Posted: 6:04 pm Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Burke, Evans, Shepherd big risers in post-season PBGametime Big Board update 

By Post Staff

By Jeff Greer and Matt Porter
Crazy season is upon us. Coaches across the nation wake up jobless, or with voicemails soliciting their interest in a new gig. Assistants wonder what their mentors will do. Schools change athletic directors, administrations, etc.

And if that’s not enough, the next two months will provide all kinds of recruiting drama — sometimes even on signing day.

Seminole Ridge DE Jason Shepherd had plenty to smile about this fall, and his hard work paid off in the new PBGametime Big Board rankings. (Photo by Allen Eyestone)

With the season over and the crucial next two months waiting in the wings, we at PBGametime expanded our recruiting Big Board rankings to include 10 extra players, and we made several changes to our original top 50.

The biggest changes? Matt Burke is 10th on our list, Todney Evans jumped 18 spots and into the top 15, and Jason Shepherd made a much-deserved leap into the top 20. Why?

Burke, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound tight end from Cardinal Newman, didn’t have the season he wanted numbers-wise, but he proved to college recruiters that he can block at his position, and he came up as a valid pass catcher in key moments. All that resulted in a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection, helping Palm Beach County produce three players for the prestigious high school all-star game for the first time (Greg and Keith Bryant are also playing in the game). He’ll visit Boise State and San Diego State this weekend, and he and his family expect more attention from big-name programs after his appearance in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 in San Antonio.

Then there’s Evans, Atlantic’s speedy defensive end who made one of the biggest rises in our updated rankings. Evans (6-3, 215) had a breakout senior year for the Eagles, rushing the edge as part of one of the area’s most dominant defensive lines. He originally committed to Western Michigan, but has reopened his recruiting process and is attracting BCS-level attention.

Another defensive end, Seminole Ridge’s Shepherd, made a similar jump. Shepherd (6-1, 230) was as active as any defensive player in the county this fall, cutting off outside runs and creating havoc on passing downs. The senior is verbally committed to Bowling Green, but has regularly impressed other college coaches this season, and his on-field contributions in Seminole Ridge’s run to the regional finals were enough to warrant a big boost in his ranking.

Burke

Elusive Port St. Lucie quarterback DJ Juste and Dwyer’s ferocious defensive end Ted Taylor also made huge jumps, and several others, namely Treasure Coast safety Justin Williams and American Heritage linebacker Jake Giordano, entered the list for the first time.

Below, you’ll see a link to the new list. If you have a comment or disagreement, leave a note. Remember, these are high school kids and this is a public forum. Comment responsibly.

FULL RANKINGS: THE UPDATED PBGAMETIME BIG BOARD

How they’re ranked
The Big Board, a Palm Beach County recruitnik’s dream, rates the players who staff writers Jeff Greer and Matt Porter believe are the best college football prospects. The rankings are compiled using several criteria: On-field performance, reporters’ eye test, intel from opposing coaches and players and, taken with a grain of salt, background from the player’s own coaching staff. College offers do have some impact on the player’s rating — if Nick Saban or Les Miles are recruiting them, that has to mean something — but they’re given the same treatment as the other factors.

BIGGEST RISERS
Matt Burke — Up 5 spots
Tyler Provo — Up 6 spots
Darrion Richardson — Up 6 spots
Todney Evans — Up 18 spots
Jason Shepherd — Up 7 spots
Xavier Swinton — Up 10 spots
Silas Spearman — Up 10 spots
Ted Taylor — Up 20 spots
DJ Juste — Up 16 spots

PREVIOUSLY UNRANKED PROSPECTS
Diocemy Saint Juste — Santaluces
Justin Williams — Treasure Coast
Jake Giordano — American Heritage
Justin Martinez — Centennial
Jon Pavlov — Benjamin
Stacy Noble — Fort Pierce Central
David Bailey — Glades Central
Evan Harvey — American Heritage
James Cruise — Palm Beach Gardens
Antwan Washington — Glades Central
Jo-Jo Williams — Royal Palm Beach
Nickedel Pierre — Palm Beach Central

Follow Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer) and Matt Porter (@mattyports) on Twitter for up-to-the-minute recruiting updates on players from Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast as 2013 national signing day approaches.

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