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July 10, 2007

Five on the rise

Several prospects around the nation are finding that their stock is on the rise as a result of their performances at recent camps and combines. We take a look at five players who are really coming on in the class of 2008. Watch for the recruiting battles to heat up and a potential rise in the rankings for these prospects.

Five on the Rise
Armond Armstead, DT, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant
Armstead in action

After impressing at the Palo Alto NIKE Training Camp, Armstead went out and had a great performance at USC's Rising Senior Camp. He couldn't be stopped in any of the defensive drills, in one-on-ones, and he even worked out some at offensive guard. By the time he was done, Armstead impressed the USC coaches enough to walk away with a much coveted Trojan offer after the camp. - Jeremy Crabtree
Ryan Baker, LB, Blountstown (Fla.)
Baker in action

Baker is not the biggest linebacker prospect, but he has excellent speed and instincts and hits like a truck. Originally thought to possibly project as a running back, it's clear that Baker is a linebacker all the way at the next level and his stock has risen because of that. Florida, Clemson, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn, among others, have jumped in the mix for the 6-foot, 205-pounder. Expect Baker's value/ranking to continue to rise throughout the recruiting cycle. - JC Shurburtt
Brandon Ford, WR, Hanahan (S.C.)

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound pass catcher from South Carolina's Lowcountry (the area of the state that also features five-star A.J. Green) emerged on to the recruiting radar with a stellar showing at the Athens NIKE Camp in April. College coaches at Clemson and Georgia saw what Rivals.com saw when Ford was on their campus for a 7-on-7 camp and extended a verbal offer on the spot. Ford, who may have some academic hurdles to overcome, also is getting attention from a number of other programs. Expect his stock to rise during the recruiting cycle as more discover this Palmetto State hidden gem. - JC Shurburtt
Aaron Hester, CB, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez
Hester in action

Sure, we knew Hester was already really good. He's ranked as the nation's No. 10 cornerback, a Rivals250 member and is already heading to UCLA after turning down other offers. However, after watching him dominate at the Saugus Under the Lights Passing Tournament two weeks ago, there's no question that he's among the nation's truly elite defensive backs. - Jeremy Crabtree
Brodrick Smith, Garden City (Kan.)

Smith blew everybody away at the Kansas State summer camp, where he tested through the charts and led his team to a perfect record in a week-long competition in 7-on-7 ball. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Smith has great physical tools and might just be one of the best kept secrets in all of the Heartland. Wyoming and Kansas State have already offered him, but others might soon after he blowing up this summer. - Jeremy Crabtree

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