This might be the best group of players to come out of Oklahoma in five years.
That's a bold statement, but that's the feeling of many college coaches when they take a look at the Rivals.com preseason Oklahoma Top 20 for the class of 2006. Highlighted by five-star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the highest ranked player to come out of the state since Rivals.com started covering recruiting, it's definitely a bumper crop for one of the Midlands' best states.
"Gerald is one of the most complete packages you're going to find in the nation," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree said. "I've been following football recruiting in Oklahoma for around seven years now, and Gerald is the best I've seen. He just dominates in every phase of the game."
In any other year, Ardmore, Okla., four-star tight end Jermaine Gresham would be the slam dunk No. 1 player in the state. But Gresham, a tight end that will remind many of last year's top guy, Martellus Bennett, is ranked as the No. 2 player in the state.
Gresham, who is 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, has all of the play-making skills to take over a game.
"As both a coach and a player, I've come across some raw talents that were pretty amazing," Ardmore coach Mike Loyd said. "But there aren't many I've seen that are capable of doing as much in football as Jermaine is. Against anyone he lines up against, he's a mismatch."
Coming in at No. 3 is possibly the state's most forgotten superstar, Muskogee's Derek Burton
The two-way lineman has many different opinions about where he projects at the college level, but most who have had a long look at him feel he's a got a very bright future as a well balanced defensive end who could continue to add to his 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame. He's long, athletic and seems to be still be growing into his body. Most coaches seem to envision him at a mauling defensive end of roughly 265 pounds.
With offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and his most recent offer from SEC powerhouse Tennessee it's easy to see why Burton is considered among the state's top players.
Ranking the players from four through 10 was a difficult task because there are prospects that are all about even in their top-level talent.
Rivals.com pegged Oklahoma City Putnam City North quarterback and Oklahoma commitment Sam Bradford at the No. 4 spot in the state. The Sooners have a good track record for evaluating quarterbacks and Bradford, who also had offers from Texas A&M and Texas Tech, emerged after a solid junior season and an even better spring where he wowed many college coaches in practices.
"He's better as a pure quarterback than Jason White was at his age," said one college assistant coach.
Midwest City, Okla., defensive back LaRon Moore came in at No. 5, just ahead of Tulsa Union defensive back Dominique Franks, Union defensive end Chase Nelson, Oklahoma City Northeast athlete George West and Ada, Okla., offensive lineman Chad Roark.