PENNSYLVANIA PRESEASON TOP 50
PA Preseason Top 50
Jeannette’s Pryor leads the way
By Chris Dokish
The following top 50 list is our first for the 2008 class. Granted, we’re biased, but we feel as if this is the most thoroughly researched ranking in the state, thanks to two dozen scouts and coaches. Leading the way as always is Metro Index founder and long time high school, college, and NFL scout Joe Butler. Like everybody involved with the list,
Twenty-six of this year’s players came from
Overall, we feel this class is better than the previous two, both at the top and throughout. Remember, though, that these rankings only project players as they enter their senior season. Some players have a lot of early scholarship offers based purely on potential. Sometimes those players will move down the list as the season goes on; sometimes they hold their value. Also, expect some players who do not appear on this list at all (for various reasons, including injuries as juniors) to make an appearance on our season-ending Top 50.
Without further ado, here is our 2007
1. Terrelle Pryor, Jeannette HS (Jeannette) QB
One of the all-time best prospects in the state. Has great size at 6’5” and 225 pounds, and once he becomes a full-time football player he could easily add another 20 pounds of muscle. Already wiry and strong, but his best asset is the elite athleticism he possesses for his size. Legit 4.4 speed plus great elusiveness and jumping ability. Runs effortlessly and has yet to scratch the surface in that aspect of his game. Hurdles defenders with ease. Hasn’t been asked to pass much but has a strong arm and the tools to be a very effective passer down the line. Also an elite basketball prospect, and is not even close to reaching his ceiling in that sport. This is important because he has not wavered from his plan to play both sports at the next level. Has nearly 60 offers but claims no favorites at this time. Has said adamantly that he does not want to redshirt so that may factor in his decision, as will the opportunity to play right away. Despite various rumors that he has a favorite, he does not yet. Schools to look out for in the end could be
2. Shayne Hale, Gateway HS (
Physical specimen at 6’4” and 242 pounds. Built like an NFL linebacker already with a muscular, sculpted physique. Good straight line speed, but plays much faster when in action. Closes quickly and is a sure tackler. Because of his frame and quickness, he could even project as a top tier pass rusher at defensive end. Must be more consistent, however, and come to play on every down. Bottom line: elite prospect with a high ceiling, plus is a mature person with high character. Many offers including Penn State, Ohio State, Pitt, Michigan, Florida, LSU and Notre Dame. Currently is wide open.
3. Andrew Sweat, Trinity HS (Washington) LB
Strong and athletic at 6’ 2 ½” and 230 pounds. Very active and makes plays all over the field, often dominating games with a high number of tackles. “Great instincts,” says
4. Jonathan Baldwin, Aliquippa HS (
Athletic wide receiver with superb height at 6’6”. Excellent speed—placed third in the PIAA-AA 100m—to go with a lean, but strong 225 pound body. A D-1 basketball prospect with many offers, including
5. Lucas Nix, Thomas Jefferson HS (Clairton) OT/DT
Two-way star for one of the best high school programs in the state. Played a lot as a freshman on a loaded team before starting as a sophomore. A great frame at 6’5” but he is now in the 300 pound range, and there is concern among some of our coaches and scouts that he has gotten a bit out of shape. Long arms and quick feet make him ideal for left tackle, but is just as good on defense. He can be as good as he wants to be but he must remain focused on what got him here in the first place. Bottom line: elite prospect with the ability to be a dominant college lineman. Brother Nate, is a redshirt freshman linebacker at Pitt, and friend and former teammate Dom DeCicco is entering Pitt this season as a safety, Finally, TJ head coach Bill Cherpak is a former Panthers offensive lineman with very close ties to the program. The younger Nix has been a common visitor to the Pitt campus for years. All of this, of course, makes Pitt a heavy favorite. Others who have offered include
6. A.J. Alexander,
