The first In-State Top 40 rankings for the 2012 class are here. The initial top five includes two prospects from the heralded Tidewater region and two from Northern Virginia, but the top spot right now belongs to 6’3″, 210-pound Joel Caleb, Clover Hill’s (Midlothian) do-it-all quarterback and standout safety.
Generating a huge chunk of the offense, Caleb, a starter at quarterback and safety each of the past two seasons, has guided the Cavaliers to consecutive playoff appearances. He had close to 1,900 yards of offense (1,151 yards rushing and 686 yards passing) his sophomore season and bettered that effort last season as a junior, totaling 2,156 yards and 28 touchdowns.
“He’s one of those kids you can’t game-plan against,” a central Virginia coach said of Caleb. “The defense could play perfect, but he’ll scramble and make the perfect play. You almost can’t defend him.”
Another opposing coach adds, “He’s an awesome player. More than that, he’s an awesome kid. He’s the first one to congratulate you. He’s a quality kid.”
With his playmaking ability, size, and athleticism, Caleb projects well to several positions on the college level. Wide receiver, the position he wants to play, certainly is one. Safety would be another. Linebacker and quarterback could be possibilities as well. As a receiver, he combines the prototypical size and speed to be a top flight prospect at the position.
Joel’s older brother, Brandon, played wide receiver for the Oklahoma Sooners. Top out-of-state programs such as Alabama, Florida, Florida State, and Ohio State are in hot pursuit of the younger Caleb, who remains uncommitted at this point. In-state Virginia and Virginia Tech were in on him early, but Virginia Tech currently has the edge if Caleb decides to stay in-state.
Unlike past years, this year the rankings will be updated continuously until the final Postseason Top 40 is released in December. The next five months could get interesting. There is Caleb, Harold (2), and Carter (3) in the top 3. Centreville’s Ken Ekanem (4) and Oscar Smith’s J.C. Coleman (5) round out the top five, but Norfolk Christian LB Kwontie Moore (6), Brookville DT Korren Kirven (7), and L.C. Bird LB Deon Clarke (8) were also given strong consideration for being in the top five. Benedictine DL Nigel Williams (11), Norfolk Christian DL Courtnye Wynn (12), and Dan River LB/RB Trey Edmunds (13) were given strong consideration for being in the top 10, and all three are prospects that could crack the top 10 when the Postseason ranks are released. The 2011 season, a big piece of the rankings puzzle, remains, and there certainly could be some shuffling in this top group.
For now, the top 10 concludes with Notre Dame-bound S/WR C.J. Prosise (9) and Bayside’s top two-way athlete Anthony Cooper (10). And here is the entire In-State Top 40…
1 – Joel Caleb, WR/ATH, 6’3″, 215 pounds, Clover Hill (Midlothian), Uncommitted
Caleb, who looks the part of a college player right now, has the size, ability and athleticism to translate well to a number of positions on the next level. He wants to play wide receiver and he has the blend of size, speed and athletic ability needed to be a top flight player.
2 – Eli Harold, DE, 6’4″, 220 pounds, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach), Uncommitted
Harold starts (and is very good) at wide receiver as well as defensive end, an indication of his versatility. He wants to be a defensive end in college, though, and he boasts superior speed and quickness off the edge. Plus, Harold is not even close to filling out his 6’4″ frame. He could easily add 20-30 pounds and keep his athletic ability.
3 – Alex Carter, DB/WR, 6’0″, 185 pounds, Briar Woods (Ashburn), Committed to Stanford,
The son of former Notre Dame and NFL defensive back Tom Carter, Alex makes the game look easy at times. He may not possess overwhelming size or speed, but he is a very good athlete with good size for the cornerback position. Carter is outstanding at diagnosing plays and being in the right place. A smooth, highly productive player on both sides of the ball.
4 – Ken Ekanem, LB/DE, 6’3″, 230 pounds, Centreville (Clifton), Uncommitted
As Centreville head coach Chris Haddock says, Ekanem “passes the eye test.” The only sophomore on the 2010 Washington Post all-metro first team, Ekanem blends size with speed and quickness. He is a fluid athlete. He’s also strong. Though he is very good at tight end, Ekanem will play defense on the college level and he has the speed to play linebacker and the size to play defensive end.
5 – J.C. Coleman, RB, 5’7″, 170 pounds, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake), Committed to Virginia Tech
Speed. Big-play speed. Coleman has been clocked in the 40 in 4.4 seconds, and his speed is evident on the field. He has the ability to break a touchdown on any play. He’s a threat in the receiving game as well as the run game, versatility that certainly adds to his value. Height is the obvious knock, but Coleman is built well, is strong, and he plays with intensity and toughness.
6 – Kwontie Moore, MLB, 6’1″, 240 pounds, Norfolk Christian (Norfolk), Committed to UVa
A physical specimen, Moore is another player who looks like he would fit right in on a college team right now. The starting tailback and middle linebacker for Norfolk Christian, Moore enjoyed big-time success on both sides of the ball. He’s a good athlete, strong and physical, and he’ll use those talents at middle linebacker on the next level.
