The Top 10
A broken leg sidelined Eli Harold for most of his sophomore season, but he returned for a productive junior year and really came through with a monster senior season. Playing in the Beach District, which is arguably the toughest district in the state, the Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach) standout compiled 1,146 yards of offense and totaled 20 touchdowns. The U.S. Army All-American tallied almost 80 tackles including 16 sacks at defensive end, the position he was recruited to play at the University of Virginia.
“He was like a man amongst boys,” one Beach District opposing coach said of Harold, who was named Beach District Defensive Player of the Year. He also earned first-team all-district honors at wide receiver and defensive end, and first-team all-Eastern Region and first-team all-Tidewater honors at defensive end.
At 6’4″, 220 pounds, Harold is one of the top overall athletes in the state of Virginia’s 2012 class. At defensive end, he has great burst and speed, and he has the frame to add much more weight on the next level. The upside he possesses, coupled with the production he had on both sides of the ball against top competition, are reasons why he takes the top spot in my postseason ranks.
Briar Woods (Ashburn) star Alex Carter is number two. Of all the prospects in the top 10, I view the 6’0″, 195-pound defensive back/wide receiver as the safest bet to translate into a good, productive college player, and I think he could be on the field very early in his career. The son of former NFL defensive back Tom Carter, Alex has a great feel for the game and more times than not is in position to make a play. The 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia doesn’t have blazing speed, but he definitely has good speed and terrific anticipation.
Carter had over 1,000 yards of offense and 11 touchdowns this season, including a touchdown catch in the state title win over Christiansburg. He could end up at wide receiver on the next level, but I think he has more upside as a defensive back, either as a safety or cornerback.
Clover Hill (Midlothian, VA) star Joel Caleb was number one on this list in the Pre-Summer. His fall to number three is not really a case of anything he did or didn’t do on the gridiron this season. In fact, I think an argument could be made for any of my top four to be the top player in the state. Joel is a great athlete, no doubt, but of the top four he is the only one without real experience at the position he projects to play in college.
The 6’3″, 215-pound Caleb, the Cavaliers’ starting quarterback the past three seasons, wants to play wide receiver on the next level. Physically, I think he certainly could become a big-time playmaker there, but there is the unknown factor of how he’ll adjust. Personally, I see potential as a safety, linebacker and quarterback as well, but wide receiver is the position he wants to play.
Caleb, a U.S. Army All-American, got the job done on the ground and through the air in his time at Clover Hill. He totaled 3,993 yards of offense in his sophomore and junior seasons combined. He had 28 touchdowns his junior season and at least 18 more this year despite playing in only eight games. He missed the final two games with a torn meniscus.
Frankly, Centreville (Clifton) defensive end/outside linebacker Ken Ekanem would’ve moved up were it not for the torn ACL he suffered in the Division 6 state championship game. Instead, he stays at number four, which is where he was slotted in the perseason. He tallied 32 quarterback pressures and 18 sacks this season, including 4 1/2 sacks in the state semifinals, earning Washington Post first-team all-metro honors for the second consecutive season. Physically, the 6’3″, 245-pound prospect very much looks the part of a college ready defensive end. He has aspirations of being a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker and could do the job well in my opinion, though I like his upside more as a true defensive end on the college level.
Ekanem has great closing speed and is a strong, physical player. Assuming he gets back to 100-percent health, he should have a fine college career chasing down opposing quarterbacks.
After some shuffling in the first four, the five, six and seven spots remain the same. 5’7″, 175-pound Oscar Smith (Chesapeake) tailback J.C. Coleman (pictured right) missed three games due to an ankle sprain and returned at less than 100-percent, but he still managed 1,488 yards and 20 scores while helping the Tigers to a Division 6 state championship. Coleman, who consistently runs the 40 in the low 4.4-second range, may be on the field for Virginia Tech next season, particularly if David Wilson enters the NFL Draft. He has that type of ability and is enrolling early to get a head start for next season.
Another U.S. Army All-American, Norfolk Christian (Norfolk) linebacker Kwontie Moore, maintains the no. 6 spot. A big-time producer since his freshman year, Moore racked up 109 tackles for the Ambassadors this season. He has a college-ready body right now at 6’1″, 242 pounds, he has good speed (particularly good closing speed in my opinion) and anticipation, and he is a rock-solid tackler. He’ll play middle linebacker at Virginia.
Brookville (Lynchburg) defensive tackle Korren Kirven is no. 7 after another solid season for the Bees. The 6’4″, 270-pound defensive tackle is being courted by SEC (including Alabama) and ACC programs for his ability in the middle of the defensive line. Kirven, Ekanem and Caleb are the only three uncommitted recruits in the top 10. Kirven was selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Bowl but will have to sit out due to a broken ankle.
Making a big move in the rankings is Dan River (Ringgold, VA) running back/linebacker Trey Edmunds, easily one of the most productive players in the state. Number 13 in the Pre-Summer list, Edmunds moved up five spots to no. 8 following a huge senior season. In 10 regular season games, the 6’2″, 200-pound senior rushed for close to 2,000 yards and scored 23 touchdowns. On defense, he had over 100 tackles with two sacks and two interceptions. Edmunds certainly has good football bloodlines, as his father, Ferrell, starred at Maryland before moving on to the NFL.
