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July 22, 2004

Plenty of peaches in latest state rankings

The Peach State already boasts more than 100 prospects that have received Division I scholarship offers, and it's only July. Whittling the list down to a mere 40 players is no easy task. After hours film and in-person evaluations, Rivals.com is proud to release the top 40 players in Georgia.

Who else would check in at the No. 1 spot besides LaGrange linebacker Tray Blackmon?

Some look at his 6-foot, 200-pound frame and question how the heck he is the No. 1 player in such a talented state. The answer is simple.

Watch his film.

Blackmon has some of the most impressive highlights that Rivals.com has ever run on its network. He is simply breathtaking on film.

Registering in at No. 2 is Warner Robins (Ga.) Houston County defensive tackle
Kyle Moore. He is a physical freak. With his 6-foot-6, 247-pound frame, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.73 seconds at the NIKE camp in Atlanta.

"Teams run away from Kyle about 85 percent of the time," said Houston County coach Doug Johnson. "They just can't block him. I'm not kidding when I say this, but just about every time the ball was ran to his side of the field he was double and triple teamed and still ended up making the play. I can't tell you how many times he came from across the field and made plays, too."

A pair of massive linemen rank in at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. Atlanta (Ga.) Booker T. Washington 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive tackle
Duke Robinson beat out 6-foot-8, 275-pound Buena Vista (Ga.) Tri-county offensive tackle Charles Jackson by an eyelash.

The Georgia Bulldogs have already scored a pair of commitments from two players on the list. At No. 10 on the list is 6-foot-2, 210-pound Keysville (Ga.) Burke County linebacker
Marcus Washington. Checking in at No. 21 is 6-foot-3, 277-pound offensive lineman Ian Smith.

One of the biggest surprises on the list is 6-foot-1, 215-pound Blakely (Ga.) Early County linebacker
Dan Foster. Foster comes in at No. 8 on the list after suffering a season-ending leg injury his junior year. He was a beast on the field before the injury, and he is expected to bounce back healthy and be the second-best backer in the state behind Blackmon.

A trio of big men hold down spots 5-7. Hawkinsville defensive tackle
Brandon Perry is at No. 5, Folkston (Ga.) Charlton County defensive end Justin Mincey has watched his stock rise all the way to the No. 6 spot, while Lovejoy offensive tackle Chris Scott places at No. 7.

One of the nation's most versatile athletes, College Park (Ga.) Banneker athlete
Carlos Thomas, comes in at No. 9. Some consider Thomas to be the state's best wide receiver and defensive back.

Two of the fastest-rising prospects in the Peach State are Calhoun (Ga.) Gordon Central athlete
Dorian Porch, who checks in at No. 36, and Barnesville (Ga.) Lamar County defensive end Clifford Respress, who squeezed in at No. 38.

With four BCS programs in the state of North Carolina, one would think that most of the top players would be apt to stay home. However, last year only DeMario Pressley decided to stay in state while four of the top five players left.

With a quick glance at the just released
North Carolina Top 30, it looks no different with Waynesville (N.C.) Tuscola quarterback Jonathan Crompton, the No. 3 player in the state, already committed to Tennessee, and Charlotte (N.C.) Independence receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, the No. 4 player in the state, headed to Georgia.

The top player in the state this year is Winston Salem (N.C.) Mt. Tabor linebacker Derek Nicholson, who is also expected to leave and follow his brother to Florida State. Jamestown (N.C.) Ragsdale running back Toney Baker (No. 2 in the state) and Fayetteville (N.C.) E.E. Smith offensive lineman Curtis Crouch (No. 5) are the best chances for N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest to protect their borders.

North Carolina leads the way with the most commitments from our Top 30 with oral pledges from Robbins (N.C.) North Moore defensive tackle Camaron Thomas (No. 16), Roanoke Rapids, N.C., defensive end Darrius Massenburg (No. 25) and Burlington (N.C.) Cummings wideout Brandon Tate.

Surprisingly, Georgia and Virginia check in with the second most commitments. The Bulldogs have the aforementioned Massaquoi and his quarterback, Joe Cox (No. 8), on board while Virginia landed early commitments from Durham (N.C.) Southern teammates Brandon Woods (No. 9) and Maurice Covington (No. 21).

At the top of the Kansas top 12 list is Ottawa offensive lineman Caleb Blakesley.

Blakesley, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound tackle edged out Pittsburg quarterback Kerry Meier.

Blakesley is holding two scholarship offers - Kansas and Wyoming - at this point, but continues to keep his eye out for one from Kansas State.

"K-State told me they were going to offer me and they haven't sent it out," Blakesley said. "They told me verbally at the camp they were going to offer, but they haven't followed through, yet."

Meier, the younger brother of current K-State quarterback Dylan and former Wildcat tight end Shad, currently holds five offers. Kansas, Kansas State, Texas A&M, UTEP and Tulsa have come forward for the 6-foot-2, 203-pound Meier.

Three members of the Kansas Top 12 have made verbal commitments already.

The Jayhawks have secured two players already in Newton offensive lineman Adam Welty and Kansas City Washington safety Darrell Stuckey. The Wildcats have added another in-state offensive lineman to their team in Topeka Hayden tackle Nick Stringer.

It appears to be an average year in Wisconsin and but there are several high level prospects that highlight the state top 10 list.

Oak Creek teammates Travis Beckum and Raymond Henderson take the honors as the top two players in the state. Beckum, a 6-5, 220-pound linebacker, and Henderson, a 6-5, 250-pound defensive end, both have earned four-star status and have plenty of scholarships to pick from.

The biggest sleeper in the state, Hudson offensive tackle Eric VandenHeuvel was uncovered at the Wisconsin camp, where he picked up an offer. The 6-7, 330-pound is an exceptional blocker and is going to be a real steal for somebody. He is ranked as the No. 5 player in the state.


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