June 1, 2006

Skill players highlight latest five-stars

Today, Rivals.com continues to reveal the 27 players in the class of 2007 who have been awarded five-star status. By the end of the week, all 27 will be announced (in alphabetical order) and followed by the announcement of the Rivals100 on Monday, June 5.

Thursday's five-star release features several big-play threats from the Sun Belt, another lightning bolt from Michigan and a big-time offensive line prospect from Colorado.

Running back Caleb King from Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview, athlete Joe McKnight from River Ridge (La.) John Curtis, quarterback Willy Korn of Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes and cornerback Ronald Johnson of Muskegon (Mich.) all possess game-changing ability.

The lone big man of the group, Littleton (Colo.) offensive lineman Ryan Miller, is at the top of the board for multiple college programs at his position.

Class of 2007 Five-Star Prospects
Ronald Johnson Johnson in Action
Position: Cornerback
High School: Muskegon (Mich.)
Height: 6-0
Weight: 177
Why he's a five-star: Two weeks ago there were more questions than there were answers on cornerback Ronald Johnson. Most people already knew he was one of the nation's top defensive backs, but people wondered if he had fully recovered from a knee injury that destroyed his junior season. People had questions about how fast he was and if he had his flexibility back. But he answered those questions and critics with an amazing workout at his high school in which he was timed under 4.4-seconds in the 40-yard dash on three different stop watches. He also ran a blistering 4.03-second time in the shuttle. "It was good to get back out there and prove to people that I'm back," Johnson, who is 6-foot and 177 pounds, said. College coaches never doubted him. Johnson has offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue and Tennessee and should be one of the more heavily recruited prospects in the Midwest and the nation at his position.
Vote: Should Ronald Johnson be a five-star?
Dwight Jones Jones in Action
Position: Wide Receiver
High School: Burlington (N.C.) Cummings
Height: 6-5
Weight: 210
Why he's a five-star: Jones has tremendous size and plays very physical. He uses his big frame to fend off defenders and wins most jump-ball battles. He has good, not great, speed but he takes advantage of bump-and-run coverage as he's quick off the line and uses his hands well to keep defenders off him. Jones snatches the ball at its highest point and he provides a huge target for a quarterback. The big receiver excels across the middle, can take punishment to make the play and finds the soft spot in zone coverage well. As a junior, Jones had 49 catches for 952 yards and 8 scores. He's also a standout basketball player and uses that leaping ability to allow quarterbacks to put the ball where only he can catch it. Jones also plays safety in high school and played defensive end as a sophomore.
Vote: Should Dwight Jones be a five-star?
Caleb King King in Action
Position: Running back
High School: Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview
Height: 5-11
Weight: 186
Why he's a five-star: King's explosiveness, versatility change of direction skills set him apart from the other running back prospects throughout the country. At the top of nearly every college program's recruiting board at his position, King rushed for 2,768 yards and 19 touchdowns for Parkview, one of the top programs in the metro Atlanta area, in 2005. King also is a talented receiver out of the backfield. Despite receiving limited touches in that role, he has more than 500 receiving yards and five touchdowns during his career. The speed with which King changes direction also is stellar. He ran a 3.88-second shuttle at the 2005 Athens NIKE Camp and one look at his film shows you that time translates well to the field.
Vote: Should Caleb King be a five-star?
Willy Korn Korn in Action
Position: Dual-threat quarterback
High School: Duncan (S.C.) James F. Byrnes
Height: 6-2
Weight: 200
Why he's a five-star: The most decorated high school quarterback to ever come out of the state of South Carolina, Korn has the ability to decimate opponents with his arm or his feet. A quick release, strong arm and college-level footwork carried him to 4,164 yards passing and 53 touchdowns and 763 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing in 2005 in leading Byrnes to its fourth straight Class 4A state championship. A starter since his sophomore season, Korn is the star pupil of Rebels head coach Bobby Bentley, renowned throughout the Southeast for his ability to teach quarterbacks. Korn, who will get a chance to show off his skills against Florida power Belle Glade Glades Central in a nationally televised game in August, committed to childhood favorite Clemson prior to the start of his junior season.
Vote: Should Willy Korn be a five-star?
Ryan Mallett Mallett in Action
Position: Pro-style quarterback
High School: Texarkana (Texas) Texas High
Height: 6-7
Weight: 235
Why he's a five-star: Big arm, big frame, and big everything is associated with Texarkana (Texas) High School quarterback Ryan Mallett. Standing over pretty much everyone at 6-foot-7, the big Lone Star gunslinger started for the 4A Texas program as a freshman. Mallett's father was a former coach at Arkansas before becoming an assistant at Texas High. Before his commitment to Michigan, Mallett was one of the most talked about quarterbacks in the country and for good reason. He threw for 2,219 yards and 21 touchdowns with only six interceptions as a junior. That's on top of six more scores he put together on the ground. Though he may not be the most mobile of the other passers in the 2007 class, Mallett has a rifle for an arm that doesn't come around very often. The velocity he puts on each throw is what has people talking about him being a future NFL-caliber quarterback.
Vote: Should Ryan Mallett be a five-star?
Joe McKnight McKnight in Action
Position: Athlete
High School: River Ridge (La.) John Curtis
Height: 5-11
Weight: 180
Why he's a five-star: An electrifying athlete with the ball in his hands, McKnight averaged nearly 18 yards per play from scrimmage as a junior and accounted for 22 total touchdowns (nine rushing, five receiving, four punt returns, three interception returns and one kickoff return). In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, McKnight actually played two games for Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian, making him the only player in the Pelican State last season to play for two state championship teams. McKnight could play running back, slot receiver or cornerback at the next level, though most programs want to get the ball in his hands. He also is a track standout, posting a time of 10.4 seconds in the 100-meter dash. In-state power LSU and Southern California, along with many others covet this talented prospect.
Vote: Should Joe McKinght be a five-star?
Ryan Miller Miller in Action
Position: Offensive tackle
High School: Littleton (Colo.) Columbine
Height: 6-6
Weight: 278
Why he's a five-star: On the surface Miller reminds a lot of people of last year's elite offensive tackle Sam Young because of his long and tall frame and distinctive red hair. But if you dig deeper, you'll find that Miller might be even more talented than the five-star selection from last year. Miller has great feet and his frame is one of the best to work with in the entire nation. While he's muscular, he still has plenty of ability to add more weight and strength. "Most of the stuff that I hear is that I am a skinny big guy," Miller said. "It is kind of ironic being 275 pounds and being called skinny, but they said they like my height and that I have a good build, a good frame." He is Colorado's top prospect in the class of 2007 and numerous national programs are chasing him, but an early group of Colorado, Miami, Notre Dame and Southern Cal appears to be near the top of his list.
Vote: Should Ryan Miller be a five-star?

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