7 – Korren Kirven, DT, 6’4″ 270 pounds, Brookville (Lynchburg), Uncommitted
A load on the interior defensive line, Kirven has the potential to be a big-time defensive tackle on the college level. In addition to his strength, Kirven also shows good feet and balance on film. He’s tough to stop once he gets going.
8 – Deon Clarke, LB, 6’3″, 215 pounds, L.C. Bird (Chesterfield), Committed to Virginia Tech
Clarke plays middle linebacker for the Skyhawks but could be an outside or inside linebacker on the college level. The sparkplug of the Bird defense, Clarke plays with energy, emotion, and aggressiveness. He racked up close to 100 tackles with 19 tackles for loss and 14 sacks last season as a junior. Clarke has the potential to play early on the college level, but he does need to add bulk and strength.
9 – C.J. Prosise, S, 6’2″, 200 pounds, Woodberry Forest, Committed to Notre Dame
Prosise is an excellent all-around athlete. On the gridiron, Prosise is a safety with a lot of range and terrific ball skills. He has potential on offense as a wideout, but safety is where he will play at Notre Dame.
10 – Anthony Cooper, WR/S, 6’0″, 180 pounds, Bayside (Virginia Beach), Uncommitted
Similar to Alex Carter is that he doesn’t have overwhelming size or speed, Cooper can flat out play football. He gets it done on both sides of the ball and could play safety or wideout on the college level. Most schools seem to like him at receiver, though, and he shows good hands, good speed and acceleration, and overall playmaking ability at the position.
11 – Nigel Williams, DT, 6’3″, 260 pounds, Benedictine (Richmond), Uncommitted
12 – Courtnye Wynn, DL, 6’5″, 245 pounds, Norfolk Christian (Norfolk), Uncommitted
13 – Trey Edmunds, LB/RB, 6’2″, 200 pounds, Dan River (Ringgold), Uncommitted
14 – Win Homer, OL, 6’5″, 240 pounds, Christchurch School, Committed to Boston College
15 – Devin Vandyke, LB, 6’1″, 205 pounds, South County (Lorton), Uncommitted
16 – Desmond Frye, S/WR, 6’3″, 200 pounds, Thomas Dale (Chester), Committed to Virginia Tech
17 – Andre Miles-Redmond, OL/DT, 6’4″, 265 pounds, Hermitage (Richmond), Committed to UVa
18 – Der’Woun Greene, ATH, 5’10”, 175 pounds, Wilson (Portsmouth), Committed to Virginia Tech
19 – Tyrell Chavis, DT/OL, 6’4″, 288 pounds, Varina, Committed to UVa
20 – Devon Johnson, RB/LB, 6’0″, 200 pounds, Richlands, Committed to Marshall
21 – Dakota Jackson, TE, 6’4″, 230 pounds, Northside (Roanoke), Committed to Virginia Tech
22 – Brenden Motley, QB/ATH, 6’4″, 190 pounds, Christiansburg, Committed to Virginia Tech
23 – Mark Hall, LB/S, 6’2″, 200 pounds, Green Run (Virginia Beach), Committed to UVa
24 – Mario Nixon, WR/S, 6’5″, 200 pounds, Norfolk Christian (Norfolk), Committed to Virginia Tech
25 – Maurice Canady, WR/CB, 6’1″, 165 pounds, Varina, Committed to UVa
26 – Derek Dowrey, DT/OL, 6’3″, 275 pounds, Handley (Winchester), Committed to Penn State
27 – Alston Smith, DT, 6’2″, 260 pounds, Frank Cox (Virginia Beach), Uncommitted
28 – Kyle Dockins, WR/TE, 6’4″, 200 pounds, Landstown (Virginia Beach), Uncommitted
29 – Mike Tyson, S, 6’1.5″, 185 pounds, Lake Taylor (Norfolk), Uncommitted
30 – Romond DeLoatch, WR, 6’4″, 210 pounds, Phoebus (Hampton), Uncommitted
31 – Connor Jessop, QB, 6’4″, 200 pounds, Broad Run (Ashburn), Uncommitted
32 – Jackson Matteo, OL, 6’5″, 275 pounds, Broad Run (Ashburn), Uncommitted
33 – Dylan Stallings, TE/DE, 6’5″, 225 pounds, Grafton (Yorktown), Uncommitted
34 – Rhakeem Stallings, LB, 6’0″, 205 pounds, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake), Uncommitted
35 – D’Metrius Williams, DB, 5’11”, 185 pounds, Salem (Virginia Beach), Uncommitted
36 – Darius Parson, LB, 6’2″, 220 pounds, Woodbridge, Uncommitted
37 – Wilfred Wahee, DB, 5’10”, 185 pounds, Norfolk Christian (Norfolk), Committed to UVa
38 – Thomas Smith, WR, 6’2″, 210 pounds, Lafayette, Uncommitted
39 – Seth Dooley, DL/TE, 6’5″, 220 pounds, Glenvar (Salem), Uncommitted
40 – Carlson Milikin, DB/WR, 6’0″, 185 pounds, Woodberry Forest, Committed to UVa (lacrosse)
For the complete rankings in table form, see below