July 31, 2013

Preseason RivalsHigh 100: Teams 80-76

MORE: Nos. 85-81 - 90-86 - 95-91 - 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. 80 Westlake, Texas

Coach: Daren Allman
Last Season: 10-5, lost in Texas 5A Division II semifinals
Key Player: Having a Division I quarterback is an automatic advantage, and SMU commit Jordan Severt returns for his second season leading the Chaparrals. As a junior, he had 21 touchdowns passing and just over 2,100 yards. The offense tends to be one of the more balanced among the better programs around the state, which will keep defenses honest.
The Good: Severt has the size at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds to stand his ground in the pocket. Adding to his poise is confidence in the offensive line in front of him. Returning are all-district center Bobby Dwyer, Rice commit Calvin Anderson, 6-foot-8 Division I prospect Will Copa and offensive tackle Silas Connolly. Having a front like that will make this program tough to defend, whether the play call is run or pass.
The Bad: There really is not much to pick out as a weakness. The team is well coached, it is balanced on offense, and among Texas teams it plays reasonably well on defense. Where it does have issues is in its size. On defense, Westlake is small and relies on speed to force turnovers and get the ball back to its offense. When it struggled or lost last year, it was when it didn't create opportunities because it rarely forced three-and-outs.
The Bottom Line: Westlake has regained the upper hand on Lake Travis within Austin, and it has played its way back into the national rankings. The schedule early will be very telling for the program as well as the ranking. It opens the season with Cedar Park (Texas) High -- which just missed the RivalsHigh 100 -- and then it has games with College Station (Texas) A&M Consolidated and Cibolo (Texas) Steele before entering district play. This could be a three-loss start to the season, or it could provide a reason to make a major run up the national poll.

Top 100 countdown
No. 79 Auburn, Alabama

Coach: Tim Carter
Last Season: 11-2, lost in Class 6A quarterfinals
Key Player: With significant turnover in talent on offense, the key player will be outside linebacker Rashaan Evans. Last year the headliner for the program was five-star Reuben Foster, and he left some big shoes to fill. Foster led the team in tackles and gained nearly 400 yards on the ground for the offense. Evans is a Rivals250 presented by Under Armour prospect and a four-star, but he will have to elevate his play to get Auburn over the hump.
The Good: Alongside Evans will be a strong supporting cast on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Darian Yancey, a Southern Miss pledge, will help in the middle of the field. Behind the pair will be three-star cornerback Blaise Taylor and two-star CB Antreal Allen. The safeties are 6-foot-2, 195-pound Selwyn Torbert and his brother, 6-foot-2, 191-pound Delwyn Torbert. Occupying blockers up front is two-star prospect Michael Turner. With those seven talented players, it will be hard to score on this squad.
The Bad: The program lost quarterback Cameron Echols-Luper, who had 1,000 yards passing and 900 yards rushing -- leading in both categories. It also lost Gevon Jones, Cameron Reese and Maltiece O'Neal El, the next three leading rushers and receivers. For an offense that struggled with consistency, this could be bad news.
The Bottom Line: Auburn could go either way. The defense is very good and should repeat its performance from last season, but the offense could be worse and lose more games. In 2012, it won two games by a single point and fell in the quarterfinals to Opelika by one. Games with Gadsden (Ala.) City, Montgomery (Ala.) Carver, Phenix City (Ala.) Central and Opelika (Ala.) High will be tests in the middle of the season.