The Dan River star will take his talents to Virginia Tech, where he could play linebacker or running back.
L.C. Bird (Chesterfield) linebacker Deon Clarke, a 3-year starter and the leader of a stout Skyhawks defense, is no. 9. The 6’3″, 210-pound prospect, an aggressive player with a fiery attitude on the field, will play for Virginia Tech. And rounding out the top 10 is Bayside (Virginia Beach) safety/wide receiver Anthony Cooper. Cooper, a 6’0″, 180-pound prospect, was slowed due to injury but still managed close to 50 catches for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was named first-team all-Beach District at receiver, defensive back, and as a returner.
Postseason Top 40
(Note: The rankings do not include those prospects that played for postgraduate programs, such as those at Fork Union and Hargrave.)
1 – Eli Harold, DE, 6’4″, 220 pounds, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach), Committed to UVa
2 – Alex Carter, DB/WR, 6’0″, 185 pounds, Briar Woods (Ashburn), Committed to Stanford
3 – Joel Caleb, WR/ATH, 6’3″, 215 pounds, Clover Hill (Midlothian), Uncommitted, Considering UGA, OSU, VT, WVU
4 – Ken Ekanem, LB/DE, 6’3″, 245 pounds, Centreville (Clifton), Uncommitted, Considering UNC, ND, ORE, VT
5 – J.C. Coleman, RB, 5’7″, 170 pounds, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake), Committed to Virginia Tech
6 – Kwontie Moore, MLB, 6’1″, 240 pounds, Norfolk Christian (Norfolk), Committed to UVa
7 – Korren Kirven, DT, 6’4″ 270 pounds, Brookville (Lynchburg), Uncommitted, Considering ALA, AUB, UMD, UNC, TN, VA, VT
8 – Trey Edmunds, LB/RB, 6’2″, 200 pounds, Dan River (Ringgold), Committed to Virginia Tech
9 – Deon Clarke, LB, 6’3″, 215 pounds, L.C. Bird (Chesterfield), Committed to Virginia Tech
10 – Anthony Cooper, WR/S, 6’0″, 180 pounds, Bayside (Virginia Beach), Committed to Virginia
11 – C.J. Prosise, S, 6’2″, 200 pounds, Woodberry Forest, Committed to Notre Dame
12 – Nigel Williams, DT, 6’3″, 260 pounds, Benedictine (Richmond), Committed to Virginia Tech
13 – Courtnye Wynn, DL, 6’5″, 245 pounds, Norfolk Christian (Norfolk), Committed to UVa
14 – Devin Vandyke, LB, 6’1″, 205 pounds, South County (Lorton), Committed to Virginia Tech
15 – Andre Miles-Redmond, OL/DT, 6’4″, 265 pounds, Hermitage (Richmond), Committed to UVa
16 – Desmond Frye, S/WR, 6’3″, 200 pounds, Thomas Dale (Chester), Committed to Virginia Tech
17 – Tyrell Chavis, DT/OL, 6’4″, 288 pounds, Varina, Committed to UVa
18 – Win Homer, OL, 6’5″, 240 pounds, Christchurch School, Committed to Boston College
19 – Mark Hall, LB/S, Green Run (Virginia Beach), Committed to UVa
20 – Der’Woun Greene, ATH, 5’10”, 175 pounds, Wilson (Portsmouth), Committed to Virginia Tech
21 – Dakota Jackson, TE, 6’4″, 230 pounds, Northside (Roanoke), Committed to Virginia Tech
22 – Thomas Smith, WR, 6’2″, 210 pounds, Lafayette, Committed to Virginia Tech
23 – Mario Nixon, WR/S, 6’5″, 200 pounds, Norfolk Christian (Norfolk), Committed to UVa
24 – Brenden Motley, QB/ATH, 6’4″, 190 pounds, Christiansburg, Committed to Virginia Tech
25 – Augie Conte, OL, 6’6″, 260 pounds, Blessed Sacrament Huguenot, Committed to Virginia Tech
26 – Romond Deloatch, WR, 6’4″, 210 pounds, Phoebus (Hampton), Uncommitted, Considering CIN, MAR, VT (no offer)
27 – Maurice Canady, WR/CB, 6’1″, 165 pounds, Varina, Committed to UVa
28 – Mike Tyson, S, 6’1.5″, 185 pounds, Lake Taylor (Norfolk), Uncommitted, Considering PSU, UVA, ECU
29 – Kyle Dockins, WR/TE, 6’4″, 200 pounds, Landstown (Virginia Beach), Committed to UVa
30 – Avery Thompson, LB, 6’3″, 200 pounds, Grassfield, Committed to Maryland
31 – Derek Dowrey, DT/OL, 6’3″, 275 pounds, Handley (Winchester), Committed to Penn State
32 – Seth Dooley, DL/TE, 6’5″, 220 pounds, Glenvar (Salem), Committed to Virginia Tech
33 – Alston Smith, DT, 6’2″, 260 pounds, Frank Cox (Virginia Beach), Committed to Virginia Tech
34 – Will Smith, OL, Christchurch (VA), Committed to Wake Forest
35 – Jackson Matteo, OL, 6’5″, 275 pounds, Broad Run (Ashburn), Committed to Temple
36 – Devon Johnson, RB/LB, 6’0″, 200 pounds, Richlands, Committed to Marshall
37 – Rhakeem Stallings, LB, 6’0″, 205 pounds, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake), Committed to JMU
38 – Dylan Stallings, TE/DE, 6’4″, 225 pounds, Grafton (Yorktown), Committed to JMU
39 – D’Metrius Williams, DB, 5’10”, 175 pounds, Salem (Virginia Beach, VA), Committed to Western Michigan
40 – Divante Walker, RB/DB, 5’10”, 175 pounds, Salem (Virginia Beach), Uncommitted, Considering UVA, ODU
Class of 2013
At least 19 in-state juniors already boast at least one college scholarship offer. Below is a list of those in the 2013 class we’ve confirmed with offers. They are listed in order of number of offers received.
