4/200, QB
Hogan highlights
Hogan is a big kid with an arm that gets the ball where it needs to be, but has he corrected some mechanical issues we saw during the spring?
Jaylen Johnson, St. John's College, DB - Class of 2012
Johnson is good in coverage and an active tackler, but is he big enough to be a safety at the next level?
Kevin McReynolds, St. John's College, 6-2/281, DT
McReynolds highlights
Most have McReynolds as the top prospect in the D.C. area but size has always been a concern. Is he big enough to handle double teams in college?

Quick Kicks:
Hogan is the highest-ranked prospect from Gonzaga since wide receiver Doug Dutch in 2004….Including McReynolds, St. John's College has had four prospects since 2002 ranked four stars or more with the latest being offensive lineman Peter White in 2009….Last year Gonzaga won in a 35-34 thriller.


Analyst: Brian Perroni | Follow Brian on Twitter: @bperroni

Game: Athens (Texas) Trinity Valley C.C. at Brenham (Texas) Blinn College, Saturday

Top prospects:
Kip Daily Blinn, 6-0/181, CB
Can the big corner match up well in man coverage?
Alex Elkins Blinn, 6-4/233, OLB
Does the Oklahoma State commit have enough athleticism to play outside at his size?
Brandon Harris Trinity Valley, 6-3/250, WDE
Harris highlights
Is the big defensive end a true pass rusher?
Chris Henderson Trinity Valley, 6-2/295, DT
Can the former Texas A&M signee show what gained him offers from the likes of Oklahoma and Miami in high school?
Princeton Jackson Blinn, 6-2/220, ILB
Is the former Iowa State signee still as impressive a playmaker as he was in high school?
Austin Luke Trinity Valley, 6-3/260, SDE
Luke highlights
How will he fare against Blinn's massive offensive line?
Dextrell Simmons Blinn, 6-0/210, OLB
People around Blinn think he could be the best prospect on the whole team.
Dominic Smith Blinn, 6-3/310, DT
Houston could have a steal in the former offensive lineman.
LaMarc Strahan Blinn, 6-4/365, DT
Can he still move effectively at noseguard at 365 pounds?
Justin Tuggle Blinn, 6-3/228, DQB
Has the current Kansas State commit and former Boston College quarterback made strides since enrolling at Blinn?

Quick Kicks:
Blinn is the reigning junior college national champion. They were led by current Auburn quarterback and Heisman candidate Cameron Newton a year ago. This is a first-round SWJCFC playoff game pitting No. 2 seed Blinn vs. No. 3 seed Trinity Valley.



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