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August 18, 2005

Athletes can do it all

Rivals.com defines the players ranked at the athlete position as prospects that could project at a number of different positions on either side of the offensive or defensive side of the ball.

Keeping that in mind, the athlete position - ranked for the first time today - is one of the more diverse and loaded positions for talent all across the board.

The athlete spot is headlined by three five-star prospects - Myron Rolle of Princeton (N.J.) The Hun School, Taylor Mays of Seattle O'Dea and Jamar Hornsby of Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood.

But there are loads of other great players at the position, too.

Take Riley Cooper of Clearwater (Fla.) Catholic at No. 6 in the ranking for example. Cooper is a two-sport start that is 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds. Not only is he one of the nation's top football prospects, many major league baseball scouts rank him as one of the top 10 players available in next falls amateur draft.

As a centerfielder, Cooper has also performed well at professional baseball showcases, where he blistered the testing phase of the showcase. He clocked in at 6.25-seconds in the 60-yard dash - the standard distance in baseball used - giving him the second-fastest time in the nation. On the gridiron he earned first-team all-state honors as a junior after racking up 118 tackles and 874 yards receiving.

Earl Alexander of Phenix City (Ala.) Central is another wonderful example of the type of talent at the athlete position. Ranked as the nation's No. 9 athlete, Alexander spends his time in high school as a dual-threat quarterback, but with his 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame the options are limitless as to where he could end up playing at in college.

The athlete position is especially loaded in the Lone Star State for the class of 2006. With eight players ranked at the athlete position, it's easy to see why coaches from all over the nation check out Texas for top players.

Texas commitment Derke Robinson is the highest ranked Texas athlete at No. 13 on the list. Robinson, who is 6-foot and 193 pounds, is probably going to play running back for the Longhorns, but his size and frame give experts visions of him playing at a number of different spots.

Angleton, Texas, star Keith Toston is ranked as the nation's No. 30 athlete. Toston is hoping to be a star running back in college, but quite a few coaches think with his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame that he could also be a heck of a safety or even a cornerback prospect.

Orie Lemon of Houston Yates is a lot like Alexander. Lemon plays quarterback for one of the top inner-city programs in Houston, but he is built like an outside linebacker with his 6-foot-2, 218-pound frame.

"I want to play quarterback, but I'm open if it doesn't work out for me," he said. "Texas is recruiting me as an athlete. I can play receiver, safety, strong safety, anything."

Texas A&M commitment Jerrod Johnson of Humble, Texas, is ranked at No. 34 at the position and it's going to be hard to match a kid as versatile as the 6-foot-6, 219-pounder. Johnson is expected to play quarterback this season, but with his size, speed and frame he could be a star receiver or even possibly a Martellus Bennett like tight end.

Artrell Woods is a 6-foot-1, 183-pound athlete that is ranked at No. 38 at the position. Woods committed late last month to Oklahoma State and is likely going to project at receiver for the Cowboys, even though he plays running back in high school.

Chip Gregory of Carrollton (Texas) American Heritage is the top private school player in Texas and comes in at No. 40 in the athlete rankings. Gregory is heading to Arkansas, where he likely projects as an outside linebacker or safety prospect after playing running back in high school.

Kansas State commitment Leon Patton (No. 44) and Dallas Carter star Michael Crabtree (No. 45) are also ranked at the athlete position.

Rivals.com athlete rankings


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