Bama's Top 35

After accumulating their final stats for the 2002 season, <i></i> recruiting analyst Freddie Kirby ranks the state of Alabama's Top 35 players.

1) JaMarcus Russell QB 6-5 220 4.60 Mobile, AL - Williamson
A smooth operator who has dismandled defenses and opponents ever since he burst on the scene as a freshman. His senior year he led his team deep into the playoffs by passing for 3368 yards and 22 Tds. He also rushed for an additional 6 touchdowns.He has made the All Region and All State Teams for four consecutive years and he has become the State of Alabama's most prolific passer his senior year. He has accumulated 10730 total passing yards in his career and he has amassed 69 Tds over that span. The Record was held by present Alabama quarterback, Brodie Croyle. That tall, lanky freshman has now grown into a statuesque specimen who is the mold that most colleges seek.

2) Chad Jackson WR 6-1 200 4.46 Birmingham, AL - Hoover
The number one player in the state by many rankings and one of the top five receivers in the nation, he has everything a college looks for in a franchise wideout. He has terrific size, good speed, and sticky hands. He is also adept at the little things that separate good receivers from great receivers. He uses his hands and body well on his routes and he positions himself to where he is only one that can make the catch. His senior year he showed his consistency by grabbing 68 passes for 1186 yards and 14 Tds for an average of 17.4 yards per reception. He also had 8 carries as a senior for 35 yards and 1 Td, while completing 2 of 2 passes for 93 yards and 1 Td. His career numbers include 191 receptions for 3514 yards and 38 Tds for an impressive 18.4 yard average.

Tim Castille

3) Tim Castille RB 5-11 220 4.55 Birmingham, AL - Briarwood Christian
Castille is a bruising runner who has the ability to break the long run, catch the ball out of the backfield, and pound it out five yards at a time. His senior year was an injury plagued year in which he battled a strain knee and missed what amounted to four full games. He still had a solid year in which he ran for 875 yards on 158 carries with 9 Tds ( 5.5 yards per carry ). He has accumulated 3626 career rushing yards on 519 carries with 55 Tds. He caught 22 passes for 308 yards and 1 score ( 14.0 yards per catch ) as a senior. That may not be up to the standards he has set the previous four years, but it was enough production to allow him to become the most prolific pass receiver in Alabama high school football. He now has 243 career receptions for 4122 yards ( 17.0 yards per catch ) and 41 Tds. He has scored 163 touchdowns in his career and scored an amazing 992 points. He has also amassed 9544 all purpose yards in his career ( 3626 rushing, 4122 receiving, 712 punt returns, 1084 kickoff returns ).

4) Dominic Lee DT 6-3 295 4.95 Birmingham, AL - Huffman
A smart and intense player who gives you everything he's got in every game, Lee started the entire junior season at left offensive tackle. Midway through the playoffs, he moved to defensive tackle and played as though he been there all year. He played exclusively on defense as a senior and posted 78 tackles, 9 sacks, 1 caused fumble, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 block kick. His performance was impressive enough for him to be named the Class 6A Lineman of the Year in Alabama, second team USA Today All American, and a member of the Super All State Team. He shows his versatility by also handling the teams extra point and kickoff duties.

5) Aaron Sears OT 6-4 311 5.01 Russellville, AL - Russellville
If there is a category that lists franchise offensive lineman, then this young man would be at the front of the group. He has mammoth size, incredible speed, good hip flexibility, and terrific lateral movement. His mobility is as good as a defensive end and his aggressiveness is second to none. He has started from his freshman year forward at one of the states most elite programs. He graded 87.8% blocking efficiency as a junior and his senior year eclipsed the 90% mark.

6) Jayson Swain WR 6-2 205 4.40 Huntsville, AL - Grissom
Swain's intelligence and athleticism combined creates a prime time target that is tough to contain. His senior year he hung onto 48 passes for 685 yards and 7 Tds. His career receiving totals include 246 receptions for 3314 yards and 45 Tds. He has 4964 all purpose yards. Swain's size along makes him tough to defend, but when you include his 35-inch vertical jump, he suddenly becomes unstoppable.

