Like many Western states after California, Arizona often gets overlooked when talking about the talent it produces year in and year out. However, after a string of recent major national prospects, including Zach Miller, arguably the best tight in college football today, Arizona is becoming an attraction not only for the Grand Canyon but for good players like Rivals100 member Jermaine Williams of Phoenix Maryvale.
Williams, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive end that is committed to Arizona State, takes home the top spot in the Rivals.com preseason Arizona top 15 that was just released.
Williams, ranked as the nation's No. 4 strongside defensive end and the No. 68 player overall, had offers from Arizona State, Arizona and Oregon before he picked the Sun Devils.
"Jermaine is a very talented player that has a great future," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Rick Kimbrel said. "I think he's really just scratched the surface when it comes to reaching his talent. He's got the great body and a very good nose for the football, but he's far from being at the level where he can be in college.
"If he continues to work hard and get better, then it's hard for me to think of a better defensive end in the West."
Behind Williams the competition for the state's No. 2 spot was tough. Heading into the spring evaluation period Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic offensive lineman John Romero would have been a lock behind Williams. However, further evaluations revealed that Tucson (Ariz.) Sabino fullback/linebacker Brooks Reed belonged there.
With offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Cal and Purdue, Reed is a 6-3, 215-pounder that could easily star on both sides of the football. His stock skyrocketed with a solid spring and then with a recent stop at Arizona's camp he cemented himself as the state's No. 2 player. Behind Romero (6-5, 280) was Sabino running back Glyndon Bolasky. The 6-foot, 190-pounder has offers from UofA, BYZU and Georgia Tech.
Mesa (Ariz.) Red Mountain defense tackle Jonathan Hargis also has seen his stock improve in the last few weeks thanks to an impressive performance at a camp. The 6-4, 295-pounder impressed at Arizona's camp and is now the No. 5 player in Arizona. He came in just ahead of another defensive tackle, Cody Anderson of Apache Junction, Ariz.
"Cody has a real shot at becoming a good player on either side of the ball," Kimbrel said.
"When you look at his 6-6, 280-pound frame, you can't help but think he might be a very good offensive tackle, too, in college. But I know a lot of people like him at defensive tackle. He's also a heck of a basketball player and was one of the top five scorers in his area."
Phoenix Moon Valley tight end Jeff Jones, Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial running back Tim House, Glendale Cactus quarterback Jon Tobin and Maryvale defensive back Brantwon Bowser round out the rest of top 10. House, especially, could see his name shoot up the list with an impressive senior season. House filled in nicely last season when Terry Longbons went down with an injury. House finished the season with an impressive 1,647 yards rushing and scored 25 touchdowns.