Here's the link to the initial rankings. As always, this list is based on collegiate potential.
1. Brandon Williams, Brookshire Royal RB (Oklahoma)
Initial thoughts: Going out on a limb here, as Malcolm Brown is universally considered one of the top 10 or so prospects in the entire country and has occupied the top spot on most 2011 lists. Williams wins out here because of his unreal combination of top-end speed -- in open field, he has that high-effort extra gear resembling Adrian Peterson -- and his ability to cut on a dime. On top of that, Williams bests Peterson in his experience catching the ball out of the backfield (at a similar age) and looks like the type of kid who still has some major physical upside. If you have a Rivals membership, check out this hit ($) that Williams put on a defender trying to return an interception -- Williams absolutely blows the dude up.
Final thoughts: Since the initial rankings here, Williams has gained more respect on the national scene, gaining a fifth star from Rivals and moving into the 14th position on the Rivals 100. Williams is third on the final Rivals Texas Top 100 and second on the final LSR. The Hookem.com Top 100 ($) has Williams as the second-ranked player in the state, ahead of Brown, ranked fifth. No longer as far out on a limb by giving the top ranking to Williams, but still convinced that he's the top running back -- and top player -- in the state. The man-crush lives.
Debut ranking: 1
2. Malcolm Brown, Cibolo Steele RB (Texas)
Initial thoughts: At this point, if you don't know why Brown is ranked a controversial second on this list, you just haven't been following. Brown is the ideal every-down, workhorse back, with a strong, compact build that allows him to break arm tackles and absolutely truck players at the high school level -- it's hard not to love Brown's physical running style. Early in his junior highlight film, he uncorks a spectacular run that includes two jaw-dropping spin moves along the sideline that shows off his balance to full effect. The major question about Brown is his top-end speed, but he's plenty fast and certainly doesn't get caught from behind in high school. In other words, his speed is a minor complaint. He's second on this list, however, because of those concerns about his speed and how his tackle-breaking ability.
Final thoughts: Brown lost his fifth star from 247Sports, but it's hard to argue with his productivity at the high school level and he projects the same way to college as he did back in the fall, so there doesn't seem to be a compelling reason to drop him on this list.
Debut ranking: 2
3. Steve Edmond, Daingerfield LB (Texas)
Initial thoughts: Edmond is the opposite of a workout warrior -- he sometimes looks less than fluid in shorts and still has some baby fat. On the field, however, the mild-mannered country boy from the small East Texas town of Daingerfield turns into a menacing tackling machine. A physical tackler who can lay the wood, Edmond is most effective coming downhill filling gaps in the running game or blitzing the quarterback, though he also has the speed and motor to make plays from sideline to sideline. Edmond has excellent instincts for the game and rarely takes bad steps -- though he isn't the fastest linebacker around, the Daingerfield star makes up for it by diagnosing plays quickly. Stats aren't everything, but one look at his junior numbers is enough to cause your jaw to hit the floor -- 184 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, five sacks, seven forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, five interceptions, two pass breakups and one defensive touchdown. Boom.
Final thoughts: Edmond won another state championship at Daingerfield his senior season and continued his impressive production on the field. Could make a strong argument for him as the best or second-best player in the state, but he does move up one spot.
Debut ranking: 4
4. Desmond Jackson, Houston Westfield DT (Texas)
Initial thoughts: The national guys at Rivals may not be particularly high on Jackson because of his height -- barely over 6-1, if that -- and concerns that he won't be able to play effectively at 300 or so pounds. Here's the deal, though: throw all of that out the window. Jackson's height probably helps him play with ideal pad level, particularly for his age, and his swim move is flat-out sick and unstoppable in high school. Combine that with a quick first step and a high motor and Jackson projects as a gap-shooting menace in college. Should be able to contribute as soon as he steps onto campus.
Final thoughts: Jackson is losing ground on the national scene because of those same concerns about his height and ability to add weight, but he's plenty big enough to be a dominant defensive tackle in college and that's what this list is all about. In other words, there doesn't seem to be a compelling reason to drop him.
