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May 20, 2014

Rivals250: Risers and sliders

MORE: RCS Headquarters | Five-Star Challenge roster

There are always significant changes in the Rivals100 Presented by Under Armour, which was released on Monday, but there are even more adjustments throughout the entire Rivals250 list as the spring evaluation period continues.

To quickly review the Rivals100, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood defensive end Byron Cowart catapulted two spots to take over the No. 1 position from Albany (Ga.) Westover School defensive tackle Trenton Thompson, who moves to third overall. Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco quarterback Josh Rosen stayed No. 2.

Seven prospects earned five-star status in this round of rankings and three recruits lost that coveted honor but still remain well-positioned in the Rivals100.

Turning to the Rivals250, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite quarterback Travis Waller, Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley running back Nick Gibson, Salem (Utah) Salem Hills linebacker Porter Gustin and Nashville John Overton cornerback Ugo Amadi were some of the biggest movers up in the rankings.

Waller, at No. 104, led the way regarding prospects moving from not ranked in the previous Rivals250 to making the list. There were 28 prospects in total who moved into the rankings.

A big move is considered up or down 30 or more spots or moving into the coveted five-star class, while any moves less than 30 are considered nominal. Negative moves of less than 30 slots, while certainly significant to prospects and the fan bases involved, are usually the result of so much upward movement from prospects that stood out during this evaluation cycle.

With the 2014 Rivals Camp Series regional events all wrapped up, we turn our focus to the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge early next month in Baltimore. This has been an exciting spring with lots of changes throughout the Rivals250.

RIVALS250 RISERS
QB
Travis Waller
Anaheim (Calif.) Servite
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
104 NR --
More than almost anyone in the West, Waller had a strong spring at numerous events. The Servite quarterback looked good at RCS Southern California and then he was arguably the top quarterback at the Pylon Sports 7-on-7 in Las Vegas and other local 7-on-7s. Alabama and Maryland just offered and Waller just took a visit to California, which went well. Ohio State and Oregon could offer next. - Adam Gorney, Rivals.com West Recruiting Analyst
RB
Nick Gibson
Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
109 223 +114
Gibson has good size and has shown the ability to catch the ball like a wide receiver in camp settings, so he's a versatile weapon for someone at the next level. He appears to be so smooth in and out of his breaks and a natural at adjusting to the football. His upfield burst is impressive. Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi State appear to be leading the pack right now for his services. - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director
LB
Porter Gustin
Salem (Utah) Salem Hills
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
113 NR --
Gustin was an unknown just three months ago because he missed chunks of his junior season with a hand injury. Once word on him got out and his tape began to circulate, however, it became easy to see why he's a top-250 prospect. Gustin is a rare blend of size and speed that could playing linebacker or even defensive end at the next level. He intends to narrow his list before the start of the season. - Rob Cassidy, Rivals.com Southwest Recruiting Analyst
DB
Ugo Amadi
Nashville John Overton
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
120 213 +93
The knock on Amadi has always been his height, but he's proven at every big event he's ever attended that he's capable of covering with the best of them. He's bulked up and hasn't lost one bit of his speed and continues to improve, which keeps leading to increases in the rankings. He committed to Ole Miss in March and the Rebels remain in good shape. - Woody Wommack, Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst
WR
Stanley Morgan
New Orleans St. Augustine
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
127 218 +91
Stanley Morgan is as reliable a receiver as they come. If the ball is in his general vicinity, he is going to come down with it and he proved it on the spring camp circuit. Morgan is keeping an open mind when it comes to recruiting. LSU is a team to watch, as are Florida and Michigan State, who have been hot on his trail. - Jason Howell, Rivals.com Midlands Recruiting Analyst
DB
Will Sunderland
Midwest City, Okla.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
136 244 +108
Sunderland was, by far, the top defensive back at the RCS Dallas stop. His size is ideal for a safety, but Sunderland covers like a cornerback. He's as versatile a defensive back as there is in the country. Oklahoma is thought to hold a slight edge in his recruitment, but with new schools entering the mix almost daily, that could change quickly. Plenty of other schools remain in the hunt. - Rob Cassidy, Rivals.com Southwest Recruiting Analyst
WR
Daylon Charlot
Patterson, La.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
150 NR --
Charlot showed a strong skillset of his own throughout the spring. Along with his size, he brings plenty of quickness to the table and a sudden burst. He committed to Alabama in February and has been strong in his commitment since. - Jason Howell, Rivals.com Southwest Recruiting Analyst
WR
Jovon Durante
Miami Norland
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
153 NR --
Durante is a wiry slot receiver with the route-running ability coaches dream about. He's so quick in and out of his breaks that he's a matchup nightmare for most defenders. His combination of speed, technical ability and hands are the reason he made a leap this evaluation period. Durante is committed to West Virginia, but Alabama continues to be a factor in his recruitment. - Woody Wommack, Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst
WR
Kirk Merritt
Destrehan, La.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
161 NR --
Merritt may not be the biggest receiver in the bunch, but he is as explosive as they come and he has speed to burn. He can get gone in a hurry. He is not anticipating an early decision but LSU, Texas A&M, and Alabama are a few teams to watch in this race. - Jason Howell, Rivals.com Southwest Recruiting Analyst
OL
Tyree St. Louis
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
162 NR --
St. Louis is a huge offensive linemen with a great frame, very long arms and very little bad weight. He has good feet for a tall, big man and his arm extension and the way he steers linemen with those arms is advanced. Florida remains the team to beat with Florida State and others chasing. - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director
OL
Venzell Boulware
Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
166 NR --
Boulware is a very aggressive guard prospect who does well in tight confines but also shows the ability to slide out and get long in pass protection situations. He sets very well, is strong for his size and is physical. Boulware hasn't narrowed down his list, but Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and others have been mentioned quite a bit. - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director
QB
Deondre Francois
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
170 NR --
Francois has a cannon of an arm and has displayed that all spring. He also has good footwork, is consistent in his drops, can throw on the run and has good mechanics. He's not the biggest quarterback around, but he can sling it and move. Oregon, Florida State, Auburn, Tennessee, Ohio State and Florida have all been mentioned as potential destinations. - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director
LB
Chad Smith
Sterling (Va.) Dominion
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
180 NR --
At the RCS Baltimore-Washington, D.C., Smith showed he has the speed and athleticism to guard any running back and the strength to not get pushed out of the way by any tight end. His instincts were impressive and he was very explosive when breaking on passes in front of him. The Clemson commit proved that he is not only one of the best linebackers in the Mid-Atlantic, but also one of the best in the country. - Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

