With the 2011 season now complete, Pack Pride breaks down the top 30 players from the state of North Carolina. Today we take a look at the top 10.
10. ATH James Summers...6-2, 195 pounds...Page High School
Summers is a big time prospect who is defined by his athleticism and work ethic. While he'll likely get a shot at quarterback when he arrives at NC State next year, he may be better suited at wide receiver where he can take full advantage of his talents. Summers committed to NC State over offers from UNC, Clemson and East Carolina.
Preseason Rank...14...Final Word....in 2011 completed 93 of 188 passes for 1,506 yards and 20 touchdowns. ...also ran 185 times for 1631 yards and 22 scores...runner up for state player of the year...lead team to state title as a senior...Shrine Bowl selection...named all-state
9. LB Jamal Marcus...6-1, 220 pounds...Hillside High School
Marcus is another ‘tweener who plays defensive end for Hillside but likely projects at linebacker in college. There's no question that he has the speed and size for the position. It will be the ability to play out in space that will determine Marcus' success on the next level. UNC likely leads at this point with Auburn, South Carolina and Clemson in the mix as well. NC State has been involved but hasn't emerged as a major player.
Preseason Rank...13...Final Word....all-area and all-state pick...selected to Shrine Bowl...leading vote getter on all-state defensive team...considering East Carolina, Florida, UNC, and Ohio State
8. DE Carlos Watkins...6-3, 290 pounds...Forest City Chase High School
With 29 tackles for loss and 14 sacks as a junior, Watkins has proven he has the talent to get it done from his defensive tackle position. He has a great frame and physically, we believe he has a ton of upside. As solid as he's been in high school, Watkins is just scratching the surface of what he can become in college. Clemson, South Carolina and Notre Dame are the teams to beat with the Tigers likely holding the lead.
Preseason Rank...11...Final Word....had close to 90 tackles and 15 sacks as a senior...named all-state...selected to play in Shrine Bowl...committed to Clemson
7. 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.
Preseason Rank...8....Final Word....area defensive player of the year as a junior...Shrine Bowl selection...committed to NC State
6. 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.
Preseason Rank...4...Final Word....totaled better than 1,500 all purpose yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior...selected to US Army All-American game...committed to Clemson
5. 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.
Preseason Rank...6...Final Word....had 73 tackles on defense and rushed for 450 yards on offense...also a standout in baseball...Shrine Bowl selection...considering Clemson, Maryland and UNC
4. 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.
Preseason Rank...3...Final Word....1,891 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior...all-state selection...will enroll in January...committed to Georgia
3. OL D.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.
Preseason Rank...1....Final Word....all-area and all-state selection...did not allow a sack during his high school career...committed to Florida
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.
Preseason Rank...2...Final Word....82 tackles and 16 sacks as a senior...named conference co-defensive player of the year...Shrine Bowl selection...committed to Florida
1. 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. Clemson and Georgia currently lead NC State and North Carolina.
Preseason Rank...7...Final Word....finished his senior year by leading his team to its third consecutive state title...rushed for nearly, 2600 yards and 36 touchdowns as a senior...named AP player of the year...named MVP of Shrine Bowl after rushing 119 yards and two scores...considering NC State, UNC, Georgia and Clemson and will announce today.
Pack Pride's Post Season Top 30: No's 1-10
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