Commentary

Aaron Green becomes a five-star player

In latest ESPNU 150, no change at the top, but some players make big moves

Updated: October 7, 2010, 2:11 PM ET
By ESPN Recruiting

As we reach the midway point of most high school football teams' seasons, it's time to update the ESPNU 150 based off what we've seen from players in their senior seasons.

While there wasn't a lot of change in the 150, RB Aaron Green (San Antonio/James Madison) joined the ranks of five-star prospects. Green, who was a four-star prospect heading into the season, might have been the best sophomore we saw on film, but he suffered through an injury-plagued junior season and left a few questions heading into his senior season. There are no questions anymore. He's showing the feet, vision and running skills we saw on film and is an electric runner who makes big plays. Green, who is now No. 10 in the ESPNU 150, is undecided on his college plans.

A big mover is ATH DeAnthony Thomas (Los Angeles/Crenshaw), who moves up to No. 15 from No. 63. Durability questions are the reasons Thomas doesn't reach five-star status, but he is a great athlete with the ball in his hands and shows outstanding pursuit speed on defense. He doesn't project as a full-time running back, and while he plays safety in high school we could see Thomas, a USC commit, moving to cornerback.

Athlete Jamal Turner (Arlington, Texas/Sam Houston), WR Sammy Watkins (Fort Myers, Fla./South) and RB Mike Blakely (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee) all made moves up the rankings.

Turner, a Nebraska commit, climbs to No. 47 in the ESPNU 150 and is having a great senior season. He often gets overlooked or undervalued, but Turner reminds us of Russell Shepard, who was the No. 3 player in the Class of 2009 and is with LSU now. Many expect Turner to move from QB to receiver when he hits Lincoln, but the way the Huskers use Taylor Martinez means Turner may takes some snaps at QB, too. He's shown to be that kind of athlete.

Watkins, who climbs to No. 39, continues to be one of the nation's most consistent performers at wide receiver. He's so consistently good that it's easy to overlook how talented he really is. That's how easy he can make it look. He has great instincts and focus, makes big plays and has some of the quickest hands we've seen in the past few years. He plucks the ball from the air. Watkins is a terrific prospect.

Blakely, who jumps to No. 69 from 117, made the nation take notice when he out-dueled James Wilder Jr. (Tampa, Fla./Plant) on national TV earlier the year. The 5-foot-9, 193-pound Blakely even ran over Wilder one time. In addition to occasional power moves, Blakely is an elusive runner and shows breakaway speed.

One player to watch, who went from unranked and into the ESPNU 150, is Marqise Lee (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra). He debuts on the ESPNU 150 at No. 96. A converted basketball player, Lee is getting better each week. He has been an explosive player with big-play acceleration, quickness and speed. He's outproducing five-star teammate George Farmer. He's played well enough that there is a question about what position he will play in college. The initial thought was he'd be a safety, but he's playing so well at receiver that he is making it tough to move him away from there.

A couple big-name prospects slid a little in our rankings, notably TE Nick O'Leary (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) and Wilder.

While O'Leary got a high grade from us, he made a slight slide from five-star to high-four-star status because tight end is a tough position to warrant five-star status. At No. 16, he is the highest-ranked tight end ever in the ESPNU 150. He's a great prospect, but to stay as a five-star at that position you need to be extremely well rounded, and we want to evaluate him a little more. He could end up with that five-star rank at the end of the season, but we want to see a little more from him right now.

There are no questions about Wilder's measureables. At 6-2, 219 pounds, Wilder is a freakish athlete, but he hasn't been as dominating this season. Wilder, who drops down to No. 29 from 19, hasn't been one of the dominant running backs this fall. He's a strong downhill runner, but he has yet to show much more than that element of his fame. He is not a gamebreaker at the position, which is what he wants to play for Florida State. Defensively, he's considered one of the top linebacker prospects, but he's not as active around the ball as you'd like to see. He's a talented prospect, but hasn't put it all together in his senior year so far.

There is plenty of time for players who slipped to climb back up the rankings. There is plenty of football to be played, and plenty of film for us to watch. We will update them again at the end of the season and once again after the all-star games.