The Top 30 Players in the State of Virginia, 2006 Recruiting Class
by Chris Horne, 1/20/06
This yearís in-state class proved to be pretty deep, certainly deeper than
first expected, with some outstanding players at the top of the list and some
very intriguing players throughout. The top five basically stays the same as in
the preseason ranks, with the only switch coming at the 3 and 4 spots,
respectively. There is a lot of movement from the 7 thru 30 spots, however, with
several players who were not ranked previously making the cut in this final top
This list was compiled based on video, speaking to high school coaches and
other credible sources.
Landstown WR Percy Harvin, a dynamic, elusive player with blazing
speed stays in the number one position. His senior season, although rocky at
times, didnít do anything to diminish my opinion of his talent. You just canít
teach 4.3 40 speed, extreme quickness and unbelievable moves. He will be a star
for the Florida Gators.
WR Vidal Hazelton had a good season at Hargrave Military Academy and
solidified his number two ranking. The 6-3, 200-pound star is impressive
physically and looks very much in control out on the gridiron. I think the level
of competition he faced this season will only help him transition to playing for
the USC Trojans.
In what is the first change from the Preseason ranks, Highland Springs LB Jarrell
Miller jumps to the number three position after an excellent senior year. He
tallied 17 tackles-for-loss in leading a stout Springers defense to a district
title. Miller played well in big games, including a 15-14 double overtime win
over Varina to capture the district title. Miller is headed to UNC.
Granby WR Chris Bell didnít have a great season statistically, but
still has excellent physical tools for the next level. He falls one spot to
number four, but Millerís performance had more to do with that than anything.
Bell has the size at 6-3, 205 pounds, to out-physical cornerbacks and has
outstanding overall athleticism. Bell has verbaled to Penn State.
Coming in at number five is Meadowbrook DE John Graves. Graves, who
played offensive guard and defensive end, led the Monarchs to another very good
season. He had 12 tackles-for-loss and nine sacks this past season, earning
first-team all-state honors. Graves will go to Virginia Tech.
There is quite a bit of movement from the seven through 30 spots from the
preseason list. Several players, including Liberty (Bealeton) offensive lineman
Alex Stadler, fell because they didnít play as well as they could have,
according to people Iíve spoken with. I still see Alex as a very good prospect
for the next level and certainly as the best offensive lineman in the state.
Some players fell just because others rose significantly on the list. Phoebus
WR/CB Brent Vinson rose to number seven. He did it all for Coach Bill Dee and
has a lot of upside given the fact that he has only played two years of high
school football. Oakton tailback Keith Payne also rose significantly following
an outstanding senior season in which he played extremely well in some of the
biggest games, including a 259-yard, 4-touchdown performance against Landstown
in the state title victory.
Several prospects, including Prince George linebacker John Bivens and
Landstown tight end/defensive end Rashad Phillips, werenít on the preseason
list at all but have made their way onto this one. Bivens is ranked pretty high,
as he has tremendous athleticism and shows good instincts. He didnít play
football as a junior, but he certainly has ability.
Out-of-state movement a beginning trend?
Among this top 30, only nine have committed to play in-state for either
Virginia or Virginia Tech. It is very likely that at least seven of the top 10
are going to leave the state of Virginia. We asked Zirkle Blakey, Editor of
VirginiaPreps.com, for his thoughts on whether the out-of-state exodus is a sign
of more things to come or if itís just a one year phenomenon.
ďEach recruit's decision - to stay in state or leave the state - is of
course an individual thing, but after looking at patterns over the past 10+
years, this year was definitely a change in the trend. I think there are a
couple of reasons why,Ē Blakey said.
ďThe top end of the prospect list this year was filled with skill players -
wide receivers - with Harvin, Hazelton (not a native Virginian), McDaniel and
Bell. Given that wide receiver was not a position of need for Virginia
Tech, one of the in-state schools was almost immediately eliminated by four of
almost everyone's top 10 (if not top five) recruits in the state.
ďWide receiver is a 'glamour' position and, with these kids being
identified so early in the process any advantage an in-state school would have
is wiped away when the Florida States, Miamis, Floridas, USCs, etc, can get
involved so early.
