State’s ’09 Class Making Early Decisions

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Over the past few years, the football recruiting process seems to start up earlier and earlier for Division 1A coaches. Coaches hope to be the first to get scholarships out to top prospects, who, in turn, seem to be trending towards making a college choice before the start of their senior season. Still, what has happened in the state of Virginia’s 2009 class is surprising, as 16 of the state’s top juniors have already made verbal commitments…and the Spring Evaluation Period just started.

Last week alone, four of the state’s juniors made decisions. Western Branch quarterback Kevin Newsome, a top five prospect in the state, chose Michigan. Stonewall Jackson speedster Damien Thigpen committed to Tennessee. Stone Bridge defensive lineman Zach Thompson, who boasted a handful of 1A offers, pledged to Wake Forest over Virginia, but the Cavaliers rebounded with a commitment from 6-6, 260-pound Centreville offensive tackle Luke Bowanko.

The current tally of commitments is as follows, sorted by school…

UVa (6) – Luke Bowanko (OL, Centreville), Quintin Hunter (WR/QB, Orange), Corey Lillard (S, Liberty (Bealeton)), Ross Metheny (QB, Sherando), Alex Owah (RB, Harrisonburg), Dominique Wallace (RB/LB, Chancellor)

West Virginia (3) – Tajh Boyd (QB, Phoebus), Dominik Davenport (DL/LB/FB, Phoebus), Logan Heastie (WR, Great Bridge)

Wake Forest (2) – Mike Olson (LB, Stone Bridge), Zach Thompson (DL, Stone Bridge)

Michigan (1) – Kevin Newsome (QB/ATH, Western Branch)

North Carolina (1) – Bryn Renner (QB, West Springfield)

N.C. State (1) – Brian Slay (DL, Stone Bridge)

Tennessee (1) – Damien Thigpen (RB, Stonewall Jackson)

Virginia Tech (1) – David Wang (DL/OL, Stone Bridge)

Should more rising seniors make decisions this summer, the Virginia 2009 class could really be slim pickings come fall and winter. All of the prospects offered by the in-state programs (one or both) are important targets, but, for now, here is a look at some of the top remaining prospects that have been offered by both Division 1A in-state programs.

Key in-state battles…

Lanford Collins – Collins, a 6-4, 240-pound defensive end/tight end recruit, currently lists