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The Valley of the Sun has become one of the major stops for college coaches searching for the top talent in the nation. More and more blue-chip players seem to emanate from Phoenix each season as the city continues to grow in population. This year that couldn't be any more clearer as the newly released Rivals.com Arizona top 20 includes 17 players from the Phoenix metro area.
At the top of the list is Gerell Robinson of Chandler Hamilton.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound athlete is one of the more dynamic players in the country. Ranked as the No. 84 player overall and a four-star prospect, Robinson has been successful on the high school level as a quarterback, running back and receiver, but he's best on defense. He had 72 tackles and eight interceptions in 2006.
But what's more impressive is that Robinson still has a long ways to go.
"He's not even come close to scratching the tip of the iceberg," Dan Hinds, who used to coach Robinson when he was a sophomore at Phoenix Desert Vita, said. "The reason I say that is because I usually don't gush about kids, but with him he's a good kid. I hate to use the word good kid. He's got a lot of character. He comes to practice, works hard and he has a nice personality. He's 'yes sir, no sir.' He takes coaching well, and he's never shown us any kind of attitude.
"There aren't too many players in the state that are better than him. He is just a big-time playmaker that's only going to get better and better."
While there isn't much debate to who is the No. 1 player in the state, there are two great candidates for the No. 2 spot. You could very easily put either safety Jarrell Barbour of Phoenix Centenial or running back Covaughn DeBoskie of Chandler Hamilton at the spot and not be wrong. However, Rivals.com went ahead and gave the nod to Barbour, a four-star defensive back that's ranked as the No. 10 player at his position.
Barbour was a catalyst on offense for his high school team has he played both running back and wide receiver. At running back he had 43 rush attempts for 418 yards and five touchdowns while at wide receiver he finished with 24 receptions for 505 yards and ten touchdowns. On defense he finished with 41 tackles and one interception, and just like Robinson he could project on both sides of the ball.
"On defense I think I am good at dropping back at zone and reading the quarterback and knowing what he is going to do," he said.
DeBoskie, who is 6-foot and 192 pounds, is one of the more talented rushers in the West and he locks the third spot in the state. He racked up 1,304 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior. He also had 434 yards receiving and two touchdown grabs.
The top seven is rounded out by other four-star prospects – tight end Dion Jordan of Chandler at No. 4, running back Ray Polk of Phoenix Brophy Prep at No. 5, quarterback Sean Renfree of Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep at No. 6 and offensive guard Zach Schlink of Peoria Centennial at No. 7.
The group right outside of the top seven is just as talented as any other state in the West.
It features cornerback Marc Anthony of Chandler at No. 8, tight end Steven Figueroa of Desert Vista at No. 9, running back Jamal Womble at No. 10, offensive lineman Patrick Jamison of Chandler Hamilton at No. 11 and athlete Allante Battle of Desert Vista at No. 12. Each one of those players are heavily recruited players that could be four-star prospects by the end of the recruiting process.