The south is loaded with excellent
quarterback prospects. The state of
Georgia each placed four quarterbacks on this Hot
Ingram of Hawthorne, FL is at the top of the heap going into this fall. At
6-4 and 191 pounds, Ingram has the ideal frame of a pocket passer, but he also
has great mobility. Two recruiting battles will have to take place for Ingram.
The first battle will be to sign him, and the second battle will be to keep him
from choosing to play basketball full time.
There may not be a first team All-American
at the running back position in the Deep South, but there is an abundant supply
of difference makers nonetheless.
Manson of Tuscaloosa, AL is the most physically gifted tailback prospect on
the Hot 100.
At a shade over 6-1 and 190 pounds, Manson has broken a 4.4 forty on several
occasions, including a fast day at the Nike Camp in
Auburn, AL. His forty inch vertical was the best mark among 400 prospects at
that very camp. Manson is a home run hitter that is a threat to score every time
he touches the ball.
Jones of Homestead, FL is more of a battering ram type of running back. He
doesn't have the speed of Manson, but he runs with more power. At 5-11 and 202
pounds, Jones has excellent balance and vision and can bust through the line of
scrimmage to hit pay dirt on any given carry.
The south is never short on top-notch wide
receiver prospects, and this year is no different.
Carter, Calvin Johnson, and
Stover each bring something different to the table. While that's four
receivers on the All-South team, each one of these players needs to be listed.
Early Doucet of St. Martinsville, LA is the
most explosive player in the south. He plays quarterback in high school, but he
will make the move to wide receiver on the next level. He has the type of skills
and ability in the open field that makes his opponents look like they are
playing in sand.
Xavier Carter of Melbourne, FL is the
fastest player in the country, but he is not just a track star playing football.
He runs good routes and catches the ball with his hands very well. At 6-3 and
195 pounds, Carter is a big target that uses his body as well as his speed to
fend off smaller corners.
Johnson is the biggest wide receiver of the three mentioned. The Tyrone, GA
native looks like a high school clone of
San Francisco 49ers star
Owens. He is huge target at 6-4 and 200 pounds, and like Carter, he uses his
size to his advantage when going up for the ball in traffic. Johnson has
excellent speed, and with his size and strength is a devastating blocker.
Nikita Stover is the state of
Alabama's top ranked player this season. He is the most elusive of the three
players, and is electrifying with the ball in his hands. Stover of Hartselle, AL
is also a big target at 6-2. An All-Region team consisting of Carter and Johnson
on the outside with Stover in the slot position would be a devastating
After a relatively thin year for offensive
tackles, the south has an abundance of pure tackles in the class of 2004 this
season. The best of the bunch looks to be a player that is being projected at
the position based on pure physical talent.
Davis of Baton Rouge, LA has never played offensive tackle, but at 6-8 and
350 pounds, he is the most physically gifted big man in the country. He plays
fullback in high school, and watching a man of that size with feet that quick
makes college scouts start to drool. He hasn't played offensive tackle yet,
but with his athleticism, it will be an easy transition for him. Like Cornelius
Ingram though, it will be a battle to keep Glen "Big Baby" Davis off of the
Stabler of Grove Hill, AL is the second best offensive tackle prospect in
the south. Unlike Davis though, Stabler looks as though he was born into
protecting the quarterback's blind side. He has amazingly quick feet, and at
6-5 and 290 pounds, he has the size and strength to negate a bull rushing
Micah Brown of
Kentucky is another big offensive tackle prospect. He has the size and quickness
to play offensive tackle, but he also has the strength and power to play on the
Miller of Sarasota, FL was the consensus top offensive line prospect at the
Gainesville, FL Nike Camp, and he earned that distinction because of his long
frame and quick feet. At 6-5 and 290 pounds, Miller projects as a pure offensive
tackle as well, and he dominated the pass rushing drills at the Nike Camp.
