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October 18, 2004

Rivals.com October updated rankings

Rivals.com has assembled the top team of recruiting analysts in the nation with both national and regional experts based throughout the country.

With those strengths, along with grass-roots support from the Rivals.com network of high school and college publishers, we're proud to present the updated player rankings for October, the second numerical rankings for the class of 2005.

The player rankings are compiled after countless hours of film evaluation, personal observations and input from professional, college and high school coaches. The rankings were also determined through a number of different evaluations.

With an extensive film library that rivals any college football recruiting office, numerous personal observations for the NIKE Training Camps, summer camps, seven-on-seven tournaments and personal workouts, Rivals.com compiled all of those evaluations through those resources. Then our team of recruiting analysts and select publishers in the Rivals.com network each submitted their opinions on the top players in their region - helping develop the finished product.

A special emphasis was placed this season on acquiring senior film on the nation's top prospects, so players can be judged on how much they've improved, regressed or maintained their status from the 2003 to the 2004 seasons.

There are several different and unique rankings that show the diversity of the Rivals.com recruiting database. Players are ranked both quantitatively, qualitatively and with a special Rivals Rating.

Players are ranked numerically on a national level at their positions and by stars (five through two). The numerical ranking at each position varies depending on the depth of the talent at the position. Some will have numerical rankings for just 25 players, while some go all the way from one to 75.

The players are also ranked on their quality with a star ranking. To get an idea of what those star rankings mean, please consult the chart on the left.

The Rivals Rating is composed of a numerical scale from 6.1-4.9.

-6.1 Franchise Player; considered one of the elite prospects in the country, generally among the nation's top 25 players overall; deemed to have excellent pro potential; high-major prospect

-6.0-5.8 All-American Candidate; high-major prospect; considered one of the nation's top 200 prospects; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on college team

-5.7-5.5 All-Region Selection; considered among the region's top prospects and among the top 700 or so prospects in the country; high-to-mid-major prospect; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on college team

-5.4-5.0 Division I prospect; considered a mid-major prospect; deemed to have limited pro potential but definite Division I prospect; may be more of a role player

-4.9 Sleeper; no Rivals.com expert knew much, if anything, about this player; a prospect that only a college coach really knew about.

Rivals.com is proud to present you the most advanced database system ever created and the most advanced rating system around. If you have any questions about the database or rankings contact recruiting@rivals.com

What are some of the key changes in October?
The biggest thing that should be pointed out about the October rankings is that this update around allowed Rivals.com to clean up some of the players that were listed incorrectly at wrong positions. Almost all of the players that moved were switched because they project at a different position in college or they are being recruited heavier at a different position than what was previously listed.

With more than 50 players moving from one position or another, it might seem that a player was pushed down a spot or two. But in many cases the move down was caused by the insertion of players that were ranked previously at another position.

The athlete position received several significant changes as Leon Jackson was moved from the cornerback spot. Jackson, ranked now as the nation's No. 4 athlete and a 6.0 on the Rivals Rating scale, was recruited to play running back at Nebraska but with his amazing athletic ability there is a shot that he could also see time at corner or maybe even safety in college. Either way it doesn't matter, Jackson is that good.

Montario Hardesty is another that moved from the all-purpose back position to a four-star athlete. Even though he's being recruited by many teams at running back, one college coach said Hardesty is also their top safety prospect on their board.

At the all-purpose back position, several players moved in toward the top.

Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood four-star pick Maurice Wells moved over from running back. Wells is a natural all-purpose back because of his ability to be a perfect third-down threat. Also moving over was Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler running back Richard Rich. He too is a perfect fit for the all-purpose spot. Four-star rusher Conredge Collins was moved to the fullback position, a great fit for a big back like Collins, who measure 5-11 and 220 pounds.

Others movers and shakers in the October rankings:

-Josh Portis moved up to the nation's No. 5 dual-threat quarterback and a four-star ranking. Portis impressed all throughout the summer passing camps, but he really came into his own early in his senior season with 980 yards passing and 444 yards rushing in his first five games. Portis, who is 6-3 and 190 pounds, is heading to Utah.

-Ike Whitaker is also having a monster season and the dual-threat quarterback moved up to the No. 3 slot. With West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Virginia and Clemson his final five teams, Whitaker led Germantown (Md.) Northwest to a 6-0 record to start the season.

-After Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree scouted Lacey (Wash.) Timberline running back Jonathan Stewart in person, he was finally able to evaluate all of the nation's top five backs in person.

A six-touchdown performance propelled Stewart to the No. 1 spot in the nation, where he moves ahead of Marlon Lucky, Toney Baker, Kevin Grady and James Davis. It should be noted that Baker did move up also to five-star status and James Davis leaped up the rankings to become the Southeast's top running back prospect, but Stewart is now king of the mountain.

Through seven games, Stewart has rushed for 1,547 yards and 21 touchdowns. He's averaging a measly 221 yards a game and 12.3 yards a carry, which isn't so bad when everybody in the stadium knows that he's going to get the ball on almost every play.

"The more I see him, the more in awe of him I am," Timberline coach Kevin Young said. "He's so good right now but the scary thing is he can get even better. As he continues to grow and mature more, he's going to be incredible and he already is now."

-O.J. Murdock moved up the receiver rankings to the No. 7 spot. The four-star receiver from Tampa (Fla.) Middleton has offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami, Alabama, LSU, Ohio State and Texas. He was called by one SEC coach as an instant impact prospect because of his game-breaking speed. Don't forget that Murdock was a national champion sprinter when he was 14.

-At offensive guard, Roseville (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall standout Rafael Eubanks bumps up to the No. 6 spot and is now a 5.9 four-star selection. Memphis East monster Malcolm Rawls was evaluated by a Rivals.com analyst in person and after finding it impossible to get film on him, seeing in person was believing. Rawls is now ranked as the nation's No. 10 guard.

-Nic Harris, one of the hottest recruits in the nation, is now the nation's No. 5 safety prospect.

Senior evaluations of Harris revealed he's one of the nation's best overall players, regardless of positions. Harris of Alexandria, La., just has an amazing nose for the football and has gotten better and better since he had an amazing junior campaign. Michigan, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas A&M are the final five teams.

-Jupiter, Fla., weakside defensive end Courtney Harris has been streaking up the charts and after senior film evaluation, it's easy to see why Miami, LSU, Florida and countless others are battling over him. Hampton (Va.) Phoebus weakside defensive end and Virginia Tech pledge Stephen Friday also moved up to four stars and the No. 9 spot at his position.

-Lufkin, Texas, defensive end McKinner Dixon moved down to three stars. After an impressive junior season, Dixon has struggled at times in his senior season and a few programs have pushed him down their wish list because of it.

-Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast linebacker Ryan Stamper moved up to four stars and to the No. 5 spot at the inside linebacker spot. USC pledge Kaluka Maiava moved up to the No. 20 outside linebacker spot and four stars.


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