The top of the board remained the same in the Midwest. Quarterback Braxton Miller (Huber Heights Wayne, Ohio) and linebacker Lawrence Thomas (Detroit Renaissance, Mich.) are the top dogs in the region, and retained their five-star status. Miller, an Ohio State commit, and Thomas, a Michigan State commit, also stayed at the top of their respective position rankings. Miller is the nation's top quarterback, and Thomas is the number two middle linebacker.
There was more shuffling throughout the state by state rankings. After Miller in the Ohio Top 100, a couple players made moves up the charts. The most significant of which, Mount Healthy defensive end Joel Heath, a Michigan State commitment who moved into four-star territory. He has fantastic length and athleticism, as evidenced by his 4.69 forty and other outstanding testing numbers. While he does not play a high level of competition, he dominated on film, and that coupled with his physical attributes were plenty for him to move in. Other Ohioans who had good summers, and moved up as a result, include Notre Dame commitment Eilar Hardy (Pickerington Central) and Dayton Dunbar CB Roger Williamson.
In Michigan, the Great Lakes State had talent, and we knew that, but the summer proved to be time for a couple of these northern boys to show they can play with anyone. Saginaw receiver DeAnthony Arnett stays at two in the state, but received a slight move up in the positional rankings after doing well at national 7 on 7s. Valdez Showers earned Florida and Auburn offers this summer, and checks in at 142 in the Scout 300. Traverse City West OT Jake Fisher picked up three BCS offers in a matter of days before committing to Michigan, and continues to climb. In the three-star range, a few players who moved up include Warren Cousino TE Ben McCord, who had a great summer, and Orchard Lake St. Mary's receiver Allen Robinson.
Illinois is always deep, especially with linemen, and it should be no surprise then, that a big guy, Glenbard West's Jordan Walsh, tops the state rankings for the Land of Lincoln. Walsh, who recently committed to Iowa, has the feet and athleticism we like in elite guard prospects. Other road graders who moved up include Hinsdale Central's duo of Jack Allen, a center who just committed to Michigan State, and undecided offensive tackle Scott McDowell. Chicago Simeon's Chris Bryant also moved up in the state charts, along with Luke Luhrsen, a summer commit to Kansas. One skill player who really caught the attention of our Scouts was Evan Spencer, the Vernon Hills receiver and Ohio State commit.
"He has a quick burst," National Director of Scouting Scott Kennedy said. "Spencer is at top speed in a hurry, making him an asset not only as a receiver in running his routes and once he's caught it, but in the return game as well. He makes the extra effort to block downfield on plays underneath. He's a fearless receiver that will take screen passes across the middle."
Wisconsin saw several players move up including Michigan State commits Trae Waynes and Mark Scarpinato, who had nice summers. Wisconsin commit Jake Keefer remains at the top of that state's rankings, and did nothing to diminish that this summer. Fellow Badger commits Austin Maly, Eric Steffes, and Jordan Fredrick also saw moves up the charts.
In Minnesota, recent Virginia Tech commit James Farrow tops the charts. The Minnetonka cornerback logged many miles this summer and proved he belonged with the best. His teammates, Austin Harrington and Josh Colville made upward moves, as did Edina wide receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts, a long strider with good speed and leaping ability.
Allen Trieu, Scout.com
Missouri had several kids who jumped out at us on tape and in person. Mizzou commit Wesley Leftwich always posts outstanding testing numbers, and his film backed up his physical tools. One player who we feel continues to be overlooked is running back G'Darius Stevenson, who is low on offers, but not on explosiveness. He debuts in three-star territory.
One of Kentucky's big stories is the return of Louisville Seneca quarterback Damarcus Smith after last year's season ending injury. His Elite 11 performance and early practice film have his season looking bright. Continued success, and he should keep moving up. The state's top player, Lamar Dawson, remains undecided and in four-star range, but moved up positionally.
In Indiana, the top prospect is North Carolina commit Kiaro Holts, who our national scouts agreed was one of the top offensive tackles in the country. Another player who moved up was Avon OLB Armonze Daniel, who expanded his offer list after a great summer.
Iowa's top prospect remains tight end Christian French, currently undecided, but with many options. One player who moved up some was Iowa State commit Jevohn Miller. He was very productive as a junior and has a great frame along with athleticism and tenacity. We think he's a future standout for the Cyclones.
If you’re going to discuss rankings in the East Region this season you have to start in Virginia. The state is very deep this year and the talent is spread out at almost every position. Five of the top six players in the state are defensive players. Outside linebacker Curtis Grant leads the way as the best in the state and one of the top linebackers in the nation. Not far behind him is Travis Hughes who has been ranked high all season by Scout.com and he has backed it up at various events, including the recent Gridiron Kings event. Dominique Terrell is the lone offensive player in the top six the versatile offensive weapon should project as a slot receiver at the next level.
Miller Safrit, Scout.com
Pennsylvania is the state in the Northeast region that usually produces the most D-I players and it should have decent numbers this season, but the elite talent is just not what it usually is. Tight end Ben Koyack is the top player as we have been predicting since we saw him as a freshman. Bishop McDevitt running back Jamaal Poteat is one of the best power backs in the country and he checks in at No. 2 right behind Koyack. McKeesport outside linebacker Brandon Jackson may not have all the national offers that some would expect, but this kid has a tremendous ceiling and we’re excited to see what he does this season. He played out of position last season and it didn’t really showcase his athleticism.
The state of Maryland centers around the nation’s top offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. He is as good as some of the best we have had in this region such as Eugene Monroe and Anthony Davis. Give this kid a year in college to fill out his body and then look out. We’re intrigued by the states No. 5 rated prospect Darian Cooper, like Kouandjio he plays at DeMatha Catholic. Cooper isn’t the biggest defensive tackle out there, but he is a disruptive force and he makes things happen.
New Jersey is led by St. Peters Prep running back Savon Huggins who reminds a lot of folks of Adrian Peterson. Three years ago, when we first saw Huggins we wondered if he’d be big enough to be a truly elite back and now he checks in at a legit 6-foot-0 tall. Road grading guard Angelo Mangiro checks in at No. 2 and is the top prospect in a small Penn State class.
In the District of Columbia, defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds and tight end turned offensive tackle Jamar Lewter lead the way. This is one of the deepest overall classes in that area. There may not be an elite top 50 type guy, but there are a lot of players who will sign D-I.
The New England state rankings are led by Massachusetts standouts safety Albert Louis-Jean who is headed to Miami and is a great fit for that defense. He covers like a corner and hits like a linebacker. Tight end Brian Miller Miller is also an exceptional talent who can spread the field. Connecticut is led by a talented pair of offensive linemen in guard Conor Hanratty and tackle Tommy Jordan who are headed to Notre Dame and Florida.
It always seems as if Abraham Lincoln has a D-I player they turn out to be the top player in the state of New York or one of the top rated players Nyan Boateng and Lansford Watson being two that come to mind. Defensive end Ishaq Williams may turn out to be the best of the bunch. Outside Linebacker Quentin Gause and wide receiver Devon Cajuste round out the top three.