E.J. Levenberry, LB, Hylton (Woodbridge) – Most of the top programs in the country are after Levenberry, who transferred from DeMatha Catholic before the start of his junior year. Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Virginia, Virginia Tech and many more have come through for the 6’3″, 225-pound linebacker.
Derrick Green (pictured right), RB, Hermitage (Richmond) – Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio State (childhood favorite), Oklahoma, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and others have offered the 5’11”, 225-pound back with sub 4.5-second speed.
Wyatt Teller, DL/OL, Liberty (Bealeton) – The 6’5″, 250-pound junior has 10 offers, including Boston College, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Teller has potential as a defensive end, defensive tackle or offensive tackle in college.
Holland Fisher, LB, Clover Hill (Midlothian) – The 6’2″, 190-pound linebacker has confirmed offers from Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Reportedly, UNC, N.C. State, Purdue and West Virginia have offered as well.
Jonathan Allen, DE, Stone Bridge (Ashburn) – Allen, selected for two straight seasons to the Washington Post all-metro team, has been a terror on the D-line for the Bulldogs. BC, Maryland, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Rutgers, UVa and Wake Forest have offered so far.
Taquan Mizzell, RB, Bayside (Virginia Beach) – “Smoke” boasts offers from Connecticut, ECU, N.C. State, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech so far.
Michael Parker, ATH, Kettle Run (Nokesville) – The 6’3″, 205-pound junior, a potential safety, linebacker or wide receiver, has so far been offered by Boston College, Maryland, N.C. State, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Ryan Burns, QB, Stone Bridge (Ashburn) – The strong-armed quarterback, already a selection to the 2013 Under Armour All-American Bowl, boasts offers from Boston College, Penn State, Rutgers, Stanford and Virginia. He is looking to make a decision sometime this spring.
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Fork Union Military Academy – Alabama recently joined Rutgers, Tennessee and Virginia as offers for the 6’4″, 195-pound signal caller.
Tim Harris, DB, Varina – Rutgers, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech have offered Harris, an athlete that has drawn comparisons to former Virginia defensive back Ras-I Dowling. Harris could play safety or corner on the next level.
Bucky Hodges, QB, Salem (Virginia Beach) – ECU, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech have offered the first-team all-Tidewater performer. Hodges, who stands 6’6″ and weighs 215 pounds, is a dual-threat quarterback for the Sun Devils.
Kwamane Bowens, WR, Salem (Virginia Beach) – One of Bucky Hodges’ top targets, Bowens, who moved from Seattle before the start of his sophomore year, has been offered by Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech so far.
D.J. Reid, RB/ATH, Thomas Dale (Chester) – North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech have offered the speedy athlete, who has potential at running back, wide receiver or safety on the next level. UVa has even mentioned quarterback, a position Reid may be set to take over at Dale next year.
Charles Clark, ATH, King’s Fork (Suffolk) – Clark, a first-team all-Tidewater selection this season, has drawn offers from both Virginia and Virginia Tech.
David Prince, WR, Patrick Henry (Roanoke) – The 6’0″, 175-pound Prince plays quarterback at PH, but he has been offered by Virginia and Virginia Tech as a receiver.
Matt Rolin, LB, Briar Woods (Ashburn) – Rolin, whose brother Scott walked on to Virginia Tech last year, has been offered by Boston College and Tennessee. Tech, UVa and others are expressing serious interest.
Zack Jones, WR, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake) – Jones, younger brother of current Virginia junior Perry Jones, scored an offer from UVa following Oscar Smith’s state title win. He earned first-team all-Tidewater honors this season, his first at Oscar Smith.
Parker Osterloh, OL, Warhill (Williamsburg) – The 6’7″, 265-pound Osterloh has an offer from JMU. Major FBS programs have shown initial interest as well.
Doug Randolph, LB/ATH, Woodberry Forest – An impressive looking athlete, Randolph has already committed to Stanford.