Top 25 2009 Players Updated

Nobody watches and evaluates more SC prospects and teams than Heading into Week 4 we break down the top 25 prospects in the 2009 class. Did DE Sam Montgomery hold on to the #1 spot or have WR Alshon Jeffrey (pictured) or DE Malliciah Goodman roared out of the gate to take the top spot? Come inside to get all the intel and see who lands in our newest top 25 rankings.

SC Prep Nation Top Stories's Class of 2009 Top 25 September 2008 Edition

1. DE Sam Montgomery

Greenwood High

6'5 240 pounds

To say Sam Montgomery is good is an understatement. His potential is still off the charts but he's quickly gaining football IQ and looks better each and every game we've seen him. A freakish athlete given his combo of size and speed Montgomery makes plays all over the field. Whether its a powerful bruising running back or a small scatback in the backfield Montgomery is making assertive tackles on everyone he's facing. His speed and instincts are top rate and he'll continue to get even better. Whoever gets his verbal will probably smile for 2 weeks straight. A national All-American candidate.

2. ATH Stephon Gilmore

South Pointe High

6'1 180 pounds

Mr. Gilmore has done nothing but continued to amaze us. Just when you think he might have topped out he adds more phases to his arsenal and for that he's moved up from #5 in our last batch of rankings. Nobody else is more dangerous under center as a dual threat QB in the state but what makes Gilmore so darn good is that he's equally as strong as a cover cornerback. Teamed with transfer S Devonte Holloman South Pointe and the likes of WR Charles Holmes and RB Devin Wherry the Stallions have the weapons to go all the way to Clemson in the state championship this season.

3. WR Alshon Jeffrey

Calhoun County High

6'4 200 pounds

Pete Carroll continues to reload the cupboard for the Southern Cal Trojans. Jeffrey's commitment to the Trojans gives them one of the country's best wideouts. An athlete with tremendous body control and timing Jeffrey moves up from #6. You can argue that he plays A ball but when matched up against top flight competition this offseason he still made things look oh so easy. Making things look so easy it's hard to appreciate what he's able to do at wideout. Expect Alshoun to contend for national All-American status.

4. DE Aldrick Fordham

Timberland High

6'4 234 pounds

We knew 2 seasons ago Fordham had a chance to be a special player and to see him blossom into a superstar has been a fun process. During his early years he was overshadowed but given his size, strength, and speed he exploded late last season and this offseason to send college coaches scurrying to Timberland High. Verbally committed to South Carolina the Gamecocks will need to make sure they can hold on to the burning hot Fordham as other schools continue to try and see if they can sway his decision.

5. S Devonte Holloman

South Pointe High

6'3 210 pounds

We've seen Holloman as he played at Independence HS (NC) previously and there's no denying his talent. Clemson locked up an early verbal from him and for his senior season he decided to transfer to South Pointe and team with good friend Stephon Gilmore. Early on the Stallions are building up their chemistry and have the appearance of a state championship squad. He's the #2 rated safety in the country and we don't dispute that but there have been times we've seen him beat in one on one situations by solid but not spectacular wideouts. When it matters most though we don't think that will happen. He'll be headed up if he continues to help lead the Stallions towards Clemson come December.

6. LB/S Damario Jeffrey

Columbia High

6'4 215 pounds

Some people won't be too happy with us moving Jeffrey down for #2 in our last set of rankings. Regardless he is one of the most likable prospects we've encountered and his potential may be along the lines of Montgomery's when you look a few years down the road. There's always room for improvement...and that goes on every level...even the pros. He continues to anchor a Columbia High squad with talent all over the board. Jeffrey in fact has been playing QB for the Capitals and looks pretty smooth as a field general too. Already with a few interceptions and fumble returns for TDs he's one of the most feared players to line up against in the country. You don't see many athletes his size at this age bringing it the way he does.

7. DE Malliciah Goodman

West Florence High

6'2 250 pounds

In terms of sheer physical presence and testing this young man might be the cream of the crop. Goodman looks like he's a college senior from a physical standpoint and he runs like he's ready for the NFL draft on top of all that. Nevertheless nobody else has seen their stock soar higher this offseason. At the UA/ combine you could see other prospects gazing over and talking amongst each other as they looked in awe at the West Florence standout. Clemson secured his commit early on and continue to snatch up top prospects for their defensive line after getting national #1 overall prospect Daquan Bowers last season.

