Class of 2005 - 10 to Watch

With the fall football season rapidly approaching, takes a preseason look at 10 players to watch in the Class of 2005, headed up by all-everything QB/WR/DB <b>Derrick Williams</b> of <b>Eleanor Roosevelt High (Greenbelt, Md.)</b>.

Derrick Williams
Eleanor Roosevelt (Md.), QB/WR/DB, 6-1, 185

Williams is athletically gifted enough to play multiple positions at a high level. During the course of his prep career, he has seen time at quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back and special teams. He spent the majority of his junior year on offense as the Raiders' starting quarterback, completing 30-of-58 passes for 558 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions last fall and rushing for 1,363 yards and 22 touchdowns on 163 carries. Williams also caught seven passes for 173 yards and returned 14 punts for 396 yards and two touchdowns and seven kickoffs for 276 yards. He was also named to The Washington Post All-Met team as a defensive back after intercepting three passes and returning one for a touchdown. Williams, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, is being recruited primarily as a wide receiver or a defensive back.

Fred Rouse
Lincoln High (Fla.), WR, 6-3, 187

When looking for an ideal wide receiver, the search stops at Rouse. Rouse has so much natural talent that he makes extraordinary plays appear effortless. His 4.38 speed makes him a dangerous deep threat, but he'll burn you on the curl route if you give him too much space. In fact, his ability to makes plays after the catch is arguably his best attribute. Rouse has soft hands and a sick vertical, which allows him to make tough receptions in traffic. He had 41 receptions for 667 yards and nine touchdowns last season while adding 232 yards and a touchdown on 11 punt returns for a return average of 21.1 yards.

Toney Baker
Ragsdale High (N.C.), RB, 5-10, 215

Baker is just as comfortable running over would-be tacklers as he is maneuvering around them with his impressive speed (4.45 in the 40). He also has great vision and the agility to stop on a dime once he finds a hole. Baker is also able to carry the bulk of the offensive load for an entire game as evidenced by his 346 carries last season. He was named to the All-North Carolina team last fall after rushing for 3,411 yards and 38 touchdowns and hauling in 13 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns. His 7,201 career rushing yards leave him only 1,838 yards away from breaking the state career rushing record.

Luthur Brown
Lakewood High (Calif.), LB, 6-2, 227

Brown is a physical specimen who looks like he should be playing on Sundays instead of Fridays. His brute strength is evident both in the weight room - where he benches 325 pounds and squats 500 - and on the field. The middle linebacker can blast through the offensive line to crush running backs for losses, rush passers or drop back into coverage. He was named Moore League Defensive Player of the Year last year as well as to the Division I All-CIF Southern Section team after recording 76 tackles (59 solo), four tackles for loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles, two interceptions and two pass deflections.

Rashard Mendenhall
Niles West (Ill.), RB, 5-11, 198

Mendenhall is the epitome of a big-play back. Once he gets the ball, he can stop on a dime to find a hole, cut, then accelerate past the defense for a long touchdown run. Mendenhall earned All-State honors as a junior last year after rushing for 1,832 yards and 19 touchdowns on just 158 carries. He also showcased his all-around skills by catching 13 passes for 262 yards and four touchdowns while completing 2-of-3 passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns.

DajLeon Farr
North Shore (Texas), TE, 6-5, 237

It's hard to find a more physically imposing player in the Class of 2005 than Farr, who can run the 40 in 4.5 seconds and bench press more than 340 pounds. Farr, who has both great balance and agility, proved he's an excellent blocker last fall when he helped lead North Shore to the Class 5A Division I state title behind one of the nation's top rushing attacks. Although Farr caught just five passes for 130 yards and a touchdown as a junior, many colleges see him as a tight end who can catch passes and block, just like New York Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey. Farr will be more of an offensive focal point this year with the departure of quarterback Bobby Reid, now a freshman at Oklahoma State.

Jonathan Stewart
Timberline High (Wash.), RB, 5-11, 215

Stewart's combination of speed, agility, power and balance makes him one of the top running backs in the country. As a junior, Stewart rushed for 2,592 yards and 36 touchdowns, earning Class 3A state Player of the Year honors and a spot on the All-State team. Going into this season, he has 5,480 career rushing yards, which is just 649 yards from the state record.

Ekom Udofia
Chaparral High (Ariz.), DL, 6-2, 290

Udofia is the top defensive tackle in the country because of his deadly combination of power and speed. It's almost unfair when offensive linemen match up against Udofia, who can bench press more than 400 pounds, squat more than 600 pounds and consistently run the 40-meter dash in less than 5.0 seconds. Udofia, who has an explosive first step, is equally as talented at stopping the run or rushing the passer. He had 78 tackles, nine sacks and one fumble recovery as a sophomore before earning All-State honors last year after recording 51 tackles, 10 sacks and two fumbles despite facing constant double and triple teams.

Tray Blackmon
LaGrange High (Ga.), LB, 6-0, 195

Blackmon is a bit on the small side for a linebacker, but he makes up for it with a body built like a brick house. When you watch Blackmon's hits on film, you can feel them. Blackmon has good anticipation and closes in on the ball carrier with freakish athleticism and speed (4.48 in the 40) to put himself in position to make plays on nearly every down. He showed off his all-around skills last fall by recording 116 tackles (71 solo), 16 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, one safety, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown, to lead LaGrange to the Class 3A state title.

Antone Smith
Pahokee High (Fla.), RB, 5-9, 178

Smith's game consists of speed, speed and more speed. Still, he can stop in his tracks at full speed to make defenders miss and explode through a seam. Smith was named MVP of the Nike Camp in Miami this past spring after posting impressive 40 times of 4.25 and 4.28 and bench pressing 185 pounds 29 times. Smith was selected to the All-State team as a junior after rushing for 1,062 yards and 12 touchdowns despite missing five games with an ankle injury. As a sophomore he rushed for 1,908 yards and 14 touchdowns and was named Sophomore of the Year by the Sunshine Network.

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