Who is on the Rise Out West

Senior film is flowing in by the boatload and we're working everyday to break it down and evaluate it. Most high school teams have finished or are winding down the season and with that will be ranking changes. Here are a few moves that have already taken place out West...

As the 2009 season winds down, several players have made major surges at their respective positions in the Scout rankings.

One player has gone from being a four-star to a five star.

Dillon Baxter has been on our list since the summer of 2008, when he committed to USC and was a charter member of the Scout 100 for the class of 2010. But the star athlete for San Diego (Calif.) Mission Bay catapulted himself into the Top 50 and in to a five-star with a record-setting senior season. Running the Wildcat for Mission Bay, Baxter moved from the top 15 at receiver to the top five at running back.

Four players have moved from outside the Scout 300 into the top list, and with it comes four stars.

Making the biggest move was Bryan Bennett, who moved from just outside the top 25 at quarterback to the 10th spot. The dual-threat passer from Encino (Calif.) Crespi had an excellent senior season, with both his arm and his legs for the Celts. To further his worth, Bennett also started at cornerback for Crespi. The future Oregon Duck is a bigger and more athletic version of Jeremiah Masoli, who's flawlessly ran the Ducks offense the past two years and into this year's Rose Bowl.

"Bennett is a dual-threat quarterback in every sense of the word. A good enough athlete that he starts at cornerback for his team as well as quarterback. Bennett is still a comfortable pocket passer, but he can be equally dangerous on the run," said Scout.com National Director of Scouting, Scott Kennedy. "Bennett seems to have an elastic arm, because he can get a surprising amount of velocity on the ball without resetting his feet. He's an excellent runner, but he runs to set up his pass first. Meaning, as he's scrambling, he keeps his eyes downfield and only runs once he's exhausted the option of passing. As he approaches the line of scrimmage, he has an uncanny ability to whip the ball downfield with an extremely quick release. Most quarterbacks need to gather themselves before throwing a ball on the run with the type of accuracy and velocity that Bennett is able to generate."

Another big mover is Colin Porter, who was a top 25 offensive guard in the preseason but moves up to seventh in the country and a four-star.

Porter played left tackle for Bothell (Wash.) this year, leading them to the WIAA 4A State Semifinals and the future Washington Husky ranks as the second-best offensive lineman we saw in person this year. Porter has excellent footwork, does a stellar job of pass blocking and run blocking and plays nasty. Against Skyline this year, we saw him take out two defenders on pancakes on the same play, one an end than another a linebacker on a run play, showing his ability to get the second level of defenders.

Another future Washington Husky, Kevin Smith, a two-way standout for Compton (Calif.) Centennial at safety and receiver, made a big move.

We saw Smith for the first time at the B2G Camp this summer, as a receiver, and while still raw, the explosiveness and athleticism that college coaches salivate over was on display. Playing only his second year of high school football, Smith was a star this year for Centennial.

Kennedy saw Smith in November and was more than impressed with what he saw.

"Smith's explosiveness was evident from the opening kickoff, but there are a lot of players out there that can run. What makes Smith standout even more than the average fast player, is his aggression. His willingness to get dirty shows itself on his block of the punt return, but it's also evident in his run support play from his safety position. He absolutely attacks the ball carrier and the line of scrimmage," said Kennedy.

The final mover into the Scout 300 was Anaheim (Calif.) Servite defensive tackle Kirifi Taula, who is one of the toughest players in the region.

We saw Taula on Saturday night in the Pac-5 Title Game, a game that Taula wasn't even supposed to play in because of a broken arm he suffered against Mission Viejo in the CIF-SS Semifinals. But there was Taula, gutting it out and helping the Friars defense stop Edison and exact revenge for an early-season loss. Taula recovered a fumble in the game. Taula was an anchor for the Friars on both the offensive and defensive lines this year, and a big reason they're playing for their first state title this Saturday.

Florida commit Joshua Shaw from Palmdale (Calif.) was already a longtime member of the Scout 300, but he moved up from 13th to 6th in the national rankings at cornerback.

Oregon commit Terrance Mitchell moved from the #33 spot at cornerback to the #22 spot after a big year for Sacramento (Calif.) Burbank. UCLA verbal Tevin McDonald moved from the top 75 at safety to the top 30 at cornerback, where he played this year for Fresno (Calif.) Edison and will in college, helping lead the Tigers to the CIF-Central Section title.

Pittsburg (Calif.) teammates Robert Jiles and Tracy Clark, both headed to Washington State, also surged in the rankings, both moving into the top 100 at their respective positions of receiver and cornerback after carrying the load for the Pirates with the absence of Erick Dargan, and helping Pittsburg to the CIF-NCS Finals.

Inland Empire pass-rushers Tony Washington from Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.), a commit to Oregon and Andrew Hudson from Redlands (Calif.) East Valley (a Washington commit), both jumped up at defensive end.

Power back Cameron Roberson from Newbury Park (Calif.), moved from the top 40 at running back to the #2-spot at fullback, where the future Notre Dame back looks like he'll project better at the next level.

Gardena (Calif.) Serra won the CIF-SS Northwest Division title last weekend and goes for the CIF State D-III title this year, and while their headlined by the nation's top receiver, Robert Woods, it's a handful of defenders who've made moves. Cornerbacks Bene Benwikere and Devan Spann both moved up into three-stars, thanks largely to the body of work on Friday nights, made possible by their daily tests against the nation's best receiving corps of Woods, elite 2011 receiver George Farmer and 2010 four-star Paul Richardson. Sean Bacon, who also plays linebacker and tight end for the Cavs also moved into three-star range.


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