Ciulla of Kennesaw, GA is in the same mold as Eric Young from the class of
2003. Ciulla is relatively new to the game of football, but he has physical
attributes that cannot be denied. He too excels in pass protection at this stage
of his career, but at 6-5 and 270 pounds he has the frame to add several dozen
pounds of muscle on the next level.
Moving to the defensive side of the ball,
the only logical place to start is at the deepest position in the entire
country: the linebackers. As many as 10 linebackers could be named All-South,
but it's my job to pick out the three best going into the season.
The head of the class is
Miami, FL. Williams is a 6-3 and 225 pounds machine on the football field. He
has the speed (4.5) to play outside, and the size to play inside. Because of an
eligibility ruling that went against him this summer, his high school playing
career is over, but football fans will not have to wait long to see him in
action. Williams will be on the field as a true freshman in the fall of 2004.
Miller of Colquit, GA may be the most versatile player in the country. At
6-4 and 217 pounds, Miller lines up at wide receiver, running back, tight end,
linebacker and defensive end in high school. He will play on the defensive side
of the ball on the next level though, and his size currently has him slotted for
the outside linebacker position.
Rivers of Lake Mary, FL is another player that had nothing to prove at the
Nike Camp in Miami, FL, but went out and proved he was one of the top
linebackers in the country anyway. Physically, he is a clone of Williams at 6-3
and 225 pounds.
100 possesses two of the top defensive tackle prospects in the nation. Eric
McLendon of Vidalia, GA is the top prospect in the state of Georgia, and he is
an absolute physical phenom. He is a rock hard 6-5 and 290 pounds, and has been
timed under 5.0 in the forty. Despite his height, McLendon has great flexibility
and leverage in order to stand up shorter, squattier interior linemen.
Bolden of Chattanooga, TN is a demon on the defensive line. He lives in the
backfield of his opponents and generally makes life miserable for opposing
offenses. At just under 6-4 and pushing 300 pounds, Bolden has sub 5.0 quickness
and has the ideal size to play defensive tackle.
Moving to the end positions, we find the
nation's top ranked defensive end in Hawkinsville, GA's
Johnson. Johnson is much like another Georgia product Brandon Miller in that
he does it all in high school, but he will find a home on the defensive side of
Mitchell of Long Beach, MS is also a one man wrecking crew. Mitchell
strictly plays defensive end for the most part in high school, but that gives
him more than ample time to take over a game. Teams run away from the talented
end in high school, but Mitchell has excellent quickness and pursuit. Once his
team gets a lead, Mitchell pins his ears back and generally keeps the
quarterback on his back.
The defensive backfield will be well
patrolled by safety prospects
Grant. Bell from Alabaster, AL stands at 6-2 and just over 200 pounds. He is
a big hitter that excels in coverage and will make an ideal strong safety. He
may end up at linebacker on the next level, but he is currently the top strong
safety prospect in the south.
Grant from Stone Mountain, GA would be the
fastest player on any All-Region team that did not include Xavier Carter.
Like Carter, Grant is much more than a track star playing football. He
covers the backfield sideline to sideline, and he can come up and lay a hit as
Brown of Tucker, GA is primarily being recruited as a tailback, it would be
remiss to talk about the top players in the south and not bring up his name. So
I'm placing him at corner on my All-South team. While he is a dynamite running
back and has an NFL future at that position, he is an even better corner. This
versatility makes Brown one of the most sought after prospects in the Peach
Bryant of Miami, FL is a tall cover corner prospect that coaches covet to
help combat taller receivers of today's game. Bryant stands at 6-0 and 171
pounds, and he has the quickness and hip turn to be one of the top corner
prospects in the country.
This is a quick look at the top players at each position from TheInsiders.com Hot 100. The south is so deep that a Second Team All-South squad would give the first team a run for its money. The depth is especially prevalent at linebacker, quarterback, and offensive line this year, and it will be a lot of fun to watch these players continue top develop and ultimately choose a destination. We will re-visit the Hot 100 each month or so.