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Preseason State Rankings:
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The state of Texas annually produces the most Football Bowl Subdivision signees and the class of 2012 will be no exception. A year after 368 high school prospects inked national letters of intent, there looks to be even more come this February.
Leading the way in the Rivals.com Preseason Texas Top 100 is a pair of five-star prospects in defensive end Mario Edwards and running back Johnathan Gray.
Edwards, the No. 2 overall prospect in the country and a Florida State commitment, is the son of the former Seminole of the same name. He earned Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year honors as a junior after compiling an amazing 50 tackles for loss and 18 sacks. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound defender has the size of a tackle but moves like a rush end.
Gray has practically been a household name in the Long Star State since a freshman campaign where he almost rushed for 1,000 yards. Gray has now led his Aledo team to back-to-back state titles, scoring eight touchdowns in this past December's championship game. His 59 total touchdowns as a junior are a single-season state record as well. Gray enters his senior year with a chance of breaking the 10,000 yard mark for his career.
Though not five-stars at this point, the next trio of prospects in the rankings have impressive resumes of their own as well. Wide receiver Cayleb Jones was averaging over 10 receptions a game an injury sidelined him midseason this past year. Running back Trey Williams averaged almost 230 yards a game in a tough Houston-area district as a junior. Defensive tackle Malcom Brown can plug the middle against the run while also proving to be an effective pass rusher from the interior.
Rounding out the top ten are offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle, wide receiver Thomas Johnson, athlete Kendall Sanders, wide receiver Dominique Wheeler and linebacker Brian Nance.
The University of Texas is well-represented on the Top 100 list with 16 current commitments. Next is Texas A&M with 13 prospects pledged to the Aggies. Texas Tech has 12 commits in the Top 100 while TCU and Oklahoma State have six apiece. Oklahoma, which has made the state a priority in recent years, surprisingly comes in with only three current commitments on the list.
The cornerback and offensive tackle positions are especially deep in the state prospects such as Colin Blake, Justin Thomas, Bryson Echols and La'Darius Newbold highlight the list of pass defenders while the likes of Estelle, Camrhon Hughes, Kyle Fuller and Trey Keenan will protect the quarterback.
With 32 overall prospects currently at four-star status or above, several more players have the potential to move up with strong senior campaigns. Defensive tackle Donald Hopkins seemingly came out of nowhere this spring and has now picked up offers from the likes of Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Missouri and Utah. Texas Tech quarterback commit Clayton Nicholas is ranked as the top pro-style prospect in the state and will likely put up more big numbers this fall. TCU cornerback commit Daje Johnson recently had a very strong showing at NIKE's The Opening and has looked very good in camps all summer.
Also being released Tuesday are the Arizona Preseason Top 15, Delaware Preseason Top 5, Indiana Preseason Top 20 and the Kansas Preseason Top 10. Look for the state rankings from California, Oregon, Maryland, Iowa and Wisconsin on Wednesday.