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August 18, 2014

Rivals100: Risers and sliders

The high school football season has kicked off in some parts of the country and will be in full swing everywhere shorty. Our August Rivals100 Presented by Under Armour kicks off the excitement with no change at the top but plenty of movement otherwise. Seffner (Fla.) Armwood defensive end Byron Cowart remains No. 1 overall, but there has been some jockeying for position in the top 10 and beyond, including new five-star Kahlil McKenzie, a Tennessee defensive tackle commitment from Concord (Calif.) Clayton Valley Charter, who makes his five-star debut at No. 9.

Cowart and Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco quarterback Josh Rosen (UCLA commitment) remain at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, but after that there are moves in the rest of the top 10. Long Beach (Calif.) Poly cornerback Iman Marshall moves up 2 spots to No. 3 and Haines City, Fla. safety Derwin James (Florida State commitment) makes a big jump up 12 spots to No. 4 overall.

Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith defensive end Josh Sweat moves up six spots to No. 5 while Coconut Creek (Fla.) Monarch wide receiver and Alabama commitment Calvin Ridley takes back the No. 1 slot at his position and moves up 11 spots to No. 6.

Former No. 1 overall Albany (Ga.) Westover School defensive tackle Trenton Thompson (Georgia commitment) holds onto the top spot at his position and checks in at No. 7 while fellow UGA commitment Terry Godwin from Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway is at No. 8. McKenzie moves up 22 spots to No. 9 and Berea (Ken.) Madison Southern running back Damien Harris hangs onto a top 10 slot at No. 10 overall.

Apopka, Fla. offensive tackle Martez Ivey and Tampa Sickles athlete Ray-Ray McCloud III (Clemson commitment) represent the Sunshine State by adding fifth stars and checking in at No. 11 and No. 18 respectively.

Orange (Tex.) West Orange-Stark safety Deionte Thompson (Alabama commitment) makes the biggest jump of all the new five stars, pushing up 33 slots to No. 26 overall. Memphis (Tenn.) Memphis University School offensive tackle Drew Richmond is a slot behind at No. 27 with his new fifth star. Rounding out the new five-stars are Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro wide receiver Christian Kirk and Orange (Calif.) Lutheran linebacker Keisean Lucier-South who debut at No. 29 and No. 30 respectively.

This is the most five stars (30 total) we have had at Rivals.com for an August release, mainly based on the expanded number of national and regional camps as well as the increase in 7-on-7 tournaments. However, this also means there will be an intense battle for five-star status between now and our final ranking in January. The most five stars Rivals.com has ever handed out is 38 in 2002, and the last two years there were 33 each.

This class still appears to be a bit more fluid than the last two years, so look for plenty of shifting over our next two releases as the pads are put on. Our team of national experts weighs in with their observations on the summer performances of the following prospects that made big moves this time around.

Complete rankings for the class of 2015
Rivals100: Meet the five-stars
VIDEO: Analysis of the new five-stars
PHOTOS: See the five-stars in action

