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July 12, 2004

Rivals.com begins release of state rankings

After the unveiling of the Rivals100, the five-star and four-star prospects earlier this moth, next in line for Rivals.com over the next two weeks are the state rankings.

The first to be released are the states of Arkansas, Nebraska, Nevada and New York, which include high profile players like athlete Darren McFadden and linebacker Ryan Reynolds.

McFadden (6-foot, 198 pounds) of Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Oak Grove is ranked as the top player in Arkansas for 2005. McFadden committed to the Arkansas Razorbacks early in the process and is one of the nation's best overall athletes.

"Darren is going to succeed at whatever he does. He will be a standout in the SEC, it just depends on the year," Oak Grove coach John Mayes said. "He might have a little adjustment period since we run the wishbone here and not the I-formation used at Arkansas. He's not a power back, but he has the strength to run over you."

Behind McFadden is four-star player Slick Shelley, a 6-4, 180-pound receiver from Ft. Smith Southside. Two of the Razorbacks' other commitments made the top 12. Wynne, Ark., defensive tackle Cord Gray is the state's No. 8 player, and Russellville, Ark., offensive lineman Joey Crossland is ranked 12th.

Omaha (Neb.) Creighton Prep defensive end Zach Potter headlines the Nebraska Top 10 for 2005. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Potter is a four-star prospect, and he already has scholarship offers from Nebraska, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State.

Overton, Neb., offensive lineman Orion Matthies was thought of as a sleeper early in the recruiting process, but after a strong summer-camp campaign it's easy to rank him as the state's No. 2 player. Another player starting to burn up the charts is Jake Behrens, a 6-foot, 221-pound fullback that has picked up offers from Colorado and Stanford. He is ranked as the state's No. 4 player.

Reynolds, the nation's No. 1 outside linebacker from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, takes home recognition also as the top player in the Nevada Top 10 for 2005.

"Ryan is the most talented player I have ever coached or been around," Bishop Gorman coach David White said. "His work ethic and determination to be the best cannot be measured. Ryan is a great leader both on and off the field. Along with extraordinary strength, he possesses incredible quickness and closing speed to the ball."

But Reynolds isn't the only top player in Nevada. Las Vegas High offensive tackle Arturo Rodriguez (6-5, 288) is the state's No. 2 player, and he has scholarship offers from Colorado State, Oregon State, UNLV, Utah and Nevada.

The New York Top 20 for 2005 is headlined by two-sport star Greg Paulus of Manlius (N.Y.) Christian Brothers Academy. Honestly, there might not be a better quarterback in the nation, but Paulus (6-1, 180) has made a commitment to Duke in basketball, but there is still is talk that he might test the football waters some this fall.

Syracuse and West Virginia each have significant commitments on the list. The Orangemen have three players on the ranking, highlighted by New Rochelle, N.Y. running back Raymell Rice, who is ranked as the state's No. 8 player. Long Island (N.Y.) North Babylon running back Jason Gwaltney is WVU's top commitment, and he's ranked as the state's fourth-best player.

Three-four star players highlight the Oklahoma Top 15.

Rivals100 linebacker Curtis Lofton of Kingfisher, Okla., takes home the ranking as the state's best player, followed by Edmond Santa Fe cornerback Reggie Smith and Jenks linebacker Phillip Dillard.

Nebraska commitment Craig Roark is ranked as the state's fourth-best player. Oklahoma State commitment Brady Bond comes in at No. 12, followed by Tulsa pledge Jody Whaley.


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