Debut ranking: 3
5. Trey Metoyer Whitehouse WR (Oklahoma)
Initial thoughts: An improving athlete, Metoyer has addressed the major concern about his game over the last year by working on his burst and explosiveness. The frame is there, the playmaking ability is there, and the massive, soft hands are there. Frankly, there's basically no argument to be made against Metoyer the football player as a senior as his measurables catch up to his production on the field.
Final thoughts: Metoyer nearly set the state record in receptions during his high school career and though he is still working to qualify, his hands and playmaking ability make him one of the top layer in the state.
Debut ranking: 6
6. Jaxon Shipley, Brownwood WR (Texas)
Initial thoughts: It's almost a tiresome topic at this point to reiterate just how litlte respect Shipley gets at the national level for a variety of reasons, but the impetus behind that topic remains the same -- Shipley is a flat-out badass. For two straight years he was the most outstanding player at the Texas summer camps he attended and when he went down to the Gridiron Kings event, he dominated the competition with his ball skills and precise route running that is well beyond his age. While he has better height than his brother, he doesn't have the same top-end speed and lateral quickness.
Final thoughts: There's nothing left to say about Shipley. Like Metoyer, the kid just makes play and will continue to do so in college. Metoyer gets the nod above him because he's taller and a slightly better athlete.
Debut ranking: 7
7. Sedrick Flowers, Galena Park North Shore OG (Texas)
Initial thoughts: Flowers will benefit from transitioning to his future college position of guard as a senior and is known as a mauler at the point of attack in the run-based North Shore attack. If Texas truly wants to transition to a power running team, Flowers projects as one of the buliding blocks. Possessed with raw natural strength and excellent weight distribution, he's not only physical and explosive as a blocker along the line of scrimmage, he also has the athleticism and quick feet to put his hat on linebackers at the second level. If there is a negative, it's that he gets few repetitions pass blocking at North Shore.
Final thoughts: Flowers struggled some in pass protection at the US Army game and his inability to play tackle decreases his value at the next level. Still, he's a major prospect because of his ability as a run blocker.
Debut ranking: 5
8. Quandre Diggs, Angleton ATH (Texas)
Initial thoughts: A do-it-all playmaker at his high school, the major question mark with Diggs is where he will end up in college. An explosive runner with the ball in his hands, an apt comparison might be to say that Diggs is a bigger, slightly more physical version of fellow Angleton alum DJ Monroe. Like Monroe, the concern about Diggs is his height -- although he has all the physical skills to play cornerback in college, the lateness of his offer suggests that Will Muschamp isn't sold on Diggs as a defensive player. With Texas needing playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, the potential of Quentin Jammer's little brother to score at any time, from any point on the field may cause Greg Davis and company to think long and hard about getting the ball in his hands.
Final thoughts: Diggs is just too strong of an athlete for his height to keep him lower on this list and his ability to contribute on offense if necessary increases his value.
Debut ranking: 11
9. Jamal Turner Arlington Bowie ATH (Nebraska)
Initial thoughts: In terms of the Texas recruiting perspective, Turner has pretty much been off the radar due to the lack of interest from the Longhorns and an early commitment to Nebraska. To overlook him though, would be a major mistake, as Turner presents a unique challenge for the Husker coaching staff as a player who could excel at both receiver and cornerbac, as well as play quarterback, his high school position. In other words, though he has some skill as a passer, his quick-twitch athleticism and elite burst and change-of-direction ability will probably entice a position change in college. Probably the most underrated athlete in the entire class.
Final thoughts: Still one of the most underappreciated athletes in the class, Turner is the type of guy Texas fans could look at in a couple years and wonder how the Longhorns could have failed to offer him.
Debut ranking: 9
10. Jace Amaro SA Macarthur TE (Texas Tech)
Initial thoughts: At the Texas 7-on-7 State Championship, Amaro was one of the most impressive-looking athletes at the entire event. His play on the field backed up his projectable frame, as he showed the speed to threaten opponents down the seam and the ball skills to attack the football at its highest point, especially on fade routes in the red zone, where he will be a major threat at the next level. Every bit of 6-4, 230 pounds, Amaro ranks highly on this list because of the difficulty of finding impact players at his position. Right now is a better receiver than blocker, but has the physical tools to eventually make an impact in the running game.
