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September 13, 2007

Virginia's Class of 2008 Top 30 Football Prospects

The revised VirginiaPreps.com's rankings of the Class of 2008's top 30 football prospects is now online! We produce a Top 100 each year for the current senior class, once during the spring of their junior year, then a pre-season / fall release and then a final charting of the top prospects is released following their senior season.

Our rankings are based upon three criteria. The first being high school performance and accomplishments. The second being how the prospect "projects" at the college level, i.e. how well do the prospect's athletic abilities displayed at the high school level translate to the college level. And third, does the athlete have the academics to qualify to actually play D-I football. Obviously the ranking of high school athletes is very subjective and not an exact science. However, we views hours and hours of film, see numerous athletes perform in person, talk to countless college and high school coaches, as well as other 'talent evaluators' which we feel provides us with a unique perspective to provided rankings that are both credible and interesting to those interested in recruiting, high school football, etc.

The Top Five

Our fall / preseason ranking does not differ significantly from the spring release, but there are some changes. E.J. Manuel, the much talked about Bayside quarterback, remains our number one prospect. Manuel, who committed to Florida State earlier this year, is ranked the number one "pro style' quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com, and the tenth player overall, regardless of position, in the country!.

The top 5 in our ranking of the state's top prospect did not change, with the exception of Westfield's Mike Glennon leapfrogging over Stonewall Jackson (Manassas) running back Ryan Williams into the four spot. Glennon performed very well at various camps this summer and was also a standout at the Elite 11 quarterback even where he competed against 11 other top quarterbacks from around the country, including Manuel. In fact, there are some whose opinions we value that rate Glennon equal to or above Manuel as a quarterback prospect. Since Glennon has made a verbal commitment to N. C. State, it will be interesting to see possible head to head battles between he and Manuel when the Wolfpack and the Seminoles meet over the next several years.

Newcomers

There are only two newcomers to our current top 30 compared to the list we released in the spring. Checking in at number 26 is athletic quarterback PeterRose from Amherst County. Rose was inserted into the Lancers startingquarterback position two games into the 2006 season, and the rest as they say is history. Rose led Amherst to the Division 4 state championship and along the way he and his teammates displayed one of the most prolific high school offenses in recent memory. Rose, projected to be a defensive back in college, choose to commit to Virginia Tech over Virginia over the summer.

The other newcomer to our list is another athletic quarterback Justin Thorpe,who is ranked number 30. Thorpe, who plays for powerful Varina in Richmond's Central Region, used a NIKE camp this spring to move himself up in the eyes of college recruiters ""I went to the Nike Camp and did well," Thorpe told us. "I played a few positions, quarterback, running back and wide receiver. I think I showed the coaches there that I can play a variety of spots and am a versatile athlete."

The hard part about rankings, is that for every prospect that is moved into theTop 30, one has to be moved out. The two prospects that slipped out of ourrankings to make room for Rose and Thorpe were Jeron Gouveia and Thomas Mulabah (Park View High School). Both are still excellent prospects. Gouveia, a standout from Stone Bridge, is difficult to project at the college level due to his size, but that said, he could very well be the Northern Region's defensive player of the year following the 2007 season. He has committed to Virginia Tech and will certainly be an asset, down the road, to the Hokie defense.

Ups and Downs

Of course some prospects moved up and some moved down in our revised rankings. Those that moved more than three spots are discussed below.

Leading the 'climbers' in our rankings is Bobby Massie. The massive lineman from Liberty Christian Academy shot up 24 spots from number 30 all the way to number 6. If not for academic concerns, he would certainly be a top five prospect and we think if he continues on his current course will not only star at the college level but will be someone you see in an NFL uniform down the road.

Moving up four spots from number 22 to number 18 is Highland Springs' lineman Antoine Hopkins, who will continue to the Springer pipeline to Blacksburg, having given the Hokies a commitment just a few weeks ago. Another prospect that moved up four spots is West Potomac lineman Jimmy Bennett. One of the largest prospects on our listing, Bennett also sports a large list of D-I offers, including most of the ACC schools, several from the Big 10, Big East, etc.

Several prospects moved down in our updated rankings, including Powhatan's D.J. Coles who fell from the number six spot to the number 10 position. Concerns about his academics were the major reason for the drop, and injuries also prevented the recent VT commit to display his talents during the summer at the collegecamps.

Another Virginia Tech commit fell in our rankings, that being Stafford linebacker Jake Johnson who dropped eight spots down to number 20. Talent evaluators we talk to are concerned about Johnson's speed - but certainly not his strength. A weight room fanatic it has been reported that he has benched 385-pounds. A strong 2007 season and Johnson could very well shoot back up ourchart of top prospects.

Other prospects that saw their stock drop in the VirginiaPreps.com new top 30 are First Colonial running back Tony Gregory, and Edison wide receiver BenBarber. Gregory a Virginia Tech commit may still have some ground to make up in the classroom and Barber is a very good athlete who may have to play out of position this fall at quarterback for Edison.

Asterisk

Any ranking of Virginia's top prospects from the Class of 2008 would be remiss in not mentioning St. Anne's Belfield standout Kyle Long. The 6-foot-7, 280 pound offensive lineman would certainly be ranked among the State's top five prospects had he not given a commitment in May to play baseball at Florida State. This summer Long's fastball was clocked in the upper 90's leaving some observers wondering if he will ever play college sports of any kind, as he may be an early pick in next summer's Major League Baseball draft. Still, Long is a prospect to watch as teenagers have been known to change their minds on more than one occasion.

Still More

Follow the links provided to our ranking of the Top 100 prospects from the Class of 2008, as well as the top prospects from the Classes of 2009 and 2010. We will continue to update our prospect listings, and provide recruiting updates and profiles of the top underclassmen on our VIP Board. Check it daily for updates!

Class of 2009 | Class of 2010



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