A running back has topped the Rivals.com prep school top 50 in each of the past two seasons, as Miami's Graig Cooper led the way in 2007 and Auburn's Enrique Davis was tops in 2008. This year, the list is headed by massive offensive tackle Bobby Massie, a 6-foot-8, 335-pounder out of Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy.
"Bobby Massie has the potential to be a top-five NFL draft choice," Hargrave coach Robert Prunty said. "This kid is special. He has great size, feet and agility – he has the agility of a defensive end at his size. I've had some great linemen over the years, but this kid will end up with more offers than anyone else."
Massie – who played at Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian Academy last season – currently seems most interested in Georgia, Clemson, Alabama, North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech, although he's not close to narrowing down his list.
"Bobby can pick and chose whatever school he wants," Prunty said. "He's going to focus on all of that after the season and take his visits then. There are some schools who have offered him that he doesn't even know about; it's too much to deal with right now. He'll have plenty of time for that after the season. Every program in the country is after Massie."
And, as usual, every program in the country likely will visit Hargrave this year. In addition to Massie, Hargrave boasts four of the top five prep players in the country and six of the top 10. Of those six, four are linemen.
"We're loaded this year," Prunty said. "We're strong at every position, and we have a lot of good, big athletes. But we also have a lot of speed."
Defensive ends Toby Jackson and Leon Mackey are ranked No. 3 and No. 9, respectively, and offensive lineman Anthony Oden checks in at No. 8. Jackson originally is from Griffin (Ga.) High, while Mackey originally is from Newark (Del.) Christiana.
"Toby Jackson is like Charles Grant (a 2002 Hargrave alum and currently in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints) in that he's very intense and physical and so athletic and strong against the pass and the run," Prunty said. "He can do everything. … And Leon Mackey is in his second year in our program and has come so far. He has a very quick first step; he's much quicker and has much better feet than when he arrived here. He is the complete package, as well, at defensive end."
Prunty thinks Oden – originally from Indianapolis Lawrence North – could have the highest ceiling of all his players.
"The reason Bobby Massie is playing right tackle is because of Anthony Oden," Prunty said. "He was a basketball player only just a few years ago (he is the younger brother of former Ohio State star Greg Oden, who now is with the Portland Trail Blazers) so he has natural agility and great feet. He's more athletic than Massie; he's just not as developed yet."
While Massie and Mackey are uncommitted, Jackson is headed to Georgia and Oden is headed to Arkansas. The other two Hargrave products in the top 10 also are headed to the SEC; running back Onterrio McCalebb and linebacker Marlon Walls are No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, and McCalebb is headed to Auburn and Walls to Tennessee. McCalebb is from Fort Meade (Fla.) High and Walls from Olive Branch (Miss.) High.
"McCalebb has amazing speed and he's already put up more than 1,000 all-purpose yards in our first three games," Prunty said. "And Walls is a great athlete and can really run. He's all over the field."
New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy boasts two players in the top 10, led by Miami-bound offensive lineman Brandon Washington. Washington, who played at Miami Northwestern is No. 2 overall.
"Brandon is in excellent shape and playing around 315 pounds right now," Milford coach Bill Chaplick said. "He's so mobile and very physical; he just wants to punish players out there. As good as Charles Deas was for us (No. 6 prep player last year), Washington is better."
Florida-bound safety Dee Finley – from Auburn (Ala.) High – also is at Milford and checks in at No. 6 overall.
"Dee is a terrific player," Chaplick said. "He's a big hitter, very good in run support, and he can cover a lot of ground. He and Jermaine Robinson (No. 14) are both going to be very good players."
Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy also boasts two players in the top 10. The first, wide receiver D.J. Coles (Virginia Tech commitment) impressed coach John Shuman right away.
"He's just such a big, physical receiver," said Shuman of the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Coles, from Goochland (Va.) High. "He can block very well downfield, he has good hands and is explosive. He's a handful for defensive backs."
South Carolina-bound defensive end Chaz Sutton, originally from Savannah (Ga.) Jenkins, checks in at No. 10.
"He's a Darryl Blackstock-kind of player," said Shuman, who coached Blackstock earlier this decade. "He's so athletic and quick; he could play down at times and stand up as a linebacker as well. He has SEC speed."
Beyond the top 10, there are many interesting prospects. Offensive lineman Daniel Campbell (No. 11) is a rare sign-and-place by USC, and defensive tackle Kyrhi Thornton (No. 16) is rumored to be a silent commitment to Florida State. Both are at Hargrave.
As for sleepers, check out defensive backs Jonathan Meeks (No. 18) and Jerome Swinton (No. 41) from Hargrave and Milford, respectively. Meeks, who hails from Rock Hill, S.C., has early offers from Florida and others and plays both cornerback and safety at 6-2 and 185 pounds. Swinton is on the opposite end of the spectrum. At only 5-6 and 143 pounds, he's one of the smallest players in prep school but plays much bigger. In fact, he has an offer from Michigan at cornerback, Chaplick said.
Overall, Hargrave leads the way with 28 players in the top 50, followed by Milford with 11 and Fork Union with nine. The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., and New Milford (Conn.) Canterbury have one player apiece.
Rivals.com will unveil its postseason prep school top 50 in January.