LeRon McClain

7) LeRon McClain FB 6-2 241 4.59 Northport, AL - Tuscaloosa County
A bulldozer type of fullback who just plows through opposing defenses with enormous strength and speed, Swain gains tough yards in the middle, plus he has a burst that allows him to run away from the secondary. He made the Super All State as a senior after rushing for 1071 yards on 165 carries with 15 going for scores. He played primarily on offense as a senior but it is possible that he could move to linebacker in college. He ranks among the nations best fullbacks and most have him listed in the top two in the south.

8) Tez Doolittle DE 6-3 260 4.71 Opelika, AL - Opelika
A bruising fullback at the high school level, Doolittle may play there in college, but chances are that he will move to defensive end. His senior year, he blasted his way to 744 yards and 13 Tds. Defensively, he uses a combination of power, speed, and quickness to leave offensive tackles staring at the number on his back.

9) Matt Caddell WR 5-11 170 4.40 McCalla, AL - McAdory
A game breaking athlete that is a major threat to take it the distance every time he touches the football, Caddell can be utilized several different ways. He is a deep threat receiver who also carries the ball on reverses. He has made himself perhaps the most dangerous punt returner in the state over the past two seasons. His senior year he turned into more of a slotback and rushed for 828 yards on 110 carries with 8 Tds. He also caught 14 passes for 376 yards and 3 Tds, while returning 11 punts for 335 yards and 4 more Tds. He has 12 punt return touchdowns for his career and that ties a state and national record.

10) Tyrone Prothro ATH 5-10 175 4.44 Heflin, AL - Cleburne County
A multi-talented athlete who finished his senior year as number three in Alabama High School football history with 8,099 all purpose yards, he also can boast of 92 career touchdowns. He is very hard for defenses to pinpoint due to his speed, elusiveness, and versatility. He led his team once again deep into the playoffs as a senior, but they came up short of his goal. He did have another banner year that landed him among the states elite prospects. He rushed for 1902 yards on 245 carries with 28 Tds, while he caught passes for 405 yards and 4 Tds. He had 302 return yards ( punt and kickoff ) with only 1 Td. He finished his senior year with 2609 yards and 33 Tds overall.

D.J. Chambers

11) D. J. Chambers WR 6-0 180 4.50 Highland Home, AL - Highland Home
Basically this is the unknown receiver to many experts, but every college that has been through his hometown has offered a scholarship. He is an unbelievable athlete who plays much more physical than his size would indicate. He was recently named the Class 2A Back of the Year in Alabama and his career numbers justify that honor. He ended his prep career with 340 rushing attempts for 2532 yards ( 7.4 yards per carry ) and 36 Tds. He completed 42 of 82 passes for 573 yards and 7 Tds, while catching 70 passes for 1288 yards ( 18.4 yards per catch ) and 10 Tds. He also had 5 punt return Tds, 6 kickoff return Tds, and 16 interceptions ( 4 returned for scores ). Chambers is a four sport athlete ( football, basketball, baseball, track ) who is a possible draft pick in baseball.

12) Mitchell Thomas LB 6-2 215 4.49 Smiths, AL - Smith Station
A picture of excellence at linebacker and a player that doubles as a running back, Thomas is a text book tackler who sets his feet and explodes into the ball carrier. His coach says "Mitchell is a natural linebacker that doesn't require much coaching."

13) Durrell Fuqua RB 5-10 178 4.38 Russellville, AL - Russellville
Easily the best kept secret in Alabama this year, Fuqua has proven to be a difference maker for the Tigers this year. Barring injury, he is basically unstoppable from producing big plays. He has won games running the ball, catching passes, and returning kicks. He finished his senior campaign with 844 yards rushing and 7 Tds, while catching 51 passes for 635 yards and 13 Tds.

14) Lloyd Blevins DE 6-4 230 4.60 Birmingham, AL - Wenonah
A prototype defensive end, Blevins is a bona fide rush end who tallied 68 tackles ( 48 solo ) and 13 sacks his senior year. He is an athlete that could line up in college at defensive end, outside linebacker, or tight end.

15) William Roach WR 6-1 196 4.55 Killen, AL - Brooks
Another dynamic athletic quarterback who will likely moved to receiver or defensive back in college, Roach is a slashing runner who is very hard to sack due to his elusiveness. His senior year Roach rushed for 973 yards and 5 Tds, while passing for 176 yards and 1 Td. He caught passes for 541 yards and 10 Tds, while returning punts and kickoffs for 390 yards. That is a total of 2080 all purpose yards and 16 Tds. As an added bonus, he racked up 53 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 5 pass breakups from his safety slot. For his career he has accumulated 6199 yards of total offense and 58 Tds, while racking up 242 tackles and 8 interceptions, four of which were returned for touchdown.