If you are looking for speed (and which school isn’t), look no further than this speed demon. Runs a legit sub-4.4 in the 40 and the 100m in the 10.6 range. If you don’t know what all of that means, it translates to him being one of the fastest football players in the country – high school, college or pro. Just took second in the state in the 100m and fifth in the 200m at the Triple-A level. Plays quarterback now but is projecting as a WR and return man at the college level. Not big at 5’10 ¾” 180 pounds, but has good strength for his size and great jumping ability. Committed to FLORIDA STATE over the weekend over offers from
7. Jarred Holley,
Best cover corner in the state. Just 5’9” and 165 pounds and doesn’t possess elite speed, but he plays fast enough that combined with his great techniques and anticipation, he is always in position to make plays. Also returns kicks and punts. High character person and an excellent student. “Just a very good football player and a heckuva cover corner,” adds
8. Hubie Graham, West Scranton HS (
One of the pleasant surprises this year, he is an extremely hard worker who strived every day to be the best player he could be. Hit the weights hard and now checks in at 6’4” and 230 pounds. His rabid weight room sessions have made him much stronger, which he adds to his good athleticism and speed. Relentless on defense and tough and polished on offense. “As tough as they come,” says
9. Chris Burns,
Who? Nobody will begrudge you for not knowing about Burns, but before long everybody will know all about him. Despite being an all-state defensive back as a junior, he was unknown by most colleges and that enabled PITT to get a verbal commitment from him before word got out. The Panthers want him as a running back and the 5’10” 185 pounder has the skills to produce. Has legitimate speed in the 4.4s to go along with great athleticism and quickness. Can jump, as he proved with a second place finish in the long jump at states. Can also catch the ball out of the backfield. High character kid. Makes some very sick moves that leave defenders floundering. Very similar in style to West Virginia All-American Steve Slaton, who was also under recruited. It would be a leap to suggest an equally stellar college career, but his physical talent is in the elite category. Even at No. 9, he’s a potential “list-riser” – a few of those we polled felt he should be in the top five.
10. Christian Wilson, Montour HS (McKees Rocks) RB/LB
Great athleticism and good speed for his 6’2 ½” 225 pound frame. Chiseled and can easily add more weight. Very good feet. Has had a lot of injury problems in the past. Because he can project at three different positions (H-back is the third), his offer list is very large. Included in that list are
11. Mike Yancich, Trinity HS (Washington) LB
Trinity head coach Ed Dalton has been telling recruiting writers for the past two years that Andrew Sweat wasn’t his only top linebacker, and now he has been proven right. Lack of size was one of the main reasons to be skeptical but now Trinity’s other star linebacker has grown to 6’2” and 220 pounds. The rest of his game is already at the elite level. Blessed with excellent speed, strength and athletic ability, he is one of the fastest rising linebacker prospects in the country. “He can easily move up by the end of the year,” says
12. Nick Moody, Roman Catholic HS (
Burst onto the recruiting scene prior to last season when he got MVP honors at a national combine for sophomores. Very good athlete at a muscular 6’2” and 215 pounds. According to
13. Kaleb Ramsey,
A former quarterback and accomplished basketball player, he has now grown to a solid 6’4” and 255 pounds. Very athletic for his size and can really move. Has had an injury plagued high school career, including turf toe and a recent shoulder surgery, but when healthy he has elite ability as a pass rusher. “Pure pass rushing defensive end in a 4-3,” says
14. Mark Wedderburn, Cardinal O’Hara HS (
Saying that his height is a plus is an understatement. At 6’6 ½”, he makes a great target but needs to put on more weight. Looks even lighter than the 235 pounds he is listed so he could easily put on 30 pounds in the future. Good athlete with good speed. Blocking skills are severely lacking and he is more of a pass catcher right now. Gets a lot of opportunity to shine thanks to quarterback Tom Savage, the early favorite to be the No. 1 player in the state for 2009. Can also project as a defensive end. Impressive offer list includes
15. Adrian Robinson,
Very athletic at 6’2” and 225 pounds. Very active and makes plays from sideline to sideline. Excellent at rushing the passer and some have thought about him as a defensive end, but he is also very good in pass coverage. Grades are a question, and because of that, no offers are in yet. But if he settles that situation he will have many options.
