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October 17, 2005

Dominant defenders

Callahan Bright or Melvin Alaeze on the defensive line? Or how about Richard Gordon, Jerrell Powe or Justin Mincey? This year's prep school rankings are top heavy with defensive linemen, seven of them in the top 11, and on defense in general. So how do you choose who's better between all these prep school studs? That's the challenge we have every year, and this year was the toughest to date.

Click HERE to view the inaugural 2006 prep school rankings.

Florida State signee Bright, a 6-foot-2, 320-pound ball of hurt at Hargrave Military Academy, edged out Alaeze and Powe for this year's top prep ranking, but it wasn't by much. All three defensive linemen are dominating college kids at Hargrave and each is worthy of maintaining the five-star ranking they earned last season. Bright is in better shape and much quicker than he was last year and gets off the ball so well he often looks offsides.

Alaeze is as big as ever (285 pounds) and learning new pass-rushing techniques, a scary thought for those who will face Maryland the next four seasons. And Powe is still carrying a bit too much weight, but he's so quick even at around 340 pounds that it doesn't really hurt him. Ole Miss is certainly getting a player they can build their defense around.

The only skill position player to crack the top 10 this year is, shockingly, also playing at Hargrave. Running back Mike Ford, an Alabama signee, looks college ready at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds and is adjusting very well to the added speed at this higher level. Although he splits carries with Maryland signee Morgan Green (No. 16 on our list) and budding star Keiland Williams (No. 22 and not committed), Ford is still churning out yardage and touchdowns. If he were the every-down back at Hargrave, his numbers would be even more impressive.

Hargrave, while certainly loaded, doesn't have a monopoly on talented prep players. Milford Academy, moved to New York from Connecticut recently, boasts two of our top 10 prospects.

Miami signee Richard Gordon is playing defensive end at Milford and at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds with awesome quickness off the edge, he's a man amongst, well, men. Fellow defensive lineman Marques Slocum, a Michigan signee, is also physically dominant at 6-foot-4 and 331 pounds.

He's honing his skills at defensive tackle in preparation for the Big 10. Rounding out the non-Hargrave studs in the top 15 is Virginia Tech-bound wide receiver Todd Nolen. Although Nolen isn't as big a part of the offense as he was at Hampton High School, he's still a big part of Fork Union's talented team. He could be the best wide receiver to enroll at Virginia Tech in quite a few years which is saying something.

Moving down the list a bit, a few uncommitted players caught our attention. Linebacker Mario Harvey and athlete Tim Jones are both impressive and will be landing scholarship offers soon if they don't already have them. And super speedster Jacoby Ford from Fork Union Military might not be big, but he's lightning in a bottle with the football.


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