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March 16, 2011

The first five-stars: Noah Spence

MORE 2012 Rivals250 to Watch list

They are the best of the best. The players that are wanted by every program and destined to make a big impact at the college level and beyond.

Rivals.com has identified the first five-star prospects for the 2012 class and is unveiling them this week. Twelve prospects have been awarded five-stars but are not ranked at this time and we will profile three each day. The five-star spotlight is now on Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt defensive end Noah Spence.

Five stars: Noah Spence
Noah Spence led his team in tackles from his defensive end spot.
Noah Spence, DE, Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt

Attributes: 6-4, 245, 4.65

Top schools: Offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and others.

Analyst's take: "Spence is an incredible athlete who gets off the snap very quickly, shows great body lean around the edge and is a terror to opposing quarterbacks. He also has a terrific motor and will get back into plays that have been run away from him or past him. He led his team in tackles as a defensive end showing his willingness to hustle and always be around the football. Spence is also strong at the point of attack despite needing to fill out his frame and he's adept at engaging blockers and shedding them at the right moment to make a tackle. His quickness off the ball is matched by his quickness in pursuit." - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com

Why he's a five-star: "Spence may be the fastest pass-rushing end in the entire country. Spence's quickness leaves offensive linemen still rocking back in their pass set as he collapses the pocket. He chases the ball all over the field with the speed to catch plays from behind." - Barry Every, Rivals.com

First Five-stars
Here's a look at the five-star prospects announced so far:
RB Johnathan Gray Story
WR Stefon Diggs Story
OT John Theus Story
S Landon Collins Story
DT Eddie Goldman Story
His coach says: "Noah has the quickest first two steps of any prospect I've been around and he is so explosive. We played against Gateway and their offensive line coach is Matt Morgan who played three years at Pitt and he said the same thing about Noah's first two steps. Noah is also good with his hands, very quick and active, and he can bend very well which allows him to get back into plays he should be out of. You watch him on film and a lot of his sacks come when he bends back to the quarterback. He has a great motor and gives 100 percent on every play." - Bishop McDevitt head coach Jeff Weachter

Odds and ends: Spence emerged at the Premier Showcase last spring when he dominated older players in the one-on-ones. He hails from the same school that has produced numerous four stars including current Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and Detroit Lions cornerback Aaron Berry. It is also the same school that produced former NFL great Ricky Watters. Spence carries a 3.5 GPA and is interested in studying Kinesiology. His uncle, Phil Spence, played on the 1974 national champion NC State team with David Thompson that broke the UCLA winning streak under John Wooden. He has played football since the age of five and also played soccer and basketball growing up as well as wrestling.

NFL player comparison: Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis Colts

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