State Rankings: MONDAY
Jimmy Clausen
National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Aug 21, 2006
Jamie Newberg, National Recruiting Analyst

Here are the preseason state rankings for California, Michigan, North Carolina, Alabama and Oklahoma. The state of California is always loaded while North Carolina and Michigan may have more talent this season than any in recent memory. Coming tomorrow are Texas, South Carolina, Indiana, Oregon, and New York.

The Preseason State Rankings will be revealed over the next two weeks for the Class of 2007. Today, California, Michigan, Alabama, North Carolina and Oklahoma have been released.

The state of California is always blessed with some of the nation’s top talent both in quality and quantity and this season is no different.

RB Marc Tyler is the state's No. 2 rated prospect
“Quarterback Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame commitment) leads the best of the California prospects”, said National Recruiting Analyst Allen Wallace. “Clausen plays alongside eight other recruits from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian High School, just north of Los Angeles. From this team you'll also find running back Marc Tyler (USC commitment), safety Marshall Jones (USC commitment), defensive end Duke Lemmens, defensive end Mike Ebbitt (Texas A&M commitment), linebacker Casey Matthews (Oregon commitment), cornerback Anthony Gildon (Oregon commitment), wide receiver Sean Wiser and offensive lineman Cory Yriarte.”

The state of California is always known as the state to find quarterbacks. Last season wasn’t the typically deep year at this position but that’s not the case this season. “After an off year in '05, the signal callers have resumed their rightful place among the best in California. In addition to Clausen, one of the most heavily publicized recruits nationwide in several years, there are six others, including five who are already committed: Aaron Corp and Samson Szakascy (both committed to USC), Chris Forcier (UCLA), Ronnie Fouch (Washington) and Chasen Stengel (UTEP). It also looks to be an exceptional year for California defensive backs. Eighteen cornerbacks or safeties can be found on the California top 100 list, led by Donovan Warren from the venerable Long Beach Poly program.”

Ronald Johnson
Ronald Johnson is the top prospect in Michigan
Perhaps the big surprise in recruiting this season is the depth and high quality of recruits from the state of Michigan. The talent in the state is unreal led by the athletic defensive back Ronald Johnson. “Everyone knows by now that the state of Michigan is loaded with talent,” said Midwest Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels. “This could be the deepest year in recent memory for top flight D-I football prospects. The cream of the crop though is Ronald Johnson the super athlete from Muskegon (Mi.) High School. When healthy, he is as good as they come not only in the Midwest, but the nation. Nipping at Johnson’s heels for the top spot are a solid pair of defensive linemen, Joseph Barksdale and Ryan VanBergen.”

Greg Little
Greg Little is a player that could end up on either side of the ball
Another state that’s more deep than usual is the Tar Heel State. North Carolina is loaded with perhaps their best year ever. “This may be the deepest year ever for the state of North Carolina,” said Southern Recruiting Analyst Miller Safrit. “The state has several quality players at the top, led by superb athlete Greg Little, but as many as eighty players could sign with a division 1-A program in February. While Little holds the top spot, a case could be made for each of the top five players to grab the number one position by the end of the year including kick return specialist Marcus Gilchrist (Clemson commitment), Trinton Sturdivant (Georgia commitment), sure-handed wide receiver Dwight Jones (North Carolina commitment), and run stuffing defensive tackle Tydreke Powell. Perhaps the most surprising thing coming from the Tar Heel state this year are the sheer number of players already committed to NC State (9) and to North Carolina (5).”

Kerry Murphy
Kerry Murphy is one of the nation's top DTs
The state of Alabama has a good core once again. This year it’s lead by another big man. “Alabama may not have the Andre Smith-type of impact player this year, but with strong defensive tackle Kerry Murphy, explosive safety Michael McNeil, and elusive wide receiver Brandon Gibson there are some players with high potential down the road,” said Safrit. “Each of the three are national top-100 type of players and still have schools “across the country awaiting their decisions.

Gerald Jones is moving up in the rankings
When it comes to recruiting, the state of Oklahoma always has some elite recruits. Last season it was defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma signee). This year the state is led by a safety and running back. "Keep an eye out for Oklahoma City (Ok.) Millwood star Gerald Jones,” said Southwest Recruiting Analyst Jeremy Patterson. “He's an electrifying athlete who can bust a game wide open with his speed and athleticism. Of course, I don't know that he will be able to oust safety Austin Box (Oklahoma commitment) from the top spot in Oklahoma. Box is one of the nation’s most physical players on the defensive side of the ball.”

Coming on Tuesday are state rankings for Texas, South Carolina, Indiana, Oregon, and New York. State Rankings

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LB Austin Box (profile)
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