Blog Entry

National Notes: On the way up on defense

Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 4:30 pm
 
Posted by Bryan Fischer

The class of 2012 rankings won't be updated for a few more weeks but with the high school football season over, it's not too hard to see what players might be moving their way up in the rankings and who might slide down a little bit. Here's a look at each position group and some players that might be a little higher on the board come January.

DEFENSIVE END

On the way up: Ramsey (N.J.) five-star end Darius Hamilton.

What did he do: A terror for opposing offensive lines all season, Hamilton was a constant presence in his opponents' backfield. In the state championship game alone he had a hand in four sacks and you would need a super computer to count the number of defensive pressures he had this year. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder finished his senior year with 74 tackles and an impressive 17 sacks.

The case: He's already a five-star so he won't get a bump in that department but based on his season, should move up into the 20's in the overall rankings (he's 38th right now) and at least leap-frog Dante Fowler among defensive ends given that Fowler didn't play a snap this season. Bosco had a great season and Hamilton was a big reason why.

Also on the way up: Jelani Hamilton (Committed to Miami), Tyriq McCord, Faith Ekakitie (Committed to Iowa)

On the way down: Dante Fowler (Committed to Florida State)

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

On the way up: Prattville (Ala.) defensive tackle Justin Shanks (committed to Florida State)

What did he do: Despite often drawing double or triple teams, Shanks was a key cog in Prattville's 3-4 defense this season. He racked up 60 tackles and 5.5 sacks but was a big factor in stopping the run. He's got a great motor and helped lead his team to a state title.

The case: Shanks is ranked 21st among defensive tackles - one spot behind future teammate Dalvon Stuckey. He put together a great season and has the size, speed, and quickness you look for in a run-stopping interior lineman.

Also on the way up: Sheldon Day (Committed to Notre Dame), Dante Phillips (Committed to Florida)

On the way down: Aziz Shittu

LINEBACKER

On the way up: Stone Mountain (Ga.) linebacker Raphael Kirby (Committed to Miami) and Madison (Ala.) linebacker Reggie Ragland (Committed to Alabama)

What did they do: Kirby had a great senior year and really showed his speed and explosiveness off his senior year. He played inside for Stephenson but projects well as an outside linebacker who can do well in pass coverage despite being a little undersized. In contrast, Ragland looks like he's ready to play for the Crimson Tide in New Orleans this season. He's another prototype inside backer that runs well and is a great tackler in space or in traffic.

The case: Both sit outside the top 10 at their positions and don't have a spot on the overall rankings but that should change. Each has a chance to play early and develop into all-conference selections.

Also on the way up: Anaheim (Calif.) inside backer Butch Pauu (Committed to BYU) and Norfolk (Va.) inside backer Kwontie Moore (Committed to Virginia).

CORNERBACK

On the way up: Miramar (Fla.) corner Tracy Howard.

What did he do: You can tell how good a cornerback is by how often teams don't throw their way and hardly anybody in the state of Florida even looked Howard's way. He still ended the season with an impressive 10 picks and was easily one of the best defenders along the East Coast.

The case: Howard has been a star for a while now and though he doesn't have 4.3-40 speed, is still fast and fluid. He's also very instinctive and really attacks the ball in the air. Howard is ranked as the 20th best cornerback but should easily be in the top 10 at the very least.

Also on the way up: Pasadena (Calif.) corner Kevon Seymour, Elk Grove (Calif.) corner Marcus Rios (Committed to UCLA), Ocala (Fla.) defensive back P.J. Williams (committed to Florida State).

On the way down: Westlake Village (Calif.) corner Ishmael Adams.

SAFETY

On the way up: Fairfax (S.C.) safety Ronald Geohaghan (committed to Clemson)

What did he do: He's a terrific athlete who can play just about any back seven position if needed. He's best suited as a safety and is rangy and physical enough to take away entire parts of the field.

The case: Geohaghan currently sits as the 23rd-ranked safety in the Maxpreps rankings and based on his physical play and coverage skills should see a bump in the position rankings.

On the way down: Lakewood (Wash.) safety Cedric Dozier, College Park (Ga.) defensive back Chaz Elder.

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