Another piece of the final recruiting rankings puzzle has been put into place.
On Wednesday, Rivals.com unveiled the final installment of the Rivals250 – the ranking of the top 250 high school football players in the nation for the class of 2008. On Thursday we'll update final position rankings, and then next week the postseason state rankings will also be updated.
The Rivals100 for the class of 2009 will be updated soon as well.
Unlike the Rivals100 that was released on Tuesday, the 250 didn't feature too many dramatic changes.
There were only six new additions to the rankings, with the highest debut coming from Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy strongside defensive end Quinton Coples. The 6-foot-7, 235-pounder was extremely impressive in the U.S. Army All-America Game. He climbed from outside of the ranking to the No. 105 spot.
Coples, who impressed all week in San Antonio and had the East's only sack in the game, lists Clemson, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, Tennessee and East Carolina as his top teams.
"Quinton is kind of a laid-back guy and not a rah-rah type," said Robert Prunty, Coples' coach at Hargrave - who also coached him in the Army game. "He plays hard though," Prunty said. "I said before we came out here - and not because he's my guy - I think he will be the sleeper out of the group this year."
Calling Coples a sleeper is a bit of a stretch. On a national stage at the Army All-American Bowl, Coples stood out while in the company of five-star prospects and other top-flight recruits.
"A lot of people don't know me because I wasn't fortunate enough to go out to all these camps and that kind of stuff, but I just go out there and play hard and do my thing," Coples said. "I know how to get the man off of me, I know how to rip, I know how to swim, I know how to do all those things and they have to find a way to defend me."
Prunty wasn't surprised in the end that Coples showed he's got the talent to stack up with the Terrelle Pryor's of the world.
MAKING THE CUT
Six new prospects earned a spot in the final Rivals250:
"You talk about a guy who is 6-foot-7 and runs a 4.6 40, the only young man I can compare him to is Julius Peppers," Prunty said. "He reminds me a lot of Julius Peppers when he was in high school – just raw and athletic."
Also making a nice climb up the charts was Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney inside linebacker Mike Zordich. The Penn State commitment moves into the ranking at No. 134.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound inside linebacker had an amazing senior season, leading his team to the state championship game. Many local observers called Zordich the "heart of the Mooney senior class," and he often got overshadowed by teammates Brandon Beachum, Dan McCarthy and Taylor Hill because they're also top-flight recruits. However, in the Offense-Defense All-Star Game, it was Zordich that was the star of the show.
Zordich had a solid week of practice and was in the midst of a very strong performance in the game when he broke things open with a strip on a 4th-and-1 that he secured and returned 40 yards for a touchdown. Zordich won the game's MVP award, but it wasn't just because of the big fumble recovery. He showed great speed and athleticism all night.
Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy star Marcus Dowtin moves from the athlete rankings to outside linebacker and climbs to No. 140 overall. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder also impressed at the O-D game, where he was picked as the game's strongest player by Rivals.com analyst Barton Simmons.
"Though he is athletic and looks like a linebacker in pads, you don't realize how strong Dowtin is until he makes contact with somebody," Simmons said about the Georgia commitment. "He sends runners and blockers backward at the point of contact."
Receiver Kenny Tate of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha had a 31-yard reception in the Army game, and his strong week of practice helped him move into the rankings at the No. 170 spot. Moncks Corner (S.C.) Berkeley all-purpose back Andre Ellington also entered the rankings (at No. 172). The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder is heading to Clemson. Ellington was one of the most impressive players at the Under Armour All-Star Game event.
Okechuckwu Okoroha of Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor Roosevelt moves into the list at No. 233 after just missing it in the previous month. The 6-foot, 183-pound safety is heading to Boston College.