Countdown to #1 in Georgia #20 to #1

Scott Kennedy counts down TheInsiders.com's Top 100 College Prospects in the state of Georgia. Today for the Class of 2004. Today, we get all the way to #1.

When college football fans think of the top talent producing state the big 3 jump to mind right away: Texas, California, and Florida. Those three states once again led the nation in sending college kids to division 1 schools. Georgia ranks #4 on the list, and this is a particularly deep year for the Peach State.

It cannot be questioned that Georgia is one of the most talent laden states in the nation. No one covers Georgia like TheInsiders.com, Jamie Newberg both live in the Metro Atlanta area, and no one in this business sees more players in the state of Georgia than than TheInsiders.com.

We are going to issue a top 100 list for the state of Georgia. Today we count down players 20-1

#20 Jae Thaxton
Linebacker
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 220 40: 4.70
Hart County HS (Hartwell)

A big, strong, middle linebacker prospect, Jae Thaxton was banged up a good bit of his junior year. With a strong senior campaign, he should make a run at the Top 10 before the year is over. Georgia and Florida State are in the driver's seat for his signature.

#19 Brad Lester
Running Back
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 83 40: 4.39
Parkview HS (Lilburn)

Brad Lester ran for over 1,600 yards in helping lead Parkview to a third straight state title. With the Big 3 lineman having moved on to big time Division 1 ball, Lester feels he has a lot to prove and that his yardage was more than just a product of the nation's best offensive line. Lester will be the man this year at Parkview, and should match his total from last year. Lester has made a verbal commitment to Auburn.

#18 Tristan Davis
Corner/Safety
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 186 40: 4.5
Tri-Cities HS (Tri-Cities)

Tristan Davis is the leader in the defensive backfield for a loaded Tri-Cities team. He is brash, confident, in short, everything you are looking for in a corner. True defensive backs are hard to find, and Davis is one of the best. He has a load of early offers but is not tipping his hand early. 

#17 Seth Watts
Offensive Line
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 290 
Washington County HS (Sandersville)

Seth Watts is a dominating presence on the offensive line that comes from a strength and conditioning program that is better than that of most colleges. He will be physically capable of stepping in early on the next level. He also has the ability to play any one of the three positions on the offensive line. That versatility coupled with his natural talent have made him one of the most sought after lineman in the south. Georgia is going to be hard to beat for his signature.

#16 Earnest Mitchell
Defensive Tackle
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 285 40: 4.85
Newnan HS (Newnan)

Earnest Mitchell is the man on Newnan's defensive front. He is quick, strong, and active. He fits the compact mold of a defensive tackle that is so prevalent in the NFL. He has a motor that won't stop and a list of offers that won't stop either. Florida State is going to be awfully tough to beat for Mr. Mitchell.

#15 Jeremy Ciulla
Offensive Line
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 275 40: 5.0
Kennesaw Mountain HS (Kennesaw)

Jeremy Ciulla is new to the game of football having only picked up the game in high school. He is a raw prospect, but one with a vast amount of potential because of his frame, footwork, and determination. He is a high effort player, and when you combine his intensity with his physical attributes, you get a player with a couple of dozen scholarship offers. Ciulla ended the process early and made a verbal commitment to Michigan.

#14 D.T. McDowell
Quarterback
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 194 40: 4.6 
Tucker HS (Tucker)

D.T. McDowell is a magician on the option. He and Thomas  Brown form an absolutely lethal combination running the ball for Tucker. What's more, McDowell has the arm strength to throw a 90+ MPH fastball in baseball. A lot of times we talk about a player fitting into a system, and McDowell has made a verbal commitment to play for Nebraska. McDowell was born to run the Husker attack.

#13 Brannan Southerland 
Linebacker/Fullback
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 218 40: 4.5
Greater Atlanta Christian (Norcross)

With Micah Andrews gone, Brannan Southerland should get the chance to tout the mail for the AA runner-ups this year. Southerland is a beast of a fullback and a middle linebacker, and he will get the opportunity to play either on the next level. Southerland has a laundry list of favorites, and he is wide open at the moment.

#12 Courtney Abbott
Offensive Line
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 330 40: 5.35
Westlake HS (Atlanta)

Courtney Abbott is the most physically gifted offensive lineman in the state this year. At 6-8 and 330 pounds, he carries his weight extremely well. At this stage of his career he is a better pass blocker than run blocker, but when he learns to drive opponents and finish his blocks, he is going to be unstoppable. Abbott currently lists LSU as his leader, but watch out for Georgia in the end.  

#11 Josh Johnson 
Linebacker
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 225 40: 4.56
Stephenson HS (Stone Mountain)

Stephenson has gotten to the point where they don't rebuild, they re-load. Despite heavy losses to graduation, Josh Johnson is one of the main reasons Stephenson should not be overlooked. He is an amazingly strong athlete that can make tackles by forklifting his blocker into the backfield. When becomes comfortable in a scheme, there is no better linebacker out there. Johnson has been close to the vest on his recruitment, but with three former teammates at Georgia, watch out for the Dawgs.

