August 15, 2013

Ranking the all-time five-stars: North Carolina

MORE: Calif. - Florida - Georgia - Louisiana - Md./D.C.

Appearing in all 12 games for the Florida Gators last season -- including starts against South Carolina, Missouri and Louisiana-Lafayette -- and being named to the all-freshman team validated D.J. Humphries' No. 2 overall ranking in the Rivals100 presented by Under Armour.

Then a 6-foot-5, 265-pound player, Humphries tied for the highest ranking in Rivals.com history for an offensive lineman with Andre Smith and Seantrel Henderson. He was given the Anthony Munoz Award as the best high school lineman in the class of 2012 and became the highest-ranked player ever to come from the state of North Carolina.

Now a road grader for Florida, the Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek product is still viewed as the best high school player in the Rivals.com era from the Tar Heel state.

Following the summer evaluation period, the Rivals.com team of analysts is meeting this week to discuss how to reshape the rankings for the class of 2014 Rivals100 presented by Under Armour. This presented a perfect opportunity to look back at former five-star prospects and re-rank them among the other elite prospects from their home states.

HOW FARRELL RE-RANKS THEM
Name Year/Rank
1 D.J. Humphries 2012 No. 2
2 Keenan Allen 2010 No. 5
3 Jonathan Bullard 2012 No. 6
4 Brandon Spikes 2006 No. 13
5 Robert Crisp 2010 No. 13
6 DeMario Pressley 2004 No. 11
7 Donte Moss 2009 No. 16
8 Chris Culliver 2007 No. 19
9 Brandon Jeffries 2002 No. 19
10 Dwight Jones 2007 No. 22

We Missed On...
Todd Gurley 2012 No. 42
From the class of 2002 -- when Rivals.com established the Rivals100 -- to the class of 2013, there have been 11 states to have double-digit players earn five-star rankings. This week, it is time to turn back the clock and put those players in order based on what they did in high school.

None of the players identified as midseason five-stars for the class of 2014 is considered for this ranking. Each is subject to change through the regular season and all-star game evaluations.

North Carolina is represented by 14 players rated as five-stars over the last dozen classes. With Elijah Hood being compared to former No. 1 overall player Ernie Sims, that number figures to grow by at least one this season.

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said the evolution of the state has been impressive.

"North Carolina has made big strides from a state long thought to be associated with basketball to a football-producing power," he said. "Humphries is the highest-ranked offensive lineman we've ever had and is the choice for No. 1 here, but Jonathan Bullard pushed him hard in 2012 for top state honors and Keenan Allen is still one of the smoothest athletes I've ever seen in high school."

Also inside the re-ranking of five-stars are current NFL players Brandon Spikes and Chris Culliver, N.C. State's Robert Crisp and some flame-outs in Donte Moss, DeMario Pressley and Dwight Jones.

"Spikes was an obvious success and the jury is still out on Crisp, but Pressley, Moss, Jeffries and Jones all disappointed by rankings standards," Farrell said. "Culliver has emerged as an NFL talent, but one has to wonder how good he would have been if he decided not to play wide receiver in college. This is a fair list with more failures than success stories so far."

Linebackers Stephone Anthony and Kris Frost were given five stars, and at Clemson and Auburn, respectively, their places in the rankings could be updated.

One player who nearly pushed toward five-star status was Georgia running back Todd Gurley. Farrell said it was a big decision not to give him that elite ranking and that he laments it regularly because Gurley has been tremendous early in his career.

"I know Gurley has only played one year of college football, but I regret not going all the way and pushing him up to five-star status," Farrell said. "We had him higher than anyone else at No. 42 overall in 2012, and we were the only site that had him ahead of fellow in-state running back Keith Marshall, but I know Gurley is going to continue to make me regret not making that final push for him."




 

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