1) Jeremy Abbott
2) Adam Rippon
3) Max Aaron
4) Richard Dornbush
Jeremy Abbott was a pleasant surprise on the Grand Prix this season. You can say that he won in a depleted field at Cup of China or that he didn't achieve technical brilliance, but he has two of the most complete programs out there this season. He doesn't just jump and spin, he actually performs, which is the tops in my book. Last year was an off year, but he normally thrives at home in the US, and unless he crumbles like he did last season, I say he's your winner. I also believe that that the combination of Abbott and Rippon provides the US with the best chance of scoring a 3rd Men's slot at Worlds.
Adam Rippon has been up and down over the past few years, and even though he didn't medal on the Grand Prix, I think he's on the upward swing. The coaching change to Dungjen & Sato seems to have affected him positively and it's great to have him training back in the US where he has Jeremy Abbott to push him daily. The quad lutz could be key for him and if he lands it fully rotated, that may give him the edge over Abbott. He too is a very complete performer which should keep him ahead of some of the technical marvels that are creeping up the standings.
Max Aaron is in his first senior season and he took sectionals by storm. I think he was one of the skaters most hurt by the cut from 12 to 10 skaters at each Grand Prix as he really could've made a splash had he competed internationally in the fall. He won his sectional by 30 points because of his great technique and jumping ability, but that along will not keep him on top at the national level. In my opinion he is not as mature a performer as Abbott and Rippon, not by a mile, but his jumps alone will probably land him on the podium if he hits. I think his lack of artistry will be glaring next to Abbott, Rippon, Dornbush, and Miner and he'll receive low PCS scores as a result.
Richard Dornbush was the darling of the 2011 Nationals, but he has not lived up to expectations this season thus far. He is normally cool and collected, but he looked nervous and cautious in his Grand Prix debut competitions. He has a good quad if he can hit it and he is also a great performer. He is skating relatively close to home so he'll have the crowd on his side, which could prove very advantageous, especially in his character-driven free skate.
Max Aaron-1st at 2011 Midwestern Sectionals (221.21)
Jeremy Abbott-BYE-1st at 2011 Cup of China (228.49); 3rd at 2011 Cup of Russia (229.08)
Alexander Aiken-3rd at 2011 Eastern Sectionals (179.04)
William Brewster-4th at 2011 Midwestern Sectionals (168.40)
Jason Brown-BYE-1st at 2011 JGP Australia (197.23); 1st at 2011 JGP Final (208.41)
Wesley Campbell-2nd at 2011 Eastern Sectionals (187.84)
Stephen Carriere-1st at 2011 Eastern Sectionals (203.02)
Jonathan Cassar-2nd at 2011 Pacific Sectionals (202.13)
Richard Dornbush-BYE-4th at 2011 Skate America (202.27); 6th at 2011 Cup of China (205.27)
Scott Dyer-4th at 2011 Pacific Sectionals (186.01)
Joshua Farris-BYE-1st at JGP Poland (202.45); 1st at 2011 JGP Estonia (207.67)
Grant Hochstein-2nd at 2011 Midwestern Sectionals (190.58)
Alexander Johnson-3rd at 2011 Midwestern Sectionals (183.01)
Armin Mahbanoozadeh-BYE-10th at 2011 Skate America (179.07); 8th at 2011 NHK Trophy (185.58)
Keegan Messing-3rd at 2011 Pacific Sectionals (200.76)
Ross Miner-BYE-6th at 2011 Skate Canada (202.36); 3rd at 2011 NHK Trophy (212.36)
Brandon Mroz-BYE-9th at 2011 NHK Trophy (184.83); 9th at 2011 Cup of Russia (185.49)
Daniel Raad-5th at 2011 Eastern Sectionals (135.98)
Douglas Razzano-1st at 2011 Pacific Sectionals (202.82)
Adam Rippon-BYE-4th at 2011 Skate Canada (217.97); 4th at 2011 TEB (217.89)