Recruiting Editor Freddie Kirby reveals the Top 12 in his running list of the best three dozen prospects in the state."> Recruiting Editor Freddie Kirby reveals the Top 12 in his running list of the best three dozen prospects in the state.">

Counting down the state's top recruits

As the holidays approach (bringing with them the customary "dead period" in recruiting), <i></i> Recruiting Editor Freddie Kirby reveals the Top 12 in his running list of the best three dozen prospects in the state.

#1 Justin Britt

6-4, 255, 4.80 defensive tackle from Cullman High School in Cullman, Alabama

The state of Alabama's number one player this year, Britt has been dominant at both defensive tackle and offensive guard. He could play either position in college, but Alabama commitment has said he'd like to begin his Crimson Tide career working next to his older brother Wesley on the offensive line.

Middle Britt brother, Taylor, also plays for Alabama. Some recruiting pundits say Justin is the best overall talent in his family

In addition to defensive line, Britt is also an established tight end who showed terrific hands and strong running ability earlier in his prep career.

Britt bench presses 325 pounds, squats 435, and sports a 30-inch vertical jump. He carries 3.5 GPA in advanced classes and has scored 17 on the ACT. Qualifying will not be a problem.

#2 Simeon Castille

6-1, 185, 4.47 cornerback from Briarwood Christian High School in Birmingham, Alabama

Simeon Castille

A complete cornerback who utilizes size, speed, intelligence, and big play ability to build his name, Simeon is a virtual carbon copy of his father, Jeremiah Castille (Alabama, Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) in the secondary. No less an authority than former Tide defensive coordinator Bill "Brother" Oliver has said that he sees similar abilities in father and son.

Castille played most of this season at safety on defense, which has many assuming he'll stay there in college. But his high school coaches switched him there from his natural position of cornerback to prevent opposing offenses from simply throwing to the other side of the field.

Castille displays remarkable instincts for playing in the secondary. Often he'll bait quarterbacks into throws that he picks off or knocks away.

Doing multiple duty on offense, defense and special teams, Castille led his team to the Class 5A State Championship as a senior. Observers of the Briarwood program say he was the catalyst that made it all happen. Castille has said he's looking for a team that will give him a chance to play on both offense, where he'd like a shot at wide receiver, and defense.

His brother, Tim Castille, signed with Alabama last year and played fullback for the Tide in 2003. Many assume that Castille's Tide ties make him a lock for Bama, but so far he's insisting that he'll take all his visits before making a decision. An excellent student, Castille will qualify easily.

#3 Nikita Stover

6-1, 188, 4.45 wide receiver from Hartselle High School in Hartselle, Alabama

Nikita Stover

A super wideout who was frankly dominant on the high school level, Stover was certainly the state's top offensive player this past season. Potentially, Stover is seen as an athlete who could contribute as a true freshman.

Stover also played safety and cornerback on defense, but his future lies at receiver.

He has a 39-inch vertical jump that aids him at both a receiver and defensive back. He is a four year starter in football, but he also excels in basketball and track. Stover is the reigning Class 5A State Champion in the high jump with a leap of 6-6, but 6-8 is his personal best.

An early commitment to Alabama, Stover would be garnering even more attention in recruiting, except there are concerns about his academics. With sufficient effort his senior he can still qualify, but it's a concern.

#4 Tony Bell

6-3, 210, 4.50 linebacker from Thompson High School in Alabaster, Alabama

Tony Bell

Considered by many to be the states top rated outside linebacker prospect, Bell has excellent wheels. He makes tackles all over the field.

First-team all-state at safety as a sophomore, Bell is excels in pass coverage. He's said he prefers to play safety in college, but nature may intervene and force him to stay at linebacker.

He is a rover type outside linebacker in college, and Bell's listed speed is legitimate.

Bell is considered a sure qualifier. He lists his top four as Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia, and LSU, and has never mentioned Alabama as a possibility.

#5 Cody Davis

6-7, 265, 5.07 offensive tackle from Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Cody Davis

A mammoth offensive tackle, Davis actually played tight end as a sophomore before Mother Nature intervened to change his position. His combination of size, wingspan and footwork have scouts projecting him as a left tackle in college.

Davis helped his team go to the third round of the state playoffs as a senior, virgin territory for Hillcrest.

He sports a 28-inch vertical jump, which is very good for an athlete his size. He's also solid in the classroom, which relieves any concerns about qualifying.

Along with B.J. Stabler, Davis' early commitment to the Tide gave Bama a sweep of the state's two top-rated offensive tackle prospects.

#6 Trent Davidson

6-6, 242, 4.66 tight end from T. R. Miller High School in Brewton, Alabama

Trent Davidson

A National Honor Society member who sports a 3.4 GPA and 24 on the ACT, Davidson was the state's top-rated blocking tight end prospect.

Davidson has the frame that may allow him to grow into a offensive guard or tackle, but in our opinion he is a polished tight end who can both block and receive.

His senior year Davidson has established himself as one of the best blocking tight ends in the entire nation. His combination of size, blocking ability and hands remind some of All Pro, Kyle Brady.

Davidson is also a long snapper who centers on punts, field goals, and PAT's.

He made an early commitment to Alabama and has held firm with that decision.

#7 Markus Manson

6-1, 190, 4.37 running back from Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Markus Manson

A flashy tailback who blisters the turf with his God-given speed and quick cuts, Manson was named all-state as both a junior and senior.