RISERS
LB
Chad Smith
Sterling, Va.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
33 180 +147
Smith was outstanding at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge Presented by Under Armour. He has an ideal frame with plenty of room to fill out, but more importantly he showed that he has the ability to cover elite tight ends and running backs in the open field. Not only could the Clemson commit stay with running backs and tight ends in space, but he has the athleticism to grab interceptions and break up the pass. -- Adam Friedman, Mid-Atlantic region analyst
WR
Deon Cain
Tampa Tampa Bay Tech
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
34 151 +117
Like Ray-Ray McCloud III, Cain is another superior athlete from the Tampa area committed to Clemson. He lines up at quarterback for his high school team, but at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, he's being viewed as a receiver at the college level. He has adapted to the position in a camp setting because of his great instincts, and you can already see his play-making potential in his ability to get in and out of his breaks quickly, then get open downfield with his speed. -- Adam Krohn, Southeast region analyst
RB
Derrius Guice
Baton Rouge (La.) Catholic
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
40 102 +62
Guice has not been the most talked about running back of the class, but he is definitely one of the most talented. At 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, he has a stout build and he runs with a violence that is hard to describe. He runs a legitimate sub-4.5 forty and was even clocked with a hand timed 4.29 this summer. He is a downhill runner with the ability to run through and away from defenders, and he also has the quickness to make a guy miss in a tight spot. -- Jason Howell, Mid-South region analyst
DT
Darian Roseboro
Lincolnton, N.C.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
42 79 +37
Roseboro is a defensive end in a defensive tackle's body and that's a good thing. He has the explosiveness and nose for the ball one hopes for in a defensive end and the size of a defensive tackle. Roseboro has the natural ability to play with good leverage as well. This helps him anchor down against the run. -- Friedman
TE
Chris Clark
Avon (Conn.) Avon Old Farms
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
56 146 +90
Clark had a fantastic showing at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge Presented by Under Armour in Baltimore. He is a complete tight end, not just a glorified receiver. His film shows that he is an excellent blocker. In Baltimore, Clark showed that he can run and catch like a hybrid tight end. There was a heated debate about whether he should be the top tight end in the country, over Alize Jones. The two are ranked No. 55 and No. 56 in the country and the smallest of differences were part of an extensive discussion. -- Friedman
QB
Deondre Francois
Orlando (Fla.) Olympia
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
74 170 +96
While Francois' 6-foot, 191-pound frame isn't the prototypical size for a quarterback, he has a cannon for an arm, a quick release and next-level accuracy. Those tools, coupled with the ability to throw on the run makes him dangerous. Oh, and he runs well too with a 4.6 40, making him a threat with his legs. -- Adam Krohn, Southeast region analyst
OL
Kevin Feder
Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
87 NR NA
The 6-foot-9 Feder took massive steps, no pun intended, to improve his game this offseason. He played mostly defensive tackle last season, but Feder has transformed himself into one of the country's most coveted offensive tackles. Feder's natural athleticism, lateral quickness, excellent size and surprising ability to quickly learn proper offensive tackle technique is very impressive. -- Friedman
RB
T.J. Simmons
Lakeland (Fla.) Lakeland Christian School
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
98 220 +122
Simmons is a downhill runner with explosive speed who gets off the line and to the edge quickly. Combine his speed with his 6-foot, 205-pound frame and he's hard to bring down, especially once he gets going. He's also effective in the passing game with above-average hands for a power back. -- Krohn
WR
Equanimeous St. Brown
Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
99 163 +64
Quite honestly, one of the biggest questions coming into the summer was whether St. Brown had the toughness to compete against some of the more physical, aggressive cornerbacks and prove he's a top receiver in this class. At the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge Presented by Under Armour, St. Brown used his size and physical ability to shed corners trying to hold him and he had arguably his best performance at a major event. At The Opening, he made plenty of nice catches as well. St. Brown still needs to assert himself at all times, but when he does on a consistent basis, there are few corners who can keep up with him. -- Adam Gorney, West region analyst

SLIDERS
QB
Ricky Town
Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
67 25 -42
This summer was a perfect opportunity to see every quarterback in the country and we felt Town had a decent summer but needed to be placed more appropriately in the quarterback rankings. The four-star needs to show more consistency through his senior season, but there are no questions about his arm strength or leadership abilities. Town had a strong showing at The Opening, but after seeing every quarterback in similar circumstances, we felt Town needed to take a small dip in the rankings. -- Gorney
WR
George Campbell
Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
78 42 -36
The questions about Campbell's ball skills continue to allow him to slide behind others in the rankings. While Campbell is an excellent athlete with good size and speed, he needs to improve his consistency in catching the football to excel and be put amongst the other elite receivers in the country. -- Krohn
DE
Shameik Blackshear
Bluffton, S.C.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
58 27 -31
Blackshear continues to get passed by at his position by other linemen who have excelled against elite competition at elite events. After struggling with injuries for the last year or so, Blackshear's senior season and all-star game showings will determine whether or not he can return to his original five-star form. -- Woody Wommack, southeast region analyst
DT
Albert Huggins
Orangeburg, S.C.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
59 28 -31
Much like fellow South Carolina native Blackshear, Huggins has been out of the spotlight for the better part of a year. With limited film and no camp showings, it's hard for Huggins not to slide a little bit when others at his position are dominating against elite competition. It's going to be a big fall and all-star season for Huggins. -- Wommack
Complete rankings for the class of 2015
Rivals250: Risers and sliders
VIDEO: Big movers in the Rivals250
New four-stars outside the Rivals250

Mike Farrell
National Recruiting Director

Adam Friedman
Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

Adam Gorney
West Recruiting Analyst

Jason Howell
Mid-South Recruiting Analyst

Adam Krohn
Southeast Recruiting Analyst

Woody Womack
Southeast Recruiting Analyst



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