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April 2, 2014

AlabamaVarsity: Top 50

The top list of prospects in the state of Alabama has been expanded to 50 after several months of evaluations with additional film and watching the majority of top athletes participate in the Rivals Camp Series this spring. It remains a very tight battle for the state's No. 1 overall player which can change a few times before signing day.

*1. Daron Payne
Previous Rank: 1
High School: Shades Valley
Position: Defensive tackle
Recruitment: Payne lists his top four as Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Texas.
Quick thoughts: The Under Armour All-American has performed very well this spring to maintain his top ranking. It's hard to argue against a player with his size, quickness, footwork and the fact he is still scratching the surface of how great he can become on the interior defensive front at the college level.

2. Kerryon Johnson
Previous Rank: 2
High School: Madison Academy
Position: Running back
Recruitment: Top three includes Alabama, Auburn and Florida State
Quick thoughts: Johnson can make a good argument as the No. 1 player. The 6-foot, 200-pounder can play just about any skill position. He is at the top of the wish list of all the schools he considers favorites.
*3. Lester Cotton
Previous Rank: 7
High School: Central of Tuscaloosa
Position: Offensive guard
Recruitment: Alabama commitment
Quick thoughts: Cotton is the best offensive lineman in the state. He proved it at the Rivals Camp Series, and earned an invite to the Five-Star Challenge in June. He'll rise into the Rivals100 in the next update.

*4. Tyler Carr
Previous Rank: 4
High School: Southside of Gadsden
Position: Offensive tackle
Recruitment: Alabama, Auburn and Georgia are recruiting the hardest.
Quick thoughts: Carr is a massive lineman who has all the tools to become a great tackle at the next level. He is very coachable and always working to get better. His best days are ahead of him.

*5. Darrell Williams
Previous Rank: 3
High School: Hoover
Position: Linebacker
Recruitment: Williams is receiving the most attention from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Mississippi State.
Quick thoughts: Williams has impressed at the camps and even better when the pads are on. He is 6-foot-3, 225-pounds and is excellent in pass coverage. He is one of the premier defensive prospects in the Southeast.

*6. Nick Gibson
Previous Rank: 5
High School: Pinson Valley
Position: Running back
Recruitment Gibson's top three includes Alabama, Mississippi State and Tennessee.
Quick thoughts: Gibson takes the top spot running back in the state. His blend of speed, power and quickness are tough to overlook. There are a lot of good backs in the state, but he is the best all-around. He was named the running back MVP of the Rivals Camp.

7. Richard McBryde
Previous Rank: 12
High School: Charles Henderson
Position: Linebacker
Recruitment: McBryde has high interest in Alabama, Auburn and Kentucky.
Quick thoughts: McBryde only had an offer from Kentucky less than two months ago. His offer list has turned into a who's who with schools like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Nebraska and USC among others coming through.

*8. Christian Bell
High School: Hoover
Position: Outside linebacker/defensive end
Previous Rank: 8
Recruitment Alabama and Mississippi State are recruiting Bell the hardest.
Quick thoughts: Bell remains one of the top defensive players in the South. A future move to outside linebacker remains a strong possibility once he arrives to the next level. His tackling ability, quickness and football IQ make him a valued target.

*9. Desherrius Flowers
High School Vigor
Position: Running back
Previous Rank: 6
Recruitment: Alabama commitment
Quick thoughts: Flowers attended the Rivals Camp in Hattiesburg where he looked more like a linebacker than a running back. He also displayed the ability to catch the ball. He doesn't blow you away with speed as he is a power back at 212-pounds.

10. Anfernee Jennings
High School: Dadeville
Position: Defensive end
Previous Rank: 15
Recruitment: Alabama commitment
Quick thoughts: The 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end has size, quickness and explosion off the ball. He is still taking visits and added new offers from Clemson and Georgia in the last week.

*11. Bradrick Shaw
High School: Hoover
Position: Running back
Previous Rank: 9
Recruitment: Shaw has several offers including Alabama, Cincinnati, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.
Quick thoughts: Shaw is an elite athlete who plays running back for the Bucs. He has the ability to play other positions on the next level.

