July 30, 2013

Preseason RivalsHigh 100: Teams 85-81

MORE: Nos. 90-86 - Nos. 95-91 - Nos. 100-96

Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Rivals.com continues its 2013 countdown, ranking the teams from No. 1 through No. 100.

We are starting at No. 100 and will release two groups of five teams per day. The Top 10 will be announced over two days with the preseason No. 1 being named on August 8.

After that, we will wait until the first week of September for the next rankings, then have them every Monday during the season.

Top 100 countdown
No. 85 St. Joseph's Prep, Pa.

Coach: Gabe Infante
Last Season: 10-1, lost in district final. Ranked No. 93 in RivalsHigh100.
Key Player: Relatively unknown but very important is running back Olamide Zaccheaus. Zaccheaus is a small back generously listed at 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, but he has good vision and explosiveness. He led the team with 769 yards and eight touchdowns on 109 carries. He is one of the best backs in the eastern part of the state, even though many people have not heard of him.
The Good: The team was very good last year, and many of its best players were sophomores. Defensive back John Reid is emerging as a serious prospect in the class of 2015, and offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. is committed to Michigan a full year ahead of his cycle.
The Bad: Most coaches will say that you only go as far as your senior group leads you, but for St. Joseph's that is not a good thing. There is only a handful of seniors expected to be on the roster, let alone to be key contributors. There was a major gap in the roster last season, and that could pose depth problems this year, especially in the defensive trenches.
The Bottom Line: The success that St. Joseph's had last year may have been a year too early, but it set the bar higher this year. Whether the team can jump over it will be quickly measured. It will take on Dallas (Texas) Jesuit, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco, Landsdale (Pa.) North Penn, Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood, and Wyndmoor (Pa.) La Salle in five of the first six games. While St. Joseph's enters as the preseason favorite in all but the Don Bosco game, the remaining teams are quality opponents and among the better programs nationally.

Top 100 countdown
No. 84 West Monroe, Louisiana

Coach: Jerry Arledge
Last Season: 12-4, lost in Class 5A semifinals
Key Player: Five-star offensive lineman Cameron Robinson tips the scales at 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds. If there is a short-yardage situation or a bootleg pass, it is easy to figure which side of the field it will be run to. Robinson is in his second season at the powerhouse program, and the hope is that he can lead the offensive line to a better showing than a year ago.
The Good: Robinson is not alone in the trenches. Both sides of the ball should be improved from last year. The offensive line will have 6-foot-2, 265-pound Dustin Brooks lined up alongside Robinson, and on defense a pair of 2015 players will look to make up for the loss of Anthony Yruegas, who signed at McNeese State. Ragen Murry, at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, will put pressure on the quarterback, and 6-foot-3, 275-pound John Washington will clog the middle.
The Bad: West Monroe has become less explosive over the last few seasons, and this year it will be breaking in a new quarterback. Michael Mims graduated, and there isn't a standout playmaker at the skill positions to rely on. The program has maintained its standard of double-digit victories and deep playoff runs, but the national championship-caliber teams from 2000 appear to be well in the rearview.
The Bottom Line: Legendary coach Don Shows has stepped aside and longtime assistant Arledge will take over, but not much figures to change on the sidelines. With a trend of top teams playing each other early, West Monroe will run into Madison (Miss.) Central, Lake Charles (La.) Barbe and Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist in three of the first five games. All of those games are winnable, but each of the three has beaten West Monroe in one of the last two seasons.

