Nobody racks up more frequent flier miles than the Rivals.com recruiting analysts.
After months and months of traveling from one corner of the country to another for Rivals.com Junior Days, NIKE Camps, visits to high schools for spring practices and other camps and combines, the first official player rankings for the class of 2008 have been released today.
The first release is for players that have received the prestigious five-star rating and are ranked from No. 27 through No. 21 overall nationally. They're also ranked as 6.1 on the Rivals Rating Scale, which means they're projected to be the franchise players in this year's class.
These players are truly considered the elite prospects in the country and are deemed to have excellent pro potential. They should be high-major prospects with the ability to make an immediate dent in college football next season.
Rivals.com will unveil players ranked from No. 20-14 on Wednesday, No. 13-7 on Thursday and No. 6-1 on Friday. On Tuesday, following the Memorial Day holiday, the first official Rivals100 for the class of 2008 will be unveiled. That will be the first time that stars are awarded for those players and they will be ranked numerically from No. 1 to 100.
27.Tyler Love 6-7, 285, OT, Mountain Brook, Ala. Love in action Accolades: Earned all-league honors as a junior and is considered one of the better offensive linemen to come out of Alabama in the past five years. Why he's a five-star: "It's pretty obvious that Tyler Love has all the tools to be an elite offensive tackle in college. He's got a huge frame and long arms, which is a must at that position. Also of high importance is excellent flexibility, and Love certainly has that. He also has excellent feet and advanced athleticism. While he has tons of upside as a prospect, Love also is a good football player. While all offensive linemen have to develop once they get to college, Love's not a guy that you look at and have to imagine what he's going to be because he's already dominant at this point. You just figure that in a couple of years, he's going to be a big contributor." – Rivals.com recruiting analyst JC Shurburtt. Love says: "I'm going to pick a school based upon how good the university is, especially the academics. The atmosphere there and how I get along with my peers there is important, too. Also, how good the football team is." Beyond the gridiron: Love has a 3.0 grade-point average … Is good friends with Hoover (Ala.) Spain Park defensive end William Green … Admits that he grew up a big Alabama fan. Top schools: Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, USC, Vanderbilt and Virginia. Vote: Should Tyler Love be a five star?
26.Lucas Nix 6-6, 295, OT, Jefferson Hills (Pa.) Thomas Jefferson Nix in action Accolades: As a junior, he was selected to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22 and the Tribune-Review's Terrific 25. He was also a first team AAA all-state selection by both the Associated Press and by the Pennsylvania Football News. Why he's a five-star: "Nix is a throwback lineman, the kind of player who likes to get down and dirty and play physical. He has tremendous agility for a big man, plays with leverage and keeps his feet moving. He could also be an outstanding defensive tackle in college and is one of the best two-way players in the Northeast." – Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell. Nix says: "Originally I wanted to decide by early in the summer," he said. "But now I think I'll wait. I think I'll take a couple official visits." Beyond the gridiron: His brother Nate is a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh … Has a 2.9 grade-point average … Helped Thomas Jefferson to an impressive 14-1 record in 2006 … In addition to football, Nix played basketball for Thomas Jefferson. Top schools: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. Vote:Should Lucas Nix be a five star?
25.Brandon Barnes 6-0, 185, ATH, Bunn (N.C.) Barnes in action Accolades: Barnes, who projects as a running back, wide receiver or safety at the next level, rushed 69 times for 518 yards and five touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 259 yards and four touchdowns. Barnes also had 77 tackles and five interceptions defensively. He earned all-league and all-area honors as a junior. Why he's a five-star: "Barnes has explosive speed and is versatile enough to play many positions in college. He has an excellent burst, reaches top speed quickly and doesn't shy from contact. His ball skills are good, and he has elite closing speed on defense. He just does everything well and at top speed." – Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell. Barnes says: "Right now I'm trying to stay neutral and see where I best fit in. I want to take some more visits to find a great campus, good teachers, excellent coaches and a terrific tradition. I want to go to a school that runs the ball mostly. It would be great to stay close to home, although that's not a big factor." Beyond the gridiron: Plans to major in either computer technology or engineering. "I also am interested in Web design, so I'll be looking at technical schools that deal with computers," he said … Had a 34.3-inch vertical leap at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas combine on April 28. Top schools: Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina, N.C. State, Penn State, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. Vote:Should Brandon Barnes be a five star?
