TechSideline.com’s Preseason In-State Top 40 for the class of 2013 is here. This group is deep at the top, with 12 players currently ranked in the 4-star category. The top 10 includes a good mix of offensive and defensive prospects, including three quarterbacks, three linebackers, two running backs and two defensive ends. Topping the list is Stone Bridge (Ashburn, VA) defensive end href=’/player/Jonathan-Allen-2343/’> Jonathan Allen , a nationally pursued player who committed to Alabama this spring.
Stone Bridge (Ashburn) defensive end href=’/player/Jonathan-Allen-2343/’> Jonathan Allen has been one of the most dominant defensive players in the state over the past two seasons. In that span, the 6’3″, 230-pound Alabama commit totaled 192 tackles with 35 sacks and 10 forced fumbles. Of the 2-time Washington Post first-team all-metro selection, Bulldogs head coach Mickey Thompson said: “I’ve never seen anybody get off the ball that quick. He has quickness off the ball, but he will also smack you in the mouth. He’s relentless.”
With his superior quickness, speed, and just overall ability, Allen looks to be an outstanding defensive end prospect. The Bulldogs star comes in at no. 1 in my initial in-state top 40 for the class of 2013.href=”http://archive.techsideline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/fbrec_green_derrick_2013_01.jpg”> class=”size-medium wp-image-182260″ title=”fbrec_green_derrick_2013_01″ src=”http://www.sportswar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/fbrec_green_derrick_2013_01-215×300.jpg” alt=”" width=”215″ height=”300″ /> href=’/player/Derrick-Green-2418/’> Derrick Green
After showing flashes of his talents in 2010, Hermitage (Richmond) running back href=’/player/Derrick-Green-2418/’> Derrick Green broke out in 2011, rushing for 1,493 yards and 19 touchdowns. Green, who idolized former Ohio State and NFL running back Eddie George, is truly a physical specimen at 6’0″, 230 pounds. It’s no surprise that, with his impressive size, he is a bruising running back that could carry the ball 30 times a game on the college level. Green combines college-ready strength and size with great feet and the speed to break big plays. Over 30 colleges have offered, but he has not yet narrowed the field.
Bayside’s href=’/player/Taquan-Mizzell-2425/’> Taquan Mizzell has earned the nickname of “Smoke” for good reason. The Virginia Beach native possesses outstanding elusiveness and quickness, and in the open field he is extremely tough for one player to tackle. But there is more to his game than just being good in the open field. He is a fluid and natural runner. He runs very well in between the tackles as well as in the open field, possessing good balance and very good vision as well. The 5’10″, 185-pound rising senior is also a plus receiver out of the backfield, so he is a threat on many levels.
The state boasts three 4-star quarterbacks in this class: href=’/player/Ryan-Burns-3196/’> Ryan Burns (Stone Bridge), href=’/player/Christian-Hackenberg-2373/’> Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union), and href=’/player/Bucky-Hodges-2387/’> Bucky Hodges (Salem (Virginia Beach)). All three players possess good size, with Hodges coming in at 6’6″, 230 pounds, Burns being 6’5″, 220 pounds, and Hackenberg measuring in at 6’3″, 210 pounds. Hackenberg, though, currently tops my in-state quarterback rankings, coming in at no. 4 overall.
Hackenberg, a Penn State commit and son of former UVa quarterback Eric Hackenberg, guided Fork Union Prep to a VIS state title in 2010. I like his quick release and ability to make all the throws. He’s also a pretty good athlete with good footwork. I also like his poise and leadership. Hackenberg shows the ability to stand in the pocket and deliver a good throw in the face of pressure.
href=’/player/Matt-Rolin-3356/’> Matt Rolin , whose brother, Scott, was named AA Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, is a fluid, fast, and rangy linebacker prospect. He rounds out my top 5 prospects in the state.
The Briar Woods (Ashburn) product covers a lot of grounds, moving well from sideline to sideline. He’s a tough, solid hitter. The 6’4″, 220-pound prospect needs to gain strength, but he has the frame to add 20 pounds or so on the next level. Rolin drew top scholarship offers from throughout the country before eventually settling on South Carolina, where he has family ties.
href=’/player/Wyatt-Teller-2417/’> Wyatt Teller , a star defensive end out of Liberty (Bealeton), is one of the most intense players in the state’s class of 2013. This intensity comes through on the field, as he plays with an aggressive nature and a high motor. It comes through off the field as well, as Teller, who is dedicated in the weight room, has added 20 pounds this offseason alone to reach the 272-pound mark. At 6’5″, obviously he has the size college coaches covet on the line. In addition to size, he also is a good athlete.
Teller wants to play defensive end, but with his size and athleticism he has promise as a defensive tackle or even an offensive tackle. Most college coaches like him on defense, though. He certainly has the feel of a defensive player, and that’s the side of the ball I think he’ll stick on in college. Virginia and Virginia Tech lead Clemson, Michigan, and Notre Dame right now for Teller, currently my no. 6 recruit in the state.
