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Football Recruiting Rankings: 2012 Athlon Consensus 100


-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)

Athlon Sports has released the 2012 edition of the Athlon Consensus 100 – the truest and most accurate ranking of the top 100 college football recruits in the nation.

The AC100 includes, and more importantly averages together, six major recruiting services from around the nation, resulting in the clearest look at the best high school prospects this country has to offer each season. Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247 Sports, Offense-Defense and NCSA come together in one place: The AC100.

So who is the best prep athlete in the Class of 2012?

Three different players received first-place votes from the six different recruiting services. Springfield (MO) Hillcrest wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (pictured) was tabbed as the nation’s best by Rivals and NCSA. Denton (TX) Ryan defensive end Mario Edwards is considered the best player in the nation by ESPN. Two-way line of scrimmage monster Arik Armstead, from Elk Grove (CA) Pleasant Grove, received first-place votes from Scout, 247 Sports and Offense-Defense.

Simple math points to Armstead, the 6-foot-7, 280-pound left tackle/defensive end combo from the West Coast, as the top prospect, right?

Not so fast.

Green-Beckham is rated no lower than fourth by any of the major services, while Armstead (23rd by Rivals and 14th by ESPN) and Edwards (8th by Scout and 14th by 24/7) have clearly created more dissension within the business. Essentially, everyone is in agreement about the massive record-setting receiver from Missouri:

Rivals: No. 1, Scout: No. 2, ESPN: No. 3, 24/7: No. 2, O-D: No. 4, NCSA: No. 1

This means that the nation’s No. 1 prospect is Hillcrest wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.

Affectionately known as DGB, the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder is a freakish blend of size and speed. He earned Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year honors after catching 78 passes for 1,703 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior last fall. Few players will ever possess the fluidity, explosiveness and burst packaged with the height, length and strength that DGB brings to an offense. Which is why well-deserved Calvin Johnson comparisons are tossed around so liberally when talking about Green-Beckham. He glides throught the open field with ease and will be effective on every level of the passing attack. His size and overall range will make Green-Beckham a dynamic redzone threat for whoever lands the elite pass catcher.

DGB and family have deliberately played the recruiting process extremely close to the vest. There is little insight as to where he might land on the next level, but all signs point to an Oklahoma-Missouri showdown with programs like Texas, Nebraska, Ohio State, Florida State and Alabama still beating down the door.

Edwards, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end, is committed to Florida State while Armstead is committed to USC. Both have family ties to their future universities.

Here is how the rest of top ten lines up:

4. Andrus Peat, OL, Tempe (AZ) Coronoa Del Sol
5. Noah Spence, DE, Harrisburg (PA) Bishop McDevitt
6. John Theus, OL, Jacksonville (FL) Bolles
7. Jonathan Gray, RB, Aledo (TX) Aledo
8. Shaq Thompson, DB, Sacramento (CA) Grant Union
9. Keith Marshall, RB, Raleigh (NC) Millbrook
10. Stefon Diggs, ATH, Olney (MD) Good Counsel

View the complete AC100 here.

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)