The network released the list today, pegging Myron Rolle, a defensive back from Princeton (N.J.) The Hun School, as the nation's No. 1 overall prospect.
Other Ohio prospects in the national top 50 include Cincinnati Colerain offensive lineman Connor Smith (No. 21), Pickerington North offensive lineman Justin Boren (26, Michigan verbal), Columbus Brookhaven wide receiver Jeff Cumberland (36) and Euclid linebacker Thaddeus Gibson (47).
Eight more Ohio prospects are included in the second 50. They are Coldwater linebacker Ross Homan (55, Ohio State verbal), West Chester Lakota West wide receiver Josh Chichester (60), Springfield South offensive lineman Lee Tilley (66), Springboro tight end Jake Ballard (68, Ohio State verbal), Cincinnati Princeton offensive lineman Aaron Brown (73), Clayton Northmont cornerback Kurt Coleman (81, Ohio State verbal), Cleveland Glenville wide receiver Ray Small (82) and Cincinnati Colerain linebacker Cobrani Mixon (84).
In addition to the four OSU verbals, Smith, Gibson, Brown, Small and Mixon are believed to have OSU offers. Chichester attended OSU's Senior Advanced Camp this past Saturday.
With five verbals on the list, Texas is the only school with more verbals in the initial top 100 than OSU. Georgia checks in with three.
Wells, a 6-1, 220-pound bruiser who rushed for just shy of 2,000 yards as a junior, is the highest rated player to already commit. He edged out Pennsylvania's LeSean McCoy (ranked 11th overall nationally) for the top spot among running backs.
Rolle, listed at 6-2 and 210 pounds, is a versatile player who also plays safety, cornerback and running back. Rounding out Scout.com's top five are offensive lineman Andre Smith of Huffman High School (Birmingham, Ala.), Wells, offensive lineman Steve Schilling of Bellevue (Wa.), and linebacker Allen Bradford of Colton (Calif.).
"Myron Rolle is your prototype free safety, but he could also play strong safety or outside linebacker," said Allen Wallace, Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst. "This is a young man who runs with violence. He has that superstar quality about him and shows a chance to really be something special in college. Physically speaking, Rolle reminds me of Washington Redskin safety Sean Taylor, who was the fifth overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft out of Miami."
Rolle and hundreds of prospects covered by Scout.com now have an evaluation module on their player pages that can display as many as three strengths and three areas for improvement, as well as a more detailed scouting report. The Network's analysts and evaluators, considered the best in the business, evaluate players in person – many at Scout.com's own combine series – or through video review.
"This feature is another example of how much pride we take in our role as innovators in this industry," said Keith Haynes, Scout.com's product manager. "We have used technology to more clearly illustrate the insights and judgments of our recruiting team, as well as give our users a quick but vivid picture of a given prospect's abilities."
Not as clear, however, was the choice of Rolle as the country's top recruit.
"I can't remember a year when it has been so difficult for us to decide who was the top prospect at this time of the recruiting season," said Jamie Newberg, Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst. "You certainly can't go wrong with Rolle. He's an outstanding talent on both sides of the ball. But you could certainly make a strong case for a few other guys, especially Andre Smith and Chris Wells. Smith is clearly the best OL since Jeff Byers (USC) and Wells would challenge the top running back in any given year.
"Rolle is our guy right now and he's certainly a wonderful talent and a great young man."
As in any year, certain positions are deeper than others. For the class of 2006 the offensive line is stacked; 18 of Scout's National Hot 100 play there and, according to the Network experts, that number could have been higher. Two other trends stand out about Scout.com's list – the East is strong and offensive prospects dominate the top 100 list, mainly because of the super depth across the offensive line. There are 24 players from the East region, the most of any region, and 58 prospects are from the offensive side of the ball.
"The East region is unusually deep this year, thanks in part to the top player in the nation, Myron Rolle, at the top, and a wealth of talent in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia," said Miller Safrit, Scout.com East Recruiting Analyst. "Each boasts an abnormally high number of ‘Hot 100' type of players headlined by Pennsylvania. With seven players making the list, Jason Pinkston, Jared Odrick, and Zach Frazer all could have easily made the list as well but they just missed out."
Smith is the nation's top offensive lineman, Wells is the nation's best running back and Bradford is the top linebacker prospect. The other top-rated prospects at their respective positions are quarterback Mitch Mustain of Springdale (Ark.), wide receiver Vidal Hazelton of Staten Island (N.Y.) Moore Catholic, tight end Nate Byham of Franklin (Pa.), defensive end Eddie Jones of Kilgore (Texas), defensive tackle Micah Johnson of Fort Campbell (Ky.), and cornerback Jai Eugene of Destrahan (La.).
The top 50 players in the nation receive five stars from Scout.com. Nos. 51-250 are assigned four stars and 251- 750 are assigned three stars. Over the next week Scout.com will begin to assign stars to the nation's top 750 prospects.
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