Long tops final prep school prospect rankings
The final prep school rankings for the Class of 2010 have been completed.
While the nation's No. 1 player is a sign-and-place star headed to West Virginia to play his college ball, he is followed closely by two players who went the prep route to garner more attention.
And it clearly paid off in a big way for both.
Wide receiver Deon Long tops the charts of the postseason prep rankings, followed by Virginia Tech-bound offensive lineman Laurence Gibson and Clemson-bound defensive tackle Josh Watson.
Long, a 6-1, 205-pounder originally from Washington (D.C.) Dunbar, has added size and strength to his frame and he's even more explosive than he was out of high school. Long scored double-digit touchdowns at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy this past season and was a constant in the weight room, adding bulk while improving his quickness. He'll enroll at West Virginia in mid-January and is expected to make an immediate impact.
Two of Long's teammates follow him at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
Gibson, a 6-6, 296-pounder who could also play defensive end or defensive tackle in college, hails from Sierra Vista (Ariz.) Buena and was mainly a rush end prospect in the Class of 2009. Despite earning a spot at tackle at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, Gibson still had no FBS offers come National Signing Day. He decided to enroll at Hargrave and recently chose Virginia Tech over offers from Clemson, Auburn, Boston College, Mississippi State and others.
The 6-3, 285-pound Watson played at Wilmington (Del.) Dickinson as a senior but received no FBS offers. But after adding weight to his frame and playing very well during his post-graduate year at Hargrave, he ended up with more offers than he knew what to do with. Watson recently committed to Clemson over offers from North Carolina, N.C. State, Florida State, Boston College, Virginia, Duke and others.
Rounding out the top five are two sign-and-place prospects at New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy and Fork Union (Va.) Fork Union Military, respectively. Wide receiver Todd Thomas actually played safety during his year at Milford Academy and covered a lot of ground on his 6-3, 216-pound frame. It's unclear whether Thomas will end up on the offensive or defensive side of the ball at Pitt, the school he signed with out of high school, but he has shown he can make an impact at either.
Defensive end David Mackall checks in at No. 5 and has been looking around at Michigan, Rutgers and other schools, but he continues to be committed to Maryland. The 6-3, 240-pounder was all over the field for Fork Union.
The rest of the top 10 are all highly coveted prospects as well.
Offensive tackle Morgan Moses had an up-and-down year at Fork Union, but the 6-7, 345-pounder's upside is impressive and is the reason he's being recruited heavily by Florida, LSU, South Carolina and others despite a soft commitment to Virginia. He is joined by another offensive tackle in the top 10. No. 8 Malcolm Bunche was a sign-and-place by Miami at Milford Academy and had a strong season. The 6-6, 325-pounder will enroll at Miami in January.
Hargrave defensive end Mike Thomas is sandwiched at No. 7 by the two massive tackles. The 6-4, 265-pounder was a sign-and-place by Ole Miss and has tremendous quickness off the edge and is a tenacious pass rusher.
Little-known of out of high school, athlete Travon Van wasn't a sign-and-place prospect, but Florida wanted him at Milford Academy and made him a part of its 2010 class in June. Van played at the same school as Reggie Bush in high school but didn't get nearly the same attention out of San Diego Helix. Now the No. 9 prep prospect in the country, Van will be a catch-and-run threat in the Gators' offense.
Rounding out the top 10 is Hargrave safety Prince Kent, a 6-3, 200-pounder who signed with Miami out of high school but is now a strong Baylor commitment. Kent was originally slated to play cornerback at Hargrave but found his best fit was at safety, the position he'll likely play in college.
There are five other players ranked four-stars in this year's prep school rankings, led by Virginia Tech commitment De'Antre Rhodes at No. 11. Rhodes was a three-star coming out of high school and heading into his post-grad year but solid play on the field earned him a bump. He's followed by N.C. State commitment Tyson Chandler, Syracuse verbal Marquis Spruill, Memphis commitment Sean Farr and Ohio State sign-and-place running back Carlos Hyde.
A few prospects dropped a star for different reasons. Hargrave offensive lineman Johnnie Farms was all set to suit up for North Carolina but some off-the-field issues have derailed his FBS hopes for now. Running backs Alex Owah and Adarus Bellamy both had average post-graduate years.
A few notable additions to the post grad top 50 include defensive end Dominic Appiah from Cheshire (Conn.) Cheshire Academy, who chose Boston College over offers from Maryland and UConn; Hargrave cornerback Ishmael Banks, who is committed to West Virginia; and his teammate Dylan Farrington - who chose Kent State over Marshall and Utah. All three make their debut in the top 30.