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January 18, 2012

Final Rivals250: Breaking down the moves

MORE: Rivals250 | R250 tough calls | Rivals250 chat

There were some major movers in the Rivals100 that was released on Tuesday and a bunch of other prospects went up and down in the final 2012 Rivals250 which will be the last rankings adjustment this recruiting cycle.

Early in the rankings, there were three moves down as Windsor, Colo., offensive tackle Joey O'Connor fell 15 spots to No. 102, Forest City (N.C.) Chase defensive tackle Carlos Watkins slipped 18 places to No. 104 and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Jelani Hamilton moved 16 places to No. 106.

There were also significant moves up starting with Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral wide receiver Davonte Neal who shined at the Under Armour Game and bounced 39 spots to No. 107.

"Neal is a versatile athlete who could find a home on either side of the ball," Rivals.com Florida analyst Chris Nee said. "He could easily be a wide receiver as his athleticism and consistent hands make him a threat in space. He also shows the ability to shake defenders.

"On defense, he has the athleticism to handle the cornerback or safety spots as he can easily cover a large amount of space and make a quick break on the ball."

Other major moves up include Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain Joe Bolden (41 spots), Missouri City (Texas) Hightower wide receiver Bralon Addison (63 spots) and Ocala (Fla.) Vanguard safety P.J. Williams (32 spots).

"Bolden is everything that you want at the linebacker position," Nee said. "He has good athleticism to cover a good area of space but is a great tackler one-on-one in space. He does a great job of putting himself in position to make plays whether the ball stays inside the tackles or goes outside. He is extremely physical at the point of contact."

Rivals.com Southwest analyst Brian Perroni said: "Addison had a huge senior year running the ball from his quarterback position but we had never had the chance to see him play receiver in an actual game setting. He proved he could do that at Army week, finding seams in the defense from the slot position. He also has excellent hands for a guy that is new to the position."

Venice, Fla., defensive tackle Dante Phillips jumped up 116 spots all the way to No. 120 after a strong showing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Phillips missed his first flight to San Antonio but once he got to town the four-star had dominant moments during East practice.

"Phillips made an immediate impression when he showed up on the second day of Army Bowl week practices," Rivals.com Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt said. "The first thing you notice is his size - he is certainly pushing 300 pounds now - but he also has above-average athleticism for the defensive tackle position."

After earning defensive MVP honors at the Offense-Defense Bowl, Covington, La., inside linebacker Otha Peters moved from unranked to No. 126 and following a strong showing at the Army Bowl, Fort Bend (Texas) Elkins center Mike Matthews went from outside the Rivals250 to No. 132.

"Peters came into the Offense-Defense week a lot bigger than I expected," Perroni said. "We previously had him listed as an outside linebacker but he's an inside guy all the way. He simply has a nose for the football. He flew all over the field during practice and then was the Defensive MVP of the game, even making a couple of tackles on special teams. He has the chance to make an early impact as a fast SEC linebacker."

INS AND OUTS OF THE FINAL RIVALS250
Here's a look at the prospects that moved in and fell out of the final update to the Rivals250:
InRankOutPrev. Rank
RB Todd Gurley42LB Brian Nance140
LB Ryan Anderson98QB Zeke Pike145
LB Otha Peters126LB Timothy Cole168
OL Mike Matthews132QB Connor Brewer176
CB Donaldven Manning140OT Brock Stadnik183
TE Pharaoh Brown154 DT Paul Boyette Jr.185
TE Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick156 OT Derek Edinburgh197
TE Colin Thompson187 DE Martin Aiken209
CB Devian Shelton211 WR Andre McDonald219
WR Quinshad Davis223 S Trae Elston220
CB Deion Bonner229 LB Ronnie Feist223
OG Vadal Alexander234 RB I'Tavius Mathers237
WR Jason Croom246 S Ronald Geohaghan238
OT Win Homer248 OG Alex Kozan239
DE Faith Ekakitie249CB Marcus Rios244
QB Jeff Lindquist250TE Dillon Gordon246
One spot ahead of Matthews is Oklahoma City (Okla.) Heritage Hall wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who moved up 20 spots after a good performance in the Under Armour Game.

Miami (Fla.) Norland inside linebacker Keith Brown (23 spots), Texarkana, Texas, offensive lineman John Michael McGee (46 spots) and Plymouth (Pa.) Wyoming Valley wide receiver Eugene Lewis (37 spots) all dropped.