*12. Maurice Smitherman
High School: Minor
Position: Cornerback
Previous Rank: 10
Recruitment Smitherman's top five consists of Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Mississippi State.
Quick thoughts: Smitherman hasn't let his size hurt him at all as one of the best lockdown corners in the Southeast. He is technically sound, and has drawn heavy praise from coaches at every camp. His stock will continue to rise as he continues to get bigger.

*13. Brandon Kennedy
High School: Wetumpka
Position: Offensive guard
Previous Rank: 16
Recruitment Kennedy has double-offers with Cincinnati and Missouri the only two from power conferences.
Quick thoughts: Kennedy was a standout at the Rivals Camp in Birmingham last month. There isn't a better lineman in the state from a technical standpoint. He'll play center on the next level with his 6-foot-2, 293-pound frame. He will see his offer list explode during the spring evaluation period.

*14. Keaton Anderson
High School: Florence
Position: Linebacker
Previous Rank: 11
Recruitment: Anderson has several offers including Alabama, Duke, Louisville, LSU, Miami and Tennessee.
Quick thoughts: Anderson isn't the biggest or the fastest, but he gets the job done every time he steps on the field. He was excellent at the Rivals Camp. He continues to prove looks are deceiving. There is a reason why schools like Alabama, LSU, Miami and Tennessee have offered a scholarship.

*15. Jauntavius Johnson
High School: Lincoln
Position: Defensive tackle
Previous Rank: 14
Recruitment: Johnson's offers include Auburn, Louisville and Mississippi State.
Quick thoughts: It's good year for top end talent when Johnson is No. 14. He's a big-bodied lineman who moves extremely well for his size. He might end up as a nose tackle or possibly offensive guard when he arrives at the next level.

16. Jalen Thompson
High School: St. Paul's
Position: Cornerback
Previous Rank: 26
Recruitment: Thompson's favorites include Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Louisville and South Carolina. Alabama and Auburn have yet to offer.
Quick thoughts: Thompson is a star on the gridiron and baseball diamond. He didn't get to participate in any spring camps. His stock can rise with a good summer. He has elite skills as a defensive back. A lot of schools will have eyes on him during the spring evaluation period.

*17. Dee Smith
High School: Florence
Position: Safety
Previous Rank: 27
Recruitment: Smith has recently seen his recruitment pick up with offers from Auburn, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami and Tennessee.
Quick thoughts: The move from linebacker to safety was best as he will spend time learning the position he will play at the college level. He has seen some major offers recently arrive including Auburn and Miami. More will come his way this spring.

*18. Amonte Caban
Previous Rank: Not ranked
High School: Smiths Station
Position: Linebacker
Recruitment: Caban is starting to see his recruitment take flight with new offers from South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville and Mississippi State.
Quick Thoughts: Caban looked great at the Rivals Camp last month. He will continue to see his stock rise as college coaches visit during the spring. Alabama and Auburn are highly interested and continue evaluating.

*19. Jamarius Henderson
Previous Rank: No. 13
High School: Dale County
Position: Athlete
Recruitment: UAB commitment
Quick thoughts: Henderson gave a surprise early commitment to the Blazers. There are a lot of major schools with high interest and plan to see him this spring. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound is getting a lot of looks at safety.

*20. Quandeski Whitlow
Previous Rank: 18
High School: Opelika
Position: Defensive end
Recruitment: Whitlow has collected several offers in the past month including Louisville, Miami and Nebraska.
Quick thoughts: Whitlow is a speed rusher on the outside, but could move to linebacker at the next level. He as very good instincts and quickness.