#10 Darius Walker
Running Back
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 195 40: 4.38
Buford HS (Buford)

Buford is coming off of back to back state titles and Darius Walker is a big reason why. He fell just short of 2,000 yards as a junior, and he will be making a push for that number this year while hoping for the three-peat. Walker is a standout student, and with over 50 offers and counting, there's no telling where he could end up. Walker reminds me of another top back from last year, Stanford signee Jason Evans.

#9 Michael Brown
Offensive/Defensive Line
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 260 40: 4.95
Westlake HS (Atlanta)

The second of Westlake's Twin Towers, Michael Brown is actually further ahead at this point of his career than Abbott. At 6-6 and 260 pounds, he has all of the physical tools one could possibly ask for. With his frame and quickness, he can fill a need at either offensive tackle or defensive tackle depending on the school he chooses. Like Abbott, Brown lists LSU as his leader early, and like Abbott, I think Georgia is going to be hard to beat in the end.

#8 Michael Grant
Safety
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 175 40: 4.4
Stephenson HS (Stone Mountain)

Michael Grant is one of the fastest players in the country. He is the reigning 200 meter champion in the state, but he is much more than a track guy playing football. He is a football player that also happens to be a track guy. He is tenacious on the field, has an amazing break on the ball, and is lightning in a bottle when he gets his hands on the ball. He plays the safety position with a nasty demeanor, and nearly every school in the country is after him. With his track background, a school's track program is going to play a heavy role in his decision. 

#7 Lorenzo Washington
Defensive/Offensive Line
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 275 40: 4.75
Grayson HS (Loganville)

Upstart Grayson is making a name for themselves in a hurry, and Lorenzo Washington is a big reason why. A gentle-Giant off the field, Washington flips a switch and is another person on the field. He could play defensive tackle or offensive tackle on the next level, although at one recent camp I saw him at, he was unstoppable in the pass rush drills at defensive tackle. Alabama and Georgia look to be the teams that will wage a fierce Border War for his services.

#6 A.J. Bryant
Quarterback
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 185 40: 4.32
Peach County HS (Fort Valley)

I have personally watched him run a 4.32 forty as well as become and Elite 11 quarterback. Despite his speed, he is a throw first quarterback and will not bail out of the pocket at the first sign of trouble. He has a lightning quick release and a strong arm. With good vision and patience, he has a great future ahead of him at QB, and he has the athleticism to play more than one position should there be a need. Bryant was Georgia's first public commitment.

#5 Thomas Brown 
Running Back/Defensive Back
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 185 40: 4.35
Tucker HS (Tucker)

An explosive running back that is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. Thomas Brown runs with vision and a burst that is second to none in the south this year. He is a threat out of the backfield, and he may be a better corner than he is running back. That's a scary thought, because he's the best running back in the state, and a Top 10 RB nationally. He is committed to Georgia, and is being recruited to play running back.

#4 Charles Johnson
Defensive End
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 248 40: 4.6
Hawkinsville HS (Hawkinsville)

Charles Johnson does it all for Hawkinsville High School. He returns punts, sacks quarterbacks, catches passes, runs the ball, you name it, he does it. He will be a defensive end on the next level, and he is the #1 ranked player in the country at his position by TheInsiders.com. It is an impressive site to see big Charles Johnson reel in a wide receiver half his size that has a 10 yard head start on him. He is committed to Georgia.

#3 Calvin Johnson
Wide Receiver
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 210 40: 4.4
Sandy Creek HS (Tyrone)

Calvin Johnson is everything a coach could possibly ask for in a wide receiver. He is bigger than most linebackers. He can run like a deer. He has great body control and can make the acrobatic catch, and he has amazing hands. I know it's a bold statement, but he looks ready for the NFL right now. He blocks like a demon on top of being all that at wide receiver. In short, opponents of Sandy Creek beware. Georgia High School fans look like they are going to be able to get a long look at Johnson, because it would take a major upset to get him away from Georgia or Georgia Tech.

#2 Brandon Miller
Defensive End / Linebacker
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 218 40: 4.5
Miller County (Colquitt)

I could save myself a lot of time by copying what I wrote about Charles Johnson, because Brandon Miller is the equivalent at Miller County. He is a man among boys at Miller County. He could play linebacker, defensive end, or even wide receiver on the next level, but he's being recruited to play defensive end currently. A natural football player, Miller looks comfortable and dominates at any of those spots. This could come down to a battle between Georgia and Florida State, and as they have been for the past 3 seasons on the recruiting trail in Georgia, the home team will be awfully hard to beat.

 

#1 Eric McLendon 
Defensive Tackle
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 290 40: 4.9
Vidalia HS (Vidalia)

It's not possible to see Eric McLendon in person and not come away in awe. A legit 6-6 and 290 pounds with 4.9 speed, McLendon has great flexibility and a 30+ inch vertical leap. He is as well developed as a fifth year senior in a top notch strength and conditioning program. Basically, he is a physical phenom. McLendon will compete for starting time the minute he steps on a college campus. It may sound like a broken record, but Georgia has not lost a guy in state that they have been after in the past two seasons, and I think they are going to be the team to beat to sign McLendon as well.

Tune in every day to countdown the Top 100 in Georgia. Sign up for Total Access Pass to make sure to be on top of all the action.

Check the previous lists:

Georgia 100 - 100-81
Georgia 100 - 80-61
Georgia 100 - 60-41
Georgia 100 - 40-21

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