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January 4, 2012

Top 10: Hoopsters with football potential

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With the various All-American games going on across the country for high school football players, we thought we'd take a look at the top 10 Rivals150 members we could see making a successful transition to the football field. Because Gary Harris, Willie Cauley, Shaquille Goodwin and Brian Bridgewater have already proven themselves as high level football players we tried to stick to guys that - to our knowledge - don't currently play football.

1. Ricardo Gathers
School: Riverside (La.) Academy
The Buzz: At somewhere between 6-6 and 6-7, and 240 pound of muscle, almost everybody who sees Gathers asks if he's ever played football. It's not tough to envision him as a monster defensive end or tight end with his blend of athleticism, hands and strength.

2. Marcus Smart
School: Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus
The Buzz: The Oklahoma State signee is one of the most physical and intense players in the class of 2012. Put some shoulder pads on him and we see a Ray Lewis type middle linebacker who quarterbacks his defense and brings the pain.

3. Aaron Gordon
School: San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty
The Buzz: Visions of Tony Gonzalez dance through our head when we think about lining up the 6-foot-7 five-star junior as a tight end. He's quick, has great hands and is a big-time athlete who would be nearly impossible for any linebacker, safety or DB to contain in the red zone.

4. Tyler Lewis
School: Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill
The Buzz: The closest thing there is to Doug Flutie in all of high school basketball. Not the biggest guy around, but he plays with extreme intelligence, has great vision, knows an offense inside and out and has all of the leadership qualities you look for in a quarterback.

5. Savon Goodman
School: Philadelphia (Pa.) Constitution
The Buzz: Physically, the unsigned 6-foot-6 senior already looks like a football player and he plays with ferocity around the rim. Watching the way he goes above the rim and snatches rebounds cleanly with two hands, it's easy to picture him wearing a number in the 80s and catching touchdowns as a tight end.

6. Solomon Poole
School: Jacksonville (Fla.) Terry Parker
The Buzz: The five-star junior has great lateral quickness, covers a lot of ground and is physically strong. We'd love to put him on the field and play him as a free safety roaming the field looking for big hits and pickoff opportunities.

7. Kendrick Nunn
School: Chicago (Ill.) Simeon
The Buzz: Anybody who has seen the 6-foot-3 shooting guard play hoops should be able to picture him in a helmet and shoulder pads pretty easily. He'd be a good-sized wide receiver that would be tough to jam at the line while capable of making plays across the middle of the field.

8. Semaj Christon
School: Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy
The Buzz: A lengthy and quick athlete, Christon is one of those guys who somebody would recruit as an athlete and find a place for him. Perhaps he could be used as a spread quarterback, a wide receiver or a big cornerback because he's got great lateral quickness and the hips to defend on the perimeter.

9. Shaquille Cleare
School: Houston (Texas) Village School
The Buzz: The massive center already has the size needed to play along the offensive line. He's also got strong hands, good feet and would probably be pretty adept at protecting a quarterback's blind side.

10. Jaylon Brown
School: Fishers (Ind.) High
The Buzz: The 5-foot-11 junior is as fine an athlete as one will find at the point guard slot in the class of 2013 and has a great frame for adding muscle. A terrific on the ball defender with quick hands and great feet, we like him as a lockdown cornerback.



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