ďI think those dynamics coupled with the specific desires of the above
mentioned prospects led to leaving the state.
ďOthers like Whitmore (who I am not convinced he is leaving,
though Tech has now already received quality commitments at the DL
position) and Miller have other influences. Whitmore was influenced to go out of
state originally but might be re-thinking his commitment and Miller wanted to be
his own person and not follow the Highland Springs 'pipeline' to VT - that along
with his super visit and relationship with recruiting coach at UNC led him out
ďWill the trend continue? I don't think so. UVa is making strides
in-state - bringing Mike London back helps them tremendously - and Virginia Tech
will certainly have a strong following in state given their recent success and
their strong recruiting connections within the state.Ē
The Postseason Top 30
1 - WR Percy Harvin - 6-0, 185, 4.3, Landstown
Harvin tallied 1,817 total yards and scored 33 touchdowns in 2005, helping
Landstown to another state championship game appearance. Tremendous speed,
elusiveness and big-play-ability make him one of the most coveted players in the
country at any position.
Committed to Florida
2 - WR Vidal Hazelton - 6-3, 200, 4.5, Hargrave Military Academy
Hazelton is a smooth route runner with very good speed and great size. He
can really make it look easy out on the gridiron. He played well against
increased competition this past season.
Committed to USC
3 - LB Jarrell Miller - 6-3, 235, 4.7, Highland Springs
Miller has improved every season on the high school level and this past
season was no exception. He made a lot of outstanding plays at middle linebacker
this year and was a leader on his team. Miller, who has very good closing speed
and has improved his ability to read plays, finished with 99 tackles, including
a school record 17 tackles-for-loss, 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Committed to UNC
4 - WR Chris Bell - 6-3, 205, 4.5, Granby
Bell didnít have a great senior season statistically, but still projects
as an excellent prospect. He out-muscles smaller cornerbacks because of his size
and heís a phenomenal all-around athlete. Bell has legit 4.5 40 speed and
close to a 40-inch vertical leap.
Committed to Penn State
5 - DE John Graves - 6-3, 240, 4.8, Meadowbrook
Graves, who had 12 tackles-for-loss, nine sacks, five blocked punts and two
touchdowns (one on special teams and one on defense) while leading the
Meadowbrook Monarchs to another playoff appearance in 2005, is one of the
hardest working and humble prospects youíll find. He has tremendous physical
build, is aggressive and strong. He plays with a non-stop motor.
Committed to Virginia Tech
6 - WR Damon McDaniel, 6-0, 195, 4.5, Landstown
Damon had an excellent senior season. He caught 92 passes for 1,574 yards
and scored 26 total touchdowns. He did all of that despite playing with a turf
toe injury for much of the year. His toughness is one of his key attributes. Heís
a strong, aggressive receiver who has good speed.
Committed to Florida (soft commitment)
7 - WR/CB Brent Vinson, 6-1, 185, 4.39, Phoebus
In only his second season playing varsity football, Vinson showed off his
excellent speed and playmaking ability in leading Phoebus to an undefeated
season. He made first-team all-state as a kick returner, but he did a lot more
than play special teams for Coach Dee. He played receiver and running back on
offense and was a big part of the Phantomsí success. Because of his speed,
athleticism, upside and his senior year production, Vinson moved up
significantly on the post-season list.
Committed to Tennessee
8 - DE Brian Whitmore, 6-4, 240, 4.65, Oscar Smith
Whitmore has great agility and has a good physical build. He has great speed
off the edge. He was named all-state defensive end for his senior year
9 - RB Brandon Minor - 6-1, 220, 4.6, Varina
Unfortunately, Minor suffered an injury that kept him out for most of his
senior year. I donít think he truly got his rhythm back, but still believe he
is a very talented prospect. He runs faster than his combine numbers indicated.
I like his agility, balance and vision as a runner. Just like in high school, heíll
be a between-the-tackles type of runner in college.
10 - RB Evan Royster - 6-0, 200, 4.5, Westfield
Royster, Washington Post All-Metro offensive player of the year, had yet
another extremely productive season for Westfield. He averaged over nine yards
per carry. Royster is a good overall athlete.
