N.C. talent attracts top programs again
The state of North Carolina will once again be raided from ACC, SEC and other BCS conference teams from outside the state. The reason? The talent in the state seems to get deeper and deeper each year. While this year isn't as strong overall as 2007, there is still plenty of top-level talent. Led by athlete Brandon Barnes from Bunn, N.C., potential defensive backs dominate the Rivals.com North Carolina top 30.
Barnes, the only five-star prospect in the state, could play running back or wide receiver in college. However, many feel that his best position could be cornerback and he's not resistant to playing defense. The 6-foot-0, 185-pounder lists Auburn, Clemson, Florida, NC State, Michigan and Virginia Tech as his leaders but it could be hard to pull him away from the Wolfpack.
Other potential defensive backs in the top 10 include Matthews (N.C.) Butler teammates Robert Blanton, Spencer Adams and Eddie Whitley, who all rank amongst the top 11. Blanton (No. 3) will likely play cornerback at Notre Dame, where he's expected to commit on Wednesday. Adams and Whitley are both safeties at the next level and have long lists. Adams (No. 4) likes Clemson, Florida, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, NC State and Virginia Tech while Whitley (No. 11) favors NC State and Virginia Tech.
Makiri Pugh and Adrian Jones are also speedy defensive backs at the next level. Pugh, from Charlotte (N.C.) Independence, will be a lockdown cornerback for Georgia while Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County stud Jones is wide open.
The linebacker position is also well represented in North Carolina for 2008. Led by 'backer Terrell Manning, a strong NC State lean, there are five linebackers ranked in the state's top 20. Manning, who plays with Jones at Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County, is joined by linebackers Reggie Bowens, Austin Johnson, Kevin Reddick and Dwayne Maddox. Athlete E.J. Abrams-Ward from Thomasville, N.C. could also be a linebacker down the line.
Other notables in the top 10 include Fayetteville (N.C.) Terry Sanford tight end Dwayne Allen, a Georgia commitment, Kinston, N.C. defensive end Quinton Coples, who is considering Clemson, Florida, FSU, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, Tennessee and others, and Concord (N.C.) Robinson offensive tackle R.J. Mattes, a lean to Clemson.
Georgia leads the way with two commitments out of the top 30 while Tennessee and Virginia Tech are out-of-state programs who also have highly-rated commitments.