July 26, 2012

Preseason RivalsHigh 100: Teams 65-61

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Dallas Jackson is the High School Football analyst for Rivals.com. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Rivals.com began its 2012 countdown Monday, ranking the teams from No. 1 through No. 100.

We started at No. 100 and will release two groups of five teams per day. Then, we'll do a daily countdown from No. 10 to No. 1. Our top team will be unveiled on Wednesday, Aug. 8 - just 10 days from the start of the season.

After that, we will wait until Aug. 27 for the next rankings, then have them every Monday during the season.

The team rankings were compiled by high school sports senior analyst Dallas Jackson, the Rivals AMP team, football recruiting analysts and the entire RivalsHigh network of publishers.

View the complete rankings timeline if you missed anything | Final 2011 Expanded Rankings

Top 100 countdown
No. 65 DeSoto, Texas

Coach: Claude Mathis
Last Season: 10-2, lost in 5A-DI second round. Ranked No. 61 nationally.
Fast Fact: Head coach Claude Mathis left DeSoto this past January to take a position coaching running backs at the University of Houston but returned to DeSoTo after a month on the job. Mathis was a two-time All-American running back at Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) and spent a season with the Minnesota Vikings.
Key Player: Quarterback Desmon White. DeSoto boasts a lot of talent, and there are a lot of expectations surrounding the program, so White will likely shoulder a lot of pressure this fall. The 5-foot-6 junior quarterback, who is more appropriately listed as an athlete in the Rivals.com database, has shown plenty of poise in the summer circuit and has the respect of his teammates. That being said, it is impossible to not make mention of his size and the potential limitations that come with it. If he is able to execute the offense efficiently it could be a successful season in the suburbs south of Dallas.
The Good: The offense. The star of the show is without a doubt running back Dontre Wilson. The four-star player and Oregon commit will be the focal point for DeSoto's fast-paced and high-powered attack. There are athletes all over the field at DeSoto, including receivers Brandon McDowell and Kyle Collins. In 2011, the team averaged 46 points per game and that number figures to remain high.
The Bad: Replacing two FBS-level cornerbacks. While there is plenty of talent at the school it will be hard to replace four-star Bryson Echols and three-star Jalen Mills on the outside. The pair of corners, now at Texas and LSU respectively were a major reason the team was able to transition into an aggressive 3-4 defense. Without those two players on the outside -- and Michael Richardson rushing the passer -- the pass defense would appear to be a concern.
The bottom line: DeSoto needs to keep focused on defense. In the second year under Kendrick Brown and the 3-4 defense the team should continue to make strides it started to last year. . It took the foot off the accelerator against Mesquite in the middle of the season and got into a shootout it nearly lost. If the team is going to take the next step it needs to remember to play every game from gun to whistle.

Top 100 countdown
No. 64 Colerain, Ohio

Coach: Tom Bolden
Last Season: 10-2, Eliminated in second round of playoffs. Ranked No. 10 in Ohio.
Fast Fact: In the Rivals.com era, Colerain has had at least one player in each graduating class sign with an FBS-level college football program. This year there will likely be three seniors carrying on that tradition.
Key Player: Running back Chris Davis. Colerain was among the favorites to make a major run at a state title last season and much of the offensive optimism was centered around Davis. Those hopes were quickly dashed as Davis tore three ligaments in his knee during a game in September. The team, which usually has a stable of running backs, made do with other players, but none had the upside of Davis. Now back to near full health, Davis should make a significant impact this fall.
The Good: The offensive rhythm. Alfred Ramsby is listed in the Rivals.com database as a running back but will likely be back playing quarterback for Colerain. With Davis coming back, and senior lineman Dylan Weisman and senior fullback Jackson Sorn returning, there should not be much confusion as to how the ball will be moved. Junior running back Detaun Smith is a solid change of pace for all three of the players who will line up in the backfield as he is 5-feet-6 and 175 pounds where as Davis, Ramsby and Sorn are all pushing 200 pounds.
The Bad: Replacing a lot of talent on defense. It is no secret that winning in Ohio requires a strong defense come December and, while Colerain is generally one of the better defensive squads, the team will have a lot of high end talent to replace and that could be tough to do. Colerain is losing an FBS-level prospect on every level of its defense; defensive tackle Trae Clark is at Ohio, linebacker Joe Bolden is at Michigan and defensive back Andre Jones is now at Cincinnati. The players looking to step into those shoes are Dae'Shaun Durham, Tegray Scales, and DeJuan Lang respectively.
The bottom line: Colerain is going to need to get by the St. Xavier bugaboo. The last two seasons St. X has ended the playoff run for Colerain and both times it was as an underdog. Colerain has had a couple of tough losses to the Bombers and at this point it is safe to say that St. Xavier coach Steve Specht has the number of Tom Bolden.

