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August 5, 2010

RivalsHigh 100: Teams 15-11

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

RivalsHigh.com has begun its 2010 countdown, ranking the teams from No. 1 through No. 100.

We started at No. 100 on July 26 and will release two groups of five teams per day. Then, we'll do a daily countdown from No. 10 to No. 1. Our top team will be unveiled on Monday - two weeks from the start of the season.

After that, we will wait until Sept. 1 for the next rankings, then have them every Monday during the season.

The team rankings were compiled by high school sports senior analyst Dallas Jackson, the Rivals AMP team, football recruiting analysts and the entire RivalsHigh network of publishers.

In case you missed it: Previous ranking groups | Post your thoughts about teams 15-11

Top 100 countdown
No. 15 Bingham, Utah

COACH: David Peck
LAST SEASON: 13-1, Utah Class 5A State Champs
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 30 in RivalsHigh Top 100

KEEP AN EYE ON: The national perception of Bingham. Utah football is a state that has its stock soaring. It is unfortunate that Bingham lost to Euless (Texas) Trinity last season because that hampered not just the perception of Bingham, but Utah high school football overall in the casual public's mind. The non-conference games against Sandy (Utah) Alta, Pleasant Grove (Utah) High and Kahuku (Hawaii) High are very strong games, but not name-brand wins that people outside of hardcore fans will recognize.

STRENGTH: It may have been lost on people last season that the reason Bingham and Trinity played was the commonality of the Polynesian population in each community. The similarity between the two teams does not end there though, as the Miners are built very much like Trinity. In the trenches is where Bingham makes its living in the trenches in Utah. There are five players for Bingham that have already committed to BYU, two to Utah State and one to Utah. There are no fewer than three additional players that will end up on Division I rosters.

STAR OF THE SHOW: The "big uglies" do not get the love like the skill players do. Senior running back Harvey Langi went on a country-wide NIKE camp tour this spring and showcased his ability against the best around the United States. Langi is the No. 163 player in the country and can do it all out of the backfield.

BEST OUT WEST? Bingham will start the season inside the Top 5 teams out West and, with an undefeated season, could see itself in the final Top 10 nationally. This team really is that good. If a solid quarterback emerges - and teams in California do not take care of business - this could be a banner year for Utah football, with the Miners leading the charge.

Top 100 countdown
No. 14 Dwyer, Florida

COACH: Jack Daniels
LAST SEASON: 14-1, Florida Class 4A State Champs
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 7 in RivalsHigh Top 100

KEEP AN EYE ON: How the Panthers replace Matt Elam. Elam was possibly a once-in-a-lifetime running back at Dwyer, and often times the team's offensive philosophy looked like it was as easy as "give it to Matt and get out of the way." Defensive back Shawn McClain will slide over to the offensive side of the ball and attempt to pick up the slack. The team won't expect McClain to equal Elam's performance, nor should they.

STRENGTH: The "Big Three" for Dwyer is one of the highest-rated trios in the country. Tight end Nick O'Leary, quarterback Jacoby Brissett and defensive end Curt Maggitt are all four-star players and rated in the Top 15 at their respective positions nationally. O'Leary is the heart of the team. He is one of the most competitive players to set foot on the field. He wants to win each snap and the team feeds off of that.

FINALLY HEALTHY: Maggitt was one of the biggest defensive playmakers for Dwyer last year despite playing much of the season with a torn labrum. Maggitt only took about 50 percent of the snaps due to the injury, but it seemed that each one was meaningful. Now back and healthy, Maggitt could dominate. He is one of the more fun-loving defensive players in Florida as he likes to keep the mood light with his trash talking, but is someone to be taken very seriously on the field.

HEADED OUT OF STATE: Dwyer is the next in the line of teams to head to Ohio to take on one of the top teams in that state, as the Panthers will play Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville at Ohio State. The battle is heating up as to which state plays the best football and this could be a good measuring stick for both teams.

NEED TO IMPROVE: The key area the Panthers will need to address before heading to Ohio is at linebacker. Losing Elam and his intensity with that group hurts, and through spring and summer practice not much has changed. Leroy Kelsey has the potential to make a name for himself if he can rise to the challenge.

Top 100 countdown
No. 13 Crenshaw, California

COACH: Robert Garrett
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 42 in RivalsHigh Top 100

KEEP AN EYE ON: Crenshaw's defense. If it proves to be as powerful as the offense most certainly will be, this portends to be a very special year for Crenshaw. They return many key players from last year's team, but need to find a way to stop a team like Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, which ended the Cougars' undefeated streak in the state championship game last year.

