After attending several combines, watching sets of film and speaking with high school coaches across the state, we at Pack Pride are ready to release our in-state rankings. Today we look at the top ten football prospects in North Carolina.
10. OL/DT J.J. Patterson...6-4, 310 pounds...Roanoke Rapids High School
Patterson landed early offers from NC State, UNC and East Carolina and wasted little time in committing to the Tar Heels. He is an interesting prospect in that he has the look of an offensive lineman but wants to stay on defense. Patterson was actually moved from defense to offense at the Shrine Bowl invitation only combine. Patterson has a very nice combination of size and strength and should his foot speed improve, has the potential to grow into a solid college player.
9. OL Mark Harrell...6-5, 270 pounds...Charlotte Catholic High School
On film, Harrell is one of the better offensive linemen we scouted this spring. He is a tenacious blocker, uses his hands well and goes 110% on every play. The one knock on Harrell is a lack of foot speed and he'll definitely need to improve on that once he gets to college. He committed to Notre Dame back in May over roughly a dozen other offers including NC State, Tennessee, Michigan and Clemson.
8. DT K'Hadree Hooker...6-1, 295 pounds...South Lenoir High School
Hooker is a high motor player that can flat out play. He may not have prototypical size but he more than makes up for it with above average athleticism and a love for the game. He has landed offers from Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Maryland and Auburn but will likely choose from either NC State or Georgia Tech when he decides in August.
7. RB Todd Gurley...6-1, 190 pounds...Tarboro High School
Gurley is another phenomenal athlete on a top 50 list littered with great athletes. The thing that separates Gurley from some of the others is his impressive speed. He has legitimate 4.4 speed and at 190 pounds, that equals big time potential. Gurley doesn't have natural running back skills and could potentially be better suited at safety. UNC currently leads over NC State, Georgia, Clemson, Auburn, Duke and others.
6. OL D.J. Reader...6-6, 330 pounds...Grimsley High School
Reader may be the best in-state player that no one knows about. He is a freakish athlete when you consider his size and the fact he's one of the state's top high school pitchers. In fact, there's a decent possibility that baseball could ultimately figure prominently in Readers' future college plans. Reader has completely avoided recruiting so his list of college favorites is unknown.
5. OL Brock Stadnik...6-5, 290 pounds...Western Guilford High School
In a year loaded with division one quality offensive linemen, Stadnik is one of the best. While not as athletic D.J. Humphries, Stadnik is a bull and as he develops, should grow into a top notch offensive lineman. After landing better than two dozen scholarship offers earlier in the year, Stadnik committed to South Carolina back in May.
4. ATH Germone Hopper....5-11, 170 pounds...Berry Academy
Hopper is our choice as the state's top athlete and for good reason. While not the biggest guy around, Hopper is simply a play maker with the ball in his hands. He has the skills to play slot receiver, on special teams or even defensive back in college. Hopper committed to Clemson earlier this year and they plan to use him as a hybrid slot receiver/running back.
3. RB Keith Marshall...5-11, 170 pounds...Millbrook High School
Marshall is an intriguing player because most analysts outside North Carolina consider him to be the state's best player while the analysts inside the state don't rank him nearly as high. In any event the thing that sets Marshall apart is one thing- speed. He needs to get bigger and learn to hold onto the football but there's no questioning Marshall's potential to score virtually every time he touches the ball. Most consider Georgia and UNC to be two of the main players for his commitment.
2. DE Jonathan Bullard...6-3, 245 pounds...Crest High School
Every class seems to produce at least one player that just has that big time look and Bullard is definitely one of those guys for 2012. He could be a big time college player off the edge but has the physical upside to grow into a defensive tackle down the road. Bullard has offers from virtually every corner of the country but most expect him to commit to Florida and join teammate Rhaheim Ledbetter with the Gators.
1. OLD.J. Humphries...6-6, 265 pounds...Mallard Creek High School
Humphries continues a trend of Pack Pride naming offensive linemen as the top players in the state, following Rob Crisp (NC State) and Xavier Nixon (Florida). We're not sure that Humphries is on the same level as those two but he's pretty darned good. The thing we hear repeatedly is coaches love his athleticism while obviously boasting college size. Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee and South Carolina all make up a part of his top five but there would be plenty of folks that would be surprised if he didn't commit to Florida at some point.
RANKINGS: North Carolina's Top Ten Prospects
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