More post all-star moves

Other prospects moving up include D'Vario Montgomery, who went up 34 spots to No. 139, Donaldven Manning, who is No. 140 after being unranked, Jaydon Mickens, who advanced 45 spots after performing well in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl and Chad Kelly, who bounced 100 spots to No. 150 after a strong senior season.

"Mickens was outstanding at the Semper Fidelis game and showed off that he can make things happen all over the field whether at running back, wide receiver or on special teams," Rivals.com West analyst Adam Gorney said. "It almost doesn't matter that he's a little undersized. He's so fast, elusive and crafty with the ball in his hands and he's also pretty tough that once he gets going it's hard to track him down."

Two tight ends that impressed enough to go from unranked into the top 250 are Lyndhurst (Ohio) Brush's Pharaoh Brown (Offense-Defense Bowl) and Rocklin (Calif.) Whitney's Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, who shined at the Under Armour Game. They move to Nos. 154 and 156, respectively.

"Brown was forced to take all the snaps at tight end for his team during the Offense-Defense Bowl week because of an injury to the other player on the roster and he took advantage of the playing time," Perroni said. "He plays like a big receiver and is able to stretch the field as well as provide a big outlet on third downs but he also showed he can line up as an inline guy with his hand in the dirt if needed."

Nee said: "Cope-Fitzpatrick was arguably the top tight end at the Under Armour All-American Game throughout the week. He is a big, athletic target who does a good job of getting off of the line of scrimmage and finding a hole in space to give his quarterback a target to throw to. He does a good job of bringing in the ball and making plays after the reception. He also has the size to be a capable in-line blocker at the line of scrimmage."

Petal, Miss., dual-threat quarterback Anthony Alford fell 31 spots, Memphis (Tenn.) Memphis East's Brian Kimbrow slipped 61 spots, Apopka, Fla., center Ty Darlington went down 30 positions, Crockett, Texas, receiver Dominique Wheeler dipped 91 spots and New Lenox (Ill.) Providence Catholic's Ryan Ward fell 98 spots as the final rankings were being reworked.

Leonte Carroo, a four-star receiver from Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep, jumped up 45 spots to No. 166 and New Orleans (La.) O. Perry Walker cornerback Dwayne Thomas moved ahead 31 positions to No. 168. Others moving up in that range include Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside's Joshua Holsey (27 spots) and Richmond (Calif.) Salesian's Freddie Tagaloa, who went up 45 spots to No. 181.

"Carroo was one of the more consistent receivers down at the Army Bowl and he has really improved his ball skills since his junior year," Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell said. "He is strong, physical and has sneaky speed so he can get behind defenders. He didn't have a huge impact in the game itself, but he showed out well all week next to some of the nation's best receivers and going against some talented cornerbacks."

There were many others that make significant moves both up and down. Tight end Colin Thompson went from unranked to No. 187 and running back Wes Brown moved up 61 spots to No. 188. After struggling at the Army Bowl, tight end Taylor McNamara fell 92 spots to No. 189 and defensive tackle Jarron Jones ended up at No. 199, a slide of 40 spots.

Offensive tackle Graham Shuler impressed at the Army Bowl and moved up 36 places to No. 207, cornerback Devian Shelton was outstanding in his senior season and at the Cal State Game and moved to No. 211 after being unranked and Inglewood, Calif., teammate Derrick Woods slid 118 spots to No. 216 after underperforming at the Army Bowl.

"Shuler really had an underrated performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl," Helmholdt said. "He was so solid all week and showed he could reasonably play any of the positions across the offensive line. Shuler sets up with a strong base and moves his feet really well. That combination allows him to keep both speed rushers and power rushers in front of him and off his quarterback."

Lakewood, Calif., wide receiver Darius Powe bounced 22 spots after a strong showing at the Under Armour game but Pompano Beach (Fla.) Blanche Ely receiver Avery Johnson fell 172 spots to No. 247 after a tough senior season.

Wide receiver Quinshad Davis, cornerback Deion Bonner, offensive guard Vadal Alexander, wide receiver Jason Croom, offensive tackle Win Homer, defensive end Faith Ekakitie and quarterback Jeff Lindquist all went from unranked into the top 250.

"Davis is very thin, but he's tall and he is very good at positioning himself and boxing out defenders when he needs to," Farrell said. "But the biggest thing that stands out with Davis is his ball skills. He has big hands and they are very reliable. He can pluck the ball away from defenders and adjust to poorly thrown balls as well, especially balls in the dirt which is rare for a tall receiver. Once he fills out, he could be a special possession receiver."

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