Shakeups in the updated ESPNU 150
CB Joyner, ATH Elam, DE Miller climb, while RB Lattimore slips from five-star status
The jump of one of the most explosive players in the country into the top 5, the slide of an elite running back, an elite athlete climbing into the top 15 and some jockeying among the defensive line prospects highlight the updated ESPNU 150 rankings.
After watching countless game tapes as well as making in-person scouting trips to see many of the nation's top players, Scouts Inc. has updated the ESPNU 150 rankings for the Class of 2010. Check out who moved, who slid down, who debuted and who is already committed to a college. ESPNU 150
Under Armour All-American and five-star CB Lamarcus Joyner (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) climbed from No. 12 to No. 5 in the latest rankings. Joyner has been the best player on the nation's best team and proved it twice on the big stage, the first during top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas' season-opening 52-7 victory against Upper Arlington (Ohio) and the second in a 42-34 win against Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.). Both games were nationally televised. The opener was on ESPN, while the game against then-No. 2 Byrnes was on ESPNU.
In the Upper Arlington game, Joyner caught a momentum-wiping 31-yard touchdown pass in the first half. Against Byrnes, he had Aquinas' first score, a 52-yarder in the first quarter, and then had another momentum-killing play in the fourth quarter when he returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown after the Rebels had pulled within seven.
"There were some guys on our staff who felt he may be in the top 3 and he could still end up there," said Tom Luginbill, ESPN Scouts Inc.'s national recruiting director. "As a pure athlete, he may be the closest thing to Percy Harvin [of the Minnesota Vikings] we have seen and could be a legit two-way candidate at the next level."
Who's going where?
Here's a look at the recruiting buzz for the top 10 uncommitted players in the recently revamped ESPNU150.
|Chasing the top recruits|
|Jackson Jeffcoat, DE
Plano, Texas/Plano West
Rank: No. 1 | Highlights
Jeffcoat's recruitment is shaping up to be a Texas-USC battle, but you can't rule out Oklahoma at this point. The nation's top prospect is gathering information, and you probably won't see his recruitment really start to heat up until after the football season.
|Jordan Hicks, LB
West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West
Rank: No. 2 | Highlights
Sources indicate that Texas, which doesn't often chase out-of-state prospects with vigor, made a huge impact during Hicks' official visit to Austin. With that, can they hold off a charging Florida? Or the in-state Buckeyes? Time will tell, but those three schools are the best bets for Hicks.
|Ronald Powell, DE
Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde
Rank: No. 3 | Highlights
Same story for Powell -- it's a Florida and Southern California battle. He recently made an unofficial visit to USC. This one will go back and forth until he is ready to decide.
|Seantrel Henderson, OT
St. Paul, Minn./Cretin Derham-Hall Rank: No. 4 | Highlights
There is a high probability that Henderson will stay in the Midwest, but it's a mystery as to where the 6-foot-8, 301-pounder will actually sign. Ohio State has a chance. Notre Dame has a chance. Minnesota has a chance. He's going out to USC at the end of this month, so the Trojans have a chance. This should be one of the more interesting developments as the recruiting cycle winds down.
|Lamarcus Joyner, CB/ATH
Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas
Rank: No. 5
Most have believed for some time that Joyner is ticketed for Florida State, and he has said that some of the coaching issues that came up a few weeks back had no impact on his decision. But other schools are still coming after him. Ohio State has always been strong. Notre Dame received an official visit. Florida continues to recruit him, too. Still, most believe that when all is said and done, Joyner will be a Nole.
|Jeff Luc, LB
Port St. Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast
Rank: No. 6 | Highlights
There is real talk out there about Luc and Tennessee after the standout middle linebacker visited Knoxville officially the weekend of Oct. 2. He went to USC this weekend. There still is a good chance Luc stays in-state, but it's certainly not as much of a sure thing as it was. The in-state programs are going to get their chance to push back soon.
|Michael Dyer, RB
Little Rock, Ark./Little Rock Christian
Rank: No. 7
Dyer, an Under Armour All-American, is expected to announce his commitment to Auburn on Friday, but that will likely be a soft verbal. He isn't finished and will visit other schools, but he's leaning toward the Tigers now.
|Darius White, WR
Fort Worth, Texas/Dunbar
Rank: No. 9 | Highlights
Oklahoma is considered to be the clear favorite to land White. The Sooners have done an excellent job recruiting him and have pulled away from the pack. Still, it's never over until it's over, so Texas, Oklahoma State and others will keep pushing.
|Chris Dunkley, WR
Rank: No. 12 | Highlights
Regardless of where Dunkley visits and what he says after the visit, it's hard to imagine he'll end up anywhere but Florida.
|Marcus Lattimore, RB
Rank: No. 16 | Highlights
Lattimore started off his official visits last weekend with a trip to Auburn, and it went well. He says the Tigers will be in the mix until the end. He will visit Penn State this weekend and then on Jan. 16 will head out to Oregon. Two out of South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida State and Georgia will get the final officials before he decides on national signing day.
Running back Marcus Lattimore (Duncan, S.C./James F. Byrnes) made the most notable drop, falling from No. 5 to No. 16. While still considered a top player, Lattimore was dropped from a five-star prospect to a four-star prospect.