At no. 7, I’m going with Virginia Tech-bound linebacker/safety href=’/player/Holland-Fisher-3360/’> Holland Fisher , who came away with linebacker MVP honors at the Baltimore Nike Camp this spring. The 6’2″, 200-pound Fisher, an Under Armour All-American, has the speed and athletic ability to play linebacker or safety. Injuries affected his production last year, but when healthy he can do it all from the linebacker spot.
Linebacker E.J. Levenberry, who transferred to Hylton (Woodbridge) after two years at WCAC power DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD), physically looks the part of a major D1 middle linebacker. The first thing I noticed was his 6’3″, 230-pound frame. Levenberry looks to be a sure tackler and also a big hitter, producing 151 tackles and eight forced fumbles last season as a junior. He shows a pretty good sense in pass coverage as well, and last season he totaled nine batted passes and three interceptions.
The aforementioned href=’/player/Bucky-Hodges-2387/’> Bucky Hodges is currently my ninth best prospect in the state. Hodges has been productive since taking over the starting quarterback spot late his freshman year, improving each season on the varsity level. Passing-wise, he probably needs to tighten up his mechanics on the next level, and he doesn’t show great zip on the ball (though he can throw it deep pretty well), but he had great production in the passing game last season as a junior. In 2011, Hodges threw for 2,142 yards with 26 touchdowns and only six interceptions. The 6’6″, 225-pounds rising senior is a good athlete who could be a strong runner in the mold of current Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas. Hodges rushed for over 400 yards each of the past two seasons, totaling 17 rushing touchdowns in the 2-year span.
Of the top three quarterbacks in the state, href=’/player/Ryan-Burns-3196/’> Ryan Burns has the strongest arm and may have the highest upside from a passing perspective. The fact that he has only played one season on the varsity level is a major reason why I have him third of the top three quarterbacks, but he’s a player that could well move up my rankings with a productive senior season. He passed for over 1,800 yards with 13 touchdowns and 14 picks last season as a junior.
These are my initial rankings, but one final piece remains before this class of 2013 rankings puzzle is finished. That final piece is the upcoming season, after which my postseason rankings will be released. Several prospects spring to mind as having the potential to rise significantly in my postseason rankings. They are:
href=’/player/Ryan-Burns-3196/’> Ryan Burns (Preseason rank: 10) - Burns looks like the prototypical major college pocket passer. He has excellent size and arm strength. He’s not a runner, but he can move around the pocket. He only has one season on the varsity level, though, and produced mixed results. Burns has really shown well in camps and combines. If that translates to the field this coming season, expect him to rise in my postseason ranks.
href=’/player/Corwin-Cutler-3390/’> Corwin Cutler (Preseason rank: 28) - Cutler, a quarterback committed to UVa, had a breakout season in 2011, which was his first season with Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach). The 6’3″ signal caller has the tools to be a very good college quarterback, and I’m anxious to see if he can build upon the success he had last year. I don’t see him cracking the top 10, but certainly he could increase his position significantly.
href=’/player/Tim-Harris-2368/’> Tim Harris (Preseason rank: 11) - Harris, a DB/WR, was banged up last season, so he didn’t have a big impact on a quality Varina squad. Watching him on the 7-on-7 circuit, you can see what attracts him to college coaches. The Virginia commit is tall (6’2″ is right on), lengthy, and he is a fluid and fast athlete. Harris has high potential at either safety or corner. If he stays healthy and produces a big season, a jump into the top 10 is definitely possible.
href=’/player/Chris-Holmes-3396/’> Chris Holmes (Preseason rank: 31) - Since last summer, the Chancellor (Fredericksburg) WR/DB added almost two inches of height and saw his frame fill out to 190 pounds. At the same time, the 6’2″ rising senior kept the same athleticism and speed he had before. Holmes played well last season, but he could really break out this coming season.
href=’/player/DJ-Reid-2420/’> DJ Reid (Preseason rank: 13) - This offseason, the Thomas Dale (Chester) product has added about 18 pounds to his 6’1″ frame. He has also kept his sub-4.5 speed. The versatile Reid, who has played several positions for the Knights, could be heading to a breakout season at running back, where he could get 30 carries per game. Green and Mizzell are at the top of the list at running back right now, but Reid has the attributes to be right there as well.href=”http://archive.techsideline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/fbrec_hodges_bucky_2013_01_home.jpg”> class=”size-medium wp-image-181999″ title=”fbrec_hodges_bucky_2013_01_home” src=”http://www.sportswar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/fbrec_hodges_bucky_2013_01_home-300×192.jpg” alt=”" width=”300″ height=”192″ /> href=’/player/Bucky-Hodges-2387/’> Bucky Hodges