LonghornDigest.com: It seemed like Robbie Rhodes was one of the biggest jumps in your most recent rankings, jumping up to No. 7 in the state and No. 43 in the country. What was the biggest reason for his jump
Greg Powers: Really, it was a combination of things. I just got finished breaking down all of his game films from the 2011 season, and combine that with actually getting to see him in person for the first time, that led to a big rankings upgrade. He's really the total package. He has the physique of a college senior right now. You know, back in the day he could possibly have been the Justin Blackmon type and flown under the radar and exploded in college. But in today's day and age, with all of the extra camps and extra coverage … that allowed him to jump onto our radar sooner. So his 7-on-7 performance, combined with watching all of his film led to his spike.
LD.com: Looking even beyond the "big three" of Texas quarterbacks with Tyrone Swoopes, J.T. Barrett and Cody Thomas, you have guys like Kenny Hill and Kohl Stewart in the 30s (in the state) and Devante Kincade and Chris Johnson in the 40s. Is this an especially deep year for quarterbacks?
Powers: I think it is. There are a lot of great arms out there. Devante Kincade is the name you mentioned where I'm shocked that his profile isn't even bigger than it is. I'm surprised that he doesn't have even more offers than he has now, and he has some solid BCS offers. But I think he should have more. Then, you even look at a guy like Damion Hobbs of Cedar Hill, who could wind up on that list, and he has a rare blend of skills. You've had a few guys in the last few years like Jamal Turner or Kolby Listenbee, guys who were 6-1 180 and good athletic guys that you figured would factor in at other positions, even though they progressed at quarterback. Well, Hobbs is 6-3 with a better arm than those guys, and he has that frame to be a big-time quarterback. He has a better chance of sticking there. But this year, you're looking at what, eight quarterbacks from the state with a chance to be in the Scout 300. There were only two last year, Tommy Armstrong and Matt Davis.
LD.com: We talked a bit about the changes, but one of the things that stood out to me was that there weren't any changes at the top. Ricky Seals-Jones and Tyrone Swoopes are still your No. 1 and No. 2 in the state of Texas. Why did you keep the status quo there?
Powers: When I pick the top player in the state, I don't like to change it. If I'm going to make a change, there needs to be a really good reason to make a change, because that's such a hotly debated spot. And there wasn't anything that made me want to make that change. If anything, the gap has tightened between Seals-Jones and Swoopes because of what Swoopes was able to prove at the Elite 11 in Dallas. Maybe if he goes out and performs really well at the national Elite 11, he could make that jump up to No. 1. But right now, they're the No. 11 and 12 players in the country nationally, so there isn't really much of a gap there. Maybe more than one and two, they're 1a and 1b
LD.com: Looking down the list, it appears as though you have a clump of slot receivers bunched together in Ra'Shaad Samples (No. 22 in-state), Laquvionte Gonzalez (No. 23) and Jacorey Warrick (No. 25). What went into ranking those guys and how did you decide who went first?
Powers: I think it's a really tough group to rank. And I think you could even throw Jake Oliver in there (No. 17). He could even potentially be considered a slot, a different kind of slot as a flexed-out tight end almost. He's a guy that can really work the middle of the field and can give you some blocking. So you really could have four slot receivers ranked really close together. It was hard to differentiate. I think that Samples is probably the complete package of the group. Gonzalez is somebody that is really growing on me as he shows he can play receiver. And Warrick is a slippery guy, but with his long arms and the way he can cut and run, he's somebody that could even play cornerback. It's a really talented group, and tough to choose between.
LD.com: There are two ways to look at your list. One is that Texas might wind up only getting two of the top five players in the state. And the other is that Texas could wind up getting seven of the top 10. So how do you evaluate the job that the Longhorns have done at getting the top in-state guys?
Powers: I think they've done a pretty solid job of keeping the top guys home, as always. The only time you really worry is when you don't get a guy that you want, and Texas does a great job of picking and getting who they want. There might be a few that fall through the cracks, like Dontre Wilson, but for the most part, they cherry-pick and take who they want, even if they aren't as highly rated, or there's somebody ranked ahead of them at their position, the guys that they picked out, they got. So Texas fans should feel pretty good about that, as in most years.