Three new five-stars highlight the latest update of the Class of 2013 Top247, which represents the top 247 college football prospects nationally according to 247Sports.
A quick note on the state of Florida because now there are five five-star prospects from the Sunshine State (and could end up being six)- this is another atypical year, similar to the 2011 cycle, when the state produced many of the best players by position in the country. While it’s not as deep with elite talent in the 2013 cycle, we certainly believe that all of the five-star prospects from that state project to be the very best at each position they are ranked at, so this is a year that it’s just turned out that way again in Florida.
Dorian Johnson, OT, Belle Vernon (Pa.) Belle Vernon Hills
The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder is just too good on film. After receiving additional feedback from trusted sources on Johnson’s ability on tape and verifying his size, we feel that the Western Pennsylvania standout has everything you’d want in an elite offensive tackle prospect and has been largely undervalued nationally as a prospect. Johnson recently narrowed his list to Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio State, Rutgers, Michigan State, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati and is believed to be a lean to the hometown Panthers at this time.
Kelvin Taylor, RB, Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Day
In what may be the most talked about move, the Florida running back commit and son of former Gator and NFL great Fred Taylor receives a five-star rating from 247Sports. We understand that opinions on his long-term upside are split nationally, but our evaluators feel strongly he’s the best running back in the country in this class and thus we have ranked him so. He measured in at 5-foot-10, 216 pounds at the Miami Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday and dominated every drill. While we would never use a camp performance as the bulk of a running back evaluation, we did feel like his showing cemented what we have felt for some time- he’s got the chance to be a special player at the college level and beyond.
Matthew Thomas, LB, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington
We saw Thomas in person this past weekend at the Miami Nike Football Training Camp and his ability to move laterally and wingspan jumped out at us. You combine that with the film, which is five-star quality, and you have one of the elite prospects in the country. There is some question about Thomas’ ability (he measured in at 6-foot-3.5, 201 pounds on Sunday) to get big enough to take on the physical responsibilities at linebacker, but we feel with his frame he can easily carry at least 30 pounds of additional muscle.
-The first member of the Top247 for this cycle from the state of Kansas- athlete Jerel Morrow from Emporia- enters the rankings at No. 210 overall and the top prospect in the state. He recently long-jumped 24-4, which is one of the tops in the country and you combine that athleticism (the long jump is a great explosiveness measure) with his film and it’s an easy ranking. In fact, he may even move higher. Nebraska and others have offered and many feel the Cornhuskers are the team to beat for the 6-foot, 180-pounder.
-We feel strongly that defensive tackle Montravius Adams is one of the top three prospects in the country and after receiving additional feedback and verifying his size (much like we did with Johnson), he moves to the No. 3 overall prospect in America and receives a numerical grade of 100. Clemson is thought to be in the best shape, but Georgia, Auburn and Florida are right there as well for the 6-foot-3, 295-pounder, who we feel has some of the best defensive tackle film since former Oklahoma standout Gerald McCoy.
-Jumbo athlete Josh Augusta (Peoria, Ill.) enters the rankings at No. 195 overall. The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder could play a number of positions in college. Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Iowa State and others have offered.
-We re-ranked several prospects in Georgia (cornerback Brendan Langley moved into the top 100 and California (Elijah Qualls, Demorea Stringfellow and Pierre Cormier all enter the Top247 from the Golden State). Look for an update from Ohio later this week.
About our rankings and ratings
Our rankings are different than others in the sense that they constantly act as a "big board" of sorts with prospects moving up and down frequently.
Dorian Johnson is a five-star tackle prospect according to 247Sports.
There is no standard "release" time for an update as we let the discovery process dictate that. We also do not set a pre-determined number of prospects to rank in states and at positions nationally- we simply rank as many as we can.
Already for the Class of 2013, we have ranked a significant number of prospects.
At 247Sports, each recruit that we evaluate will be assigned a numerical rating as well as a star rating. The rankings are determined by our recruiting analysts after hours of personal observations, film evaluation and input from our network and other reliable sources of information. Players are ranked by position, grouped qualitatively with a star ranking and given a numerical ranking based on their future potential. The explanation for the numerical rankings is below.
110 - 101 = A player ranked in this range is a "franchise player." He is one of the best to come along in years - if not decades (LeBron James, Adrian Peterson). Odds of having a player in this category every year is slim. This prospect has “can’t miss” talent.
100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 25 or so prospects in the nation. Player has excellent pro potential, and should emerge as one of the best players in the country before his college career ends.
97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. Prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. All-America candidate who displays pro potential. Typically one of the top 300 players in the nation.
89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. These are the players who will develop into reliable starters for the college teams. They are among the best players in their region of the country, and are generally among the top 750 players in the nation.
79 - below = Two-star prospect. These players make up the bulk of Division I rosters. They may have little pro potential, are likely to become role players for their respective schools or not enough is known about the prospect to rank them accurately.
Our philosophy, to account for the accelerated recruiting process, is to rank prospects earlier in their high school careers than what has been previously done in this business. Because a player can develop dramatically or not in a 2-3 year period in the sport of football, that’s going to make for greater movement in the rankings.
So it’s not out of the question that a player is No. 8 to begin with and finishes at No. 90 or he’s No. 187 and finishes No. 12. The delta for the player’s final ranking (which is what matters and what we should be judged on in that regard) is much wider during a 24-36 month period than an 8-12 month period.
Think of it (and I use this comparison often) as an NFL Draft “big board”. Two years out, a player may be projected as a top five pick, but when all is said and done, after seasons on the field, combines and pro days, other types of evaluations, etc., he may slip to the third round or so. I certainly am not saying that we are justified if we have a kid start out as a five star with a rating of 102 and end up as a two star with a rating of 75. That’s drastic and inconsistent. But we’ve found that it’s human nature for fans to look at a 30-40 spot drop in rankings and wonder what their favorite prospect going to their school “did wrong” or why we “don’t think he’s good”. Well, the drop doesn’t mean either, it just means when we re-adjusted everything, including the rankings of other prospects, said prospect fell to that particular point in the rankings.
Rankings are fun for fans to debate, celebrate, complain about, etc., and they are fun for us to put together. That’s why we are going to push the envelope and get rankings out earlier- so you guys can enjoy them and learn about the prospects at an earlier date- so during things like junior days and late winter/early spring combines- you can really dig in and get a true sense of what is going on inside your favorite football program. We do this for you guys.
Obviously, we would be able to adjust less and claim we were 100 percent right and knew it the entire time more often if we waiting until June to do it, but transparency and serving our readers are two things we value highly at 247Sports.
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