The Top 10
The top two players on my preseason In-State Top 40 list for the class of 2015 – Oscar Smith (Chesapeake) defensive end Josh Sweat and St. Christopher’s (Richmond) cornerback Garrett Taylor – each suffered serious knee injuries. Sweat played only a few games before missing the rest of his senior season. Taylor didn’t play a regular season down of his senior year. Both players are expected to make full recoveries, and I still feel good enough about both to keep them in the top two spots in the postseason list.
The 6’5”, 240-pound Sweat blazed a 4.46 40 last summer, drawing comparisons to former South Carolina standout and current Houston Texan Jadeveon Clowney. Taylor is a good-sized, physical corner with the speed to stay with top receivers. Both players may now need more time because of the injuries, but in time I’m still very high on the potential of these two players.
In my preseason ranks I had the state’s two most coveted offensive line prospects — Matthew Burrell Jr. and Austin Clark — at no. 6 and no. 7, respectively. Those two are now in my top five, with Burrell at 3 and Clark at 5. Benedictine (Richmond) defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who like Garrett Taylor was sidelined his entire senior season with a knee injury, remains at no. 4.
Position-wise, I see 6’4.5″, 295-pound Matthew Burrell Jr. probably as more of an inside player on the next level. Versatility is always a plus, and I think Burrell could play guard or center inside or possibly right tackle. He saw action at guard and tackle his senior season. Wherever he lines up, I really like Burrell’s intensity and determination. The Hylton (Woodbridge) committed to Ohio State over Florida State and LSU, among others.
Despite his injury, the 6’5”, 225-pound Ferrell still has outstanding potential as a defensive end or even outside linebacker/rush end on the major college level. He’ll play for the Clemson Tigers.
Clark looks the part of a prototypical tackle on the major college level. The Rockbridge County (Lexington) prospect doesn’t wow you with his athleticism, but he has pretty good feet and I feel he does a good job of getting off the line and getting his hands on the defender. Clark, who originally committed to South Carolina, is a good addition to a Virginia Tech team in need of linemen.
Ricky DeBerry Jr. transferred from St. Christopher’s (Richmond) to Atlee (Mechanicsville) for his senior season. He played well for the Raiders, seeing action at linebacker and a little running back as well. The Oklahoma-bound senior, a 6’3”, 235-pound prospect, could end up as an outside linebacker or defensive end on the major college level. He is a good athlete with a good feel for what to do on the gridiron.
Stonewall Jackson (Manassas) defensive tackle Tim Settle dropped to 7 from my preseason ranking of 3, but if he gets his academics in order and maintains his weight, I still see him as a top-flight defensive tackle prospect on the major college level. The 6’3”, 330-pound Settle is explosive off the line. If he can get consistent with his pad level, he could be really, really good. There are some questions, though, and that is why he fell a few spots.
Dominion (Sterling) linebacker Chad Smith is a player I feel I overlooked in the preseason ranks. The more I heard and saw from Smith, however, the more impressed I became. On the heels of an excellent camp and combine circuit and a productive senior season, the Clemson-bound recruit showed well the week of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The 6’4”, 215-pound prospect is an outstanding overall athlete, and as a senior I thought he showed good physicality as well. He is no. 8 in the postseason top 10.
Before the season started, the lack of a clear position was a major reason why I wasn’t as high on Jaason Lewis as some others. The 6’2”, 235-pound senior started at tailback his senior season and came through in a big way, rushing for over 2,000 yards and 31 touchdowns. I was on hand for the 6A state title game, in which he had a stellar performance in the 6A state championship game against Centreville. The Arizona State-bound recruit rushed for 267 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, to lead Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach) to its first ever state championship in football.
Lewis has size, toughness, and the speed to break the big play. Had he performed this well at tailback for several years he would probably be higher than no. 9, but given his production I felt he needed to be in the top 10. If his senior season is just the beginning, I’m anxious to see how he does for the Sun Devils.
At no. 10 is Dan River (Ringgold) athlete Tremaine Edmunds, who at 6’4”, 225 pounds has the potential to be very good at several positions on the major college level. He is one of the more versatile prospects in this class. I think he has the potential to be a very good tight end, where his father, Ferrell, starred in college and in the NFL. He can move and has great hands. Virginia Tech likes him on defense, though, and initially wants him as a linebacker. Tremaine has the speed to stay at linebacker, but given his size I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a look at defensive end as well.
