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July 14, 2008
Ga. state ranking led by top defenders
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Preseason State Rankings:
The Preseason Georgia Top 100 is headlined by defensive players. The Peach State's top three prospects - linebacker Jarvis Jones, cornerback Branden Smith and safety Darren Myles – are standouts on that side of the ball.
Jones, the No. 39 overall prospect in the Rivals100, is the No. 4 outside linebacker prospect in the country. He was dominant last season in helping Carver High School to a 4A state championship after racking up 147 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, four sacks and two interceptions.
"I go full speed on every play," Jones said. "I read the play and find the ball. I think I am also the type of linebacker that plays sideline to sideline."
Smith and Myles, both defensive backs from Atlanta, come in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Smith is one of the nation's fastest players. This spring he finished second in the state's 100-meter final. Myles may play safety, but he has excellent cover skills for the position. He also shows range, good instincts and super balls skills.
The state's top offensive recruit is guard Chris Burnette of LaGrange. This Troup High School star has already committed to the University of Georgia. Burnette is an agile big man that excels in the run game. He has worked hard this offseason to raise his game up a notch.
"Chris has really just stepped forward as a senior leader for us this spring," said Troup coach Bubba Jeter. "He has always been a leader, but I think he knows now that he is going into his last year to play for us and he wants to leave here with a championship. I think he has lost a little bit of that mid-section, he has gotten a little more leverage in his hips, and he has gotten stronger. He really worked hard in our off-season program and we can how that hard work paid off."
With Burnette coming in at No. 4 overall, the top skill-position player in the state is running back Washaun Ealey (Twin City) at No. 6. Ealey, 5-11 and 205 pounds, had a career junior season, rushing for 2,978 yards and an amazing 58 touchdowns.
"I can be a power back and sometimes I can be a speed back," Ealey said. "When I get in front of you, you aren't going to catch me."
Six Georgia prospects reside inside the Rivals100, Jones, Smith, Myles, Burnette, Donavan Tate (Cartersville, Ga.) and Ealey.
"What I love about this class from the state of Georgia is that six of the top 11 players have the ability to play more than one position at the next level, including Jarvis Jones," Barry Every said, National Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com.
The Bulldogs have dominated their backyard and have commitments from nine players inside the Georgia top 30. LSU, Florida, Mississippi State, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky have all secured commitments from inside the preseason Georgia top 100.
Meanwhile, the ACC is getting its share of Georgia players as well. As expected, Georgia Tech leads the way with seven commitments from their home state; they all made the Georgia Top 100. Duke, Florida State, and Clemson have already pulled players from the Peach State. So has Stanford, Central Florida, South Florida and others.
"Florida is not the only state in the South that supplies the ACC/SEC," Every said. "Half the schools in those conferences have commitments already from kids in Georgia. Don't be surprised if the number reaches 20 to 22 schools (of the 24 schools)."
Linebackers and defensive ends dominate this list. There are 23 linebackers and 13 defensive ends that made the Georgia Top 100.
Last season 147 prospects signed with Division I-A teams. The class of 2009 numbers should surpass last year's total. So far, 141 prospects from the Peach State have been offered I-A scholarships.
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