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August 24, 2012

R250: Florida talent shines through

MORE: Rivals100 | Rivals250

Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
Following a summer of evaluations at camps, combines and passing tournaments, the Rivals250 was released this week with its typical list of movers and shakers.

One thing that has remained a constant since Rivals.com expanded its coverage from the Rivals100 to its ranking of the top 250 prospects in the country in 2006, is that great players come from great programs.

The list of usual hotspots is always well represented.

Of the 1,156 high school programs that have had at least one player ranked, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas leads with 12 players ranked inside the Rivals250 since 2006. With defensive lineman Joey Bosa comfortably inside the rankings this season, that number is sure to move up by at least one when this class has been completely evaluated in January.

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell is not surprised that the Florida-based power is atop this list.

"I think St. Thomas Aquinas produces so much talent because it's a well known South Florida program that always seems to be in the hunt for state titles and gets a lot of national attention," Farrell said. "Players going there knowing they will be heavily recruited, get plenty of exposure and they will also be coached-up and play top competition.

"The reputation STA has built over the years is hard to beat."

The Raiders claimed a RivalsHigh 100 high school football national championship in 2008 and finished No. 2 nationally during the 2010 season.

Last season, Rocco Cassullo took over the program from legendary coach George Smith and had the team positioned for another Top 10 run before a rash of injuries derailed the season.

Lost late in the season was Rivals250 member Jelani Hamilton, who finished the year ranked No. 106.

Farrell notes that the list of programs that regularly have elite players can be slanted toward private schools because they have a big edge.

"Private schools have a great advantage over public schools because they can take kids out of district," he said. "But you have to win and put kids in college to be able to recruit them, so to speak, so these successful programs have earned that respect. There is a lot of pressure on kids in certain states to go to the bigger, more successful private schools these days, which is why I see this trend continuing."

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian and Olney (Md.) Good Counsel are the other two private schools inside the current leaders for talent producers. Each will be maintaining its spot with players nationally ranked in the Class of 2013.

Here is a look at which schools have produced the most Rivals250 members since its inception in 2006. This does not include the 2013 class because two more updates remain for that class rankings:
Players: 12
Five-stars: Lamarcus Joyner, Sam Young
Four-stars: Marcus Roberson, Major Wright, Brandon Linder, Daniel Wenger, Bobby Hart, Jelani Hamilton, Duron Carter, Cody Riggs, Marcus Gilbert, Giovanni Bernard.
The Skinny: All but two players that have been inside the Rivals250 for this school have played in the trenches or at defensive back. Duron Carter and Giovanni Bernard are the lone exceptions to that group. With all of the talent throughout the state of Florida, the offensive line group is usually not one of its strengths. However, with five players at one program being among the nation's elite, it speaks to the coaching that the players are receiving at Aquinas.

Players: 10
Five-stars: Marcus Forston
Four-stars: Brandon Washington, Amari Cooper, Teddy Bridgewater, Jacory Harris, Aldarius Johnson, Sean Spence, Tommy Streeter, Michaelee Harris, Benjamin Harris.
The Skinny: Seven of the players that made the Rivals250 from Northwestern were part of the 2008 team that won the RivalsHigh 100 national championship. The group of Forston, Johnson, Streeter, Spence, Washington, and both Harris' were part of one of the most talented high school football teams ever. The entire group stayed local and went to Miami (Fla.), but they never matched the expectations that went with them to the Hurricanes.

Players: 10
Five-stars:: Jimmy Clausen, Marc Tyler
Four-stars: Erik Kohler, Cassius Marsh, Anthony Gildon, Malcolm Jones, Marshall Jones, Ishamael Adams, Jordan Payton, Christoper Owusu
The Skinny: All of the players on this list who went on to play in college were under the tutelage of Bill Redell, who started the Oaks Christian football program from scratch in 1999. Redell resigned before the 2012 football season, but the talent that is walking the halls now and in the future will owe a debt to Redell. He won seven Southern Section titles with this group and has multiple players in the NFL.

Players: Nine
Five-stars: Robert Rose, Latwan Anderson
Four-stars: Aundrey Walker, Marcus Hall, Raymond Small, Andre Sturdivant, Christian Bryant, Jermale Hines, Cordale Scott
The Skinny: The former Ohio State pipeline has dried a little as the four players that chose not to head to the Buckeyes were all from the last three recruiting classes. Prior to the recent run, if you were an elite Glenville player you were going to Columbus. The current team does not have a member in the Rivals 250 and could start moving back down this list as many below it do.

Players: Eight
Four-stars: Thomas Johnson, Mike Davis, Michael Morgan, Anthony Wallace, Peter Jinkens, Christian Scott, Corey Nelson, Steve Williams
The Skinny: Skyline is always one of the most talented teams in Texas and has been a factory for receivers and linebackers. The team has rarely put together strong enough play on the offensive line to carry the day, but the athletes that can be lined up is incredible. Of the eight players in the Rivals250, all are receivers, linebackers or defensive backs.

6 (tie). Nine teams with six players; listed alphabetically

Four-stars: Kelvin Benjamin, Deonte Thompson, Damien Berry, Earnest McCoy, Johnnie Lee Dixon, Rantavious Wooten.

School: DETROIT (MICH.) Cass Tech
Five-stars: William Campbell
Four-stars: Boubacar Cissoko, Joseph Barksdale, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Dior Mathis, Terry Richardson

Five-stars: Marcus Lattimore
Four-stars: Corey Miller, Wily Korn, Brandon Willis, Everett Dawkins, Prince Miller

Five-stars: De'Anthony Thomas
Four-stars: Raymond Carter, Brian Price, Darian Hagan, Hayes Pullard, Kemonte Bateman

Five-stars: Stafon Johnson
Four-stars: Rahim Moore, Mark Johnson, Jaydon Mickens, Jovon Hayes, Jonathan Franklin

Five-stars: Dorian Bell, Corey Brown
Four-stars: Cameron Saddler, Shayne Hale, Dondi Kirby, Aaron Smith

Five-stars: Shon Coleman
Four-stars: Allen Walker, Rod Woodson, Anthony Summers, Damien Robinson, Jalen Collins

Five-stars: Jelani Jenkins, Stefon Diggs
Four-stars: Akeen Hebron, Blake Countess, Wes Brown, Louis Young

Five-stars: Matt Elam
Four-stars: Nick O'Leary, Gerald Christian, Jacoby Brissett, Curt Maggitt, Patrick Miller

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