The highest debut on the Rivals.com Rivals250 is Thomasville, N.C., athlete E.J. Abrams-Ward at No. 165. Seven other skill players - like Texarkana (Texas) Liberty-Eylau all-purpose back Lamichael James and Miami Northwestern receiver Tommy Streeter - also made nice jumps into the 250.
James is now the No. 227 player in the nation, followed closely by Streeter at 228. Abrams-Ward is the highest climber. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder projects at a number of different positions and has the ability to be a star on the next level.
"He's just a great overall athlete," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every said. "What position he'll play, we're not sure. It's possible that he plays outside linebacker, but he could be a wideout. Depending on how thick he gets, he could also be a tight end or a defensive end. There's no question he's a legit 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds. He's just a tremendous athlete."
Every also said the moves up by James and Streeter were well-deserved.
"There's a lot of people in East Texas that believe LaMichael James is the best player out there, and I can see why people believe that," Every said. "He's a very explosive runner.
"With Tommy Streeter, he's had a very good season so far. But in that game against Southlake Carroll, he really showed us something. He's a tall receiver with average speed, but he's got good enough speed to get it done. He has also added something to his repertoire. He's a much better route runner now."
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly has had a great tradition of producing high quality players. The play of defensive tackle Jurrell Casey this fall has propelled him into the Rivals250 at the No. 229 spot. Casey has 37 tackles, 19 assists, four sacks and a fumble recovery for a 45-yard touchdown this season. He has also scored once on offense, a 1-yard touchdown run.
Rivals.com analysts Rick Kimbrel and Greg Biggins both agreed after seeing him play this season that Casey deserved to move up to the four-star level. Even more telling is the respect that he's earned from some of the coaches he's played against.
"He's one of the most dominating defensive tackles I've ever seen," legendary Lake Balboa (Calif.) Birmingham coach Ed Croson said after playing Poly earlier this season.
Other additions to the Rivals250 underscore how deep the nation's receiver class is this year. New names to the list at the receiver spot included high-profile recruits like D.J. Coles of Goochland, Va., Kemonte Bateman of Los Angeles Crenshaw and Aaron Boyd of Lexington (Ky.) Henry Clay.
"I've said it a few hundred times, and I believe it's totally true – this year's receiver crop is one of the best groups ever," Every said. "The depth of talent at the position not just in the Rivals100, but also in the Rivals250, shows you that this year's class is something truly special."