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November 14, 2010

Top 10: Smallest stars still bring it

MORE: Top 10 most surprising | Physical specimens

While size certainly helps a prospect rack up the stars by his name, it isn't the only factor, as a handful of top-level high school stars have proven.

Rivals.com's recruiting analysts break down the top 10 small-but-mighty stars among the top prospects.

Top 10 shortest stars
10) ATH Bill Belton
Belton highlights
School: Atko (N.J.) Winslow Township
Buzz: Belton is a do-everything guy in high school that could play receiver, cornerback, safety or running back in college depending on what Pittsburgh needs at the time. Although his 5-foot-9 frame qualifies him for this list, he is thicker and stronger than most his size and it makes him look bigger.



Sankey highlights
School: Spokane (Wash.) Gonzaga Prep
Buzz: Sankey has been a super productive back in high school and there's no reason to question his durability despite his 5-foot-9 frame. It won't make him the easiest receiver to hit out of the backfield, but he is very well-built, is surprisingly powerful and he is excellent in space. Unlike some others on this list, he can be an every-down back and won't simply be a specialist or change-of-pace guy at Washington State.



8) WR Tacoi Sumler
Sumler highlights
School: Miami (Fla.) Columbus
Buzz:Sumler is just a tick taller than Chevelle Buie despite checking in a couple pounds lighter, but he's one of the top two or three fastest players in the country and a perfect fit for the Oregon offense. Like Buie, he will be an instant impact guy on returns and be utilized in the offense as a slot receiver, and someone who takes inside handoffs and reverses.



7) WR Damiere Byrd
Byrd highlights
School: Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek
Buzz: Byrd has grown a bit since he checked in at 5-foot-9 and 156 pounds at the U.S. Army combine last January, but he's still one of the smaller players in the country. But with Byrd it doesn't matter because of his speed. A sub-10.5-second 100-meter track star, Byrd can take a wide receiver screen and turn it into a touchdown. He's a tough kid despite his lack of size.



Wright highlights and interview
School: Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Dwenger
Buzz: When you see Wright, you don't think of him as short. He's certainly not small as he looks to weigh more than 200 pounds and appears to be closer to 5-foot-10 or even 5-foot-11 than his actual 5-foot-9. A powerful, durable runner, Wright is a workhorse who will have no issue carrying the mail at Stanford as long as he gets a chance.



5) APB Chevelle Buie
Buie highlights
School: Cocoa (Fla.)
Buzz: Buie is the smallest of the players on this list, which is no small feat (ok, bad joke). With his speed and ability in space, he will certainly impact as a return man in college but he'll also be a dangerous third-down back and weapon on inside handoffs and bubble screens as well.



4) RB Andrew Buie
Buie highlights
School: Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian
Buzz: Buie, no relation to Chevelle, has a very good build and is very strong despite his 5-foot-9 status. Even though he's not the tallest player on the field, he could still end up as a receiver in college because he has good hands and a knack for shaking defenders. Cornerback is also an option, as is running back, and no matter what position he ends up playing, you can bet his height won't factor.



3) RB Mike Blakely
Blakely highlights
School: Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee
Buzz: Blakely is one of the thickest of the short people on this list and has a build reminiscent of Michael Dyer, the five-star back from 2010 who is now a star on an undefeated Auburn team. Blakely can bounce off tackles like a bigger back and he has thick legs and a strong upper body. With his natural leverage, Blakely uses his 5-foot-9 frame as well as anyone.



Hart highlights
School: Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips
Buzz: The most explosive player in the country inch-for-inch? That could be the case with Hart who is a perfect fit for Michigan's offense and uses his lack of height to his advantage. When Hart isn't running away from defenders as a runner or even as a receiver, he's ducking behind linemen and staying off the radar until he sees the hole.



Thomas highlights
School: Los Angeles Crenshaw
Buzz: Thomas may be only 5-foot-9, but on this list that means he's shopping at big & tall stores. Despite his lack of height, Thomas plays much bigger than his size, especially at cornerback, where he has exceptional instincts and timing. He isn't afraid to take on bigger receivers or bigger runners when a tackle needs to be made.





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