Saving The Best For Last

The final Rivals100 for the class of 2013 has been released, and, as always, there were plenty of noteworthy moves.

“The last rankings is always the one with the most movement because we have so much new information to review,” said Rivals’ national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell. “We have more senior film as well as all-star practices and games where the best go against the best. That’s why you see so many dramatic moves up and down and [Alvin] Kamara is a good example of that.”

Aside from the new five-stars, the biggest mover was Norcross (Ga.) running back Alvin Kamara, who rose 101 slots to crack the top 50.

“During the summer circuit, Kamara showed an array of skills that were perfectly suited for the non-contact game. But what I didn’t see coming from Kamara was his toughness and ability to break tackles,” Rivals’ Southeast recruiting analyst Woody Wommack said. “If he continues to make the same strides he’s made over the last six months as he heads into college, Kamara will be fun to watch.”

Meanwhile, Alabama commit Derrick Henry was impressive in proving that he could be a true running back despite his 6-foot-3 frame. Henry jumped 34 slots in to No. 36 in the final rankings.

The Rivals100: Class of 2013 recruiting rankings

“Henry entered the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as an athlete in our minds and left as a true running back,” Farrell said. “Henry is still a tall, huge running back and provides defenders a big target, but he is sneaky fast, especially when turning the corner. Those are all good traits and if he can keep his pad level low in college, he could be special.”

Keith Ford, an Oklahoma commit, and Dontre Wilson, a soft Oregon commit, also shined following their performances against top competition. Ford moved up 65 spots after the Under Armour All-America Game, while Wilson rose 78 slots.

“Ford was the top running back for Team Nitro at the UAAG. In fact, he was probably the second-best running back in the game behind Kamara,” said Rivals’ Southeast recruiting analyst Kynon Codrington. “Ford’s breakaway speed was displayed in the game on his 64-yard kickoff return. In addition to that he showed great vision, cutting ability and lower body power in practice.

“Wilson’s game is built on speed and make-you-miss ability. He flashed his game-breaking agility in the punt return game at the UAAG. His open field burst and acceleration is what spread zone-read offensive coordinators crave. He is a mismatch in the passing game against linebackers or safeties on wheel or angle routes.”

Finally, USC-committed running back Justin Davis finished the season with a bang and moved up 54 spots to No. 62.

National Signing Day 2013: Team-by-team commitments

“Davis has moved back to the top-rated running back in California. He showed great burst and cutting ability at the Army Bowl and was much more impressive in pads then during the summer,” said Rivals’ West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney. “He showed great vision once he got the ball and did a nice job finding little creases to gain yards. He’s tough, too, and doesn’t get tackled easily since he keeps his legs moving.”

Others who made big moves on offense include receivers Robert Foster from Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley, Alvin Bailey from Seffner (Fla.) Armwood, DeSean Smith from Lake Charles (La.) Barbe, James Quick from Louisville (Ky.) Trinity and Tony Stevens from Orlando (Fla.) Evans. Foster checked in at No. 46, Bailey at No. 63, Smith at No. 68 and Quick at No. 76, respectively.

“Foster was 1B in regard to Laquon Treadwell’s 1A at the Under Armour Game,” Codrington said. “He did a nice job eating up the defensive back’s cushion and showed deceptive speed out of his breaks. His high level of play against the nation’s deep defenders and his big-play potential is a reason why he moved up in the latest rankings.”

A few offensive linemen and two quarterbacks also made nice moves in the Rivals100. Offensive guard Ira Denson from Madison (Fla.) County moved up 25 spots to No. 55, while fellow guard Brendan Mahon rose 81 slots to No. 58 in the country. “Denson is one the best run-blockers at the guard position,” Codrington said of the Florida State pledge. “He pulls and traps very well for a guy his size, and as a drive blocker he displays good hand placement and power. He finishes blocks and is always driving his opponent backward.”

As for Mahon, Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman was impressed with the Penn State commit.

“Mahon got one of the biggest bumps in the rankings because he manhandled some of the best players in the country down at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl,” Friedman said. “He showed that he can handle the pass rush and was rarely fooled by the various stunts by the defensive line.”

Washington-committed quarterback Troy Williams from Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne pushed up 20 slots to No. 71 overall, and fellow signal-caller Anu Solomon from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman reached the Rivals100 by moving up 32 slots to No. 99.

“Perhaps no quarterback in this class throws a prettier ball than Williams, who is also a threat running the ball which makes him even more lethal in any offense,” Gorney said. “He was outstanding at the Cal State Game, almost always throws a perfect spiral right to where it’s supposed to be and has impressive arm strength as well.”

On the other side of the ball, defensive backs made big moves, including Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) cornerback Chris Hawkins, Newnan (Ga.) safety Tray Matthews and Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos De Niza safety Priest Willis.

“Hawkins has proved time and again, at all kinds of different national events, that he is one of the top cornerbacks in the country,” Gorney said of the USC pledge, who moved 53 spots to No. 34. “But at the Army Bowl, he consistently shut down top wide receivers. He has gotten bigger and stronger and can no longer be considered undersized to make an impact in college.”

There were also a few movers among defensive linemen and linebackers. Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad from Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep moved up 48 spots to No. 49, and fellow end Wyatt Teller from Bealton (Va.) Liberty jumped 43 slots to No. 59. Linebacker Yannick Ngakoue from Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy moved up 57 slots to No. 88 overall.

“Muhammad made a big jump in the rankings after an outstanding performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he showed he has the strength to compete with elite talent,” Friedman said of the Miami commit. “That strength combined with his quickness off the ball and aggressiveness, showed us that Muhammad is one of the top players in the country at his position.”

Meanwhile, the Virginia Tech-committed Teller is already physically impressive.

“The East team at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl was loaded with big combo defensive end/defensive tackle types, and Teller was one of the best,” Rivals’ analyst Josh Helmholdt said. “He could project anywhere from a three-technique to a seven-technique on the next level because he has the strength to battle on the interior, but also the athleticism to make plays on the edge.”

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