Committed to Penn State
11 - LB Matt Wright - 6-2, 215, 4.6, Phoebus
Wright moved up from his preseason rank. High school coaches commend his
ability to make plays and his overall athleticism. He will be a very good player
in college because of his instincts and his athleticism.
12 - RB Keith Payne - 6-2, 230, 4.5, Oakton
Ranked #20 in the preseason, Payne had an awesome senior season capped by a
clutch playoff performance - particularly in the championship game, when he
rumbled for over 200 yards and scored three touchdowns. Keith has very good size
at a solid 6-2, 230 pounds. He has good hands and he has the speed to break the
Committed to UVa
13 - LB John Bivens - 6-2, 220, 4.6, Prince George
Had John Bivens played as a junior, I think there is a good chance he would
have been even higher. In watching his film, he plays with toughness and
aggressiveness and has good instincts. Defensively, he has a knack for making
the play. A high school assistant I spoke with asked several college coaches
about Bivens, and all believed he was the real deal.
Committed to UVa
14 - DT Daryl Robertson - 6-3, 300, Liberty
I liked Darylís ability before his senior season and I still like it now.
He has great size and shows good quickness off the ball from the defensive
tackle position. Daryl is a kid who wants to work and improve, and he's someone
who has been a leader for his team.
Committed to Virginia Tech
15 - DE Sean Gottschalk - 6-5, 260, 4.8, Deep Run
Gottschalk had a quiet senior season, but was due in large part to the role
he was asked to play in Lenny Pritchardís scheme. He still has good
athleticism and, if he gets in the right shape physically on the next level
(adding more weight but not too much), he has the athleticism to be an effective
Committed to UVa
16 - OL Alex Stadler - 6-6, 300, Liberty (Bealeton)
Stadler had a solid senior season, earning first-team All-Metro honors by
the Washington Post. Several sources felt he didnít play to the level he could
have, which is part of the reason he fell some. I still like Stadlerís
potential, size, desire and see him as the best offensive lineman in the state.
Committed to Alabama
17 - DB Greg Davis - 6-3, 190, 4.5
Greg had a good senior season, with 70 tackles and six interceptions. I like
his closing speed, quickness and how fluidly he moves, but I still see him more
as a safety than a cornerback on the next level. I think he could be a very good
18 - TE Dedrick Epps - 6-4, 230, 4.6, Huguenot
Dedrick was very productive as a senior, catching 40 passes for 786 yards
and nine touchdowns. He is a player with great physical ability (his performance
at the Nike Camp was outstanding) who could turn into a very good college tight
end, or perhaps defensive end.
Committed to Miami
19 - DB/WR Brandon Caleb - 6-2, 190, 4.5, Fork Union Military Academy
Caleb didnít necessarily wow people as a senior, but with his size,
strength, overall athleticism and playmaking ability, I still see him as a good
college prospect. He has good hands as a receiver, but his size and strength may
be better suited as a safety on defense.
Committed to Oklahoma
20 - Lucas Caparelli - 5-11, 190, 4.4, Robinson (Fairfax, VA)
Caparelli was his usual productive self this season, playing offense,
defense and special teams. He is a very solid prospect who should be, at the
very least, a very solid college player as either a running back or safety.
Committed to Wake Forest
21 - Asa Chapman - 6-5, 340, Orange (VA)
Chapman is very quick off the ball, especially for his size. And he has very
good feet. I would say he has good athleticism right now and can improve it with
a year at Fork Union. He has a lot of potential at defensive tackle, and a year
of better conditioning should help him immensely.
Committed to UVa
22 - Rashad Phillips - 6-4, 215, 4.6, Landstown (Chesapeake, VA)
Phillips is yet another prospect who, because of his play this season,
skyrocketed up recruiting charts. Phillips showed his talents at wide receiver
and as a defensive end. He has a quick first step on defense, but his
athleticism and ability to catch make him a very good tight end prospect too.
