SportsWar Virginia Top 40: Class Of 2016

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(Note: In past years I have released a preseason in-state Top 40 followed by a postseason Top 40 list. This year, the list will be updated continuously throughout up until the postseason list is revealed. We’ll be sure to update you as the rankings are updated.)

Taylor Tops Initial Top 40 Ranking

Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach) has been one of the most talented high school football programs in the state the past decade or so, producing numerous major college prospects. Cornerback Levonta Taylor headlines the Dolphins’ rising senior class, and he is also my no. 1 player in the state. Barring injury, I expect he’ll be there to stay.

Taylor, who has solid size for a cornerback at 5’11”, 182 pounds, demonstrated his superior speed and athletic ability during “The Opening: D.C.” in April of 2015. At the event, Taylor ran the 40 in 4.34 seconds (electronically-timed) and the shuttle in 4.03 seconds, and he posted a 42.2-inch vertical leap as well.

Taylor helped the Dolphins to the 2014 6A state championship, earning first-team all-Tidewater and first-team all-state honors in the process. His physical tools are obvious. With just two seasons as his only experience playing cornerback, there is still a lot of potential for Taylor to grow into the position.

Major FBS programs throughout the country pursued the Ocean Lakes star, but Florida State, which landed the Commonwealth’s top class of 2015 prospect in Josh Sweat, has won out.

Four prep school prospects — Woodberry Forest offensive tackle Clark Yarbrough, Benedictine (Richmond) wide receiver/athlete Scott Bracey, Briar Woods tight end Mark Birmingham and Episcopal (Alexandria) defensive back Patrice Rene — round out the top five on this initial list. Yarbrough and Rene are uncommitted, while Bracey and Birmingham have pledged to Duke.

Throughout the coming days, I’ll touch on those positions that really stand out to me in this class. There is an impressive group of offensive linemen, for example, led by coveted prospects Yarbrough and Stafford’s Josh Ball. For now, though, here is my initial Top 40 ranking of Virginia’s rising high school seniors.

1. Levonta Taylor, CB, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach), Committed to Florida State
2. Clark Yarbrough, OL, Woodberry Forest, Uncommitted
3. Scott Bracey, WR/ATH, Benedictine (Richmond), Committed to Duke
4. Mark Birmingham, TE, Briar Woods (Ashburn), Committed to Duke
5. Patrice Rene, DB, Episcopal (Alexandria), Uncommitted
6. Jaquan Yulee, LB, Indian River (Chesapeake), Uncommitted
7. Josh Ball, OL, Stafford, Uncommitted
8. Wayne Davis, CB, Lake Taylor (Norfolk), Uncommitted
9. Kyree Campbell, DL, Woodbridge, Uncommitted
10. Robbie Robinson, ATH, Phoebus (Hampton), Uncommitted
11. Jay Jay McCargo, OL, Bishop O’Connell (Arlington), Committed to North Carolina
12. Reggie Floyd, RB/S, Stonewall Jackson (Manassas), Committed to Virginia Tech
13. Joe Goff, DL/OL, Episcopal (Alexandria), Uncommitted
14. Phillip Patterson, WR/DB, Bayside (Virginia Beach), Uncommitted
15. Eric Kumah, WR, Forest Park (Woodbridge), Uncommitted
16. JoVonn Quillen Jr., ATH, Hampton, Committed to Virginia Tech
17. Keyvone Bruton, S, Lake Taylor (Norfolk), Uncommitted
18. Jalen Elliott, ATH, LC Bird (Chesterfield), Uncommitted
19. Joseph Reed, WR, Charlotte Court House, Committed to Virginia
20. Tavante Beckett, LB, Indian River (Chesapeake), Uncommitted
21. Grant Holloway, WR, Grassfield (Chesapeake), Uncommitted
22. Traveon Redd, DB, Magna Vista, Uncommitted
23. Cole Blackman, WR, Glen Allen, Committed to Virginia
24. JJ Givens, DB, Atlee (Mechanicsville), Uncommitted
25. Sulaiman Kamara, DT, Hermitage, Uncommitted
26. Thomas Jarrett Hopple, OL, Nansemond River (Suffolk), Committed to Virginia Tech
27. Victor Greene, LB/RB, Courtland (Spotsylvania), Committed to Virginia Tech
28. Cheyton Pine, LB/DE, Lafayette (Williamsburg), Uncommitted
29. Tim Glass, DB, Liberty Christian Academy (Lynchburg), Committed to NC State
30. Zach Adams, OL, Riverbend, Uncommitted
31. Michael Carney, OL, Lake Taylor (Norfolk), Uncommitted
32. Deshaun Wethington, RB, King’s Fork (Suffolk), Uncommitted
33. LaRonde Liverpool, LB, Landstown (Virginia Beach), Uncommitted
34. Myles Hudzik, DB, Bishop O’Connell (Arlington), Committed to Duke
35. Donaven Tennyson, WR, Benedictine (Richmond), Uncommitted
36. Trevion Armstrong, WR/ATH, Trinity Episcopal (Richmond), Uncommitted
37. Drew Birchmeier, DT, Cosby (Midlothian), Uncommitted
38. Anthony Womack, DB, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach), Uncommitted
39. Donovan Williams, QB/ATH, Hylton (Woodbridge), Committed to James Madison
40. Andrew Trainer, TE, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Alexandria), Uncommitted

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15 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Bracey is listed as a WR. Cutliff told him he would be a QB. Cutliffe leveraging his Manning connections a lot.

  2. Interesting that it is all ACC programs with commitments so far. Long term I think VT will recruit well against other ACC programs. I hate seeing SEC and Big 10 take Virginia players. Of course it is still early and a lot of uncommitted, so that can change.

    1. And Embarrassing. Now we have Duke…Duke Football, coming in and getting the 3rd and 4th ranked kids in the state lol. It’s bad enough when they go to UNC. We already know that we can’t compete with FSU, Clemson or Miami on the recruiting trail. But Duke? That’s just sad. I don’t care what anyone says or how people try and spin it. And we “may” have a shot with one or two of the top ten? Inexcusable. How many of the top 10 did we sign the last several years? I don’t think too many….ugh. I’m still optimistic about this year and the future, but seeing this stuff every year makes me wonder why.

  3. That doesn’t strike me as a particularly strong class. VT isn’t doing well, but I don’t see a bunch of guys that I’m worried about missing either.

    1. I’m looking at it that way as well, but I’m not sure I would if the top five were all VT commits.

  4. #2 and #3 to DUKE??? what is going on? Both programs are headed by men of same demographics by the way…

    1. Cutcliffe is 8 years younger. But more importantly, he acts younger than that by embracing social media, having a Twitter account, and embracing the modern methods of recruiting. That’s why he is having success. That, and he isn’t being negative recruited.

      1. How often has there been 2 players ranked so high that could both get into Duke? Could be the first time EVER!

  5. I do not believe we will get top tier recruits until CFB is gone and Whit hires a big time coach who can close on a big time recruits. Until then its hit or miss, mostly miss.

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