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January 23, 2013
Wide receivers lead new four-stars
The wide receiver position already boasted the highest number of four-star prospects in the 2013 class, and their ranks swelled in the final update of the Rivals.com rankings. A total of five wide receivers were awarded four stars this week, bringing the position group's total to 45.
Headlining the list of new four-star wide receivers is San Antonio (Tex.) Christian's Corey Robinson, who proved worthy of the honor after his performance in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The Notre Dame-bound prospect is the son of NBA legend David Robinson. He measured in at 6-foot-4 at the event and said he is still growing. His play was on the rise as well as it caught the eye of Southwest region analyst Jason Howell who was in San Antonio to see Robinson perform against the nation's best.
"It has been a big year for the big receiver in Texas," Howell said. "At the Army All-American game in San Antonio, Robinson showed he was worthy of mention among the best. He has good athleticism and does a great job of meeting the ball at its highest point."
Joining Robinson among the new four-stars is fellow state of Texas wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo. The Cedar Hill native posted an impressive 91 catches and scored 17 touchdowns as a senior.
"Adeboyejo was an under-the-radar recruit in the spring, but over the course of the season he stated a strong case to be one of the top receivers in the country," Howell said. "His quick feet allow him to run crisp routes, and he has strong hands and separation speed to create a well-rounded package at receiver."
The state of Florida was responsible for two of the newest four-star wide receiver additions. Late film evaluation of Orlando (Fla.) Jones' Levonte Whitfield and James Clark of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., earned both the extra star.
"Whitfield possesses elite linear speed and is a dangerous vertical threat," said Rivals.com Southeast region analyst Kynon Codrington. "He earned a bump because there isn't anyone in this class that has his speed and big play ability.
"Clark went from a three-star to four-star after putting together a stellar senior season. At 5-foot-11, he high-points the ball well and wins his share of jump balls. He has track speed and he creates separation on a consistent basis. Even though he sits outside the 250, Clark is one of the better flankers in this class."
Another late four-star move earned his status based on the strength of postseason play. Michigan State quarterback commit Damion Terry led Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep School to a state title in December, and impressed Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic region analyst Adam Friedman in the process.
"Terry put up monster numbers this season and didn't slow down when he played better competition in the playoffs," Friedman said. "Terry is a big quarterback with a powerful arm and good accuracy. He is also a very good on the move and isn't afraid to take off down field and take a hit."
His performance at the Cal State All-Star Game last month proved to West region analyst Adam Gorney that the 6-foot-5, 270-pound prospect had what it takes to be a four-star.
"Moala had a dominant senior season after a strong summer and has really become one of the top offensive linemen in the state of California," Gorney said. "He has gotten much bigger than this time last year and moves very well for his size. Plus, he has great strength, light feet and he's tough and competitive. I love to watch him play because he gets after it every rep and is really a violent player on the offensive line."
Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek cornerback Shaquille Wiggins has been discussed throughout the process as a potential four-star prospect, but it was not until he performed on the big stage at the Under Armour All-American Game that Rivals.com analysts were convinced he had what it took to be considered in that range.
Southeast region analyst Woody Wommack explains how Wiggins proved he was four-star worthy.
"There was plenty of skepticism surrounding Wiggins after he turned in a few subpar performances during the summer," Wommack said. "But things changed in a major way after watching him battle it out with some of the nation's best wide receivers at Under Armour. He's improved his strength and he's very good at anticipating throws, allowing him to play the ball well against bigger wide receivers."
One of the more interesting additions to the four-star class is Conway Springs, Kan., defensive end Tanner Wood, who committed to Kansas State right at the end of his sophomore year. At 6-foot-5 and 247 pounds, it is not surprising that Wood was able to take home Kansas player of the year honors in 2012. What is surprising is what positions he was playing when he did it.
While Wood's size will necessitate a move to the defensive line in college, he played linebacker and quarterback this past fall. In one game, he broke the state record with 659 rushing yards. West Region analyst Rob Cassidy notes the numbers hint at the potential Wood possesses.
"Wood's athletic prowess can't be ignored," Cassidy said. "Regardless of his build and the fact that he will play defensive end at Kansas State, what he did as a senior can't be glossed over. And fact is, the 6-foot-5 Wood has the speed and the frame of a defensive end."
A total of 13 prospects move into four-star territory and sit just outside the top 250. Others include Havelock, N.C., athlete Pharoh Cooper, Pinson (Ala.) Valley linebacker Zach Cunningham, Lancaster, Texas, defensive end Daeshon Hall, Miami (Fla.) Southridge cornerback Lamar Robbins and New Orleans (La.) Holy Cross wide receiver Kevin Spears.