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June 6, 2004

The next 10: The Rivals100 from 41 to 50

Rivals.com is halfway home with its first Rivals100 list for the Class of 2005. After a week full ranking the nation's top prospects, the second week of June is highlighted with the unveiling of prospects ranked from No. 41 to 50.

At No. 41 on the list is Tennessee commitment and speedster running back LaMarcus Coker. Coker blew away the Atlanta NIKE Training Camp with a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds and measured in at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds. But even though he's only 5-10, his game is big time.

Coker of Antioch, Tenn., could easily be an all-purpose back with his soft hands and ability to cut out of the backfield. He was put together very well and his explosiveness is hard to describe. Let's just say that he's got more giddy-up than Pee Wee Herman on Red Bull.

"The majority of his yards last season came with eight or nine people in the box," Antioch coach Thomas McPhail said. "Everybody gears their defense to stop him, and we didn't have a very effective passing game, so he had to do it the hard way a lot of nights."

Looking for the proto-type safety that can cover the field but also come up and smack the heck out of you in running situations? If you are, then Hamilton, Ohio, star Adam Myers-White fits the bill.

Myers-White, who is 6-4 and 190 pounds, is ranked as the nation's No. 42 player overall, which is quite fitting for somebody that has offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue, USC, Michigan State, Stanford, Wisconsin and about anybody else that is looking for a ball-hawking safety.

"He's one of those kids you can put wherever you need to put him," Hamilton coach Mark Kalugyer said. "I think he just reads so well - he understands what's going on. He's just one of those kids who will play on Sunday."

He's a playmaking cover corner and he's a playmaking receiver. Either way, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep star Michael Ray Garvin is one of the best in the Northeast and ranked as the nation's No. 43 player overall.

Garvin, who is 5-8 and 177 pounds, is so explosive in coverage situations and don't let his height fool you. He has the physical ability to lock on anybody and come up with the big interception. And then on offense, he's able to use legit 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash to breakaway from defenders and score touchdown after touchdown.

"He has all the skills of a defensive back," his father and assistant coach, Johnny Ray Garvin, said.

"He has the speed and is gaining maturity, and the good thing is that he still has another year of high school. He is just learning to break on the ball, and out of the three interceptions, one went for 40 to 50 yards, and the other two were for scores. Everybody has quit throwing the ball his way."

It's a very good year in the state of South Carolina - as it always seems - and at the top of the list this year by a hair it's North Augusta, S.C., standout athlete C.J. Byrd, who is ranked as the nation's No. 44 player.

Byrd, who is 6-3 and 185 pounds, can project at a number of different positions on the next level. If things don't work out at receiver, he has the size, speed and nose for the football to be a great safety or even bulk up to an outside linebacker.

"I think most schools are saying that they will take me as a wide receiver or a defensive back." Byrd said. "I'm being recruited as an athlete. If I had to pick a position it would probably be wide receiver because it's more fun, but as for where I have to play it doesn't matter."

And it might not for Big Byrd. The playmaking athlete has more than 40 scholarship offers and will have plenty of chances to find that perfect fit.

The best in the Northwest is Jonathan Stewart and the 5-11, 215-pound running back from Olympia (Wash.) Timerbline is ranked as the nation's No. 45 player overall.

Described as a bruising runner with the ability to breakaway with his 4.4-second speed, Stewart is the best running back in the nation that nobody outside of the West has heard of. With offers from Notre Dame, Oregon, Washington and Washington State, the secret of his big-play ability is finally starting to leak out nationwide.

"The more I see him, the more in awe of him I am," Timberline coach Kevin Young. "He's so good right now but the scary thing is he can get even better. As he continues to grow and mature more, he's going to be incredible and he already is now."

Oakland Park (Fla.) Northeast linebacker Demetri Stewart has overcome some amazing obstacles in his life, and not just the ones that attempt to block him every Friday night on the football field. Stewart, who is 6-3 and 199 pounds, was born and raised in Jamaica before moving to the Unite States when he was 11.

He didn't even touch football until right before he reached high school. But he's overcome a lot and in those three short years has transformed himself into the nation's No. 46 player and one of the hottest targets in the Southeast.

"In my 10 years of coaching in Broward, I've never seen anything like the interest on this kid so early," Northeast coach Adam Ratkevich said. "He's going to be one of the most highly recruited kids in the state. A lot of coaches are saying he's the No. 1 linebacker in the country. Notre Dame said he is its No. 1 recruit."

Pushing Byrd for the top player honors in the state of South Carolina is Conway, S.C. receiver Eric Huggins, who is ranked as the nation's No. 47 player. Huggins, who made an early commitment to Oklahoma, was one of the most heavily recruited receivers in recent memory from South Carolina.

Huggins, 6-3 and 186 pounds, had offers from every single team that played in a BCS bowl last season which is impressive alone, but even more impressive when you think that he's still learning the game of football.

"I'm a physical receiver, very physical," Huggins said. "I like to inflict punishment on defensive backs when I get the ball. Sometimes they take wide receivers for granted and they don't think that you are going to put it on them, but I do. I get yards after the catch, and I think I use my quickness a lot."

Los Angles Crenshaw offensive tackle Aleksey Lanis is also just learning the game. When he was growing up in Russia, Los Angeles Crenshaw offensive tackle Lanis was more focused on basketball than football. But when he moved to America in 1994 and landed at Crenshaw as a sophomore, football became his new love, and he definitely showed his passion for the game every Friday night on the football field.

That passion carried him to multiple scholarship offers before he committed to UCLA. It's also carried him to the nation's no. 48 ranking overall.

"I love football," Lanis said. "It's the only game where you can go out there and kill somebody and get away with it. I don't know how I got this good this quickly. I just started playing football when I was a sophomore, but I also know that I have a long way to go and that I'm going to get better."

Lakewood, Calif., linebacker Luthur Brown II comes in ranked as the nation's No. 49 player. Brown is a heat-seeking missile on defense and with a frame like his, he should be able to step out on the field quickly for almost any major college program right away.

"Physically Luthur could walk in to a college and play right now," Lakewood coach Michael Christensen said. "He's so talented and I can't wait to see him in a couple of years."

Brown does admit that he does have some work to do in the classroom as well this school year, and if he tackles the books like he does running backs, look for him to star soon on the next level.

People have been talking about Texarkana (Texas) Texas High linebacker Chris Collins for several years now, and he's already built a reputation as one of the best linebackers to come out of East Texas in quite some time. Collins, who is committed to Texas, is called the best linebacker that his high school coach has ever had the pleasure of coaching. He's also ranked as the nation's No. 50 player.

"He's definitely the best linebacker I've ever coached," Texas High coach Barry Norton said. "He wants to be the best that he can be. He wants to please you. He runs great and has great explosion. He really strikes the ball carrier and steps through them.

"We started him out at defensive tackle to just get him on the field, and he instantly made all of the defensive tackles better. And then we moved him to defensive end as a sophomore and they got better because of Chris.

"Now that he's at linebacker, he continues to play hard and brings the level of those guys around him to another level. He's just one of those special kids that only come around every once in a while."

Along with feedback and support from the Rivals.com network of high school and college publishers, the actual player rankings are compiled after hours of film evaluation, personal observations and input from professional, college and high school coaches.

Rivals.com recruiting analysts Jeremy Crabtree, Bobby Burton, Mike Farrell, Brian Gates, Jon Kirby, Bill Kurelic, Tim O'Halloran, Jeremy Patterson, Brian Stumpf, Rick Kimbrel and Greg Biggins compiled the list.


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