RIVALS250 SLIDERS
OL
Mason Veal
Charlotte Ardrey Kell
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
121 67 -54
Veal is a big-bodied offensive lineman who will play either tackle or guard at the next level. After seeing some of the nation's top prospects at the position, Veal slid back a little bit just because his high-end potential may not quite match others in the class at the same position. Veal committed to North Carolina earlier this year and remains solid to the Tar Heels. - Woody Wommack, Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst
OL
Jalin Barnett
Lawton, Okla.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
122 36 -86
Barnett still has plenty of upside but didn't look nearly as dominant as he does on film when he was matched up against top competition. He has some bad weight to drop and some footwork issues to straighten out if he hopes to live up to his once-lofty ranking. Barnett lists plenty of scholarship offers, but seems particularly enamored with Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Oregon State. - Rob Cassidy, Rivals.com Southwest Recruiting Analyst
DL
Darrion Daniels
Dallas Bishop Dunne
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
155 88 -67
Without a doubt, Daniels brings an intriguing skill-set to the table between his size and his athletic ability. He is also a strong competitor. Unfortunately, he was a guy who got caught in the crunch after seeing so many top prospects in the spring who had stronger efforts. Daniels has plenty of options on the recruiting front and he does not plan on narrowing his options until the fall. He has a few ties to Texas Tech and the Waco-area (Baylor), but he is keeping an open mind. - Jason Howell, Rivals.com Southwest Recruiting Analyst
DL
Darvin Taylor II
Chester (Va.) Thomas Dale
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
181 125 -56
There is no doubting Taylor's natural physical gifts, but there are some concern over his conditioning and weight fluctuation. He will be one to watch throughout the rest of the offseason and the upcoming season to see if he can keep his weight in check and be a consistent playmaker throughout a game. Taylor has amassed an impressive offer sheet which includes Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida State and many others. - Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst
OL
Zach Robertson
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
188 140 -48
We aggressively pushed out Robertson in the rankings, but after some limited spring performances, we thought it was best to draw him back just a little bit without completing sliding him. He's still massive and moves decently for his size and should be the top lineman at Bosco this season. LSU just offered, but the feeling is that USC or UCLA lead in his recruitment. - Adam Gorney, Rivals.com West Recruiting Analyst
WR
Kanya Bell
Diamond Bar, Calif.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
200 131 -69
Bell has really impressive junior film, but he injured his knee and missed the entire spring. Since speed is such an important part of his game, there are questions about how he'll return and whether he'll still have the ability to basically run by everybody. Because of those questions, we decided to move Bell down a little in the rankings. USC, UCLA and Washington are the three favorites and the Trojans could be tough to beat. - Adam Gorney, Rivals.com West Recruiting Analyst
WR
Devante Peete
Pompono Beach (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
213 139 -74
Peete is a tall, skinny wide receiver whose production has yet to catch up with his potential. At some point, the two will have to get closer together if Peete is going to remain in the discussion as one of the nation's top wide receivers. Several schools are still in the mix for Peete, including Ohio State and Miami." - Woody Wommack, Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst
DE
Joshua McMillon
Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
223 69 -154
McMillon is a talented prospect, but he has grown so much and bulked up to 246 pounds that his future as a linebacker is now in doubt. He's lost a step or two in space because of the added weight and he might have to put his hand down full-time. There's nothing wrong with that, but he's hard to project as a 'tweener now. Auburn, Michigan, Ohio State, Ole Miss and others are candidates to make his first big cut. - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director
ATH
Juval Mollette
Randleman, N.C.
NEW RANK PREV. RANK DIFFERENCE
235 195 -40
Mollette is certainly a big receiver at 6-foot-4 and 186 pounds and he catches the football well, but he's not quite as fast as he needs to be to gain serious separation. While he has had some solid performances this spring, the wide receiver competition hasn't been the best where he's been and he hasn't show that expected long-strider speed. He's a very good possession receiver right now who can be a red zone guy, but we'll see if he can show that deep threat ability this summer and during the season. UNC seems to be the leader with Clemson, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Michigan also in the mix. - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director



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