Rouse leads a large contingent of top-flight talent like safety Kenneth Phillips (right), running back Antone Smith and defensive backs Avery Atkins and Demetrius Morley. According to Bakas though the deepest position in the state could be linebacker. "It's a deep year at the linebacker position. Eugene Hayes, Neefy Moffett, Spencer Adkins, and Elijah Hodge are four outstanding backers among the Class of 2004."
The nation's top running back prospect is Jonathan Stewart (left) from Olympia (Wa.) Timberline High School and he leads the way on TheInsiders.com Washington Top 30. Stewart is a powerful back with incredible balance and agility for a 220 pounder. "I've never seen a runner with his balance," said Chris Fetters, Northwest Recruiting Analyst for TheInsiders.com. "It's almost uncanny the way he can make people miss and how he's able to always move forward. He uses great lean and drive to make it almost impossible for linebackers to get a clean shot on him. At 220 pounds he runs a legitimate 4.5, so he's got an extra in the open field, something most backs his size just don't have. And perhaps his best attribute? His work ethic. He's a tireless worker and incredibly durable. He'll shatter all the state rushing marks by the time he's done in 2004." There are some other notables at the top of the Washington rankings like linebacker Anthony Felder and running back/ athlete Leon Jackson.
TheInsiders.com South Carolina Top 30 is led by North Augusta two-way standout C.J. Byrd (right). Byrd, one of the nation's top prospects, stars at wide receiver and safety and is good enough to play either position at the next level. "C.J. Byrd is a natural player with great pursuit speed on defense and an uncanny ability to come up with the ball on offense," said Miller Safrit, East Recruiting Analyst for TheInsiders.com. "One coach has told him that though they want to take two wide receivers this year, if he were to commit, the coach would call the twenty other receiving prospects, thank them for their time, and close up shop for the year. That just speaks to Byrd's talent, but his character lets you know that he will be around working hard on and off the field for four or five years.
There are two other big-time receivers in the state, Eric Huggins and Rendrick Taylor, and sandwiched in between them is running back Mike Davis. "The state of South Carolina is not as deep is in past years, but thirty players could still sign with BCS conferences in February," admits Safrit. "That said, the top fifteen could compete with any of the other states in the region, especially at the running back position."
There is always top end talent in the state of Michigan, and this season is no different. Kevin Grady (left), the nation's number four rated running back, fills the top spot on TheInsiders.com Top 20 in Michigan, followed very closely by quarterback/athlete Antonio Bass. "Michigan's Top 10 prospects are as solid from top to bottom as any other state in the Midwest," said Chris Pool, Midwest Recruiting Analyst for TheInsiders.com. "Antonio Bass has Michael Vick type ability. Bass has a good arm and 4.4 speed. He reminds me a lot of Antwaan Randle El in the fact that everyone wanted to switch Antwaan from quarterback to defensive back because they didn't think he could play QB at the D-1 level. All Randle El did was become a Heisman Trophy candidate at Indiana. Bass is a quarterback, and if given the opportunity, he could give the Heisman Trophy a run for its money in the near future. Kevin Grady is a powerful running back built low to the ground. Grady has good speed and he's in position to break every school and state rushing record in 2004. The sleeper of this class? Look out for St. Mary's Prep linebacker Malcom Arrington. Arrington is fast and he hits like a truck."
For the second consecutive season, an offensive lineman holds the number one position in TheInsiders.com Colorado Top 25. Last season it was Jeff Byers. This year it is Jesse White (right). "The top prospect in the state is Denver Mullen center Jesse White," said Andrew Friedman, Southwest Recruiting Analyst for TheInsiders.com. "He is arguably the strongest lineman to ever come out of Colorado, boasting a 475-pound bench and 675-pound squat. He gave an early verbal to UCLA just after Singing Day, '04. Denver Mullen running back Maurice Greer and Colorado Springs
Coming tomorrow, TheInsiders.com state rankings for Georgia, Ohio, Nebraska, and New York.
Miller Safrit contributed to this report.