STRENGTH: The Cougars are strong on both sides of the ball. They are led by standout running back De'Anthony Thomas and return several other talented players. Dual-threat quarterback Marquis Thompson returns along with backup running back Qujuan Floyd, who should play a bigger role in Crenshaw's two back offense. On defense, Floyd returns at linebacker, Junior Alexis and James Brock rejoin the defensive line, and Joseph Pullard and Justin Johnson remain at defensive back. A load on both sides of the ball is 6-foot-3, 355 pound Marcus Martin.

STAR OF THE SHOW: Even though Crenshaw is loaded at skill positions, it's no surprise that Thomas is the star of this team. He is Rivals.com's top-rated 2011 all-purpose back, the fifth-rated prospect overall in the country and second overall in the state. "Black Mamba" will also play a significant role on defense at the safety and cornerback positions.

QUOTABLE: "Although the Cougars lost a lot of good players to graduation, they won't miss a beat with De'Anthony Thomas leading the way on offense," CaliforniaPreps analyst Dave Keefer said. "And with more opportunities on defense this year, there is no telling what damage Thomas could cause opponents on that side of the ball."

Top 100 countdown
No. 12 DeMatha, Maryland

COACH: Bill McGregor
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 50 in RivalsHigh Top 100

KEEP AN EYE ON: How Delonte Morton comes back into the mix. Morton, who is committed to Maryland, tore his ACL last year and is coming back fairly strong this year. He looks to be the leader for carries in the clubhouse at DeMatha. However, the stable is full of able bodies if he is not up to par. Jacob Siwicki, Josh McPhearson and Andrew Rogers all can tote the rock if need be.

MOVING THE PILE: No matter who the running back is, the Stags have the chance to be one of the most physical offensive lines in the country. The group is led by five-star prospect Cyrus Kouandjio at tackle. The 6-foot-7 monster checks in at 322 pounds and is a road grater and solid in pass protection. On the other side is Kelby Johnson, a 6-foot-8 prospect committed to Virginia. In between those two will be Darian Cooper, at 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, and Kendall Patterson, at 6-foot-2 and 275 pounds. And just for good measure, when the team moves a tight end in for protection, Sam Collura goes 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds. It is a wall that will be hard to penetrate.

THE OTHER TRENCH? It just isn't the offensive side of the ball where the Stags will beat people up. Defensively, Cooper and Patterson will rotate in when needed, but they will also be sandwiched with two Division I prospects. Michael Moore and Brent Wilkerson are both juniors, both with looks from Virginia and both able to get up field and make plays.

DEPTH: DeMatha is one of the deepest teams in the Atlantic East. The Stags will have a 75-member varsity team, a full junior varsity team as well as a ninth grade team. There is very little concern for losing the 32 seniors that left the program to graduation.

QUOTABLE: "I have been at DeMatha for 29 years," coach Bill McGregor said. "It really has been great to see this area develop better football. It used to be just basketball but that is changing. Our elite teams are truly elite now. We will see if we can compete with Ohio, Florida, and Texas here very soon."

Top 100 countdown
No. 11 Miami Central, Florida

COACH: Terry Lockette
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 15 in Florida

KEEP AN EYE ON: The transition the Rockets make from losing their "Big Three" of 2009. Jeffrey Godfrey, Brandon Gainer and Joshua Reese are all gone, but the team brings back a talented group on offense and defense. The emergence of Rakeem Cato, a Miami (Fla.) Miami Springs transfer at quarterback, may soften the blow from losing Godfrey. Cato threw for 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns last season and could be a steady hand on the offense.

STRENGTH: It is no shock that a team from Miami is loaded with athletes. The offensive side of the ball looks to be the team's strength if there is a solid play from the offensive line. The Rockets have running back DeVonta Freeman and wide receivers Charles Gaines Jr. and Tommy Shuler to lean on to produce.

STAR OF THE SHOW: Strangely as it seems, the team with seven current Division I commits and a potential for five more does not have a star that steals the spotlight. Maybe that is something that will help this group make it deeper into the playoffs than the team has previously been able to do. Not known for unselfish play, this Rockets team will have to overcome the stigma that has stained them from teams of the past.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE NO. 1? Many people think that this is far and away the best team in Florida. And when all is said and done, it very well may be. However, the team's recent history of sloppy play and costly penalties makes for a slight wait-and-see approach to be taken. Fair or not, the team has to play more fundamentally sound to get the national respect it clearly deserves.

HEY, NICE SCHEDULE: Miami Central has the perfect storm to win a national title. First, it is in a power state. Second, it has a solid history. Third, it brings back a lot of key players as well as top end talent. And finally, it has a tough schedule to navigate. Central will play two-time Georgia state champion Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County, Miami (Fla.) Northwestern, Prattville (Ala.) High and Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington all before the playoffs start. An undefeated run to a 6A title would make it hard to keep this team out of the Top 3 nationally, if not the top spot.

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