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January 21, 2009
Movement at the top of Texas state ranking
Postseason State Rankings:
There is a new No.1 in the Rivals.com postseason Texas top 100 but he didn't have to travel very far to get to the top spot. Houston Cy-Ridge dual-threat quarterback Russell Shepard entered the season as the No. 2-ranked player in the state but with a senior season that was impossible to ignore, Shepard pushed his way to the top of the list.
In 2008, Shepard rushed for 1,946 yards and 28 touchdowns, eating up 7.6 yards per carry. What makes those numbers even more impressive is that the bulk of it came during his team's three-game playoff run. During that span, Shepard rushed for 835 yards on 89 carries and 11 touchdowns.
Additionally, as an athletic quarterback that has had his passing abilities questioned in the past, Shepard went a long ways towards proving his doubters wrong in that area. Shepard raised his completion percentage 10 points from 2007 to 2008 and passed for 1,843 yards as a senior with 794 yards being his previous career high for a season. More importantly, Shepard only threw four interceptions on 257 attempts.
With that kind of improvement, expect Shepard to keep the 'QB' label well into his college career.
There was more shakeup within the top ten beyond Shepard. The previous top prospect, Jamarkus McFarland slid to No. 7 while another defensive tackle moved up to No. 8 in San Antonio (Texas) Warren's Calvin Howell.
Beaumont (Texas) West Brook running back Christine Michael dominated summer camps, seven-on-sevens, fall games and a post-season All-American Bowl to continue his rise up the list to No. 5.
Outside of the top ten, one of the biggest risers was Mesquite, Texas athlete Marcus Trice. The Oklahoma commit never failed to impress any time he was on the field jumping from a preseason rank of 42 all the way up to No. 20. As an undersized player, Trice is used to earning what he gets.
"Nothing is given to you and everything is earned," Trice said. "I'm one of those guys that I want to earn everything…I feel like no matter who I go against, my willpower and my determination is going to put me over the top. I'm an edgy guy so I like to play with a chip on my shoulder. I feel like all players should play with a chip on their shoulder."
Trice did his damage on both the defensive side of the ball and on offense as a senior. His 61 catches and 690 yards receiving may have even opened some eyes at his future school of Oklahoma.
"I think I can help them on the offensive side of the ball with all those guys leaving," he said. "I'm gonna go in as a defensive player but they told me they may give me a shot at some offense."
The highest debut on the list is at the No. 31 spot in Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider wide receiver Eric Ward. The former Oklahoma commit will be taking his exciting and explosive skills to Texas Tech after earning district MVP honors.
Immediately following Ward at No. 32 is Round Rock (Texas) Stony Point defensive end Tevin Mims whose stock soared as a senior and earned him a late push by the Texas Longhorns for his commitment. Mims' high school teammate Glasco Martin joined him with a debut on the list only a few places down at No. 37. Martin has been a Baylor commitment since early in the summer.
Though he just made the cut on the preseason top 100 at No. 98, Kendial Lawrence out of Rockwall (Texas) Heath earned himself plenty of breathing room in the postseason edition. Lawrence rushed for an incredible 2,679 yards and 43 touchdowns as a senior and landed safely inside the top 50 at No. 49.
Another player with similar numbers to Lawrence is Tyler (Texas) Chapel Hill running back Matthew Tucker. The TCU commit edged Lawrence in yardage with 2,707 yards rushing but lost the battle of touchdowns with only 31 to his credit. That senior season earned Tucker a debut at No. 90.
In another deep year in Texas that contains no less than six five-stars nationally and 42 more four-stars, the Texas 100 was truly an elite list in 2009.
In Indiana, there is a new No. 1 player in the state. After starting out at No. 8 in the preseason rankings, Avon, Ind., four-star defensive end Montez Robinson moved to the No. 1 spot. Also moving up a few spots was inside linebacker Jordan Barnes and dual-threat quarterback Jordan Luallen, who led his team to a come-from-behind victory in the state championship game. The top five spots in the Kansas top 15 remained the same with Bryce Brown, Darian Kelly, Jaydan Bird, Marshall Musil and Kevin Young holding down the top five slots.
In Arizona there were some flip-flops near the top. Four-star athlete Adam Hall moves to the No. 3 spot ahead of No. 4 ranked Craig Roh. Four-star offensive lineman Taylor Lewan also moved up and is now that state's No. 5 player.