8. OT J.K. Jay

Christ Church Episcopal

6'7 275 pounds

The Clemson Tigers should give Jay a job if he isn't playing in the NFL after graduation. This young man has been a recruiting force for the Tigers. He's dropped a few slots since the last time but don't get it twisted, Jay is the real deal. His size is college ready and as he builds strength in the Tigers weight program look for him to make waves early on possibly. He has very good footwork for a young lineman and a nice mean streak to boot.

9. DE Chris Bonds

Richland Northeast High

6'4 280 pounds

The ACL injury that kept him out of action last season is behind him now and he's starting to get back to the form that had him in the top 5 when mentioning the top 2009 prospects. He's not quite up to speed yet but he's coming along pretty quickly considering the severity of the injury. Teams of course are sending additional blockers his direction and his numbers are down because of his reputation and abilities. Heading into Week 4 of the season we'll be keeping a close eye on Chris as he's capable of moving back up to top 5 status in a hurry.

10. RB/ATH David Sims

Calhoun County High

6'0 208 pounds

David Sims says he'll be a Kentucky Wildcat and we say the Wildcats may have snagged another great one just as they did former T.L. Hanna RB Rafael Little a few years ago. While Sims plays QB and S for the Saints he's set to play RB for the Wildcats. He's given a lot of responsiblity for the Saints and is called upon to get some tough yards rushing with the ball. The more we watch him the more we appreciate just how versatile his game is just about anywhere he lines up.

11. OT Brandon Thomas

Dorman High

6'4 280 pounds

Wow! That's all you could hear from UA/ coaches and analysts in attendance once word spread of the numbers Thomas posted at the Charlotte combine. Thomas doesn't say a lot but when he steps on the football field his play talks more than former WWE manager Jimmy "Mouth Of The South" Hart. Currently playing FB and TE for the Cavaliers Thomas has been an absolute beast with some of his lead blocks. We cringed for some of the guys who have been on the receiving end of his blocks. Guys his size aren't supposed to run 4.69 second 40's and play with the intensity he brings to the field. Clemson once again snatched up an early commitment and it wouldn't surprise us if Thomas isn't one of the best in all of college by the time he's a junior. He's that good.

12. OT Denzelle Good

Gaffney High

6'6 325 pounds

This was a tough one to call in putting Thomas ahead of Good but where Thomas excels athletically Good is his equal from a sheer power and size standpoint. This youngster is massive and moves well. Gaffney running backs should have tremendous success once again running behind Good. A North Carolina State commit we're surprised both in-state schools didn't step up and press him last year. Nevertheless the Wolfpack got a monster in Good.

13. OL Quinton Washington

Timberland High

6'4 325 pounds

Up up up up. That's what Quinton's stock has continued to do since last season. His team is off to another fast start in AA play looking to return to the state championship game once again. Already selected to the Under Armour All-American Game Washington still has a long list of offers that he's mulling over. Teams are waiting anxiously to see if they can land the 3 star prospect who could be very close to moving to 4 soon. In terms of potential we like him just as much as J.K. Jay.

14. RB Roderick McDowell

Sumter High

5'9 175 pounds

As we state in our previous batch of rankings many would question his size. The Clemson Tigers saw his ability and quickly offered and got their man. McDowell runs with tremendous vision and heart. Expect another huge season statistically from the future Clemson Tiger. McDowell remains at the 14th slot from our previous release of rankings. He's off to a fast start and could be moving upwards in

15. DE Duane Chisolm

Beaufort High

6'3 256 pounds

Once again reputation and skill have plagued Chisolm. He's facing double and triple teams and the numbers haven't been as gaudy without former DE teammate Devin Taylor taking some of the pressure off of him. Still Chisolm remains one of the state's very best talents. A high motor player who has improved each season it'll be interesting to see how his recruitment plays out down the stretch.

16. LB Quandon Christian

Lake City High

6'3 205 pounds

Christian's story was similar to Malliciah Goodman's. He kind of came out of nowhere and wowed everyone with his abilities. He's got all the intangibles and Clemson pounced on him early and received a verbal commit. Lake City has quite a few other prospects in this and the next few graduating classes to keep watchful eyes on. The Tigers did their homework and secured a real sleeper in Christian we feel.

17. CB Jerrodd Williams

Daniel High

6'0 185 pounds

Here's another fast riser in the 2009 class. He tore it up last season as a kick/punt returner averaging 40+ yards per return. Word to the wise, don't take any chances unless you want to get burned for a long return. Teams have tried to test him without much success at cornerback as well. He's picked off a few passes and sealed some victories early on for the Lions in the young season. Teaming with teammate and close friend CB DeAndre Hopkins (2010) they form one of the state's deadliest defensive backfields along with the likes of South Pointe and Byrnes.

