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November 26, 2001

Virginia is for recruiting lovers

The state of Virginia is loaded with talent - so much top talent that it might standout more than any year in recent history.

Sure, there was the Ronald Curry-Michael Vick year. And NFL rookie sensation David Terrell was the season before that.

On an annual basis, Virginia probably has as much skill position talent as any state outside of the big three of California, Texas and Florida. But this year is a special one for football fans of the state.

There are not just one or two great players in the state, there are four Virginians who are considered among the nation's top 30 prospects by Rivals100.com and five among the top 100.

"This is the most talented group of top-end players in the last decade," Mike Farrell, who publishes AtlanticEast Recruiting for Rivals100, said. "The top 10 players will all have huge impacts on the teams they choose. But what everybody's buzzing about is the top players. There are a few potential stars in the mix."

Zirkle Blakey, who has covered high school football in the state for 10 years and is editor of the state's most widely recognized website covering high school sports, VirginiaPreps.com, says there's not much difference between this year and previous years in terms of depth. In fact, Blakey says last year's class of seniors may have had more recruiting depth.

But Blakey says that the quality of talent at the top of this class makes it a special group of recruits for the state.

"Almost every recruiting expert has five or six Virginians in their top 100, with as many as five in the top 50," Blakey explained. "The super six - Ahmad Brooks, Kai Parham, Marcus Vick, Michael Johnson, Anthony Martinez and Jonathan Lewis - have received calls from all of the national powers."

Blakey points out that the Tidewater Area of the state, which includes the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, is well represented.

"It's especially strong with Parham, Vick and Johnson, not to mention Levi Brown who is a fast-rising lineman from over there. It's just really a great year at the top."

Only time will tell whether or not these highly touted recruits actually pan out in college and beyond. But from the looks of it right now, Virginia is having one of its finest talent-production years in recent memory.


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