CHANGE AT THE TOP
There is a new number one player in the Midwest as Cincinnati Taft defensive end Adolphus Washington now takes over the top spot after putting together an excellent senior season in which he recorded 33 sacks. It isn’t just about sacks though, Washington’s dominance on the high school level and the athleticism he shows at his size makes him a candidate to play early in college, and has us believing that he is a difference maker. Previous top Midwesterner Gunner Kiel slides to number two, but the move was more about Washington’s strong showings than it was about Kiel. A quarterback from Columbus East (Ind.), will remain the nation’s top signal caller, and he has lead his Olympians deep into the playoffs. We feel that very little separates these two players, but Washington’s upside is tremendous.
MOVED IN – New 4-StarsA.J. Williams – OT – Cincinnati Sycamore (Ohio) (#236)
Najee Murray – CB - Steubenville (Ohio) (#269)
Jamal Lyles – OLB – Southfield-Lathrup (Mich.) (#284)
Our three new faces all have shown us throughout the course of their senior seasons that they belong among the best. Williams was not only moved up, but moved from tight end to offensive tackle, where he has played this season and has exhibited high level potential. We believe the Michigan commit, despite his inexperience, picked up the position quickly and has rare physical tools.
Murray, an Ohio State pledge, has been steadily rising since we saw him last season and at camps this summer. He’s a great athlete that can play cornerback and safety, as well as return kicks, and he came up huge during his team’s playoff run, showing that he can run, cover, and lay big hits in run support.
Lyles, a Michigan State commitment, had a great senior season despite his team not having the most success. He’s a great athlete that can come forward and blitz, or drop into coverage. We even believe that, should he try offense in college, he could be great there too. He’s a rare athlete, and received ringing endorsements from his personal trainers about his work ethic and dedication to the sport. We love his length, athleticism and versatility and feel he can project to a couple of the Spartan linebacker positions.
Dwayne Stanford – WR – Cincinnati Taft (Ohio)
Kaleb Ringer – MLB – Clayton Northmont (Ohio)
Greg McMullen – DE – Akron Hoban (Ohio)
With every prospect that moves in to the 300, the same number has to come out. We’ve had a chance to see each of these three throughout the course of the season and felt others did more to keep their spots or move above them.
Stanford was arguably the toughest to move out. He has had a good season, but saw others move above him. He has great ability to go up and get the ball, but we see him as more of a possession guy at the next level that may struggle to create consistent separation.
Ringer, a Michigan commit, has struggled with injuries as a senior and has missed a lot of time this season. There are also concerns about his size at the next level. He was productive throughout his high school career though, and we feel he has a chance to continue to be productive, but liked the upside of a couple others better.
McMullen, a Nebraska pledge, was a guy our Ohio analysts saw several times throughout the season and felt he did not make enough plays to maintain his spot. Part of that comes from the injury his bookend, LaTroy Lewis, suffered, which increased attention on McMullen, but despite that, we did not see enough from him to keep his ranking.
TOP RISERS – Going up within the 300
As always, these rankings are not final until early next year. Final senior films, more game film becoming available and postseason All-Star games can still bring about changes. More guys can move up and others can move down.