– Virginia Tech leads the way with 8 commitments on this postseason top 40. UVa is second with 5 (the Hoos have 7 in-state commitments in total).
The following schools have two commitments each from this in-state top 40 list: Cincinnati, Clemson (two in the top 10), Florida State (two in the top 13), Maryland, Ohio State, Old Dominion, Penn State and Tennessee.
Arizona State, Boston College, East Carolina, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rutgers, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin have one commitment.
– As of this writing, there is only one uncommitted prospect in the state in Gary Jennings, a standout WR/ATH out of Colonial Forge (Stafford). Jennings will likely choose from Notre Dame, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
– Sweat, Taylor, Ferrell, Settle and linebacker Jahvoni Simmons were all selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Bowl. Burrell, DeBerry, Lewis and Smith were selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Hopewell’s Darrell Taylor suited up in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
VIRGINIA 2015 CLASS POSTSEASON TOP 40
1. Josh Sweat, DE, 6’5”, 240 pounds, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake), Committed to Florida State
247Sports In-State Rank: 1
Rivals In-State Rank: 1
2. Garrett Taylor, CB, 6’1”, 190 pounds, St. Christopher’s (Richmond), Committed to Penn State
247Sports In-State Rank: 3
Rivals In-State Rank: 4
3. Matthew Burrell Jr., OL, 6’5”, 300 pounds, Hylton (Woodbridge), Committed to Ohio State
247Sports In-State Rank: 5
Rivals In-State Rank: 8
4. Clelin Ferrell, DE, 6’5”, 230 pounds, Benedictine (Richmond), Committed to Clemson
247Sports In-State Rank: 4
Rivals In-State Rank: 5
5. Austin Clark, OL, 6’6”, 300 pounds, Rockbridge County (Lexington), Committed to Virginia Tech
247Sports In-State Rank: 8
Rivals In-State Rank: 3
6. Ricky DeBerry Jr., LB, 6’3”, 235 pounds, Atlee (Mechanicsville), Committed to Oklahoma
247Sports In-State Rank: 6
Rivals In-State Rank: 6
7. Tim Settle, DT, 6’3”, 330 pounds, Stonewall Jackson (Manassas), Committed to Virginia Tech
247Sports In-State Rank: 7
Rivals In-State Rank: 10
8. Chad Smith, LB, 6’3”, 220 pounds, Dominion (Sterling), Committed to Clemson
247Sports In-State Rank: 9
Rivals In-State Rank: 2
9. Jaason Lewis, RB/ATH, 6’3”, 225 pounds, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach), Committed to Arizona State
247Sports In-State Rank: 2
Rivals In-State Rank: 9
10. Tremaine Edmunds, LB/DE/TE, 6’4”, 225 pounds, Dan River (Ringgold), Committed to Virginia Tech
247Sports In-State Rank: 15
Rivals In-State Rank: 12
11. Darrell Taylor, DE/OLB, 6’4”, 225 pounds, Hopewell, Committed to Tennessee
247Sports In-State Rank: 11
Rivals In-State Rank: 13
12. Jahvoni Simmons, MLB, 6’2”, 235 pounds, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach), Committed to UVa
247Sports In-State Rank: 18
Rivals In-State Rank: 7
13. Darvin Taylor II, DT, 6’2”, 290 pounds, Thomas Dale (Chester), Committed to Florida State
247Sports In-State Rank: 10
Rivals In-State Rank: 11
14. Trevon Hill, DE, 6’4”, 220 pounds, (Virginia Beach), Committed to Virginia Tech
247Sports In-State Rank: 12
Rivals In-State Rank: 17
15. Deshawn McClease, RB, 5’9”, 175, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake), Committed to Virginia Tech
247Sports In-State Rank: 23
Rivals In-State Rank: 15
