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February 9, 2012

Virginia Football Classes 2006-2012

VaPreps Classes
VirginiaPreps.com published the site's first in-state prospect 'official' rankings starting in 2006. Over the last seven years we have seen a tremendous amount of football talent in the Commonwealth. A look back at those classes and our rankings show that we got some right, and we 'missed' on a bunch as well, proving that talent evaluation is part art and part science. Below we examine each of the last seven year's classes, with links to our complete rankings and an overview on each years 'highlights'.

Class of 2006 Virginia Top 30

Three we got right:

#1 Percy Harvin, WR, Landtown -- Ranked as the top player in the nation from the Class of 2006, the Eagles star was an easy pick for top player in Virginia and he lived up to the hype at the University of Florida combining with Tim Tebow to win a national championship.

#6 John Graves, DE, Meadowbrook -- A three-year starter at defensive tackle for Virginia Tech, the Monarchs star earned second team All-ACC honors his senior season.

#7 Evan Royster, RB, Westfield -- A state title winner as a sophomore on the 2003 Westfield squad, success followed Royster to Penn State where he rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season twice and earned first team Big Ten honors his senior season.

Three we missed:

#2 Vidal Hazelton, WR, Hargrave
#3 Jarrell Miller, LB, Highland Springs
#5 Damon McDaniel, WR, Landstown

What were we thinking:

#21 Kam Chancellor, ATH, Maury
-- Not only did we have Chancellor, who recently played in the Pro Bowl ranked too low, his name wasn't even spelled correctly in the Rivals.com database as his first name was listed as Cameron.

Overall Class Impression:

Percy Harvin, Evan Royster, Kam Chancellor and Ras-I Dowling lead what may have been the best class from the state in the last decade. It will take a lot for other classes to match the depth of impact that this group made even if there were misses near the top of the rankings.

Class of 2007 Virginia Top 30

Three we got right:

#1 Tyrod Taylor, QB, Hampton
-- The Crabbers star led his team to the state championship in 2005 then led the Virginia Tech Hokies to two ACC Championship capturing the conference player of the year honors his senior season.

#6 Davon Morgan, DB, Varina -- The Blue Devils standout earned a stating spot for the Hokies during his sophomore season but a knee injury cut his year short. He returned to his old self by his senior campaign when he was named a second team All-ACC performer.

#7 Blake DeChristopher, OL, Clover Hill -- A four-year starter on the offensive line for the Hokies, the Cavaliers standout earned first team All-ACC honors as a senior and became the first Hokie to win the ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy, an award honoring the top blocker in the conference.

Three we missed:

#2 Peter Lalich, QB, West Springfield
#3 J'Courtney Williams, LB, Christchurch
#9 William Alvarez, OL, Hylton

What were we thinking:

#30 Russell Wilson, QB, Collegiate -- An immediate impact player in college, Wilson earned the Freshman of the Year honors in the ACC at N.C. State. After being released from his scholarship before his senior season, Wilson joined the Wisconsin Badgers where he won the Big Ten championship and earned Third Team All-American honors.

Overall Class Impression:

Tyrod Taylor's success all buts saves this class as several of the big names failed to pan out at the college level. Blake DeChristopher, Jaymes Brooks, Kris Burd and Russell Wilson help head up the success list from this class.

Class of 2008 Virginia Top 30

Three we got right:

#1 E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
-- After splitting time with Christian Ponder his first two seasons at Florida State, the Bayside star took over the starting job with the Seminoles in 2011 and helped the program win their third straight bowl game under his direction.

#2 Mike Glennon, QB, Westfield -- A state championship winner in 2007 leading the Bulldogs to an undefeated season, Glennon took over the reins of the N.C. State Wolfback in 2011, his junior season, and led the program to an 8-5 record and a bowl victory over Louisville.

#4 Ryan Williams, RB, Stonewall Jackson -- After redshirting his first year at Virginia Tech, Williams stepped in for an injured Darren Evans the following season and set Hokie and ACC rushing records. An injury cost Williams much of the 2010 season after which he entered himself into the NFL draft where he was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round.

Three we missed:

#7Deion Walker, WR, Christchurch
#8 Kevin Whaley, RB, Salem
#11 Todd Harrelson, WR, Oscar Smith

What were we thinking:

#17 Antoine Hopkins, DL, Highland Springs
-- A starter for Virginia Tech by his sophomore season, the Springers star quickly established himself as a force in the trenches for the Hokies before a knee injury cut his junior season short in 2011.