*21. Keith Mixon, athlete, Shades Valley (Previous rank: No. 17)
Offer sheet: Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State, South Alabama, UAB, Vanderbilt

*22.Mario Osborne, defensive end, Daphne (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Cincinnati, Georgia, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, South Alabama, Tulane, UAB


*23. Darryl Williams, offensive guard, Bessemer City (Previous rank: 25)
Offer sheet: Cincinnati, Kentucky, Mississippi State, South Alabama, Southern Miss, UAB

*24. Traveon Samuel, athlete, Central-Phenix City (Previous rank: 21)
Offer sheet: Cal, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Tennessee

*25. Malik Manciel, defensive end, Florence (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Arkansas State, Southern Miss, UAB

*26. Deondre Douglas, wide receiver, James Clemens (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: UAB

*27.Justin Johnson, wide receiver, Hoover (Previous rank: 30)
Offer sheet: Mississippi State, Arkansas State, Kentucky, South Alabama, Southern Miss, UAB, Western Kentucky

*28.Jalen Harris, tight end, St. James (Previous rank: 29)
Offer sheet: Cal, Cincinnati, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Tulane, Wake Forest

*29. Trey Turner, athlete, Murphy (Previous rank: 32)
Offer sheet: Cal, Cincinnati, South Alabama, Southern Miss, UAB

*30.Terrelle West, running back, Clay-Chalkville (Previous rank: 22)
Offer sheet: Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Mississippi State, South Alabama, Southern Miss, Western Kentucky

*31.Kendall Jones, defensive end, Clay-Chalkville (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Western Kentucky

*32. Joshua Williams, offensive guard, Vigor (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Zero offers. Increased interest from Auburn and Southern Miss. Won OL MVP at Rivals Camp in Hattiesburg.

*33. Jaleen Thomas, running back, Northview-Dothan (Previous rank: 20)
Offer sheet: Mississippi State, Texas State

*34. Logan Stenberg, offensive tackle, James Clemens, (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: UAB

35. Josh Crawford, running back, Edgewood Academy (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Vanderbilt commitment

*36. Lowell Furlow, offensive tackle, Dallas County, (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Mississippi State, UAB, Alabama State

*37. Brenden Williams, wide receiver, Restoration Academy, (Previous rank: 28)
Offer sheet: UAB, Jacksonville State

*38. Griffin Riggs, defensive end, Auburn (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Southern Miss, South Alabama

*39. Drew Kyser, offensive guard, Opelika,(Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: UAB

*40. Anfernee Mullins, defensive end, Aliceville, (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: South Alabama, Southern Miss, Troy

*41. Chris White, offensive center, Daphne High School, (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Austin Peay, UAB

*42. Troy Thingstad, offensive guard, St. Paul's, (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Louisville, South Carolina

*43. Jarek Taylor, cornerback, Bob Jones, (Previous rank: 40)
Offer sheet: Cal, Charlotte, FIU, Southern Miss, Temple

44. JarMarkus Sims, safety, Dothan, (Previous Rank: 24)
Offer sheet: Kentucky, Troy

*45. Josh Thomas, cornerback, Montgomery Academy (Previous rank: 31)
Offer sheet: Troy, UAB

*46. Steven Clark, offensive guard, Brindlee Mountain (Guntersville) (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: South Alabama


*47. Melvin Tyus, safety, Carver of Montgomery (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, South Alabama, Southern Miss, Troy

*48. Paxton Schrimsher, safety, Athens, (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: Central Arkansas, Middle Tennessee, Troy, UAB

*49. Nigel Lawrence, cornerback, Smiths Station (Previous rank: Not ranked)
Offer sheet: South Alabama, Troy, UAB

50. Troy Dixon, running back, UMS-Wright (Previous rank: 33)
Offer sheet: South Alabama





Just missed the cut: Johnathan Fletcher, athlete, Tanner, Demetrice Vaughn, running back, Blount, Zachary Branner, offensive tackle, Buckhorn, Justin Foster, tight end, Donoho,Ryan Barbour, tight end, Dale County, Doug Salter, linebacker, Brantley, Tyler Cameron, quarterback, Foley, Jared Gentry, Opelika

*Denotes attended the Rivals Camp Series or Underclassmen Challenge.

Twitter: @AndrewJBone


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