National Signing Day has come and gone for the class of 2010, and - with just a few exceptions - that class of prospects is in the books.
As the spring evaluation period approaches, a new book will be opened on the class of 2011. The first list of names to keep on your radar is out with the Rivals250 to Watch List.
No prospect in the class of 2011 has been given a star rating at this point because of the many opportunities to evaluate players over the next few months. That junior film that emerges and the performances at those events will provide the filtering process for further rankings. Before that takes place, the watch list will be the first guide to the spring.
Some names on the list are no surprise.
On Feb. 1, James Wilder Jr. of Tampa (Fla.) Plant was named Rivals.coms Junior of the Year. He is joined by 29 other Florida prospects, tied for the most from any state.
While Wilder was a lock to make the list, a fellow Floridian made his mark late. At the BadgerSports Elite Lineman Challenge, presented by New Level Athletics, Fort Pierce (Fla.) Central defensive lineman Giorgio Newberry made the long trip to New Jersey well worth his effort. His strong showing at the event vaulted him onto the watch list.
"Newberry is a versatile kid who could play offense or defense in college," said Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell after watching him compete over the weekend. "He has a great frame, long arms, terrific work ethic and despite being raw his upside is through the roof. He will probably be a jumbo DE in college who can disrupt with his size, length and agility."
Right alongside Florida with 30 prospects is the state of California. Californians on the list include well-known commodities such as USC commit Antwaun Woods, Gardena (Calif.) Serra wide receiver George Farmer and a player so well-known that a nickname is seemingly all that is necessary to identify him: The Black Mamba, De'Anthony Thomas.
Texas has 28 prospects on the initial watch list. Much of the depth of talent in the 2011 class for Texas comes from the running back position. Abilenes Herschel Sims, Cibolo (Texas) Steele's Malcolm Brown and San Antonio Madison's Aaron Green are all big-name Texas backs that continue to live up to their billing.
With 14 prospects each in the 250, Georgia and Ohio are both expected to have another solid year for talent. Two of the headliners in their respective states are running back Isaiah Crowell of Columbus (Ga.) Carver and quarterback Braxton Miller out of Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne.
But it's not just the "usual" states that have national-level names. New Mexico has a player everyone will soon know in offensive tackle Matthew Hegarty out of Aztec, N. M. Hegarty has very long arms, is a natural knee bender and has excellent hand placement in pass protection. Not only does Hegarty dominate his high school competition, but he has been dominating camps and combines since his sophomore year. Rivals.com National Analyst Barry Every has had the opportunity to see Hegarty in multiple settings.
Hegarty is already considered the top prospect in the state of New Mexico, and he currently holds six scholarship offers. That total will likely reach 25-plus when college coaches figure out where Aztec is on a map.
Hegarty is joined by New Mexico's Mr. Football winner Ronnie Daniels on the list.
With the 250 to watch list staked down as a starting point, the members of this list will spend the next year fighting and clawing through camps, games, 7-on-7s and more for their spot on the final Rivals250 list in February 2011.