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July 5, 2006

Donald on top of Tennessee

As the lone representative from the state of Tennessee in the Rivals100, there is little doubt that Chris Donald is the clear-cut choice for the state's top overall prospect in the Rivals.com Tennessee Top 20.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound linebacker already is rated among the nation's top 50 prospects, but very well could see his stock shoot even higher when the Rivals100 is adjusted again in August.

Hendersonville Pope John Paul II athlete Golden Tate is the No. 2 prospect. He sits just outside the Rivals100 and has a high value at the next level because he can play a number of positions, including cornerback, running back or receiver, at the next level.

Alcoa defensive end Rae Sykes is a talented jumbo athlete who flies to the football and plays well in space. The Rivals250 selection had 110 tackles last season.

Another East Tennessee standout, Knoxville Catholic athlete Harrison Smith is the No. 4 prospect. The 6-foot-1, 201-pounder was outstanding at the Athens NIKE Camp in late April, posting a blistering 4.39-second 40-yard dash, and is and impressive high school football player on film. Smith, who projects as a safety, also could possibly play linebacker at the next level.

Memphis Christian Brothers linebacker Chris Walker is somewhat raw as a football player, but is a big-time athlete with very good upside. There is a chance Walker could play tight end at the next level, as well. He has the agility to do so.

The first committed player on the list is Alabama-bound defensive end Alex Watkins of Brownsville Haywood. Watkins debuts with a high three-star rating on Rivals.com, but don't expect him to stay there for very long as he likely will move up both in the state and national rankings when adjustments are made in August. Nobody knew anything about Watkins until recently, but after scouting him in person at his school and reviewing film for the first time, this big, lean athletic end prospect has tremendous upside at the college level.

Another prospect who could move up the list is Memphis Wooddale wide receiver Roderick Davis. Davis uses his great hands and good awareness to be the master of the tough catch. He also has good enough speed and quick enough feet to be elusive in the open field and can factor in the return game. Some colleges also like him at cornerback, adding to his value. He, along with Watkins, could make the most underrated list after the first rankings release for the Southeast region was there such a thing.

Tennessee-bound athlete Anthony Anderson, of Knoxville Austin East, could possibly contribute in a number of areas for the Vols. He has good speed and does good things with the ball in his hands, but he also plays the game at such a high level of intensity, that it wouldn't be a surprise to see him factor on defense. Either way, he's a player and certainly worthy of being in the top 10.

It's a stretch to say that at 6-5, 225 John Stokes of Memphis University School will play middle linebacker or even outside linebacker. It's more likely that he's a defensive end. That being said, he projects as a good one. He plays well in space and has above average movement ability.

Franklin wide receiver Todd Campbell was a talked-about early commit. He had scholarship offers from several SEC schools, including Alabama, South Carolina and Vanderbilt before committing to the Vols. He has big hands and is a big-bodied receiver. Some observers not associated with the Tennessee program have speculated he may find a home at linebacker, which wouldn't be too far of a stretch. He rounds out the top 10.

The next five are Knoxville Fulton all-purpose back Dennis Rogan, Chattanooga Baylor fullback Kevin Cooper, Memphis Ridgeway defensive end Dasmine Cathey and his teammate, running back Aaron Crawford and Maryville wide receiver Tyler Maples.

Rivals.com Tennessee Top 20







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