16. Juan Thornhill, DB, 6’2”, 180, Altavista (VA), Committed to UVa
247Sports In-State Rank: 22
Rivals In-State Rank: 19
17. Felton Davis III, WR, 6’3”, 185, Highland Springs, Committed to Michigan State
247Sports In-State Rank: 14
Rivals In-State Rank: 20
18. AJ Turner, RB/S, 5’11”, 190 pounds, Centreville (Clifton), Committed to South Carolina
247Sports In-State Rank: 17
Rivals In-State Rank: 18
19. Jahque Alleyne, DB, 6’1”, 180, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach), Committed to Virginia Tech
247Sports In-State Rank: 32
Rivals In-State Rank: 14
20. Brandon Polk, WR, 5’10”, 160, Briar Woods (Ashburn), Committed to Penn State
247Sports In-State Rank: 20
Rivals In-State Rank: 20
21. A.J. Alexander, WR, 6’3”, 200, Lake Braddock (Burke), Committed to Ohio State
247Sports In-State Rank: 13
Rivals In-State Rank: 27
22. Chance Hall, DT/OL, 6’5”, 290, Northside (Roanoke), Committed to Tennessee
247Sports In-State Rank: 21
Rivals In-State Rank: 28
23. David Eldridge III, WR, 6’1”, 165, Kettle Run (Nokesville), Committed to UVa
247Sports In-State Rank: 27
Rivals In-State Rank: 23
24. Gary Jennings, WR/S, 6’2”, 190, Colonial Forge (Stafford), Uncommitted
247Sports In-State Rank: 36
Rivals In-State Rank: 25
25. Justin Skule, OL, 6’6”, 290, Centreville (Clifton), Committed to Vanderbilt
247Sports In-State Rank: 31
Rivals In-State Rank: 30
26. Harry Lewis, DL, 6’2”, 265, Phoebus (Hampton), Committed to Virginia Tech
247Sports In-State Rank: 24
Rivals In-State Rank: 32
27. Aaron Crawford, DT, 6’2”, 300, Stone Bridge (Ashburn), Committed to North Carolina
247Sports In-State Rank: 30
Rivals In-State Rank: 22
28. Mike Majette, DB, 5’11”, 190, Woodbridge, Committed to Maryland
247Sports In-State Rank: 16
Rivals In-State Rank: 36
29. Blake Camper, OL, 6’6”, 285, Cox (Virginia Beach), Committed to Rutgers
247Sports In-State Rank: 28
Rivals In-State Rank: 26
30. Tanner Karafa, LB/TE, 6’3”, 240, Stone Bridge (Ashburn), Committed to Boston College
247Sports In-State Rank: 38
Rivals In-State Rank: 29
31. TJ Griffin, CB/WR, 5’9”, 175, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach), Committed to Wisconsin
247Sports In-State Rank: 54
Rivals In-State Rank: 24
32. Gus Little, LB, 6’2”, 230, Massaponax (Fredericksburg), Committed to Maryland
247Sports In-State Rank: 29
Rivals In-State Rank: 31
33. Quincy Watts, WR, 5’11”, 175, Landstown (Virginia Beach), Committed to Old Dominion
247Sports In-State Rank: 19
Rivals In-State Rank: 34
34. Malik Clements, S/WR, 6’2”, 185, George Washington (Danville), Committed to Cincinnati
247Sports In-State Rank:
Rivals In-State Rank: NR
35. RJ Proctor, OL, 6’4”, 320, Liberty (Bealeton), Committed to Virginia
247Sports In-State Rank: 34
Rivals In-State Rank: NR
36. Coleman Fox, RB/WR, 6’0”, 200, Salem, Committed to Virginia Tech
247Sports In-State Rank: 49
Rivals In-State Rank: 43
37. Nhyre Quinerly, CB, 5’10”, 170, Lake Taylor (Norfolk), Committed to East Carolina
247Sports In-State Rank: 43
Rivals In-State Rank: 39
38. Caleb Ashworth, DE, 6’3″, 245, Tunstall (Dry Fork), Committed to Cincinnati
247Sports In-State Rank: 64
Rivals In-State Rank: 37
39. Jamez Brickhouse, CB, 6’0”, 175, Bayside (Virginia Beach), Committed to Old Dominion
247Sports In-State Rank: 33
Rivals In-State Rank: 21
40. Richard Burney Jr., TE, 6’4”, 235, Hickory (Chesapeake), Committed to Virginia
247Sports In-State Rank: 42
Rivals In-State Rank: 33