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August 17, 2005When looking for the top talent at the defensive back position, Rivals.com has one piece of advice for you - look south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
That's because 23 of the top 60 defensive backs ranked for the first time today by Rivals.com are from the Southeast part of the nation. Those rankings as led off by Atlanta Booker T. Washington safety Reshad Jones, who is ranked as the nation's No. 2 safety prospect.
But Jones isn't alone toward the top as 38 percent of the nation's top cornerbacks and safeties are from the South. Still Jones, a five-star prospect that is 6-foot-1 and 173 pounds, is ranked as the best in the region.
"Coverage is a strength of mine as well as tackling," Jones said. "I do what it takes to get the job done."
Jones is joined in the safety rankings by 11 other Southern safeties.
The next highest ranked Southern safety is DeAndre McDaniel, another Rivals100 selection from Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby. McDaniel is ranked as the nation's No. 6 safety prospect and is heavily recruited by a who's who in college football.
Right behind McDaniel at No. 7 is another Southern safety in Warner Robins (Ga.) Houston County stud Quintin Banks. Georgia currently leads for the 6-foot-2, 192-pounder that is a member of the Rivals250 list. He's followed at No. 8 by Miami Monsignor Pace standout Tervaris Johnson, who some are calling the top player in Dade County.
At No. 11 at the safety rankings is Oxford (Miss.) Lafayete County star Justin Woodall. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is also ranked as the No. 9 player in Mississippi and is torn early on between Alabama, LSU, Memphis, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
The South is represented at the three-star level in the top 30 by Preston Parker of Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic Community at No. 18, Andy Davis of Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian at No. 21, Darian Stewart of Huntsville (Ala.) Lee at No. 23, Jamal Harvey of Jacksonville Andrew Jackson at No. 26 and Vandaral Shackleford of Riverdale, Ga., at No. 29.
The South also rises to the top when breaking down the cornerback rankings.
Tucker, Ga., star Asher Allen is the top ranked Southern corner at No. 5 on the list.
Allen, who is 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds, is a true two-way threat that might also get some looks at running back or receiver. But his brightest future has to be at cornerback, and teams like Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State are battling hard for him.
Jai Eugene of Destrehan, La., is ranked at No. 7 at cornerback and you could argue that ranking is low based on the schools that have offered him scholarships. Eugene, the No. 3 player in Louisiana, has offers from Florida, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, USC, Tennessee and countless others.
Ryan Hill of Tallahassee (Fla.) Rickards is one of the fastest rising prospects in the nation and comes in at No. 9 at cornerback. But if you ask Hill his ranking still might be too low.
"I feel a little underrated, and I know a lot of kids might say that," Hill said. "I work really hard, though. I always think I can do a little better, but I think I can be one of the top two or three corners in the nation. I proved that against the likes of Fred Rouse, and I think by the end of the season I can be ranked that high."
Across town is the next highest ranked Southern corner - Marcus Udell of Godby. Udell, who is 5-foot-11 and 178 pound, is No. 16 on the cornerback list, just ahead of Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson star Chris Devalut at 17.
Grouped close together in the three-star range are four very talented corners from the South. Prince Miller of Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes comes in at No. 26, ahead of Darin Baldwin of Homestead (Fla.) South Dade at 27, Jacques Rickerson of St. Augustine, Fla., at 28 and Bryan Thomas of Zephyrhills, Fla., at 29.
Rivals.com cornerback rankings
Rivals.com safety rankings