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January 28, 2010

Big moves in final California ranking

Postseason State Rankings:

VIDEO: Illinois rankings breakdown

Ronald Powell went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 player in the Golden State, but there were plenty of other significant moves throughout the Rivals.com Postseason California Top 100.

The biggest move came from Cassius Marsh, the Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian defensive tackle that recently committed to UCLA over LSU. Marsh was previously ranked in the top 35, but he flies up the list to No. 6 in California after a dominating performance during practices for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

"He is relentless in his pursuit of the football, and he is one of the nastiest defensive players in the country," Rivals.com analyst Barry Every said. "He is also very quick off the ball and has exceptional lateral movement for a big guy."

Other big movers in the rankings were linebacker Jordan Zumwalt of Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison and Sean Mannion of Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill.

Both played their way to the four-star level with remarkable senior seasons and pushed to Nos. 29 and 34, respectively, in the state rankings. Zumwalt had 164 tackles in just 12 games his senior season, and Mannion threw for 3,521 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior.

Zumwalt is a Stanford commitment, but other schools like USC and UCLA pushed hard to get him to change his mind. His senior season earned him Orange County defensive player of the year and league defensive player of the year.

Mannion was a relative unknown early in the recruiting process because he didn't go to any national camps and he committed early to Oregon State. But the Beavers once again proved they know what they're doing in their evaluations. On senior film, Mannion looks like not only one of the best quarterbacks in California, but also in the entire country. He has good size, great command in the pocket and, boy, does he have a strong arm.

The highest debut in the state ranking came from Kevin Smith at No. 45.

After spending the first three years of high school on the hardwood as a star basketball player, Smith found a home on the gridiron for Compton Centennial. A 6-foot-2, 205-pound, do-it-all athlete, Smith picked Washington over a host of offers and ended up ranked as a four-star prospect.

Harold Mobley of Corona (Calif.) Eleanor Roosevelt also emerged as a newcomer in the top 60 of the state rankings. Mobley developed into one of the Inland Empire's best players as a senior after he moved to quarterback in mid-season. He ended up throwing for 978 yards and rushed for 240 yards. Mobley has some academic questions, but there's no questioning his ability.

Even with a coaching change, USC continued its domination of the top prospects in the state.

The Trojans whiffed on Powell, but they did reel in three of the top four players in the state - athlete Robert Woods, running back Dillon Baxter and defensive tackle George Uko. Overall, the Trojans landed eight of the state's top 25 players.

UCLA also continues to make a dent with the state's best.

The Bruins landed eight players in the top 100, along with three players in the top 15. All three - Anthony Barr, Malcolm Jones and Jordon James - should give UCLA an immediate threat in the running game.



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