Final thoughts: Amaro has a big-time frame and big-time ability and he's a prospect who rose in the rankings throughout the fall and into the final evaluation period.
Debut ranking: 17
11. Aaron Green, SA Madison RB (Nebraska)
Initial thoughts: An elite quick-twitch athlete, Green has outstanding stop-start ability and combines his top-end speed with excellent vision -- if there is a crease to be found, the San Antonio product will find it. Despite his less than ideal size, Green is tough enough to be willing to put his shoulder down to pick up extra yardage. However, it's his relatively slight frame that keeps him from being considered the best running back in the country, as he doesn't project as a running back who can carry the ball 20-25 times a game in college.
Final thoughts: Concerns about his size and durability drop him out of the top 10.
Debut ranking: 8
12. Sheroid Evans, Sugarland Dulles DB (Texas)
Initial thoughts: Based on pure physical skills and his speed, Evans would rank near the top of this list because he is one of the fastest track athletes in his age group in the 200m and 400m, as well as extremely competitive in the 100m. There are several concerns: 1) Evans is raw as an athlete and will need some time to refine his technique as a cornerback if he ends up at that position at Texas, 2) he's missed time in each of the last two seasons due to injuries, and 3) he may end up focusing more on track in college due to his world-class speed. It's his fluidity, burst, and top-end speed that give him as much or more upside than anyone else in the class.
Final thoughts: Dropping Evans two spots is more about the players ahead of him impressing than any real knocks on Evans, though his production on the field in high school never quite matched his talent level.
Debut ranking: 10
13. Garrett Greenlea, Klein Collins OT (Texas)
Initial thoughts: A mammoth person at 6-6, 285 pounds, Greenlea is an athletic prospect who perhaps does not quite have quick enough feet to play left tackle in college, but has the ability to become an excellent right tackle. As the Texas coaching staff prefers, Greenlea carries little or no bad weight on his huge frame and, like Flowers, is a physical, aggressive run blocker who has the nasty attitude to finish plays. Will have to work on his balance and punch in pass protection in college.
Debut ranking: 12
14. David Jenkins, Lewisville Hebron CB (LSU)
Initial thoughts: A late riser in recruiting circles because he received little playing time as a junior due to his move from Louisiana, Jenkins is a long and athletic cornerback who could also play some safety. His cornerback skills will need some work, so he could contribute as a safety more quickly in college, where his size and strength could make him a ball-hawking, big-play machine.
Debut ranking: 13
15. Herschel Sims, Abilene RB (Oklahoma State)
Initial thoughts: With Sims, the concern isn't just that he has much less than ideal size for an every-down back at the next level -- it's that he just doesn't have elite acceleration or top-end speed. Other than that, Sims has all the tools of a great running back, as he can change direction, has good patience to wait for holes to develop, runs behind his pads, and has good vision. His ability to be a factor as a runner, receiver, and in the return game makes him a coveted prospect and he should be a good fit in the Oklahoma State offense.
Debut ranking: 14
16. JW Walsh Denton Guyer QB (Oklahoma State)
Initial ranking: This author was in love with Walsh basically at first sight a year and a half ago and the love affair continues. Walsh has experience working from under center and from the shotgun, but projects the best as a pure spread passer in a scheme that takes advantage of his speed and athleticism with the football as a runner and improviser on the run. A coach's son, Walsh can deliver the football with zip on intermediate routes, but needs to work on his arm strength and accuracy down the field. Should be a perfect fit in the Oklahoma State offense under Dana Holgorson.
Debut ranking: 15
17. Cedric Reed, Cleveland DE (Texas)
Initial thoughts: A big, rangy prospect with a frame that could eventually carry between 270-280 pounds or more, Reed shows off his athleticism on the basketball court and in the open field as a tight end in the Cleveland offense. The combination of his height, long arms, and solid first step give him some upside as a pass rusher in college, but with the room for growth on his frame, he could eventually end up playing inside, particularly in pass rush situations. As with most high school defensive ends not named Jackson Jeffcoat, Reed needs to improve using his hands to keep offensive linemen out of his body and take advantage of his long arms.
