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December 21, 2007
Rivals.com recruiting analysts were on the road quite a bit in the last month, taking in playoff games from California to Florida and covering all-star games in the Carolinas and the Gulf Coast Region.
Those dozens of in-person evaluations, along with reviewing updated late senior film, were the basis for the latest update of the Rivals250.
Big movers include Allen, Texas, receiver Dan Buckner and Batesville (Miss.) South Panola running back Darius Barksdale. Buckner, a longtime Texas commit, moved up to the No. 107 spot after impressing late in the season and in the state playoffs. Barksdale's movement comes from a great senior season and an impressive week of practices in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
"Bucker is a tall, physical receiver that catches everything," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every said. "In a very, very deep year for receivers, he definitely stacks up among the nation's best. Despite two fumbles in the game, Barksdale rushed for a game-high 73 yards and showed why he is such a productive back. He runs with great lean and balance, and always gains positive yardage."
Another Mississippi player also made a solid move up the rankings after a strong showing in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. Clarksdale, Miss., safety Charles Mitchell moved up to the No. 167 spot.
Columbus, Ga., athlete Jarmon Fortson also proved he belongs among the nation's best. He climbs from three stars to four stars (No. 184).
"Watching Jarmon do the things he did in the state championship game really impressed me," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barton Simmons said. "Not only did he make a lot of big plays, he made big plays at critical points in the game. He's definitely a gamer. It'll be exciting to see how Auburn utilizes him in the new spread offense. He has a great chance to excel in that system."
The changes weren't limited to players in the Southeast.
Vaughn Telemaque of Long Beach (Calif.) Poly continues his climb, and checks in this month at the No. 173 spot. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Telemaque looked good this summer at the USC camp and in several passing tournaments. On the field this fall, he has dominated. He had three interceptions in Poly's CIF championship game and now schools from coast-to-coast are courting him.
"I truly think when it's said and done that Vaughn Telemaque deserves to be ranked as one of the nation's top 100 players," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Rick Kimbrel said. "He can just take over a game from the safety spot."
After senior film on Ingram was finally received, it was clear the 5-foot-10, 195-pound four-star prospect belonged among the nation's top 250 prospects. Ingram checks in at No. 196, and it's no surprise that he's a star. His father is Mark Ingram, a first-round pick in the 1987 draft that played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Giants, Dolphins, Packers and Eagles.
R.J. Mattes of Concord (N.C.) Robinson made a move into the 250 after a strong showing all week long at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. He's now ranked as the nation's No. 205 player overall.
"Mattes was the most complete offensive lineman in Spartanburg," Simmons said. "He has really developed physically and he put together solid week of practice."
Jordan Jefferson of Destrahan, La., has come a long way this season. After watching him initially at the NIKE Training Camp, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound pro-style quarterback improved leaps and bounds this season. He also moves into the 250 at No. 206.
"He is still a little raw, but I can see him making an impact in years three and four at LSU," Every said. "He reminds me a little bit of former Auburn player and current Washington Redskin Jason Campbell."
Another Texas athlete that moved up in the rankings was Beaumont (Texas) Kelly defensive tackle Kheeston Randall. The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder has really blossomed as a senior under the tutelage of former All-American and NFL star Frank Middleton.
"I think he got aggressive," Middleton said about Randall. "Last year, he was just big. This year he is more physical, he uses his hands better, and he throws his body around."
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