16. Mike Cruz, Bishop McCort HS (
Polished prospect originally committed to
17. Chris Hayden-Martin,
18. Matt Stankiewitch,
High school offensive tackle making the switch to center for PENN STATE, to whom he committed verbally earlier in the year. Excellent prospect with good size at 6’4” and 295 pounds. “He’s very strong,” says
19. Antwuan Reed, Greater
Lighting quick cover corner and return man. Good speed, but more quick than fast. Excellent hands. Big play performer on offense, defense and special teams. Just 5’10” and 175 pounds but is strong for his size. Committed verbally to PITT very early and also had an early offer from
20. Cameron Saddler, Gateway HS (
Perhaps the biggest impact return man in the nation. A lot of excellent small high school players don’t make it to the next level because their skills did not translate. What they were missing was elite level speed and quickness. Saddler has both, running legitimate 4.4’s and is one of the quickest game breaking return men you will ever see. Tied a national record with six returns for touchdowns as a junior, in the highest classification in one of the most competitive areas for high school football in the country. Despite being only 5’6” and 161 pounds, he has offers from
21. Vaughn Carraway, Muhlenberg HS (Laureldale) WR/S
Athletic and lanky at 6’2” and 170 pounds. Needs to add weight but is already very tough and aggressive. Good hands and game breaking ability on offense, but may be even more impressive defensively where he covers a lot of ground and flies up like a rocket to take out ball carriers on the sweep.
22. Quentin Williams, Central Catholic (
Very mobile at a solid 6’4” and 230 pounds. Tough kid, good speed, good agility. Great hands – often dives to make circus catches. Excellent student. Offers include
23. Chris Henderson,
Superb athlete at 6’2” and 285 pounds. Runs like a deer for a player his size and played fullback at Bishop McDevitt HS last season. Very strong. Mobility and quickness are at a high level on defense; when he hits ball carriers it gets ugly. Dismissed from McDevitt for an unspecified reason and is now taking classes at Harrisburg High. Grades are an issue.
24. Julian Harrell, Bishop McDevitt HS (
Solidly built, athletic prospect with a lot of upside. Checks in at a solid 6’2” and 210 pounds. Good speed and leaping ability. Game breaking ability, plus has the frame to shield defenders. “Very talented and athletic,” adds
Fast rising offensive line prospect with good size at 6’5” and 290 pounds. Has the ability and size to play guard or tackle. Good explosion with good footwork. Excellent student. Over a dozen offers, including
26. Ed Tinker, Brashear HS (
The top prospect in
27. David Posluszny,
High school safety; will end up at linebacker at NOTRE DAME, to whom he committed earlier in the year. Put on 25 pounds the last six months and is up to 225 pounds on a 6’2” frame. Good athlete; instinctual. Has had injury problems. Brother of
28. Tino Sunseri, Central Catholic HS (
Not big at 6’1” and 190 pounds, but smart and athletic. Good scrambler and can put the ball down and take off if need be. Very strong and accurate arm. Transferred from
29. Mike Shanahan, Norwin Area HS (
Great size at 6’5” and 200 pounds. “He is athletic,” says
30. Jewhen Edwards, Roman Catholic HS (
Prototypical nose tackle prospect with strong, heavy 6’2” 320 pound body and brute strength. Nearly impossible to get him off his feet. Decent athlete for his size. Still learning the game as he only started playing football as a sophomore.
31. Chris Palmer,
Strong 6’2” 290 pound frame and good enough athleticism and feet to play either offensive guard or defensive tackle. Big, strong body with little fat. Raw, but has a lot of potential. Offers so far from
32. Mike Jones, Bishop McDevitt HS (
Solidly built athlete at 6’1” and 200 pounds. If he proves he has the ability to play corner at the college level, his offers will grow. Can play safety or even wide receiver. Offers so far include
33. Pete Massaro, Marple Newtown HS (
Solid defensive end prospect with athleticism and a 6’4” 240 pound frame. Good pass rusher. Very tough and scrappy. Got bigger over the last year. Potential riser if he has a big season. Offers from Pitt,
34. Josh Vick, Kiski Area HS (Vandergrift) QB
He’s certainly got the name and more than anybody on the list, he has the ability to skyrocket up the charts. At 6’2 ½” and 200 pounds, he has enough size and his arm is very strong and accurate. Very polished in his form and reads. State champion in the javelin as a sophomore. Was tearing up the WPIAL in the first half of last season before tearing his ACL. Now fully recovered, so all that stands between him and some impressive offers is a return to form when the games start.
35. Mike Farrell, Shady
Great 6’6” height with long arms, quick feet, and mobility. Currently only 275 pounds and looks skinny; can easily put on 50 pounds of good weight. Always a question when a kid comes from a small school, but programs may regret not taking a chance on a kid with so much raw potential.