23 - Billy Cuffee - 6-6, 320, Deep Creek (Chesapeake, VA)
Returning from a hip injury that kept him out for virtually all of the 2004
season, Cuffee played pretty well as a senior. He has good feet and obviously
has the size. He didnít dominate at his position, but has the tools and the
work ethic to be a good lineman on the next level.
24 - Kam Chancellor - 6-4, 205, 4.6, Maury (Norfolk, VA)
Chancellor is just a good football player. Heís athletic, heís tough, heís
got solid speed and his work ethic is outstanding. Kam really wants the
opportunity to play quarterback and many coaches down in his area feel he can be
a very good college signal caller.
Committed to Virginia Tech
25 - Ras-I Dowling - 6-2, 185, 4.4, Deep Creek (Chesapeake, VA)
I donít think there are any questions about Dowlingís athleticism. He
was timed at 4.4 in the 40 at Virginia Techís camp and boasts a 40-inch
vertical leap. Heís shown good ability as a receiver and safety, but has
missed some games over the past two years due to various injuries. If he can
stay healthy, then UVa has quite an athlete. He could be higher on this list
based on athletic potential, but his injuries are worrisome.
Committed to UVa
26 - Anthony Davis - 6-5, 353, E.C. Glass (Lynchburg, VA)
If it werenít for his academic status, Davis could have several 1A offers
right now. Heís very big, and with his ability can be tough to handle on
offense or defense. Davis could certainly be a player to watch if he goes to
27 - Beau Warren - 6-4, 260, Centreville (Clifton, VA)
Warren is a good, solid prospect with very good work ethic. He fell because
his ceiling may not be that high according to sources, but I expect him to be a
solid contributor for Virginia Tech. He comes from a good family background of
football players and should be a solid player for Virginia Tech.
Committed to Virginia Tech
28 - Dwayne Priest - 5-9, 180, 4.6, William Fleming (Roanoke, VA)
Priest is a heck of a football player. He is a good running back, but an
even better safety. He knows how to hit and consistently makes highlight reel
type hits. He may not have the speed to play on the 1A level, but could be a
great one wherever he ends up.
29 - B.J. Cabbell - 6-5, 300, Nelson County (Lovingston, VA)
Cabbell didnít dominate as a senior, but he is another who has the
physical tools to be very good. He displayed this at UVaís camp last summer,
when he really played well and dominated the competition. If he works hard,
Cabbell has potential.
30 - Oscar Smith WR Naron Sanderlin - 6-0, 185, 4.55, Oscar Smith
Sanderlin had a breakout year for Coach Richard Morgan. He averaged 24 yards
per catch and was the big play receiver on offense. Defensively, he was named
first-team all-Tidewater at safety.
The rest (alphabetical order):
Western Branch OL Brett Ainsley - Committed to JMU
Patrick Henry (Ashland) DE Marcus Anthony
Warren County RB H.B. Banjoman
Surry County TE Ed Barham - Committed to UNC
Cox RB Andre Boone - Committed to Akron
Greenbriar Christian Academy FB Trevor Bray - Committed to Georgia Tech
Giles RB/DB Ricky Cook
Centreville QB Drew Dudzik
Hermitage RB L.A. Goode
Indian River CB DeAndre Filer - Committed to Virginia
Norcom TE Ben Finney
Hermitage OL Bryan Hall
Hermitage DT Isaiah Hinson
Stone Bridge LB/DE Andrew Holoman - Committed to Duke
Louisa RB Rontray Houchens
Salem (Virginia Beach) DE Quantez Hunter
Landstown QB Donny Kirby
Lake Taylor ATH Santonyo Jones
L.C. Bird LB Eric McBride
Meadowbrook ATH Rodney Nichols
Centreville OL Colin Miller
Orange WR T.J. Minor
Landstown DL Brandon Monroe
Landstown LB Quinton Rainey - Committed to Kent State
Cave Spring DB David Redick - Committed to Marshall
Phoebus DB DeNathian Robinson
Oscar Smith WR Naron Sanderlin
Robert E. Lee DE/OLB J.R. Ware
Kempsville S Terrell Whitehead
Hermitage WR Griff Yancey - Committed to Richmond
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