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August 15, 2007

Stars earned with summer work

Much was made about the players making a jump in the Rivals100 and Rivals250 in our latest player rankings.

However, there were more moves that were perhaps a bit more subtle across the nation. We're talking about players who went from two-star status to a high three-star ranking based on additional evaluation.

Led by big offensive tackle Bobby Massie, some players are working hard toward climbing even higher rankings. The "v" is clearly missing in Massie's last name. The 6-foot-8, 335-pounder from Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian entered the month of June with a lone offer from Liberty. However, after camps at Georgia, Clemson and Virginia Tech he earned offers from all three BCS schools. Maryland and North Carolina have also joined the mix. Some who have seen him in person predict an NFL future for Massie.

Others making the jump from two stars to the highest level of three star include four players from the Southeast. Seminole (Fla.) Osceola athlete T'Sharvan Bell, College Park (Ga.) Banneker safety Darrell Simmons, Oviedo (Fla.) defensive tackle Dwight Tucker and Birmingham (Ala.) Shades Valley defensive end Cameron Henderson all raised their stock recently.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Bell camped at Auburn in June and turned some heads. Bell had his first offer in February from Michigan State, but followed that up with additional offers from Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Clemson and NC State. Bell flies to the football and has excellent ball skills.

Simmons was underranked early in the process because of a poor 40 time. His speed has been questioned, and he's certainly not a 4.5 kid in the 40-yard dash. However, he can run well enough and he can surely hit. Simmons (6-1, 185) had early offers from Auburn, Florida, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Purdue. Florida State, Alabama, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State and many others soon followed. Simmons is a great example of how a poor 40 time can hurt a player's ranking, but his film speaks for itself.

Tucker is an interesting story. He played most of his junior season as a 250-pound linebacker. This spring and summer he bulked up and worked out as a lineman. His biggest offer right now is from Virginia Tech. He could be great for the Hokies, but look for plenty of SEC competition after a few senior game films of him as a 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle go out to other programs.

Henderson was impressive at camps this summer. Arkansas was the first to offer him, followed by Mississippi State. Auburn came in with an offer in late July and a commitment soon followed. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder is a raw talent with awesome upside.

Highlands Ranch, Colo., offensive lineman Joe Caprioglio also jumped up to the highest three-star ranking possible. The big man committed to Kansas State in July. The 6-foot-6, 260-pounder is too athletic to keep below three stars and his upside is excellent.

A couple of outstanding athletes who could play different positions at the next level also moved up the rankings. Brandywine (Md.) Gwynn Park speedster Ronald Hobby ran sub 4.5 40-yard dashes at many camps. North Las Vegas Canyon Springs athlete DeVonte Christopher had a strong showing at the Las Vegas Elite 11 and raised his stock.

Class of 2008 Position Rankings:
PQB | DQB | RB | APB | FB | WR | TE | OT | OG | C | WDE | SDE | DT | ILB | OLB | CB | S | ATH | K



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