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January 20, 2014

Rivals100: Valentine tops among biggest movers

MORE: Class of 2014 Rivals100

The final Rivals100 for the class of 2014 has been released and, in addition to the new five stars, there were many prospects who made sizeable jumps. Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, a former Miami commitment, made one of the biggest jumps onto the elite list but there were many others.

"When we do a final ranking for any class you always see a lot of big moves because we not only get to review additional senior film but we get to see the best players in the country go against the best at all-star events," said Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell. "Of course we also keep a player's entire body of work in mind but these are all great players representing less than one percent of all high school football players, so everyone has a pretty good resume. Some guys step their games up when they go against better competition, it happens every year."

While Valentine made a huge move (up 151 spots to No. 59), Ponte Vedra, Fla. linebacker Dillon Bates and others pushed closer to the top. Here's a breakdown of each big mover:

LB Dillon Bates, Ponte Vedra, Fla. (up 26 to No. 41): "Bates has excellent instincts. He's a physical kid who loves to run to the ball and hit and he's excellent in coverage. He was always around the ball during Under Armour week and you could tell how he was diagnosing plays and getting where he needed to be before anyone else." -- Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director

RB Jeff Jones, Minneapolis Washburn (up 48 to No. 44): "Jones started out as a four-star, but has continued to raise his stock over the last year. His MVP performance among the country's top talent in Florida at the Under Armour All-America Game solidified the fact that he is among this class' top running backs." -- Josh Helmholdt, Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst

S Erick Smith, Cleveland Glenville Academic Campus (up 71 to No. 51): "Smith had a dominant senior season that vaulted him close to the top 100. He then went out and had himself a huge Army Bowl week despite being asked to play a position he was not used to. Smith proved he is one of the top cover men in this class, but he also hits like a linebacker. That combination is top 100 worthy." -- Helmholdt

S Dylan Sumner-Gardner, Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite (up 32 to No. 54): "Sumner-Gardner brings the range to play free safety and the physicality to play strong. He is a very intelligent player who plays like the quarterback of the defense. He loves getting physical and is equally equipped to handle just about any coverage scheme thrown his way. At Under Armour, he showed strong throughout the week and quickly became known as a big hitter." -- Jason Howell, Rivals.com Midlands/Southwest Recruiting Analyst

[ MORE: Six new five-stars revealed in final Rivals100 ]

DT Travonte Valentine, Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic (up 151 to No. 59): "Valentine took his game to the next level during Army Bowl week, simply dominating linemen on the inside, showing how physical he can play and pushing the pocket. He has matured as a player and has shown more consistency. He has the ability to be a star in college if he continues to improve." -- Farrell

APB Christian McCaffrey, Highlands Ranch (Co.) Valor Christian (up 60 to No. 77): "McCaffrey was outstanding at Army Game practices and showed that his talent translates against other top-level players. What made him dangerous on the big stage were the same things that made him a monster during the high school season -- his size, speed and versatility. McCaffrey is as dangerous catching the ball as any running back in the country. Combine that with his track speed and decent size and you have a back capable of hurting a defense in a number of ways." - Rob Cassidy, Rivals.com Southwest/Midlands Recruiting Analyst

TE Jeb Blazevich, Charlotte Christian (up 102 to No. 79): "Blazevich is a guy we have liked for a long time, we just needed him to come out and prove it on a big stage and that's exactly what he did. This is a guy who is great as a route-runner and has very consistent hands, but is also well-rounded as a tight end and isn't afraid to get his nose dirty when it comes time to chip in and help his offensive linemen block. He finishes the cycle as the No. 1 tight end in the land and I think that's a ranking he earned." -- Woody Wommack, Rivals. Southeast Recruiting Analyst

DB Jaleel Wadood, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco (up 76 to No. 80): "Wadood showed off excellent instincts all season and also showed he can shine at either safety or cornerback. The UCLA commit has also been a star at wide receiver for one of the best teams in the country. Not only did he have a phenomenal senior season, but then he did well at the Army Bowl also. Some might be concerned about Wadood's size, but it has never really been an issue at this level and shouldn't be in college, either. Wadood can play, he has such a great feel in the defensive backfield and he's the guy who is always making plays on both sides of the field." -- Adam Gorney, Rivals.com West Recruiting Analyst

OL Tanner Farmer, Highland, Ill. (NR to No. 82): "When Farmer arrived at the St. Louis Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour last spring, he held no offers and we only vaguely knew who he was. He went on to win offensive line MVP at that event and has not looked back since. After impressing day after day at the Under Armour All-American Game earlier this month, it was clear he is a top 100 caliber prospect." -- Helmholdt

[ MORE: Hand hangs on to top spot in rankings ]

DT Josh Frazier, Springdale (Ark.) Har-Ber (up 54 to No. 86): "Going into the Army All-American Bowl, consistency was the key for Frazier. When he has not been tested, he appeared to get bored during the 2013 season, and at the Army Bowl he showed what he was capable of doing if he was pushed. He fought back and was a constant presence throughout the week. He showed he is more than a space eater in the middle of the defense as he consistently put pressure in the offensive backfield while often times taking on multiple blockers." -- Howell

DE Dante Sawyer, Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett (up 77 to No. 87): "It's hard to argue with a guy's production when he comes out to the second-best all-star event and has as many sacks as some of his higher-ranked counterparts had tackles. There's no doubt Sawyer is a gamer, and when he turns his motor on he can be as difficult for offensive linemen to handle as anybody in the state of Georgia. South Carolina stuck it out with Sawyer and they're getting a guy can be a big-time contributor at the next level." -- Wommack

OL Mason Cole, East Lake (Fla.) Tarpon Springs (up 37 to No. 92): "Cole raised his stock during Army week by handling some top defensive linemen with excellent foot movement, use of his arms and quick recovery ability. He re-sets well, gets out of his stance quickly and he took his game up a notch during and after his senior year." -- Farrell

LB Kenny Young, River Ridge (La.) John Curtis (up 44 to No. 95): "Young is a fearless linebacker who plays with a hard edge. He has the lateral quickness to play outside and the toughness to play inside. He is comfortable in space and he is strong in coverage. While at the Army All-American Bowl he shined bright all week and in the game." -- Howell

OL Brian Wallace, St. Louis Christian Brothers (up 40 to No. 96): "Wallace has a mean streak that stands out in any situation. Wallace has a near-perfect build and long arms that he uses well. He finishes blocks with violence and has elite-level upper body strength. Wallace has been great in every setting and showed himself to be up to the challenge at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he stood out despite being surrounded by other BCS-bound players for a full week." -- Cassidy

QB Brandon Harris, Bossier City (La.) Parkway (up 29 to No. 99): "Harris has been on the rise for some time now. He is a fluid athlete and can get the ball out of his hand in a hurry. He has the arm to make all the throws and has the awareness to know when to run and when to throw. Throughout the week at the Under Armour All-American game, he did more than hold his own as he continued to impress against the nation's finest." -- Howell




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