Final thoughts: Reed played well in the Offense/Defense bowl, racking up three sacks with his speed off the edge, not supposed to be his strength.
Debut ranking: 19
18. David Ash, Belton QB (Texas)
Final thoughts: Ash was massively productive during his senior season and has more prototypical height than Walsh and is probably more developed as a passer, though Walsh may have slightly better arm strength. If there was a gap in perception between the two at the beginning of their senior seasons, Ash closed by the end of his high school career.
Debut ranking: Unranked
19. Quincy Russell, SA Sam Houston DT (Texas)
Initial thoughts: A basketball player with an ideal body type for the defensive tackle position, Russell gets by on his raw athleticism in high school. Since his technique needs some major refinement, he will need some time to develop in college, but his upside is tremendous because of his natural strength and athleticism for his size. He has ideal thickness for a defensive tackle, but often plays with high pad level, doesn't use his hands consistently, and lacks any developed pass-rushing moves. As a junior, his 87 tackles speak to his activity up and down the line of scrimmage.
Final thoughts: Like Evans, Russell's drop is due to strong performances from players in front of him rather than a disappointing senior season on his part.
Debut ranking: 16
20. Kendall Thompson, Carthage LB (Texas)
Initial thoughts: At times projected as a 3-4 outside linebacker/edge rusher, Thompson has worked hard on his conditioning in the last year and now projects as a player who can hold his own as a linebacker against spread offenses. The physicality at the point of attack that caused those edge rusher projections remains and his experience playing middle linebacker in the Carthage Cover 2 scheme means he has experience with his pass drops, where he has shown an ability to make plays in high school.
Debut ranking: 20
21. Mykkele Thompson, SA Stevens DB (Texas)
Initial thoughts: A remarkably similar-looking athlete to Ladarius Brown, Thompson is a lean, rangy athlete with good speed who lookes like he is gliding on teh football field. Unlike Brown, however, Thompson has minimal experience on the defensive side of the ball, where he will play at Texas. There are questions, then, about his short-area burst, transition ability, and hip fluidity and how well Thompson does or does not answer those questions will determine whether he will play safety or cornerback in college.
Final thoughts: Thompson had a monster senior season and provides versatility because of his ability to play three different positions: CB, S, or WR.
Debut ranking: 25
22. Ladarius Brown Waxahachie ATH (TCU)
Initial thoughts: His ball skills and overall playmaking ability (he averaged 31 yards per catch as a sophomore and 26 as a junior) cause his upside to be the greatest at the wide receiver position, where he can use his initial acceleration and overall smoothness to get open, then get upfield quickly after the catch. Does need to work on improving his upper body strength, like most high school players. Could also play safety.
Debut ranking: 18
23. Andrew Peterson, Seagoville TE (Arkansas)
Initial thoughts: Peterson is a late-rising prospect with the size 6-6, 250 pounds to be a major contributor at the next level. On top of it all, he's an excellent athlete with good speed for his size -- 4.8. With only eight catches as a senior, he didn't get used much in his offense, but he has as much upside as anyone in the class with his NFL-caliber frame. Blew up as a prospect with the release of his senior film.
Debut ranking: Unranked
24. Brandon Alexander, Brenham DE (Texas A&M)
Initial thoughts: Alexander appeared on the scene about the same time as Peterson, but is another late-rising prospect. At 6-6, 230 pounds, Alexander will have to develop physically to play DE, but could step in quickly as a 3-4 OLB if he commits to Texas A&M. Like Peterson, Alexander has a ton of physical upside and has well above-average athleticism for his position.
Debut ranking: Unranked
25. Charles Jackson, Klein Colilns CB (Nebraska)
Initial thoughts: Slightly undersized, Jackson makes up for his lack of height with a college-ready body and fantastic leaping ability. A strong tackler and hard hitter for his position, Jackson has all the natural skills to transition to the next level -- fluidity, burst, and ball skills. Along with his height, the other concern is that he doesn't have elite top-end speed, as his personal best 100m is a 10.91.
Debut ranking: 21