August 3, 2013

Preseason RivalsHigh 100: Teams 45-41

MORE: Nos. 50-46 -Nos. 55-51 - Nos. 60-56 - Nos. 65-61 - Nos. 70-66 - Nos. 75-71 - Nos. 80-76 - Nos. 85-81 - Nos. 90-86 - Nos. 95-91 - Nos. 100-96
Dallas Jackson discusses the RivalsHigh 100 on Yahoo! Sports Radio

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 today is counting down the teams from No. 100 through No. 1.

We started 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 Aug. 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. 45 Trinity, Kentucky

Coach: Bob Beatty
Last Season: 13-1; won Class 6A state championship. Ranked No. 25 in RivalsHigh 100.
Key Player: Three-star prospect Reggie Bonnafon will be tasked with replacing three-year starting quarterback Travis Wright but the expectations won't change for the Shamrocks. Bonnafon may be a better athlete than Wright, but his command of the offense will remain a question mark until the season begins. The Louisville commit, who was a key cog in Trinity's state title run last year and played receiver during the 2011 national championship season, will obviously be taking on a completely different level of responsibility as a senior.
The Good: The program's offensive system is well-established and there's been continuity in its coaching staff, so the product on the field is not expected to take too much of a tumble from last year's state championship team. Bonnafon will have one of the most reliable receivers in the region on his side as Cody Swabek returns as well. Swabek is not considered a major Division I prospect but is nearly impossible to cover on the high school level.
The Bad: A historically great senior class has graduated. Defensive end Jason Hatcher is at Kentucky. Receiver James Quick is at Louisville. Defensive back Ryan White is at Vanderbilt. Quarterback Travis Wright is at Florida International. Running back Dalyn Dawkins is at Purdue. That group won three state titles, clinched a national title and elevated the perception of the program nationally. This next group of seniors has huge shoes to fill and that will be tough to do.
The Bottom Line: Trinity is almost assuredly going to take a step back -- which is more of a testament to how good it has been, not a slight to this year's team -- so the question is how much does it regress? The Shamrocks will open the season as an underdog against Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth and then play toss-up games against Camel (Ind.) and Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central before taking on nationally ranked Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain. The season doesn't let up with Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral, Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier, and Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller also on the schedule. An undefeated run could push this squad towards the top 10 but most likely this will be a two-loss team.

Top 100 countdown
No. 44 Lamar, Texas

Coach: Tom Nolen
Last Season: 15-1; lost in 5A-DI state championship. Ranked No. 76 in RivalsHigh 100.
Key Player: The return of dual-threat quarterback Darrell Colbert has Lamar fans primed for another deep run in the playoffs. Colbert, a three-star prospect that has already committed to SMU, threw for over 2,500 yards, rushed for just under 700 and accounted for 40 touchdowns last season. There's still room for improvement, though. Colbert piled up all of those statistics despite completing less than half of his passes. If he can bump his completion rate up toward 55 percent, that would take him and Lamar a long way this season -- especially in the playoffs.
The Good: With the abundance of teams in Texas that can score points seemingly at will it is a good thing that Colbert has his playmaking tailback returning as well. Class of 2015 prospect Ronnie Wesley gained over 1,100 yards in 2012 and was named District 20-5A's Newcomer of the Year. The offensive line should be fine as well as it is led by another SMU commit, Braylon Hyder.
The Bad: Depth is a bit of a concern. While the school has over 3,300 students, the football team has still been thin at times behind the front-line players. This year Lamar also goes from hunter to hunted and will not sneak up on anyone. The region that Lamar must emerge from isn't that difficult and so, barring injury, November and early December will provide the team's real test.
The Bottom Line: Many were late to the party on Lamar last year as the team was young and unexpectedly successful and that will not be the case this year. Only one team in the district had a winning season last year and so the Redskins should go through the season with relative ease but the playoffs will post a challenge late in the year. There are no games to evaluate this program on until then though.

