So when Milliner, a 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback from Stanhope Elmore (Millbrook, Ala.), said he would do whatever it took to earn a five-star ranking from Rivals.com, he put in the extra hours training in the weight room, on the track and on the football field. Milliner knew Sunday's Elite Action Combine was a chance to show he's one of the nation's best prospects, and he didn't disappoint.
Milliner ran back-to-back 4.18-second 20-yard shuttles. Then he wowed onlookers when he stepped onto the track and ran a blistering 4.33-second hand-held timed 40-yard dash. He was even faster on his second attempt, running a 4.31. He also recorded a 36½-inch vertical leap.
"A five-star is a completion, the most stars you can get," Milliner told Rivals.com on Sunday. "If they had a 10-star, I'd try to get that. I just tried my best on everything and hopefully I'll get that last star."
Rivals.com released its
"It's so rare to find a cornerback with the mix of size and athleticism that this guy has," Rivals.com recruiting analyst
"At 6-1, Milliner puts up freakish combine numbers and has elite corner speed. He's not just a workout warrior, though. He played well at two different 7-on-7 events this spring, showing natural cover ability and fluidity."
After struggling at a recent Elite 11 Regional Camp, Bishop Carroll (Wichita, Kan.) quarterback
Simmons, however, said there's still a lot to like with Bell.
"Blake has worlds of potential based on his big frame, a good arm and unique physical tools, but if you're going to be the No. 1 quarterback in the nation you've got to come strong every time out," Simmons said. "He had trouble putting good spin on the ball, was very erratic with his accuracy and his arm strength didn't shine through like it does on film."
Bell's drop isn't just a reflection on him, but on the depth of the entire class at the position.
In the Rivals100 there are only six quarterbacks, none ranked in the top 50. Six passers cracked the 2007 class' top 50, four cracked the 2008 and 2009 classes' top 50s while four cracked the 2006 class' top 60. You have to go back to the 2005 class to find a similar group to this year, as only four quarterbacks ranked in the top 100, but one of those was recent NFL draft first-round selection
Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) quarterback
"There has not been a stellar performance at a camp this season," Rivals.com analyst
Every said there is one big reason why quarterbacks might be struggling to develop in the high school ranks.
"The spread offense is killing quarterbacks' ability to take snaps under center," Every said. "At every camp I have been to, quarterbacks are being asked to do three-, five- and seven-step drops. Those are things they're not used to because of the spread offense because they're in the shotgun on every play."
Since the previous rankings were released, Rivals.com recruiting analysts have made several trips to California, including a visit to the Los Angeles NIKE Training Camp, and there has been some corresponding reshuffling of the top prospects from the Golden State.
Many observers cried foul when
Indiana has always been thought of more as a basketball state than a football state, but this year's crop of talent features several big-time players. This includes
"Some say Smith may be too tall for a running back at 6-foot-3, but he runs low to the ground with great power, vision and speed for a big back," Rivals.com recruiting analyst
Smith joins five-star offensive tackle
"James Hurst is just so good at tackle," Ladky said. "He is great in pass protection, and he will put defenders into the ground run blocking. While
"Then if Smith continues to improve and does the things as a senior we expect him to do, then there's no doubt in my mind he's going to be a very special college player. He's got the athletic ability to be doing this for a long, long time."
• Other states of note that racked up high numbers in the Rivals250: Georgia with 14, South Carolina with 12, Ohio with 11, Mississippi and North Carolina with nine and Louisiana with eight. Pennsylvania, a usually strong state for talent, is down somewhat with only six players on the Rivals250. "Georgia over the last five years has produced the fourth most D-I players, and this year is no different," Every said. "Football in Georgia is taken as serious as it is in Texas, and the coaches are paid a lot of money to develop players and win football games or they are fired. Also, football is still king in Georgia over any other sport."