24.Stephen Good 6-5, 290, OT, Paris (Texas) Good in action Accolades: Hasn't allowed a sack in high school – started in 27 games. Named Class 4A first team all-state as a junior, honorable mention all-state as a sophomore. Had 87 pancake blocks in 2006. Named sophomore of the year for District 12-4A. Why he's a five-star: "Good is the type of offensive lineman that makes his presence felt the second he lays his hands on a defender. His explosiveness and strong blocking ability - combined with upper-body strength - make him one of the nation's better offensive tackle prospects. The thing that stands out about Good is his relentlessness on the field. His motor runs until he puts his defender completely out of the play." – Rivals.com recruiting analyst John Talman. His coach says: "When it's all said and done, he will be one of the ones that goes down in the history of Oklahoma to be one of the great offensive linemen ever. To say that is a huge statement, but I know his character. I know his work ethic and his ability. Knowing these things, it's easy for me to say." Beyond the gridiron: When he's not on the football field, he's competing in power lifting … Parents grew up Texas Longhorns fans … Has a 3.33 grade-point average. Top schools: Committed to Oklahoma on Feb. 12, picking the Sooners over offers from Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, Georgia, Nebraska, Notre Dame and others. Vote:Should Stephen Good be a five star?
23.Patrick Johnson 6-1, 193, CB, Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely Johnson in action Accolades: A first-team all-state selection by the Florida Sportswriters Association as a junior after he had 37 tackles and seven interceptions. He also had four kickoff returns for touchdowns and 11 touchdowns on offense. Why he's a five-star: "I've had the chance to see Patrick Johnson in person, and it's clear that he has the size, hips and speed to be an elite cornerback at the collegiate level. Perhaps the best thing about Johnson's game right now is his recovery speed. He has advanced ability to close on a receiver and the ball. He had seven interceptions as a junior, which shows he has excellent ball skills. Johnson also is an above-average tackler. Given his size and strength, he won't have any issues making plays against the run. Miami fans should be excited about the possibility of Johnson and Class of 2007 recruit Doug Wiggins forming an elite cornerback tandem for the Hurricanes in the coming years." – Rivals.com recruiting analyst JC Shurburtt. Johnson says: "The way I carry myself on the field is a factor in everything I do. Every time I go out and play football, I tell myself to be the best. I also try to be a great leader by my play. When it comes down to the moment in the heat of the battle, I am sure to take over the game." Beyond the gridiron: His cousin is former blue-chip recruit and Florida State defensive back Bryant McFadden … Will graduate early and enroll in the spring semester. Top schools: Committed to Miami on April 5, picking the Hurricanes over offers from Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State and Georgia. Vote:Should Patrick Johnson be a five star?
22.Kyle Rudolph 6-7, 220, TE, Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder Rudolph in action Accolades: Earned all-Greater Catholic League honors as a junior after racking up 32 receptions for 400 yards and seven touchdowns. He was also recognized with all-state, all-metro and all-region honors. Why he's a five-star: "Kyle Rudolph is a smooth, pass-catching tight end with the ability to stretch the field. He has a long frame with plenty of room to fill out, very sure hands and he runs solid routes. His height is a huge advantage, and he uses it well. Rudolph is talented enough to slot out or even play wide in situations, and he's a mismatch for linebackers." – Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell. Rudolph says: "Being a leader on the field is important to me. I know that my teammates look up to me in key situations, and I have to do whatever I can to inspire them to victory. I also know that actions speak louder than words, so I have to go out there and do the best that I can and show them the way to victory." Beyond the gridiron: Helped Elder to a 6-4 record last season … Also plays on one of the top AAU basketball teams in Ohio and was also recruited heavily by Miami University and Butler in hoops … Has a 3.4 grade-point average. Top schools: Committed to Notre Dame on March 26, picking the Irish over offers from Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia, Boston College, Louisville, Miami and Michigan. Vote:Should Kyle Rudolph be a five star?
21.Chancey Aghayere 6-4, 241, DE, Garland (Texas) Aghayere in action Accolades: Was named sophomore of the year for his district and was an all-district selection in 2006 as a junior. He had 54 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss and five sacks in 2006. During his sophomore year, Aghayere had 31 tackles and five sacks. Why he's a five-star: "One look at the frame of Chancey Aghayere and it's obvious he has the physical stature college coaches are looking for in a defensive lineman. He possesses a great initial burst and solid hands, but Aghayere's upside to get even better at the next level is what makes him one of the better defensive line prospects in the country." – Rivals.com recruiting analyst John Talman. Aghayere says: "I'm a versatile defensive end. I don't think I'm power over speed. I kind of just do it all. If I have to use the speed rush to get to the quarterback, then that's what I'll do. But if I have to get physical and get through the lineman to get to the running back, then I'm also able to do that. I think playing here at Garland has really taught me a lot and made me a very complete defensive lineman. I've got some great coaching, and that's going to help me be ready for the next level." Beyond the gridiron: Wants to major in business and marketing in college ... Has a 3.0 grade-point average and said a school's graduation rate will be important in his decision … Will turn 18 on Sept. 17. Top schools: Recently reduced his list to a final six of Florida, LSU, Louisville, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Texas. He was also offered by teams like Texas A&M, USC and Nebraska. Vote:Should Chancey Aghayere be a five star?