"Lattimore is an excellent prospect, but the reality is that we just aren't convinced he is a top 10 overall player, regardless of position," Luginbill said. "We felt this way early and took a wait-and-see approach. As a pure runner, we feel there are others ahead of him. We still feel he is the best receiving back in the country."
Athlete Matt Elam (Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer), moved up 12 spots from No. 25 to No. 13. Elam, a Florida commit for more than a year, recently took an official visit to Florida State. He projects as a defensive back in college but has had some brilliant moments on offense this season.
Under Armour All-America running back and recent Miami commit Storm Johnson (Loganville, Ga.) moved up 17 spots to No. 21. Johnson has rushed for 1,406 yards on 226 carries this season.
Hubbard highlights DL movement
Defensive end Adrian Hubbard (Norcross, Ga.) is one of the hottest prospects in the country right now and debuts in the 150 at No. 78, the highest of any of the new additions to the list.
In a matter of one week, the 6-foot-7, 230-pounder picked up offers from multiple major programs in the Southeast, including Auburn and Florida State, is getting new attention every day. Hubbard was under the radar in part because he did not play football last season, opting instead to focus on basketball. His return to the gridiron this season has proved to be worthwhile.
"Hubbard defines upside and could be this class's diamond in the rough, regardless of position," Luginbill said. "All the physical attributes are present, and with some refining and maturation he could be a monster down the road."
Hubbard wasn't the only defensive lineman to make his first appearance in the 150 this time around. Penn State commit C.J. Olaniyan (Warren, Mich./Warren-Mott) debuts at No. 146 and Notre Dame commit Blake Lueders (Zionsville, Ind.) climbs in at No. 150.
There was never any question that jumbo athlete William Gholston (Detroit/Southeastern) has a world of upside and one of the highest ceilings in the 2010 class. This season, he's been putting it all together and was impressive when scouted during his in-person evaluation earlier this year. Gholston moved up eight spots to No. 25 in the latest update.
Under Armour All-America defensive tackle George Uko (Chino, Calif./Don Antonio Lugo) made a dramatic leap from No. 131 to No. 58 nationally. The 6-4, 300-pounder has had a monster senior season with 13 sacks and is an elite athlete for a player his size. (He has been timed as low as 4.38 seconds in the pro shuttle.)
"[Uko] is having a great senior campaign and has worked his way up the ranks by constantly trying to prove his worth through the summer and it paid off this fall," Luginbill said. "He has tremendous upside."
Before this season, some felt that Tennessee commit Corey Miller (Duncan, S.C./Byrnes) was the best defensive line prospect at his well-stocked school, and his play has proved it this season. The 6-4, 220-pounder has proven to be a difference-maker in most of the Rebels' big games this season. Miller moved up 39 spots to No. 48 in the latest release.
Notre Dame commit Chris Martin (Aurora, Colo./Grandview) moved up 33 spots to No. 110, Florida State commit Darious Cummings (Titusville, Fla./Astronaut) moved up 10 spots to No. 124, and Texas commit Reggie Wilson (Haltom City, Texas/Haltom) moved up 11 spots to No. 88. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia/George Washington) moved up slightly to No. 69.
Dealing with injuries
Some prospects dropped because they suffered an injury during their senior seasons. Whenever you evaluate football talent, injuries are weighed against the overall ability of the prospect, and the severity of the injury is taken into consideration. But the bottom line is that if you aren't playing, you aren't getting better, and other players are. So injury is a setback to a developing football prospect and has to be taken into account when ranking.
Here are the five prospects who dropped in the rankings because of injury.
• Anthony Barr, ATH (Torrance, Calif./Loyola): Barr dropped 43 spots to No. 103 in the latest update after suffering a broken ankle that required surgery and missed the rest of the season. Barr is down to Notre Dame and UCLA.
• Brent Benedict, OT (Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles): Dropped from No. 63 to No. 104 after suffering a serious knee injury during practice. Benedict is committed to Georgia.
• Andrew Norwell, OT (Cincinnati/Anderson): A broken left tibia ended Norwell's senior season, and he dropped from No. 115 nationally to outside of the ESPNU 150. Norwell is committed to Ohio State.
• Sheldon McClain, WR (Cibolo, Texas/Steele): A torn ACL ended McClain's senior season early and caused him to drop from No. 125 to out of the ESPNU 150. McClain is committed to Oklahoma.
• Bronson Kaufusi, DE (Provo, Utah/Timpview): Kaufusi dropped from No. 147 out of the ESPNU 150 after suffering a season-ending torn ACL. Kaufusi is committed to BYU.
|Who's doing the grading?|
|The ESPNU150 is compiled by the scouts of Scouts Inc., all of whom have either played or coached at the collegiate level or beyond. No reporters, site publishers or administrators are involved in the evaluation process, which is based on film breakdown and in-person evaluation.
Meet Scouts Inc.'s scouts
A few more additions
Quarterback Tyler Bray (Kingsburg, Calif.), a Tennessee commit, makes his debut in the ESPNU 150 at No. 140.
"We went back and forth on this kid the first time the 150 was released, but he has too much talent and a bright future not to be considered one of the top QBs in this class," Luginbill said.
Bray was one of the most impressive prospects at the Elite 11 quarterback camp this summer and has backed it up with a very good senior year.
Other additions include center Brandon Linder (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas); corner Nickell Robey (Frostproof, Fla.), a Georgia commit; and running back Anthony Wilkerson (Tustin, Calif.), a Stanford commit.
JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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