Top 100 countdown
No. 78 Waco Midway, Texas

Coach: Terry Gambill
Last Season: 13-1, lost in Texas 5A Division II quarterfinals. Ranked No. 59 in RivalsHigh 100
Key Player: With the turnover at quarterback this season, it will be a nice safety blanket for the new starter to know that 6-foot-3, 219-pound tight end Jayson Clements is back. Clements was a consistent threat as a junior and figures to play a similar role as a good blocker and pass catcher. The receivers and running backs breaking camp will likely be juniors, and having his senior leadership will be a fringe benefit for the program.
The Good: Midway made the move up to Class 5A last year and didn't miss a beat from its success in Class 4A -- and it did so with 16 new starters. This season, there is turnover on offense but the defense should again be the calling card for the Panthers. BuBu Alvarez is the reigning defensive MVP of the district and figures to be a force again. Joining him on the defensive front will be Marquise Johnson, who earned playing time as a sophomore on a roster with 100-plus players. Backing them will be Chavoun Childers and Baylor commit Jamie Jacobs at the linebacker level. Both like to play downhill and make big hits.
The Bad: The offense has held the program back from national rankings in the past and could be what moves it out of the RivalsHigh 100 early in the season. Junior receiver Devonte Stickland has a Baylor offer, and senior running back Xavier Hailey is getting interest from the Big 12 program as well. If each can have a solid season, another run in the playoffs is likely.
The Bottom Line: Midway is going to go undefeated through its regular season again. Outside of College Station (Texas) A&M Consolidated, there isn't much of a challenge on the slate of games. Learning what this team really has will be tough until the second or third round of the playoffs. The offense is a question, as it always is with Midway, and the defense is stout. This is one of the more consistent programs in Waco, with the system and results not changing as much as the names.

Top 100 countdown
No. 77 Oviedo, Florida

Coach: Wes Allen
Last Season: 11-2, lost in Class 7A quarterfinals
Key Player: Two-year starting running back Jurell Green will be a focal point of the attack. As a sophomore, the class of 2015 prospect piled up more than 1,500 yards on 232 carries and scored 20 touchdowns. The 5-foot-9, 176-pound player is starting to see his profile grow, and he has offers from Cincinnati, Louisville, Mississippi State and Western Kentucky. If he repeats his 1,500-yard season, that figures to improve because the team will also be coursing into the 7A playoffs again.
The Good: Along with Green, the Lions return senior quarterback Chris Davis. Davis is more of an athlete than a true quarterback, but the UCF pledge threw for more than 1,100 yards and accounted for nearly 600 more on the ground. Adding 6-foot-2 receiver Malcolm Bryant to the mix will make this one of the more explosive offensive groups outside of South Florida.
The Bad: The defense allowed a lot of points last year, and even with the excuse of youth it is concerning. Three-star defensive lineman Tyree Owens returns, and junior linebacker Justin Spencer holds multiple offers. The unit allowed 27 points or more in five games, and generally that is not going to cut it late in the season. It will have to tighten things in the secondary and not allow explosive plays.
The Bottom Line: Oviedo returns a ton of talent and that may be enough. The program moves to Class 8A and will have to battle Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee and Tampa (Fla.) Plant to get to the state title game. The bracket is wide open and this squad has a good of a chance as anyone.

Top 100 countdown
No. 76 Winton Woods, Ohio

Coach: Andre Parker
Last Season: 8-4, lost in second round of Division II playoffs
Key Player: Class of 2015 offensive tackle George Brown is new to the program, and he puts it in the mix nationally. Brown secures the front of the line, and at 6-foot-6, 253 pounds he is one of the most coveted players in the state for the next cycle. His nasty disposition on the field is what makes for a good offensive unit, if the rest of the linemen can flip a switch and join him in grinding down opponents.
The Good: The defense is going to be extremely talented from front to back. Three-star defensive tackle Daniel Cage is joined by defensive end Adrian Rankin -- who holds an offer from Western Michigan. The next level of the defense has class of 2015 prospect David Long and senior Torrez Curtis. Long has offers from Arkansas, Georgia Tech and Illinois, while Curtis hopes the exposure will help him. The secondary could be the strength of the team with three-star Kentucky commit Mike Edwards, two-star Jerrell Foster, Demetrius Suesberry and Kamaren Barnes returning.
The Bad: Outside of senior quarterback Shemar Hooks, there is not a lot to write about on offense. Hooks has a Ball State offer and can do things with his arms and his legs, but he is not quite enough to carry this team on his shoulders. The addition of Brown makes it more likely that someone else in the backfield will step up and find holes to run through. That will be found out in the first week against West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West.
The Bottom Line: Winton Woods may be a stretch here as the only non-Division I team from Ohio to get the nod, but it is loaded with talent and the favorite to claim the title. Ohio football is strong this year after a step back in 2012. While the top three teams were hard to separate from one another, the group from five through 15 was equally as difficult. Talent is the difference maker in the preseason, but results will determine if this is a top 30 team or one that falls outside the national rankings.




 

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