Heading into this season only his toughness was questioned by some, but Manson responded by consistently picking up yards between the tackles for Hillcrest.

Manson's athleticism is second to none. He sports a 39-inch vertical jump, won the Indoor Class 6A Long Jump Championship with a leap of 22-1, and won the 55-meter championship ( 6.52 ).

Manson carries a 3.3 GPA and is expected to qualify. He is currently committed to Florida, but Alabama has continued to recruit Manson and probably still has a chance to change his mind.

#8 Max Martin

6-2, 210, 4.58 running back from Bob Jones High School in Madison, Alabama

Easily the best big running back in Alabama, Martin is a punishing runner that will surprise defenses with his game-day speed.

He is also a superb linebacker on defense. In fact, many scouts feel he will end up on defense in college.

Martin was born in Orlando, Florida and lived there until he was four years old. He lived the next 10 years of his life in Chicago, Illinois before moving to Madison, Alabama as a high school freshman. Martin has family in Michigan and has been a Wolverine commitment for months.

Martin projects as a full qualifier.

#9 Marcus Carter

6-0, 186, 4.50 strong safety from Fort Payne High School in Fort Payne, Alabama

Marcus Carter

Carter is a very physical safety, who has the hips and quickness to play cornerback in college. His two finalists, Auburn and Alabama, are recruiting him at cornerback and safety respectively. Carter says he prefers safety.

He doubled as a running back on offense and also returned kickoffs and punts for his high school team. Carter has the frame and physical maturity to excel quickly in college and the aggressive nature to one day make his name a fixture in the starting lineup.

Carter carries a 3.3 GPA and a 17 ACT, which project as qualifying numbers.

An early-summer commitment to Auburn, Carter was a fixture at Alabama games during the fall. At this point he has not rescinded his public commitment to the Tigers and says he'll take official visits to both schools before announcing his final decision.

#10 Kevin Hamilton

6-4, 240, 4.88 defensive end from Prattville High School in Prattville, Alabama

Kevin Hamilton

Hamilton is a pass-rushing defensive lineman who definitely passes the eye test when it comes to his frame. He is physically proportioned and will amass even more bulk in college.

Hamilton played defensive tackle for his prep team, leading them into the state playoffs. But many scouts believe defensive end will be his best college position. On the other hand, some believe he'll add bulk and play on the inside.

Hamilton is a playmaker on the D-Line, who covers the entire width of the field with a quick change of direction.

It's another in-state battle for Hamilton's signature, with Alabama believed to be leading Auburn. But academic problems will probably force Hamilton to begin at a junior college.

#11 David Brown

6-3, 260, 4.87 defensive end from Bob Jones High School in Madison, Alabama

One of the leading candidates for the top defensive lineman in Alabama this year, Brown combination of athleticism and academic success placed him on the top of most rating lists.

Brown has impressive upper body strength and isn't afraid of weight-room work, but he needs to get a mean streak in order to be known as a dominating lineman.

His father was an Army colonel, so Brown has traveled and lived throughout the U.S. and in two foreign countries.

When Brown first came to Alabama, he was a 6-0, 180-pound freshman. Mother Nature turned him into a big-time prospect, but Brown admits to being surprised at all the attention.

An excellent student Brown carries a 3.9 GPA and scored 23 on the ACT. He surprised most fans with a commitment to Georgia Tech over Alabama, Stanford, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt. But clearly academics were his primary concern.

#12 Chester Adams

6-6, 320, 5.20 offensive tackle from Luverne High School in Luverne, Alabama

Chester Adams (photo courtesy of the Montgomery Advertiser by Mickey Welch)

A hidden commodity for most of his senior year, Adams' outstanding play helped guide his team deep into the state playoffs.

He has the flexibility of an NFL-caliber lineman, according to his high school coach, Mike DuBose. Out of shape last season, Adams worked out religiously in the weight room over the summer, and his strength improved greatly as a senior.

He has the ability to be a collegiate defensive tackle and is a proven run stopper in high school. On defense Adams stuffs the middle with quick footwork and just powers his way into opponents' backfields.

According to DuBose, Adams has the ability to play on Sunday's if he keeps working hard.

According to sources at Luverne, Adams has his core grades in order, but he needs a couple of points on the ACT to qualify. If necessary, Alabama would take Adams as a partial qualifier.

To this point he's kept fairly quiet on the subject, but Adams appears to give Alabama a slight advantage over Auburn. However, his final destination is frankly not at all certain.

Including previous stories, Kirby has rated what he believes are the top three dozen prospects in the state this year. According to his list, if you stretched the number to 50 the following names should be included:

37. Marquis Elston (6-0, 210, 4.6)
38. Jeff Farr (6-4, 300, 5.4)
39. Darius McClure (5-10, 185, 4.5)
40. Larico Crumpton
41. Jazz Johnson (6-0, 245, 4.8)
42. Courtney Harden
43. LaDontae Harris (6-1, 180, 4.5)
44. Cody Green (6-5, 302, 5.41)
45. John Watts (6-6, 260, 5.1)
46. Brandon Thornton (5-10, 185, 4.62)
47. Brandon Nix (6-3 ½, 265, 5.1)
48. Adrian Kindred (6-2, 200, 4.4)
49. Lardarious Webb
50. Maurice Dupree (5-11, 175, 4.4)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Currently's Recruiting Editor, Freddie Kirby is a long-time observer and chronicler of high school football talent in the state of Alabama.

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