Michael Hill

16) Michael Hill DT 6-3 275 4.75 Smiths, AL - Smith Station
Perhaps the fastest defensive lineman in the entire South and definitely in the state of Alabama, Hill has been officially electronically clocked at 25.2 seconds in the 200 meters. He shows great speed to the quarterback and he knows how to shed blocks effectively. His senior year he became a defensive force and at times even played middle linebacker. He finished his senior campaign with 90 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries. His senior year was only his third year of football and his development has been amazingly fast.

17) Mario Lane DE 6-5 242 4.80 Montgomery, AL - Carver
During Lane's senior year he made a believer out of many doubters. He had 85 tackles and 8 sacks as a junior, but his senior year he became more of a force and racked up 47 tackles and 20 sacks. He averaged 2 sacks per game and he had an incredible amount of hurries. He also is a potential tight end who caught 36 passes as a junior for 960 yards.

18) Chris Felder CB 5-11 167 4.49 Camden, AL - Wilcox Central
The top rated defensive back in Alabama this year, Felder is versatile enough that he lines up at quarterback on offense. He moved to Wilcox Central for his senior year after his uncle, Shannon Felder ( Alabama ) became the head coach. He had a very productive year his senior year by passing for 990 yards and 15 Tds, plus rushing for 776 yards and 6 Tds. Defensively, he had 36 tackles, 4 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery which he returned for a score. He also proved to be a threat in special teams by returning 4 kickoffs for touchdown.

19) Terrence Jones LB 6-1 205 4.50 Northport, AL - Tuscaloosa County
A very active inside linebacker who utilizes his speed to make tackles all over the field, Jones has great speed to the outside, and he is fast enough to cover backs out of the backfield. He had 115 tackles, 7 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries as a senior and that was good enough to lead his team in tackles for the third straight year. He moved to running back as a senior and showed terrific versatility as a runner and receiver.

Eric Gray

20) Eric Gray CB 5-11 180 4.55 Trinity, AL - West Morgan
Gray rushed for 1965 yards and 21 Tds on 160 carries as a senior. His durability and leadership were evident for he never came off the field in a game. He also posted 60 tackles and 6 interceptions as a senior and that is testament to his toughness and coverage ability. He has great footwork and he shows good break on the ball in the air. For his career he has netted 4504 yards rushing on 461 carries and 50 Tds. He also has racked up 175 tackles and 13 interceptions over that span.

21) Justin Moon OT 6-6 295 5.03 Guntersville, AL - Guntersville
A relentless worker who has developed himself into a potential right tackle at the college level, Moon is a dedicated young man whose summer workouts elevated him from a football suspect to a major college prospect. He made the All Region, All County, and All State first team as a senior despite battling a shoulder injury that had a pinched muscle and stretched ligaments. He gets very good leverage on his blocks and he plays smart. He has good quickness and he is also very coachable.

22) Jake Tompkins QB 6-2 215 4.55 Russellville, AL - Russellville
This is the number two quarterback prospect in Alabama. He is a classic drop back passer who has pinpoint accuracy on short passes, plus he is adept at throwing fades and seam routes. He also has great speed and he has shown an ability to take off and make crucial first downs and long touchdowns runs. He finished his senior year with 278 yards rushing and 7 Tds, but his right arm is where he has made his name. He completed 64.2% of his passes as a senior en route to 3348 yards, 46 Tds ( new Alabama State Record ), and only 5 interceptions.

23) Kelcy Luke QB 6-1 196 4.56 Phenix City, AL - Central Phenix City
An athletic signal caller who has won back to back Most Valuable Offensive Player awards in the Bi-City ( Columbus, GA - Phenix City, AL ), as a senior he led his team to an 11-2 record. He passed for 1636 yards, 15 Tds, and just 3 interceptions.