18. WR Joshua McKie

Mauldin High

6'0 175 pounds

There are playmakers and there are gamebreakers. McKie has been the latter this season for the Mavericks. The UNC commit has gotten some help from his supporting cast and even little brother Jeremiah McKie is starting to showcase star quality as well on a regular basis. Joshua though has continued to improve many facets of his game and the Tar Heels will have him in their weight program and try to assess exactly where McKie will be most beneficial for their fast rising program. Kudos to the Heels for their work in getting an early commit, he'll be a good one in Chapel Hill.

19. S Chris Payne

Columbia High

5'11 190 pounds

Pound for pound Chris Payne is top 7 material in our opinion. Payne is a fearsome safety prospect but doubles as a dangerous running back coming out of the Capitals backfield with good friend and fellow South Carolina commit Damario Jeffrey. Payne exudes confidence and rightfully so, he's a player you don't want to lose sight of if you're an offensive player or your lights might get turned off for a while. If he continues on his current pace we see no reason why he can't vault up a few more spots by season's end.

20. S/ATH Walt Canty

Dorman High

6'0 200 pounds

It's been a long time coming but Walt Canty is getting some of the love he's long been deserving. We've been a huge fan of his talents as he's lined up all over the field for the Cavaliers. He lines up at wide receiver, safety, quarterback, running back, and fields punts and kickoff returns as well. What's so scary is that he's a big time playmaker at all of those positions. With a number of schools finally beating down the door and showing him some serious interest we hear he may be on the verge of landing an ACC offer in the very near future. We couldn't be any happier for the young man as he deserves it and then some. Behind Stephon Gilmore there may not be a better athlete in the state of South Carolina...he's that good and if the offers start coming in we know he'll be heading up in the rankings soon.

21. WR Ricco Sanders

Byrnes High

5'11 174 pounds

Byrnes has weapons at almost every position and especially the skill positions. Sanders still has the extra gears that most players on this level just don't have and when he's gotten the ball this season he's shown his explosive nature. He's dropped in the rankings a good deal and it's no fault of Sanders as teams are showing him much respect with double coverage on a regular basis for fear of giving him too much room to catch the ball and make a play afterwards. Expect him to crank it up here soon and make a move back towards top 12 status once the Rebels get their offense rolling as they are set to face the ultra tough teams from Florida in Lincoln HS and Pahokee HS next..

22. RB Travis Small

Cheraw High

5'11 185 pounds

Here's a young man who we absolutely love to watch play the game. He's not the biggest back in the world but he plays with the heart and determination of a true beast. Winner of back to back AA state championships Small has been the anchor to those squads. With teammate WR Jaron Brown (Clemson) and DE Cliff Matthews (South Carolina) gone this is Small's turn to lead the way by example for a young Braves squad. With some offers on the table already including an ACC offer from Duke things should get interesting here soon for the exceptionally talented Small.

23. OT Kwame Geathers

Carvers Bay High

6'5 320 pounds

Geathers like many linemen don't get their due justice when it comes to player rankings. In terms of upside he's near the top of the list as he comes from a long line of Geathers brothers who've enjoyed tremendous success on the high school, college, and professional level. Word is he could be the best of the bunch if he continues to work on his conditioning and realizes that full potential by perfecting his technique in the trenches. At this point he can get away with manhandling smaller opponents on the high school level but to make big noise on the next level he's going to have to make the effort to show he is indeed the best Geathers brother.

24. S Justin Bright

Byrnes High

6'3 190 pounds

We've seen this young man mature over the last few seasons and it's been a joy to watch as he's battled some nagging injuries during the past 2 seasons. 100% healthy finally he's already a verbal commit to the Florida State Seminoles. He's grown physically and his knowledge of the game makes him a leader on the field for his team. If somebody happens to get by Byrnes CB Riyahd Richardson, CB Zach Miller, CB Devin Miller then Mr. Bright is waiting usually to uncoil and deliver a monstrous hit that will leave an opponent second guessing if he wants to get anywhere near Bright again during the rest of the game. Standout on the field and in the classroom with one of the highest GPAs of any elite prospect in the state.

25. LB Tariq Edwards

Marlboro County High

6'3 220 pounds

Marlboro County is once again one of the team's to fear and Edwards and twin brother Tyrell are a big reason why. Committed to Virginia Tech both Edwards brothers will follow in the footsteps of their father who was also a Hokie. Upside is the key for Tariq as he shows good instincts and nose for the ball while he will benefit from a year in the Hokies' weightroom to make him a fearsome prospect on the college level when he hits the field.