Because of the population boom in Georgia over the last decade, the Peach State produces more and more prospects each year. You can always count on Georgia have quantity and quality in numbers. This season, the state’s top player is also the nation’s number two rated linebacker prospect. His name is Tray Blackmon and he leads another strong contingent on TheInsiders.com Georgia Top 100. With the high school football season in Georgia kicking off tonight, there's no better time to look at Georgia's top prospects.
“Every year it gets harder and harder to narrow the list of players in the state of Georgia down to a Top 100,” said Scott Kennedy, South Recruiting Analyst for TheInsiders.com. “As the state keeps growing, more and more talented players keep coming from the Peach State, and this year is no different. As I was putting this list together, it struck me just how many great linebackers there are in the state of Georgia this. Fittingly, the number one prospect in the state is linebacker Tray Blackmon of LaGrange. Blackmon is a one man wrecking crew on defense. He plays the game at a completely different speed than those around him. He uses his whole body on hits and has tremendous instincts. He is a different maker, and he's maybe the best defensive player this state has seen since Takeo Spikes.”
Is it possible that for three consecutive years one school produces the top player in the state of Ohio? Yes, it is and all three finished as the top cornerback prospects in the nation. Two years ago it was Donte Whitner and last season it was Ted Ginn, Jr. This year the man in the Buckeye State is Jamario O'Neal (left), as he is the top rated prospect on TheInsiders.com Ohio Top 40 and the nation’s number one cornerback. O’Neal, like his two predecessors mentioned above, is from Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville High School. “Jamario O'Neal could arguably be the top prospect in the country,” said Chris Pool, Midwest Recruiting Analyst for TheInsiders.com. “He has tremendous size and speed for a cornerback and he loves to make the big hit. St. Edward offensive tackle Alex Boone was one of the best tackle prospects in the Midwest as a sophomore. Both O'Neal and Boone have given verbal commitments to Ohio State. Overall, it's a very good year for wide receivers in the Buckeye State and in my opinion there isn't one better that Avon Lake's Trey Stross. The University of Iowa pledge is a 6-foot-4 jumping jack with speed and a huge upside.”
The state of New York, not known for producing many elite prospects, is top heavy with some major blue-chip football prospects in TheInsiders.com New York Top 20. Leading the way is two-sport phenom Greg Paulus (right) from Syracuse Christian Brothers High School. Paulus is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and point guards and, but headed to play just basketball at Duke for Coach K. (Because Paulus will not play college football, we have taken him off our National Top 100). However, he is not the only elite recruit. Defensive end Doug Worthington, wide receiver LaVar Lobdell and running back Jason Gwaltney all made TheInsiders.com National Top 100. In addition, offensive lineman Justin Schifano is a strong candidate to make the revised list when it comes out in two weeks.
The state of New York is most commonly stereotyped as a basketball state; this year appears to be an excellent year for football prospects as well.
“Doug Worthington is a marvelous athlete with size and speed,” said Bob Lichtenfels, East Recruiting Analyst for TheInsiders.com. “He tends to remind a lot of people of current Boston College standout Mathias Kiwanuka. Worthington uses his height and reach to his advantage when playing against bigger and bulkier offensive linemen.”
The state of Nebraska loves their football and they produce some quality players year in and year out. Usually, there are less skilled people and more linemen. This is the case this season once again. "Annually, the state of Nebraska sends five to ten of their best high school prospects to D-1," said Stacey Dean, TheInsdiers.com Big 12 Recruiting Analyst. "At the top of our list is true-blue defensive end/tight end Zach Potter (left), a very intriguing prospect from Omaha Creigton Prep. His ability to disrupt offenses as a defensive end, a specialty position light on depth around the country year-in and year-out, has many colleges salivating for his commitment. However, his work as a tight end is also drawing raves from several assistant coaches as our TheInsiders.com Midlands region number eight player has all the tools to become a weapon there also. A couple of other prospects to watch are offensive tackle prospect Orion Matthies (Overton High), scat-back/defensive back Robert Rands (Bellevue East) and linebacker Brent Gritton (Lincoln East)." Here is TheInsiders.com Nebraska Top 10.
Coming tomorrow, TheInsiders.com state rankings for Pennsylvania, Kansas and New Mexico.
2004 TheInsiders.com Preseason State Rankings
Miller Safrit contributed to this report.