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Preseason State Rankings:
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Last year, the top of the Pennsylvania state rankings was dominated by players from the western part of the state. The group was led by Terrelle Pryor, Jonathan Baldwin, Lucas Nix and others.
This year the rankings are a bit more balanced, although another western Pennsylvania star - Monroeville Gateway linebacker Dorian Bell - leads the way again.
Bell, a 6-foot, 226-pounder already committed to Ohio State, is the lone five-star prospect in Pennsylvania. He's joined near the top of the Preseason Pennsylvania Top 40 by teammate Corey Brown - a 6-foot, 180-pound athlete also headed to the Buckeyes. Brown checks in at No. 4 in the state. One other prospect from Gateway, offensive lineman Colin Rodkey, is at No. 21.
The eastern part of the state is well-represented at the top, led by Springfield Cardinal O'Hara quarterback Tom Savage, Philadelphia Northeast wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes and West Scranton offensive tackle Eric Shrive; they check in at Nos. 2, 3 and 5, respectively. All three are in the Rivals100 - along with Bell and Brown - and each already has made a commitment. Savage, a 6-4, 217-pounder with a strong arm, chose Rutgers. Stokes, a 6-1, 178-pounder, is headed to Tennessee. Shrive, a 6-7, 285-pounder, is the only top-five player staying in state; he has committed to Penn State.
Two other Pennsylvania stars are in the Rivals250. Beaver Falls wide receiver Todd Thomas and Harrisburg Central Dauphin defensive end Jack Lippert rank sixth and seventh, respectively. Lippert has committed to Pitt, and Thomas could join him by midseason.
Rounding out the top 10 are three prospects from the western part of the state: Pittsburgh Penn Hills linebacker Dan Mason, Jeannette athlete Jordan Hall and Homestead Steel Valley defensive tackle Tyrone Ezell. Hall has committed to Ohio State, but neither Mason nor Ezell has made a college choice.
Nine offensive linemen made the top 40. In addition to Shrive and Rodkey, Edensburg Bishop Carroll guard Steve Greene is joined at his position by Aliquippa standout Juantez Hollins and Statesboro Lakeview's Cory King. At tackle, Philadelphia St. Joseph's Mark Arcidiacono, West Mifflin's Adam Gress, Camp Hill Trinity's Nick Kindler and Jefferson Hills Thomas Jefferson's Pat Eger made the cut. Hollins and King will be suiting up for Pitt next year, while Arcidiacono and Gress committed to Penn State. Eger is a West Virginia commitment.
Penn State and Pitt hold three commitments from players in the top 40, with each having one four-star prospect (Lippert for Pitt and Shrive for Penn State). Some out-of-state programs also have done quite well. In addition to Savage, Rutgers has a commitment from defensive back Abdul Smith of Pennsburg Perkiomen School, tight end Paul Carrezola of Langhorne Neshimany and defensive end Jordan Hill of Steelton Highspire. Smith is No. 11 in the state, with Carrezola at No. 15 and Hill at No. 38.
Other committed players of note include Cranberry Seneca Valley quarterback C.J. Brown, a Maryland commitment who ranks 14th, and Philadelphia William Penn Charter defensive end Justin Renfrow, a Virginia commitment ranked 20th.
Finally, if you're looking for a few players who could make a big move in the rankings by the end of the season, consider Milton Hershey School defensive end Garry Gilliam, Aliquippa defensive back Patrick Terry and Pittsburgh Allderdice defensive end Will Clarke. All have emerged on the recruiting scene a bit later than others, and more film and in-person evaluations are required.