Top 100 countdown
No. 43 Mount Carmel, Illinois

Coach: Frank Lenti
Last Season: 15-1; won Class 8A state championship.
Key Player: Three-star running back Matt Domer will be asked to shoulder the load again for the Caravan. The Illinois commit has already had a busy year, attending many national camps including the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour, and has looked to be in better shape than he was at the end of last season. He rushed for over 1,400 yards and scored 20 touchdowns in 2012 and figures to at least duplicate those numbers as the focal point of the offense.
The Good: In a region known for tough defenses, Mount Carmel's defensive line figures to be one of the most intimidating in the Midwest. Michigan State commit Enoch Smith, Jr. will man one defensive tackle spot while Minnesota pledge Steven Richardson will line up alongside. Both are in the 280-pound range and will be tough to move. The presence of these two future Big Ten players should free up linebacker Nick Johnson to roam the field and make plays.
The Bad: Mount Carmel runs a belly option offense and it will have to replace its quarterback as well as three starters on the offensive line. As much as Domer will impact the success of the team, the rest of the offensive group will need to come together, quickly. Kyle Thomas and Nate Oquendo return up front but there are holes to fill.
The Bottom Line: The perception of Illinois football has gradually dropped but this season, with Mount Carmel, Lake Zurich (Ill.) High, East St. Louis (Ill.) High as well as a handful of others, opinions could shift. Mount Carmel enters the year as the clear leader of the group but the others will make their case this season. The defensive line for Mount Carmel would give any offensive line around the country fits and that's a major reason why the team starts the season inside the Top 50.

Top 100 countdown
No. 42 Folsom, California

Coach: Kris Richardson and Troy Taylor
Last Season: 14-1; lost in Regional Open Division bowl. Ranked No. 89 in RivalsHigh 100.
Key Player: Class of 2015 quarterback Jake Browning is the clear leader of a team that returns a ton of players. Last season, Browning threw for over 5,000 yards and 60 touchdowns and completed an impressive 65 percent of his passes in the process. Folsom has had explosive offenses before -- most recently with Dano Graves as the helm -- but it appears that Browning is going to shatter every record in program history. Expectations are raised thanks to the 6-foot-2, 185 pound gunslinger who already has offers from Boise State, Utah, Washington and Washington State.
The Good: Not only does Browning return, but he'll also have his leading receiver and two leading rushers from last season alongside him. Troy Knox returns to stretch the field while Bailey Laolagi and Harry Lipnosky will keep teams honest on the ground. All told, the offense returns eight starters, including four on the line, which will make for a very potent unit.
The Bad: The bad is more a reflection on Folsom's peers in NorCal than it is anything else. The fact is that NorCal football is not very good and so there are few games in which Folsom will be tested in advance of the anticipated showdown with Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. Last year the Bulldogs were mostly young pups and took a 49-15 thumping at the hands of De La Salle, so time will tell if this group is ready to take the next step.
The Bottom Line: A second week contest at Granite Bay (Calif.) High could be a challenge but most likely the talent of Folsom will take over and be the difference. There really isn't much else on the schedule that should stand between Folsom and the playoffs. Expect a ton of points to be scored along the way but Folsom's season will be defined by its game against De La Salle. This year Folsom may be the more talented team but the Spartans have mentally defeated opponents in pre-game many times.

Top 100 countdown
No. 41 St. Joseph Regional, N.J.

Coach: Tony Karcich
Last Season: 10-2; Non-Public Group III champions. Ranked No. 98 in RivalsHigh 100.
Key Player: Setting the tone for St. Joe's will be hybrid safety-linebacker Mark Fossati. The 5-foot-10, 200 pound prospect led the team with 154 tackles last year and scored two touchdowns on defense and will again be asked to be the front man for the unit. While Fossati may have limited college potential -- only Lafayette and Towson have offered at this point -- his production on the prep level is great.
The Good: Offensively, this run-first team should be in tremendous shape with the return of quarterback Spencer Aukamp, running back Sherman Alston and receiver Quai Jefferson. The team will certainly miss the production of Ricky Jeune but should be able to replace his 36 receptions.
The Bad: There's not much about this team that jumps out as a negative. This is a very strong group and while losing Juene hurts there could be those that step up. The issue with many New Jersey teams is that Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco has ruled the roost for so long that they seem to have a mental edge on everyone else. St. Joe's was able to down the IronMen last season on Thanksgiving and may have cleared a hurdle but the cluster of top-level teams in the state is still so close that it is hard to definitively say which will be the best of the group.
The Bottom Line: St. Joe's could prove to be the best in the state and it could have a strong case for the best in the Northeast if it can also defeat Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha in the season-opener. There are a lot of returning players to a team that has a history of success and a coach that is not a stranger to state championship level football. There is no team in Group III that will stand in the way of St. Joe's and the program's season will come down to games with Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic and Don Bosco.

MORE: Dallas Jackson discusses the RivalsHigh 100 on Yahoo! Sports Radio




 

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