Top 100 countdown
No. 63 Corona Centennial, Calif.
Coach: Matt Logan
Last Season: 12-2, Inland Division runner-up. Ranked No. 11 in California.
Fast Fact: Corona Centennial has a sister school in Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial, and the two programs get together in the summers for practices and 7-on-7 workouts. This year, both are ranked in the preseason RivalsHigh 100 with Peoria Centennial team checking in at No. 93.
Key Player: Quarterback Robert Webber. The Huskies offense will be breaking in another new quarterback this season and all signs point to it being Webber. He is built more similarly to 2011 starter Hayden Gavett than 2010 standout Michael Eubanks. In very limited duty last season, Webber completed all 13 passes he attempted but struggled when he tried to run the ball. The Husky offense uses the quarterback's legs a lot and that part of Webber's game will need to be improved before the season starts.
The Good: The offensive line. Much like last season, the strength of the team will be the offensive line. With California commit Cameron Hunt leading the charge up front there should be plenty of holes to run through. He is joined up front by Anthony Juarez and junior Viane Talamaivao. Last year the team helped push Gavett to a 2,000 yard passing and 1,000 yard rushing season and set a record with running back Romello Goodman who pushed towards 3,000 yards on the ground.
The Bad: The skill players. Centennial had 16 players catch at least one pass last season and had 13 register at least one rushing attempt. Of the 4,249 yards gained on the ground in 2011, the team is losing all but 300, and that will be hard to replace. Centennial is also losing about 100 of its 146 receptions. Coach Logan will point out that it is easier to replace skill players at his school than offensive lineman -- and he is right -- but it will still be a challenge.
The bottom line: This is one of the most consistent programs in Southern California and will continue to be so for the forseeable future. This year's squad is not likely going to make anyone forget about the 2008 team, but it should still be a solid squad with an opportunity to fight for a CIF Regional Bowl position. This offense can put up points against anyone, so the defense only needs to be serviceable.

Top 100 countdown
No. 62 Pearland, Texas

Coach: Tony Heath
Last Season: 11-3, Class 5A-DI quarterfinalist. Ranked No. 22 in Texas.
Fast Fact: Pearland is one of the larger schools in its district but it was hit hard with graduation as less than 30 players are returning to the varsity squad this season.
Key Player: Linebacker Justin Phillips. The Class of 2014 standout is already in possession of an Oklahoma State offer and figures to have many more before he starts his senior season. At 6-feet and 210 pounds, inside linebacker specializes in stuffing the run. Pearland also returns its two defensive ends from last season, who will occupy the edges and leave Phillips to clean up the middle.
The Good: The evolution of the pass game. There are a lot of questions surrounding the offense this year with so few players returning but with a season under his belt much is expected of quarterback Jacob Garner. Plus, he has running back Adam Saunders and receiver Kevin Washington coming back to help. With offensive lineman Jacob Hollas and Jace Foley back in the fold as well, this offense could do big things.
The Bad: Depth. The raw numbers do not lie, Pearland does not have much coming back this year. If the team is hit by the injury bug or if players in key spots do not continue to improve, there are enough teams in the Houston area that can jump ahead of Pearland.
The bottom line: On paper this should be a team that is down, but it could still be a contender because it has the right pieces coming back. That said, with Manvel and North Shore missing the preseason rankings and being in close proximity to Pearland, the positions within the state rankings could quickly change.

Top 100 countdown
No. 61 First Coast, Florida

Coach: Marty Lee
Last Season: 13-1, Florida Class 7A runner-up. Ranked No. 13 in Florida.
Fast Fact: Head coach Marty Lee is one of just five faculty members remaining from when First Coast first opened its doors in 1990. He is entering his 16th season as the coach and has 118 wins to his credit. Last year was the program's first trip to the state finals.
Key Player: Quarterback De'Andre Johnson. As a freshman last season, Johnson led the team to a state finals appearance with over 2,700 yards passing. The 2015 player recently committed to Florida State and, if he can continue to improve, there is no reason to think that First Coast won't be making a return trip to the title game.
The Good: The defense. With the attention being paid to Johnson, the defense at First Coast has managed to fly under the radar despite being loaded with talent. The defense has five current FBS-level commits in the senior class and at least additional defenders could end up playing major college football as well. Two linebackers, Daniel McMillian and Tyrell Lyons have committed to Florida and Florida State and will be joined by 2015 backer Sherrod Pittman who already has offers from Florida State and UCF. The secondary has Darius Whitty and D.J. Killings (both committed) and a junior Kamren Lott who already has a Big Ten offer. Seyvon Lowry will be the main cog on the defensive line and is already committed to go to UCF.
The Bad: Taking the next step. Last season First Coast was young and flew under the radar for much of the season. This year there are early expectations. Taking the next step is hard to do sometimes, but it could be easier for First Coast given the talent. There are hardly any weak spots on this team and finding something negative is tough to do.
The bottom line: There is enough talent on this team for another state final run. The 40-0 pasting the team took at the hands of Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee in the finals last year is still fresh in the minds of everyone, but this team should be more mature this fall and ready to stand on the big stage. The schedule is fairly easy, so First Coast's path to the Final Four in the state playoffs should be pretty much assumed as long as the team remains focused.

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