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June 8, 2005
New York rising
New York has always been considered a basketball state when it comes to high school sports with playground legends like Stephon Marbury and high school hoops studs like and Sebastian Telfair making their name early.
More and more college football coaches, however, are making the trek across the state to discover talent on the gridiron, and the contributions of players like Will Smith (Ohio State), D'Brickashaw Ferguson (Virginia) and Mike Hart (Michigan) in college football recently can't be denied.
Click HERE to view the 2006 New York preseason Top 20.
This year the Empire State boasts its highest-ranked player in recent memory in Staten Island (N.Y.) Moore Catholic wide receiver Vidal Hazelton, rated as the No. 2 wide receiver in the country and the No. 20 player overall. But things don't begin and end with Hazelton, who could be the most polished wide receiver from the northeast in years. Christ The King star defensive end Maurice Evans is on the Rivals 100 and Western New York running back Kevin Collier (Churchville-Chili) is one of the best players many have never heard of.
The mystery of New York continues with former Trinity stud Andrew Quarless, a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder that has been kept under wraps (he'll be at Uniondale High School this year). The same can be said for Christian Brothers defensive end McKenzie Matthews. Additionally, prospects like John-Kevin Dolce and Michael Butler took advantage of combine appearances this spring.
New York is never the deepest state when it comes to talent, especially compared to its neighbor New Jersey, but there are top-flight prospects as usual this year and a few diamonds in the rough.