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October 9, 2007
It's been said good things come in threes.
For three players in particular, the updated Rivals100 release definitely brings good news.
Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist, Prichard (Ala.) Vigor athlete Burton Scott and Cartersville (Ga.) Cass athlete Richard Samuel all moved up to the prestigious five-star level in Rivals.com's ranking of the top 100 high school football recruits in America. Crist is now ranked as the nation's No. 20 player overall, followed by Scott at No. 26 and Samuel at No. 28.
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every said all three are very deserving of the higher rankings. He said Crist's move up should come as no surprise to anybody that has watched him play over the past two seasons.
"Dayne is a big, strong-armed quarterback that has good mobility," Every said about Crist, who has already thrown for 1,159 yards and rushed for 245 yards this season.
"He's a tough guy that will run over you if he has to, but he's been dominant playing on the highest level of high school football in California. He's got good spin on the ball, and he has a really strong arm. He also doesn't have the best group of receivers that some other quarterbacks might have, so you can only imagine how much better his stats would be. Notre Dame is getting a heck of a quarterback here."
Scott, a 5-foot-11, 194-pounder, was an early Alabama commitment. He picked the Crimson Tide over offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, USC and others. Every said Alabama coach Nick Saban can expect Scott to have an immediate impact.
"He moved up to five stars because he's such a great all-around athlete," Every said. "He does everything for his team. He's the punter, returner, stars on offense and stars on defense. He's so physically put together. He's a thick, muscled-up guy, and he's a special athlete."
Samuel, who was previously ranked as the nation's No. 3 running back, moves over to the athlete position and up to the five star level. Every said Samuel's production on both offense and defense made him a natural fit for the athlete category. Samuel could easily end up playing either running back or linebacker at Georgia, the school he committed to in January.
"He's having a great season," Every said. "Not only is he running for a lot of yards, but he's playing defense a lot more. For example, against Cartersville - a school they've not beaten in years - he had 10 plus tackles and 150 yards rushing.
As with any ranking if somebody goes up, somebody must go down.
The biggest headliner to move down in the rankings is former five-star prospect T.J. Bryant of Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder was ranked as the nation's No. 2 cornerback previously, but now will be ranked outside of the Rivals100. Every said the decision to move Bryant down was a difficult one. But after seeing him play in person as a senior, Every said he felt it was a move that needed to be done.
"The only real knock I have on him is his physicality," Every said. "I know at cornerback you don't have to be as physical as others on defense, but he's had back-to-back games where he didn't exhibit what you want from one of the nation's truly elite players. He's somebody that could really move back in the Rivals100 after we watch him again as a senior, especially since Lincoln plays such great competition."
Others that moved down from the five-star level were Christchurch (Va.) School receiver Deion Walker, who is now the No. 33 player; Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway strongside defensive end Shayne Hale, who is now the No. 38 player; and Bunn, N.C., athlete Brandon Barnes, who is now the No. 63 player.
There were also several high debuts in the ranking for the first time.
The biggest movers were Ryan Baker, a 6-foot, 206-pound outside linebacker from Blountstown, Fla., and Ryan Bass, a 5-foot-10, 186-pound running back out of Corona (Calif.) Centennial. Baker climbed 176 spots from his previous ranking and Bass moved up 115 spots.
"I went and saw Baker, and he was all over the field," Every said about the LSU pledge. "He came out against Wakulla and had a 15-tackle performance, recovered a fumble and caused a fumble. He had to play about 40 percent of the time on offense as well. He sinks his helmet and drives right through the ball carrier. He might not be the ideal size, but he's not tiny either. He's in the 5-11, 6-foot range, and that's why I compare him to Derrick Brooks."
With Bass, Every sees comparisons to former Florida State star running back Warrick Dunn.
"I hate to throw out a big clich?but if you put him in a phone booth and threw sand at him, not one piece will hit him," Every said. "He's that elusive. He's also a physical back and is hard to tackle. He squares up his pads on contact and he's tough to bring down. He can also run away from you. He's got good hands out of the backfield. While he might be an all-purpose back, I think he's a true every down back."