In rounding out my list of the top 10 players at each position--my updated list of the top 100 players in the nation will be released after the U.S. Army All-American Game in January--I want to cite the leading athletes, players who are talented enough and skilled enough to play more than one position.
1. James Wilder of Tampa, Fla., is a 6-2, 220-pound running back/linebacker with 4.5 speed who is the son of a former NFL star. He is rated as the No. 1 player in the nation in my preseason list but will drop a bit in my final evaluations because he was injured during the season and wasn't able to play up to expectations. He is committed to Florida State, an All-American at both positions. In my view, he would be the best linebacker in the nation if he wanted to be. But he wants to be a running back in college. He is one of the 10 best running backs in the nation but not the best.
2. DeAnthony Thomas of Los Angeles, a 5-9, 160-pounder with 4.4 speed, is the No. 24 player in the nation. He is the most explosive and exciting player in the country. He has been timed in 10.7 seconds for 100 meters. He is an exceptional open field runner. He isn't big but he has 4.4 speed, perfect for a spread offense. He is committed to USC.
3. Colt Lyerla of Hillsboro, Ore., is a 6-5, 225-pounder with 4.59 speed who is rated as the No. 35 player in the nation. He has off-the-field problems but is terrific on the field. He also is a great basketball player. He is the best big athlete in the nation. He could play wide receiver or running back or tight end or defensive end or linebacker or safety in college. Uncommitted, he is considering Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
4. Rodney Coe of Edwardsville, Ill., is a 6-3, 235-pound running back/linebacker who is rated as the No. 49 player in the nation. He recently committed to Iowa. I thought he was best suited to play at linebacker but recruiters love him at running back. He is big, fast, aggressive and productive when healthy. He was injured during his senior year and though he was the No. 1 player in Illinois, he didn't play up to preseason expectations.
5. C.J. Uzomah of Suwanee, Ga., is a 6-5, 235-pounder who played quarterback in high school but will be converted to tight end or defensive end in college. He looks like Auburn star Cam Newton. Uncommitted, he is considering Georgia, Clemson, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee, Northwestern, Florida, Alabama and North Carolina.
6. Kris Frost of Matthews, N.C., is a 6-3, 210-pounder who is a unique player, a wide receiver/linebacker. He is big and strong and catches the ball. But he is best suited to be an outside linebacker in college. A splendid runner, he is very productive on defense. Uncommitted, he is considering Michigan, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia Tech, California, Illinois and Auburn.
7. Darius Jennings of Baltimore, Md., is a 5-11 175-pounder with 4.38 speed. He is the most exciting player in Maryland. He plays quarterback in high school but will be a running back and kick returner in college. He can play in a spread offense. He creates a lot of openings with his speed and instinct. Uncommitted, he is considering Penn State, Virginia Tech, UCLA, Pittsburg, Virginia, Iowa, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Boston College, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina and North Carolina State.
8. Richard Rodgers of Shrewsbury, Mass., is a 6-5, 233-pounder who is committed to California, where his father played. He has great size. He plays wide receiver in high school but will be a defensive end in college, maybe tight end or wide receiver. He is an outstanding blocker.
9. Clifton Richardson of Newport News, Va., is a 6-1, 195-pounder with 4.4 speed who is one of the leading prospects in the Tidewater area. He is a two-way player who is a standout at running back, wide receiver and defensive end. He is quick and instinctive and has a good burst. He is committed to Virginia.
10. Miles Shuler of Long Branch, N.J., is a 5-11, 175-pounder with 4.4 speed. He is the fastest player in New Jersey. He has been timed in 10.6 seconds for 100 meters. He plays wide receiver and cornerback but his best position in college is cornerback. He has speed, is quick to the ball and also returns kicks. Uncommitted, he is considering Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Boston College, Duke, Michigan, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Stanford, Rutgers, Wisconsin, North Carolina State and West Virginia.