24) Jai Miller WR 6-4 187 4.55 Selma, AL - Selma
This is the most gifted athlete in the state this year. That is a broad statement, but when you are a major prospect in football, basketball, and pro baseball, it is hard to argue against the truth. He plays quarterback for his high school, but he is expected to become a tall wide receiver in college. He has a 37" vertical jump that will become a major asset for him in the passing game. Miller finished his senior year with over 1200 yards passing. He also rushed for over 800 yards as a senior. He is also one of the states top five basketball prospects ( 18 pts, 7 rebounds, 5 assists per game ) and he is a great center fielder in baseball. He would like to play both football and basketball at the college level.

Demarcus Waldrop

25) Demarcus Waldrop SS 6-0 195 4.40 Pinson, AL - Pinson Valley
The most lethal hitter in the state of Alabama his senior year, Waldrop is a head hunter type of linebacker. He may be undersized by the untrained eye, but his production and leadership override any negatives in size. He is a four year starter who posted 155 tackles, 15 sacks, and 2 interceptions as a senior. He has been electronically timed at 10.7 in the 100 meters and he is fast enough to play a strong safety in college.

26) LaBrose Hedgemon CB 5-10 185 4.50 Birmingham, AL - Hoover
A speedy cornerback who loves to play bump and run coverage on an island, Hedgemon has tremendous confidence in his ability due to the fact he goes head to head in practice with Chad Jackson. His senior year he posted 50 tackles, 4 interceptions, 15 pass breakups, and 2 tackles for loss.

27) Marquies Gunn DE 6-3 235 4.60 Alexander City, AL - Benjamin Russell
A sleeper defensive end who has blossomed his senior year, Gunn become a terror rushing the quarterback. He has always been a pass rushing specialist, but he also defended the run much better as a senior. He still managed 22 sacks as a senior and was close to the 100 tackle mark.

28) Montavian Collier LB 6-2 218 4.51 Opelika, AL - Opelika
A terrific athlete Collier played football for the first time as a senior. He was strictly a basketball player until his senior year, but he now believes that his best route to college is on the gridiron. He finished his senior year with 74 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions ( 1 returned for Td ), and 7 pass breakups. He projects as a college linebacker or big safety, but once he gets active in the weight room in college, he could increase his size and become a speed outside linebacker or rush end.

Eric Packer

29) Eric Packer RB 5-9 184 4.32 Camden, AL - Wilcox Central
Packer is very tough between the tackles and he has bona fide breakaway speed. His senior year he lost his coach and his entire offensive line, but he still managed 1576 yards rushing and 8 Tds. He also had over 300 yards receiving with 2 Tds.

30) Dustin Goodwin QB 6-2 195 4.66 Demopolis, AL - Demopolis
Goodwin's senior year was a challenge as he was playing with three first-year wideouts. He made the most of the situation and led his team to the state semi finals. He completed 134 passes of 234 attempts for 2043 yards, 22 Tds, and just 7 interceptions. He also rushed 57 times for 457 yards and 7 Tds.

31) Brett Byford OG 6-4 275 4.90 Hartselle, AL – Hartselle
A very quick offensive lineman who has the intelligence and footwork to play quick guard or center, Byford pulls well and lead sweeps effectively. His senior year Byford graded at 91% blocking efficiency and didn't allow any sacks for the year.

32) Eric Brock CB 6-1 185 4.50 Alexander City, AL - Benjamin Russell
His senior year, Brock posted 82 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 4 block punts. Playing both ways, as a senior he snatched 32 passes for 615 yards and 6 Tds.

33) Greer Barnett TE 6-3 225 4.56 Birmingham, AL - Mountain Brook
Barnett is sure handed and is also a very adequate blocker for his size. His senior year he snagged 54 receptions for 883 yards and 7 Tds while helping his team to the state semi-finals.

34) Corey White RB 6-0 225 4.49 Bessemer, AL - Jess Lanier
A classic runner who would be perfect in a one back set or possibly as a speedy fullback, White has terrific hands out of the backfield and he is very tough between the tackles. His senior year he blasted his way to 836 yards and 10 Tds, plus he had over 300 yards receiving and 2 Tds.

35) John Russell WR 6-3 185 4.50 Alexander City, AL - Benjamin Russell
An unheralded wideout who was a relative unknown at the beginning of his senior year. Russell achieved all his goals as a senior by grabbing 51 passes for over 1000 yards and 7 Tds. He loves the fade patterns, square ins, and deep routes, plus he is a smooth runner with the ball.

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