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August 1, 2012

RH100: Five unranked teams that could finish Top 25

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Dallas Jackson is the High School Football analyst for Rivals.com. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Through the first eight days of the preseason RivalsHigh 100 countdown there have been 75 teams introduced - and over the next seven days there are still the Top 25 teams to be revealed.

While the remaining teams in the RivalsHigh 100 hope to be among the best in the nation at seasons end, teams are only guaranteed their spot for one week.

The RivalsHigh rankings are fluid, meaning that schools can jump from week to week depending on performance. Schools can drop down or out of the rankings even with a win.

How much so? It's not unusual for teams in the middle or bottom of our rankings to make a run into the Top 25.

In fact, it's not uncommon for teams that start unranked to have a shot at the national title as nine teams that began 2011 unranked ended the year inside the Top 25 rankings: No. 9 Southlake (Texas) Carroll; No. 10 Dallas (Texas) Skyline; No. 13 Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood; No. 16 Tampa (Fla.) Plant; No. 19 Spring (Texas) DeKaney; No. 21 Gaffney (S.C.) High; Carmel (Ind.) High; No. 24 River Ridge (La.) John Curtis; and No. 25 Lake Oswego (Ore.) High.

Before revealing the teams that are expected to contend for a national title, here is a look at five teams that may be this years surprise inclusions to the Top 25:

RivalsHigh 100: Unranked teams that could have top ranked season
Broken Arrow (Okla.) High
Buzz entering the season: Broken Arrow made a run into the RivalsHigh 100 rankings, finishing last season at No. 49 nationally. This year's team is very good and could be the most talented group in the state of Oklahoma. This season it lost the benefit of the doubt battle with Jenks (Okla.) High and Tulsa (Okla.) Union, as each of those two programs made the national rankings and Broken Arrow was among the last 20 teams in consideration. Broken Arrow was one point away from a state title last season and could be hungrier than ever entering this year.

Why it could climb to Top 25: The largest school in the state could also be the deepest and possibly the most talented entering the year. There are two major tests for Oklahoma schools early in the year with Union playing against Euless (Texas) Trinity and Jenks taking on DeSoto (Texas) High. If those two teams fair well, it should boost the stock of the state and pull Broken Arrow up with it. There is nothing stopping Broken Arrow from winning the state on its own merit and getting to the Top 25, but the boost could help. The roster is loaded with talent, including 2014 standout Gyasi Aken. He joins current class stars Cre Moore and Frankie Davis.

Manvel (Texas) High
Buzz entering the season: In just four years of playing football, Manvel is becoming a powerhouse program in the Houston area and nearly fought for inclusion in the preseason national rankings this season. The talent base is huge and the current senior class has three current FBS-level commitments with four or five potential additions to that list. The team plays a fantastic brand of football and has joined Katy (Texas) High and LaPorte (Texas) High in the Top Three for the city entering the year.

Why it could climb to Top 25: As demonstrated by Spring Dekaney in 2011, there does not need to be a rich history to make a run to a Texas state title. The talent is certainly there with Oklahoma commit Austin Bennet and Texas A&M-bound Kyrion Parker at the receiver position and two-star Shane McCarley delivering the passes.

Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway
Buzz entering the season: There is actually not a ton of buzz surrounding this team for the first time in a long time. In fact, the Gators are somewhat under the radar right now being ranked No. 7 in Pennsylvania entering the season. As always, Monroeville Gateway will have a lot of talent and could make a run to a title.

Why it could climb to Top 25:Gateway could have a harder time than many other programs because of the current perception of Pennsylvania football. However, if the Gators are able to navigate an undefeated season, the team will certainly move up the rankings. There could be extra motivation for the current coaching staff as well. The administration passed a rule that will all but force Terry Smith out at the end of the year and the team can use that as a rally point to show the school board it is making a mistake by potentially tearing down one of the best programs in the region.

Trotwood (Ohio) Trotwood-Madison
Buzz entering the season: As defending Ohio Division II state champions, there is plenty of buzz entering the season as a repeat is all but expected. There are some that say this could be the top team in the state and it certainly is among the most talented with five-star defensive back Cameron Burrows, four-star Mike McCray, and a trio of three-stars in Jarrod Clements, Trey Williams-Brown and Reon Dawson.

Why it could climb to Top 25: Being the top team in Ohio is almost always going to be good enough for a Top 25 placement, regardless of which Division the team is in. This team certainly has the talent to push its way to the top spot, although it may not have the schedule. With a strong showing in the Herbstreit Classic against Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) University, Trotwood-Madison could jump from the outside to inside the rankings right away.

West Monroe (La.) High
Buzz entering the season: The buzz just got a lot louder as a major transfer from Monroe (La.) Ouachita Parish was announced. Class of 2014 standout offensive lineman Cameron Robinson is headed to West Monroe. The Rebels have a legendary coach, just added one of the best players in the state, and are always in the hunt for a state title. Had that sentence been written a month ago (namely the Cam Robinson part), this team would likely not have been on the outside of the national rankings in the first place.

Why it could climb to Top 25: One of the most storied programs in the state, West Monroe has fans that book hotel rooms in New Orleans for the championship game before the season even starts. This season may not be that easy, but this team is expected to compete for another state title. West Monroe's move to the Top 25 would be based largely on its out-of-state success. The team will play Madison (Miss.) Central and Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage this season. Both of those games should give everyone an idea of where the state and West Monroe is for this season.

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