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August 21, 2013

Eight unranked players gain four-star status

MORE: Rivals250 presented by Under Armour

Nineteen prospects earned their fourth stars in the August update of the Rivals250 presented by Under Armour. The state of Georgia was strongly represented in that group, accounting for five of the new four-stars.

Of the 19 new four-stars in this rankings cycle, eight remain just outside the top 250. Four of those eight reside in Georgia. They are Fairburn Creekside cornerback Evan Berry, Atlanta Tucker linebacker Detric Dukes, Atlanta St. Pius X cornerback Nicholas Ruffin and Monroe Area athlete Stanton Truitt.

"We're seeing more and more talent every year in the state of Georgia, and guys like Dukes and Truitt are perfect examples," Southeast recruiting analyst Woody Wommack said. "These are two players who have worked hard for their bumps in the ranking.

"Dukes is a guy who has come out and competed and fared well against the best of the best, and he looks to be really just starting to tap into his potential."

The 6-foot, 232-pound Dukes showed during his junior season that he is a ferocious hitter, but events such as Georgia's Dawg Night and the Atlanta Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour in the spring showcased the all-around game the Georgia commit possesses.

"This summer, I just worked on my technique in pass coverage and covering tight ends and backs out of the backfield," Dukes said. "I felt like I performed well at the Rivals Camp I went to. I felt that I showed scouts that I can cover in space and that I am not just a downhill, smash-mouth linebacker."

Truitt, a 5-foot-9, 177-pound athlete prospect committed to Auburn, also showed out at Dawg Night, as well as the Auburn summer camp. The versatility of his game and his playmaking ability caught Rivals analysts' attention at those events and earned him his fourth star.

"Truitt is a perfect example of a 21st-century offensive weapon," Wommack said. "He has speed, he can run, he can catch and maybe even sneak in and play a little wildcat quarterback."

[ Y! SPORTS RADIO: Mike Farrell talks rankings with John Harris ]

Another strong representation among the new four-stars was made by Midwest prospects. The state of Illinois boasts two new four-stars, including Highland offensive guard and Nebraska commit Tanner Farmer, who took home the offensive line MVP award at the St. Louis Rivals Camp Series event in April.

"Farmer really came out of nowhere to win the offensive line MVP in St. Louis, and we wanted to see if that one showing was an anomaly," Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt said. "However, Farmer went out this summer and not only validated his showing in St. Louis but improved upon it. He is a fast-rising prospect at the offensive guard position."

Farmer is joined by Hinsdale (Ill.) Central tight end Ian Bunting and Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral wide receiver Terry McLaurin as new four-stars from the Midwest. Bunting and McLaurin are committed to Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State, respectively, and they are set for battles down the road.

For now, though, the pair are joined as two of the newest members of the four-star fraternity in the class of 2014. They earned it with their play this summer.

"We knew McLaurin was the fastest player in the Midwest since after his junior season, but we wanted to see if he would develop the wide receiver-specific skills," Helmholdt said. "McLaurin showed improved hands and a better feel for the finer points of the position, and with that explosive speed he was in line for a move to four stars.

"Bunting had an up-and-down offseason, but the 6-foot-7, 215-pound prospect finished the summer on a high note. He was already on the cusp of four-star status, and with strong performances the last couple of months he proved he was worthy of that move."

The eighth and final member of the new four stars who sit just outside the top 250 is Florida offensive tackle commit Nolan Kelleher of Mt. Pleasant (S.C.) Wando.

Summer showcase are that rare opportunity to see top prospects square off against one another, and these eight prospects rose to the challenge to earn their fourth stars.



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