Overall Class Impression:

Big things happened at the top of this class as E.J. Manuel, Mike Glennon, Dyrell Roberts and Ryan Williams are impact players at their respective schools. Kerry Boykins, Marcus Davis and Antoine Hopkins gives the group nice depth of success as well.

Class of 2009 Virginia Top 30

Three we got right:

#1 Morgan Moses, OL, Meadowbrook
-- After spending a year at prep school, the Monarchs star became only the seventh true freshman nationally to start at the offensive tackle position according to the official University of Virginia website. Moses was named a fourth-team Freshman All-American by Phil Steele.

#2 David Wilson, RB, GW-Danville -- In his first year as a full-time starter at Virginia Tech in 2001, the former Eagles star was named the ACC player of the year and a second team All-AMerican after rushing for over 1,700 yards.

#3 Logan Thomas, ATH, Brookville -- The former Brookville Bees star took over under center for the Virginia Tech Hokies in 2011 and led the team to an appearance in the Sugar Bowl while earning second team All-ACC honors.

Three we missed:

#5 Jerod Askew, LB, Oscar Smith
#6 Kevin Newsome, ATH, Hargrave
#7 Logan Heastie, WR, Great Bridge

What were we thinking:

#21 Perry Jones, RB, Oscar Smith
-- In 2011, the former Tigers star accounted for over 1,500 yards of offense for the University of Virginia earning honorable mention All-ACC honors in helping the Cavs earn a spot in the Chick-Fil-a Bowl as they finished the season with an 8-5 mark.

Overall Class Impression:

The 2009 class was hit or miss but the hits have been big ones as David Wilson, Logan Thomas, Tajh Boyd, Perry Jones and Bryn Renner have been and / or will be major impact players on the college level.

It's too early in their college careers for us to determine which prospects we got right and which ones we may have whiffed on, so, for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 classes, we take a look at potential rising stars.

Class of 2010 Virginia Top 30

Rising stars:

#2 Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
-- The Ocean Lakes standout earned first team Freshmen All-SEC honors in 2010 and caught 17 passes in three games in 2011 before a knee injury cut his sophomore season short.

#3 Zack McCray, DE, Brookville -- As a redshirt freshman in 2011, the former Bee played in fourteen games for Virginia Tech notching fourteen tackles including seven in the Hokies win over Arkansas State.

#16 Derrick Hopkins, DL, Highland Springs -- As a sophomore, the former Springers big man started fourteen games for a Virginia Tech Hokies team who played in a BCS bowl. He recorded 51 tackles and three sacks in 2011.

Overall Class Impression:

Surprisingly, the Class of 2010 has had very little impact on the field to this point due in large part to Sims losing out on the starting position at Alabama and Hunter's injury causing him to miss his sophomore campaign. Of course, with eleven of the top twenty players being in-the-trenches prospects, it figured that this class would take a while to develop.

Class of 2011 Virginia Top 25

Rising Stars:

#2 Demetrious Nicholson, DB, Bayside
-- The Marlins played in every game his freshman season for the University of Virginia notching 60 tackles, eight pass deflections and two interceptions.

#6 Corey Marshall, DE, Dinwiddie -- The freshman played in seven games for Virginia Tech and recorded 13 tackles and three sacks for the Hokies.

#8 Clifton Richardson, RB, Menchville -- Listed as an athlete leaving the Monarchs program, the freshman found a home in the backfield for the University of Virginia rushing for 366 yards and scoring three touchdowns for the Cavs.

Overall Class Impression:

When evaluating the impact of the 2011 class, one will have to keep an eye on the Charlottesville area as eight of the to fourteen players from the class committed to Virginia. We'll know much more about this group of kids once the Cavaliers complete their 2014 season.

Class of 2012 Virginia Top 25

Rising Stars:

#1 Eli Harold, DE, Ocean Lakes
-- All indications from the U.S. Army All-American practices and game indicate that the Dolphins standout will enter college physically ready to compete and there should be playing time available on the University of Virginia's defensive line.

#4 J.C. Coleman, RB, Oscar Smith -- Like Harold, Coleman was a standout at All-American game practices and, with the departure of David Wilson from Virginia Tech to the NFL, there will be carries available from the Hokies' backfield.

#9 Trey Edmunds, RB/LB, Dan River -- With the Hokies bringing in solid depth at linebacker combined with Edmunds' versatility, there's whispers around Virginia Tech that he may find time in the backfield as the thunder to complement Coleman's lightening.

Overall Class Impression:

The success of the 2012 class will likely be judged by their impact on the defensive side of the ball as most of the top 25 featured players who will defend at the college level including five projected linebackers in the top ten.

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