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January 17, 2012

Rivals100: Toughest decisions

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Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on their toughest decisions when compiling the final Rivals100 for the 2012 class.

Mike Farrell: The toughest decision for me was the one where we dropped Texas commitment Cayleb Jones down from five stars and to the No. 41 spot. I have always been impressed with his film and the way he looks in person, and I think he will have a great career at Texas. Whether it will be a five-star career, we will see. But that one was tough. Dropping Yuri Wright and Geno Smith down a bit was tough as well. I like both of them and think they can be very good down the line with some added strength and work.

Adam Gorney: It was not a difficult decision to move Arik Armstead down a little bit following his performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl but I hope we didn't move him down too much from No. 29 to No. 61 in the 2012 class. As I've said numerous times, if Armstead wanted to play offensive tackle then he could be one of the top players at that position. But Armstead is set on playing defensive end and we're just not convinced that's his best position. We would like to see Armstead consistently play harder and get off blocks a little bit better. A bump down after an average week at the Army Bowl was expected, but I hope he didn't fall too much.

Josh Helmholdt: After a strong performance during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl week, it was difficult to not give Glen Ellyn (Ill.) Glenbard West defensive tackle Tommy Schutt a bump in the latest rankings update. Schutt was consistently among the top performers on the East squad, but at the end of the week we felt he was still the same guy we thought he was coming into the Army Bowl. We have always had Schutt among the highest 5.9-rated prospects in the country, and he stays in that range in this latest update.

Chris Nee: The toughest decision that I was involved in was keeping Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol offensive tackle Andrus Peat at five-star status. Peat is outside my regular coverage area, so prior to the Under Armour All-America Game week, I only knew what I had seen on video of Peat. His video is very, very good. His performance at Under Armour, throughout the practices and to a lesser extent in the game, left a lot to be desired. He struggled with an array of defensive linemen that he faced in practices and was underwhelming throughout the week. We had a lot of discussion with regards to whether or not to keep him as a five-star.

Keith Niebuhr: The toughest for me was running back Keith Marshall. I've seen him play in two games, and I was able to watch him the entire week at Under Armour. In space, the kid is absolutely terrific. He's fast. He can make people miss. And he accelerates incredibly well. However, even though he's listed at 5-11 and 190, he's just not built like an every down back. And at this time, he isn't exceptional at fighting for yards, or creating when little is there. I do expect him to get bigger, and in fact at Under Armour he already looked better physically than he did in October. This was a prospect we all really liked, but it was really difficult to pinpoint exactly where he should be. In our opinion, he's not a five-star guy. But he's also not someone who should be at the back end of the top 100. In the end, we slotted Marshall at No. 48. He has a lot of potential, and it will be interesting to see how Georgia utilizes him in its offense. Marshall also has been dealing with tendonitis in his knee, so let's hope that is something that doesn't become a major issue. He should be a fun player to watch at the next level.

Brian Perroni: We talked a lot about the possibility of Athens (Texas) athlete Kendall Sanders being both higher and lower than his current No. 39 ranking. I really like him a lot at cornerback and that is why he was invited to play on defense in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He proved us right by having a very good week in pass coverage and then picking off two passes in the game. As a 6-foot-plus cornerback, he has an incredibly high ceiling. However, he would prefer to play wide receiver at Texas. Though very good on the offensive side of the ball as well, I don't think he would be anywhere near as high as 39 at that position.



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