With the evaluation period starting today, Scout releases its pre-eval Scout 300 for 2016.
There weren't many major changes in the rankings since the post-Signing Day release of the Scout 300 2.0 for 2016; Paramus (N.J.) Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary continues to be the No. 1 prospect in the 2016 class.
The top 10 had some minor movement, most notably Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy cornerback Saivion Smith, the nation's No. 1 cornerback, now ranked No. 4 overall nationally and top ten newcomer Nate Craig, the five-star receiver from Tampa (Fla.) Catholic, now No. 10 overall and still the No. 1 receiver in the country.
Gary at No. 1, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy defensive end Shavar Manuel at No. 2, Buford (Ga.) Lanier defensive tackle Derrick Brown at No. 3, No. 4 Smith and Allen (Texas) offensive tackle Greg Little at No. 5 lead the rankings.
Rounding out the top ten is Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist Academy quarterback Shea Patterson at No. 6, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Nicholas Bosa at No. 7, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West outside linebacker Caleb Kelly at No. 8, Monroe (La.) Neville Academy defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence at No. 9 and Craig at No. 10.
There are still some changes in the Scout 300, mostly with the introduction and addition of the athlete (ATH) position, something long overdue at Scout.
And middle linebackers are now listed and ranked as inside linebackers, with Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River four-star Jaquan Yulee still No. 1 at that position.
With more and more players being recruited as athletes, with more schools using players on both sides of the ball, with players being utilized at numerous positions once on campus, the time was never better than now to include ATH in the rankings.
In the first release of the Scout 300 with athletes, 20 players in the 2016 class moved from their previously ranked positions to athlete.
The first No. 1 athlete in Scout's history is Long Beach (Calif.) Poly's Jack Jones, who comes from a school that has had its share of elite recruits historically.
"Jones moved in to the Scout 100 last month and made another big jump this week," said national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins. "You can make an argument that he has been the most dominant player out West this spring and he's doing it on both sides of the ball."
Ranked last summer as a receiver by Scout, he was switched to corner after an MVP performance at The Opening Los Angeles, where he punched his ticket to The Opening Finals.
"He has emerged as the top corner in the region and has been as good as any receiver out West as well," said Biggins. "He has added size and strength, while also picking up speed and quickness. He's playing with a chip on his shoulder and few players compete at a higher level than Jones."
The South and the West have nine players ranked as athletes while the Midlands has two in the Scout 300.
The Southeast has added several athletes to the mix.
"There are always elite athletes that play football in the Southeast and I have a shade under 20 now ranked as that on Scout," said national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons. "So many are being recruited to play different positions by different schools depending on schemes, personnel, and what coaches may see on tape." Three of the next five athletes in the rankings come from Georgia.
"Demetris Robertson is now the No. 2 athlete nationally and tops in the South and he is from Savannah, Ga. Marquez Callaway is No. 4 and Kyle Davis No. 6," said Simmons. "There are no five-star athletes ranked at this time in my region, but nine are four-stars in the initial rankings."
Two Scout 300 players in the Midlands debut at the athlete rankings subset: DeSoto (Texas) 6-foot-3, 225-pounder Tristen Wallace and Dallas (Texas) First Baptist 6-foot-3, 190-pounder Camron Williams.
"At the top of the position in the region is Tristen Wallace, an elite runner with one of the more impressive frames you will find on a prospect," said national recruiting analyst Greg Powers. "In all likelihood he will play quarterback on the next level, where he was rated previously, but with his size and speed he could also be a factor at a few different positions."
Joining him is Williams, another Lone Star State native.
"Williams is being looked at to play wide receiver or outside linebacker on the next level. He is a very physical player, but the jury is still out on what position fits him best once he gets to college, but there is little doubt about his skills," said Powers.
"There wasn't a harder player to try and pinpoint his college position than Pittman," said Biggins. "We've already moved Pittman from receiver to safety and his best position might ultimately be outside linebacker. For now, we think he's perfect for the athlete category. He's going to end up 6-5, 240 pounds in a few years and his versatility is off the charts. He's a tough, physical kid who loves contact and plays with a defensive mentality. If he plays on the offensive side of the ball, he might outgrow the receiver position but could end up as an ideal tight end/h-back in the Antonio Gates, Jimmie Graham mold.
"Tate plays quarterback for Serra and that's where he was recruited to play at Arizona but he's so athletically gifted, if things don't work out as a signal caller, he could end up at 3-4 other positions," said Biggins. "He has a running back body and combines tremendous speed and power when he takes off and runs out of the pocket. He has strong hands and has looked good catching the ball as a receiver on the 7v7 circuit the last couple of years and defensively, he has the size, toughness and athleticism to make a heck of a safety."
While the Midwest didn't add any athletes in the Scout 300, two other prospects joined the Scout 300.
"There were not a whole lot of changes in the Midwest this time around," said national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu. "But two new entries into the Scout 300 are quarterback Brandon Peters and defensive tackle Naquan Jones."
One athlete from the Midwest, a three-star, was designated this time around.
"As for the new athlete position, the only Midwest entry right now at the position overall is Miami (Ohio) commit Riley Lees, a high school quarterback who could play defensive back or wide receiver at the next level," said Trieu.
The first Eastern version of The Opening Regionals takes place this weekend in Washington D.C. and camp and 7v7 season has been slow on the East Coast, so there haven't been many changes, yet.
"The East Region didn't see much movement because the camp/combine season is just about to begin," said national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn. "However, with the inclusion of the athlete category, it makes the rankings more complete because it recognizes players with special skill sets beyond the norm of playing one position in college."
And while the East didn't put any athletes in the Scout 300, they did right outside of it.
"The athlete category impacts several high-profile players from the East just outside of the Scout 300," said Dohn. "Khaleke Hudson, who is being pursued heavily by a number of schools to play running back or defensive back, is now listed as an athlete because of his versatility."
Aside from the athletes, a few players made moves in the Scout 100 from around the country.
One is quarterback Jack Allison from Palmetto (Fla.), a commit to Miami.
"Allison has been impressive this year and he is the new No. 1 quarterback in the state of Florida and No. 2 in the Southeast," said Simmons. "The Miami commit has a lot of the traits you look for in an elite quarterback and he just keeps on getting better. He could push for a fifth star before all is said and done in this class."
"Like Jack Jones, Robinson has been getting it done on both sides of the ball and most impressively, he's not even playing where he's projected to in college," said Biggins. "He has stood out at safety and receiver but will definitely be an outside 'backer in college. He's a big, rangy athlete with great football instincts. He's always around the ball and has big time upside."
Another big mover is running back Travis Homer, the four-star back out of West Palm Beach (Fla.) Oxbridge Academy.
"The talented Sunshine State running back has good film and he was equally as impressive in person at The Opening Miami," said Simmons. "He is a balanced back with a good mix of power, speed, and quickness. His balance stands out too and he has made the move to the top 10 at his position in the Southeast."
And the Midlands had one significant jump up out of Kansas.
"In the Midlands there was not a whole lot of ranking changes within the Scout Top 300, but one new name that you will find is that of Xavier Kelly, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end from Wichita (Kan.) East," said Powers.
Kelly has seen his stock soar since The Opening Dallas.
"Kelly was at one time committed to Kansas State, but after a huge performance at The Opening Dallas where he posted 4.57 40-yard dash he has secured offers from a host of national level programs such as Notre Dame," said Powers. "He is the third player from the state of Kansas to earn a Scout 300 ranking joining Amani Bledsoe and Isaiah Simmons."