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June 2, 2003
Simply the best: Rivals.com's top five
Good things come to those that wait.
After months and months of personal observations by the Rivals100.com recruiting analysts, hours of film review, interviews with countless college and high school coaches, Rivals.com is proud to release its first ranking for the Class of 2004.
Sure it would have been easy to throw out a bunch of names early on, but the painstaking evaluation process has allowed us to feel especially confident about the rankings that will be released over the next several weeks.
Without further adieu, Rivals.com is excited to announce the top five players in the nation for the Class of 2004 and their five-star rankings.
Leading off the list is Adrian Peterson of Palestine, Texas. Peterson on film just has all of the things that you’re looking for in a great back, plus he has the size and speed that can’t be taught.
After months and months of debate amongst the Rivals100.com staff, Peterson began to emerge as the top candidate after a personal observation at the Texas Relays, where many of the nation's top track athletes gather and perform at the University of Texas in Austin. Guys that big aren’t supposed to move that fast or run a 10.3-second time in the 100 meters.
Each of the players in the top five and even players ranked sixth through 10 could have a strong case about being named as the nation’s top player. They’re all amazing in their own right and have talent that is immeasurable.
But there was just something about Peterson that made him a five-star prospect and the best that Rivals100.com had seen this year. The way he carried himself, the way he glided through defenses on film and the way college coaches talked for hours about him, made it a tough but obvious choice in the end.
Peterson is the newest member of a small fraternity of players that have been selected as the top prospect in the entire nation by Rivals.com. Going back over the past six recruiting classes, the prospects that have been named the nation’s top player are an amazing collection of talent.
Back in 1999, T.J. Duckett earned the nation’s top honors as a running back/linebacker. He is now playing in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons.
The nation’s top player in 2000 was D.J. Williams of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. He is now a senior with the University of Miami and some are projecting him to be a first-round draft pick in the NFL next season.
Kevin Jones, the No. 1 player in 2001, broke the hearts of Penn State fans when he selected Virginia Tech. Jones had masterful freshman and sophomore seasons, but he’s had to fight injuries and a loaded Tech backfield during those years. He is expected to be the man this year for the Hokies and has been nominated to several pre-season All-America teams.
Houston native Vince Young is hoping to make his mark this season for the Texas Longhorns, but is currently No. 2 on the depth chart behind Chance Mock. The strong-armed dual-threat quarterback was picked as the nation’s top player in the Class of 2002 by Rivals.com.
Last year’s selection for the top player was linebacker Ernie Sims of Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian. Sims signed with Florida State after an intense recruiting battle. He is expected to be an impact player for the Seminoles this season.
The rest of the top five for the Class of 2004, shapes up this way: California safety Randy Estes is No. 2, Florida linebacker Keith Rivers is No. 3, Ohio cornerback Theodore Ginn Jr. is No. 4 and No. 5 is Louisiana receiver Early Doucet. As mentioned earlier, the line between players ranked No. 1 through No. 10 is awfully thin this season and the process of putting this player over that player was extremely painstaking.
The rest of the top 10 will be unveiled later this week, more five star-selections and the first Rivals100 team for 2004 will be revealed as we progress through the first two weeks in June. Below you will find more in-depth and detailed profiles of the players ranked in the top five.