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July 30, 2007

Stock up in the Southeast

The first update of the Class of 2008 Rivals100 and Rivals250 is just around the corner. Rivals.com Southeastern Analyst JC Shurburtt takes a look at 12 of the potential big risers from the Southeast region during the next rankings update.

Risers in the Southeast
Ryan Baker
LB, Blountstown (Fla.)

Baker originally was evaluated as a running back/linebacker, but after watching his recruitment unfold and taking a second look, there is little doubt that he projects strictly as a linebacker in college and could be a good one. Baker isn't the biggest prospect at his position out there, but he's big enough and his speed and tenacity more than make up for his lack of great size.

Ryan Baker highlights

Travis Benjamin
WR, Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central

The electric Benjamin was impressive during his team's spring game against a loaded Miami Northwestern team, shaking loose for several big plays. Benjamin also was one of the top receivers at Florida's Friday Night Lights Camp earlier this month. At 5-foot-11, 155 pounds, Benjamin isn't very big, but his speed and ability to make plays makes up for his slight build. He's been very impressive every time he's been scouted and will be a big-play threat for whatever school lands him.

Travis Benjamin highlights

Devonta Bolton
ATH, Norcross (Ga.)

Bolton showed outstanding athleticism and hands during the National Select 7-on-7 last week in Hoover, Ala. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder projects well at a number of positions at the collegiate level, including wide receiver, tight end, outside linebacker, safety and H-back. Bolton caught numerous touchdowns as his team reached the consolation finals of the loaded event in Alabama.

Devonta Bolton highlights

Ramon Buchanon
S, Melbourne (Fla.) Palm Bay

Like Baker, Buchanon originally was evaluated at a different position, outside linebacker, and failed to make the first Rivals100. Since that point, he has been re-evaluated at the safety position. He also showed off his tremendous speed and athleticism at Florida's Friday Night Lights Camp when he worked out some at wide receiver. Look for Buchanon to make a significant rise when the rankings are re-released.

Ramon Buchanon highlights

Marcus Forston
DT, Miami Northwestern

Forston was dominant in both his team's spring game against Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central and during Florida's Friday Night Lights Camp. He's one of two (Georgia commit DeAngelo Tyson is the other) elite defensive tackle prospects in the country this year. He is a great blend of size, strength, athleticism and quickness and has mastered multiple pass rushing moves. Forston has the chance to make an impact during his first year at Miami (Fla.), where he is currently verbally committed.

Marcus Forston dominates Friday Night Lights

Destin Hood
WR, Mobile (Ala.) Saint Paul

Hood has excellent size and speed and absolutely tore it up during his team's spring game. He has excellent hands, athleticism and speed and tremendous upside. It's a well-documented loaded year in the state of Alabama and at Hood's position both regionally and nationally, so it's no surprise he was under the radar before. Expect Hood's ranking to climb significantly during the next update.

Destin Hood highlights

Janoris Jenkins
CB, Pahokee (Fla.)

Jenkins dominated at several summer camps, but really came into his own at the Rutgers 7-on-7 passing camp where he was clearly the top cornerback there. Jenkins is a physical cornerback with excellent instincts and ball skills and is one of the best pure high school football players in America (last year he was the best player on the field in the Florida Class 2B championship game where Pahokee defeated John Brantley, Dion Lecorn, Antonio Allen and Ocala Trinity Catholic) as he carries his team on his shoulders both offensively and defensively.

Janoris Jenkins highlights

Patrick Johnson
CB, Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely

Johnson already was rated as a five-star prospect, so he doesn't have too far to move up, but this summer he showed he was not just your ordinary elite prospect, he's special. He dominated the USC Rising Senior Camp and was impressive during Florida's Friday Night Lights camp as well. Johnson is a great blend of size, speed and coverage ability and is the closest thing to a can't-miss prospect at that position to come out of Florida in some time.

Patrick Johnson highlights

Barrett Jones
OT, Memphis (Tenn.) Evangelical Christian

Jones' athleticism, footwork, frame and tenacity were on display at the Columbia (Mo.) NIKE Camp in early June. The state of Tennessee's top overall prospect, Jones has more upside and ability than many of the tackle prospects rated ahead of him and should make a jump from outside the Rivals100 to inside the elite list when the new version is released. Jones just has too much athletic ability and upside to keep him out. He will become the first prospect from the Volunteer State in this year's list. The state has had a five star prospect in each of the last three classes.

Barrett Jones highlights

Matt Patchan OT, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood

If someone were to ask which of the current Rivals100 offensive tackle prospects had the best chance to have a 10-year NFL career (barring injury), then Patchan would be the best option. The 6-foot-7, 265-pounder is a tremendous athlete (he runs the 40 in the 4.6-second range and has a pro shuttle time of around four seconds) who has the frame to gain the good weight necessary to be a big-time offensive tackle at the next level and beyond. Patchan already has a lofty rating in the current Rivals100, but is expected to move up even higher during the next update.

Matt Patchan highlights

DeAngelo Peterson
WR, Baton Rouge (La.) Desire Street Academy

Peterson is a huge, athletic target who was impressive during Florida's Friday Night Lights camp earlier this month. Under the radar to nearly everyone but the hometown LSU Tigers (where he is committed) prior to his showing at the camp, he's yet another tall, talented pass catcher heading to LSU. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder should rocket up the Louisiana state rankings and could possibly reach the Rivals250 during the next rankings update.

Nick Williams
S/OLB, Bainbridge (Ga.)

There have been multiple sleepers emerge from Bainbridge High School during recent recruiting cycles (see Arkansas' Malcolm Sheppard and Ray Dominguez) and though schools know about Williams (Georgia and South Carolina have offered and are in hot pursuit while Alabama also has offered) he did emerge late. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder could play safety or outside linebacker and is an outstanding athlete. Look for him to rise during the next rankings update.

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