36. Ahkeem Smith,
Very quick, productive back that came out of nowhere last season to dominate for one of the best programs in the state. “Run to daylight type,” says
37. Chris Smith,
High school quarterback but small at 5’10” and 165 pounds. Excellent athlete with good arm. Verbally committed to
38. Breon Phillips, GAR Memorial HS (
Tall, lanky, athlete from the northeastern part of the state. Checks in at 6’5” and 190 pounds. “He’s a long, athletic kid that can go deep,” says
39. Shawn Walker, General McLane HS (Edinboro) TE
All-star performer in both football and basketball while leading his school to Triple-A championships in both sports. Athletic and strong at 6’4” and 220 pounds. Has the frame to add a lot of weight. Plays in a veer offense so his blocking is excellent. Nice speed and body control. Long arms. Offered by
40. Tyrell Harris, Bishop McDevitt HS (
Speed demon at 6’2’” and 185 pounds. Came from a rough background that included gang activity and dropping out of school, but he has turned his life around to where now he is a major D-1 prospect and a solid human being. More athlete than player right now, but has excellent potential.
41. R.J. Dill, Trinity HS (Camp Hill) OT
Great height and wingspan measuring in at 6’8” tall. Has the frame to put on the required 50 pounds in college. Currently is at 280 pounds. Not a great athlete and doesn’t possess top notch feet or quickness, so is probably limited to right tackle.
42. Wayne Tribue, Central York (
Strong line prospect that is getting more and more looks. Solid 6’4” 285 pound body. Strong with good feet and athleticism. Can project at guard or tackle. Sleeper that could really come on this season.
43. Eric Reynolds, Central Bucks South (
Relatively short but strong halfback with excellent straight line speed and quickness. Currently at 5’9” and 190 pounds. Very versatile. Ran a 4.47 at
44. Geoffrey Prather, Archbishop Carroll HS (Radnor) LB/S- Very good athlete possessing good speed and even better athleticism. Solid build at 6’2” and 195 pounds with the frame to get bigger if he ends up at linebacker. Currently has no offers but has a lot of interest.
45. Nihja White, Conestoga HS (
Solid all-around receiver with a strong 6’1” 195 pound body. Decent speed, good route runner, great hands and excellent body control. Lack of top speed but he has enough other skills that show he has the makings of a good college receiver.
46. Leon Green, Gateway HS (
47. Jermaine Robinson, Brashear HS (
Good height and athleticism but must add a lot of size to his 6’2 ½” 160 pound frame. Average speed, but a good athlete and instincts. Verbally committed to
48. Nolan Kearney, Downingtown West HS (Downingtown) QB
Built like a linebacker at 6’2 ½” and 230 pounds. Plays like a linebacker, too, as he is often puts his head down and barrels over defenders. The lefty has a shot put delivery and only slightly better than average arm strength, but is a tough, smart kid and decent athlete. Should eventually get a few major D-1 offers and could eventually turn into a good college quarterback.
49. Jared Rains,
Tough as nails running back with surprising athletic ability. Was considered a workhorse running back in high school until he got MVP honors at the Nike Combine in
50. Matt Carroll, Unionville HS (
Tough, hardnosed workout warrior who shows good leadership ability and athleticism. Plays quarterback but projects as a linebacker at the college level. Solid build at 6’2” and 215 pounds. Father, Matt, Sr., was on the 1976 Pitt national championship team.
Top 50 Fast Facts
Two players who did not end up in the final top five were considered by some of our scouts and coaches to be top five players. Those two were Jarred Holley and Chris Burns.
Shayne Hale, Andrew Sweat, and Jonathan Baldwin were virtually tied for the second best prospect in the state, according to our panel. Hale and Baldwin may have the most upside, but Sweat could very well be the better player of the three right now.
Mark Wedderburn had the widest discrepancy among our panel but was not listed below 27 by any of our experts.
Players with the most potential to move up the list
Some players not in the Preseason Top 50 that could move onto the list by season’s end:
Trevor Behmke (Conestoga)
Qumane Bryant (Brashear)
Ashton Burno (Susquehanna)
Marvase Byrd (
Steve Caputo (Unionville)
Jake Crooks (Conestoga)
Chris Johnson (Roman Catholic)
Jimmy Kelly (
Matt McGloin (
Ryan Nassib (Malvern Prep)
Akeem Satterfield (
Brice Schwab (Moniteau)
David Soldner (Manheim Twp.)
Carl Thornton (
Ryan Turnley (
Brandon Ware (
D.J. Wilds (
Zane Zebrasky (Canon-McMillan)