Top 100 countdown
No. 83 Don Bosco, New Jersey

Coach: Greg Toal
Last Season: 8-3, lost in Non-Public Group IV semifinals. Ranked No. 100 in RivalsHigh 100
Key Player: Temple pledge Frank Nutile returns as the starting quarterback, and there will be higher expectations for him in his second season. As a junior, Nutile threw for nearly 1,500 yards but had just four more touchdowns than interceptions. The offense was nonexistent against the quality teams on the schedule.
The Good: Moving the ball on the ground could be easier because the offensive line should be better than it was last year. Two-star Tyrell Smith has committed to Virginia Tech, Mitch Arthur looked solid at his Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour event, and class of 2015 tackle Kevin Feder has an offer from Miami. If the group can open holes and keep Nutile off his back, this could be another successful season for Don Bosco.
The Bad: There is hardly any explosiveness on this team, and in each meaningful contest it will be at a disadvantage in speed on the outside. It will enter each significant challenge without a go-to playmaker to match the opposition's. This team would be significantly higher in the national rankings if Jabrill Peppers had stayed with it instead of transferring two years ago.
The Bottom Line: The IronMen did not take a shortcut to the top of the mountain in high school football. Under Toal, Don Bosco has an incredible argument for being the top national program over the last decade. However, as the season approaches, this year's version does not resemble the national title-winning squad of 2009 or the runner-up in 2011. A multiple-loss campaign is expected with the schedule the program faces, but it will likely finish the season nationally ranked because many teams wouldn't even field a call to play this powerhouse.

Top 100 countdown
No. 82 Denton Guyer, Texas

Coach: John Walsh
Last Season: 15-2, won Texas 4A Division I championship
Key Player: Dual-threat quarterback Jerrod Heard is one of the top prospects in the country, and he looks to lead the program to another state title. In its third season with Heard at the helm, Guyer will not be sneaking up on anyone. Heard has improved each year. As a sophomore, he eclipsed 2,000 yards passing and 650 yards rushing while accounting for 33 touchdowns. He added to each number as a junior as he pushed passed 4,000 total yards and amassed 53 touchdowns.
The Good: As good as Heard is, he cannot make the offense go without help. He has that in bunches. In the backfield, he will be flanked by D.J. Breedlove and Anthony Taylor. In the trenches, converted tight end Kyle Soltero will be joined by returning starters Bryan Barrett and Hunter Krastin.
The Bad: As is the case with many teams in Texas, defense has become optional for Guyer. It opened last season by giving up 54 points in consecutive losses before rolling off a handful of wins. The Wildcats closed the season by giving up more than 30 points in five straight playoff games en route to the state title. The defense must be improved out of the gate, or a return to the state title game will still result in an unranked season.
The Bottom Line: Many of the best teams in the state have moved up to Class 5A in recent years, while Guyer actually lost enrollment and went back to Class 4A. There are quality teams within the 4A ranks -- Cedar Park was given strong rankings consideration as well -- but there is not nearly the depth as there is in 5A. Guyer opens the year with Cedar Hill, and a lot will be learned about the makeup of this squad then.

Top 100 countdown
No. 81 Arrowhead, Wisconsin

Coach: Greg Malling
Last Season: 13-0, won Wisconsin Division I title
Key Player: Strongside defensive end Billy Hirschfeld has committed to Wisconsin, and he went out of his way to show this summer that he is a player who needs national recognition. At 6-foot-6, 269 pounds, he was one of the best players at the Chicago stop of the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour. As the No. 19 player at his position in the nation, he was one whom many analysts were talking about.
The Good: The defense will be loaded. Hirschfeld will be backed by a trio of linebackers who could end up at the next level. Three-star Sam Seonbuchner is committed to Iowa State, while Matt Seitz is seeing his recruiting pick up with offers to lower-level schools and Kevin Driscoll is garnering interest from Division III programs. In the secondary, Alex Romensko is one of the hardest hitters in the state who is starting to get looks from programs such as South Dakota State.
The Bad: Gone is pro-style quarterback Brady Kelliher, who accepted a preferred walk-on opportunity at Wisconsin. He threw for 2,500 yards and 22 scores in a fairly explosive offense. Whether the team can replace his leadership and talent will go a long way toward determining the success of the season.
The Bottom Line: This is a Wisconsin team that is getting ranked ahead of very talented programs from power states, and that kind of attention comes with a microscope from fans. The team will need to start strong and stay on top of its game. It opens the season with games against Kenosha (Wis.) Bradford and Mequon (Wis.) Homestead, so there will be a lot found out about this team before the calendar gets to September.



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