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Rivals Junior College Top 40: A look at the top 10 standouts

The initial Rivals Junior College Top 40 was released Wednesday. Here’s a look at the top 10 standouts in the rankings release.


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No. 1: Deion Smith  

Originally a Mississippi State commit, the Jackson (Miss.) Jackson Academy Rivals100 receiver flipped to LSU but then ended up going the junior college route and landed at Goodman (Miss.) Holmes CC.

His production has not fallen off, though, as the No. 1 prospect in the junior college ranking has 40 catches for 909 yards and nine touchdowns this season while averaging nearly 23 yards per catch.

A recent visit to Ole Miss could push the Rebels to the top, but others will be involved as well.


No. 2: Sione Laulea  

The rumor for a long time was that Penn State was the team to beat for Laulea but then that fell apart and Oregon was definitely right there the entire time, along with Miami, USC, Utah and others.

A long, 6-foot-4, 185-pound cornerback from San Mateo (Calif.) College of San Mateo, Laulea has 18 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss this season with no interceptions, mostly because no teams really throw his way.


No. 3: Antonio Alfano  

A five-star prospect in the 2019 class who signed with Alabama, Alfano did not have much success in Tuscaloosa and has dealt with some off-field issues before re-emerging at Scranton (Pa.) Lackawanna College.

A physical, tough bull of a defensive lineman, Alfano has played in five games this season with four sacks so far. His offer list has been blowing up in recent weeks but no clear favorites have emerged yet.


No. 4: Brien Taylor  

In six games this season at Brenham (Texas) Blinn CC, Taylor has 19 tackles and seven quarterback hurries. The 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive end might be the best-looking prospect in the entire junior college rankings and in recent days he’s said Georgia, Mississippi State, Florida and Tennessee are standing out most in his recruitment.


No. 5: Demond Demas  

A freak athlete and five-star receiver who signed with Texas A&M, Demas had off-field issues, left College Station and landed at Garden City (Kan.) Garden City CC. The plan from Demas is to take visits after his season, and in recent weeks he’s said Louisville, Purdue and others have gotten involved in his recruitment again.

He’s having a strong season at Garden City, leading the team with 27 catches for 324 yards and also one score.


No. 6: Jonah Miller  

A four-star offensive tackle outside of the Rivals250 in the 2021 class, Miller chose Oregon coming out of Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe, although USC and many others were pursuing him. When it didn’t work out in Eugene, Miller transferred to Santa Rosa (Calif.) Santa Rosa JC, and he’s since received offers from Boise State, Houston, NC State, UTSA, Nevada and Utah State.

Because he was injured this season, Miller will medically redshirt and the 6-foot-8, 285-pound offensive tackle will have three season to play at his next school.


No. 7: Raymond Collins  

Last season, Collins led Ellisville (Miss.) Jones College in tackles for loss and sacks and was fourth on the team with 46 stops. The Ole Miss commit who plays hard and hits with aggression is now the team leader in tackles with 45 through eight games and six sacks, along with being tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles.

Collins has the size and ability to be an immediate contributor in Oxford.


No. 8: Cedrick Beavers  

Another Ellisville (Miss.) Jones College standout who’s committed to Ole Miss, Beavers had 30 tackles, six pass breakups, a fumble recovery and an interception last season, and continues to perform well at defensive back.

Beavers has 27 tackles and a team-high three interceptions so far this season as Ole Miss beat Troy and others for his commitment.


No. 9: Jaden Hamlin  

After finishing with 32 tackles last season, the massive 6-foot-5, 300-pound prospect at Summit (Miss.) Southwest Mississippi CC has totaled 28 tackles (three for loss) with one sack and two fumble recoveries.

Originally from Lafayette (Ala.) Valley, Hamlin recently visited LSU and was blown away by the game-day experience in Death Valley. Georgia, Miami and Mississippi State remain in the running.


No. 10: Kemari Copeland  

A two-star linebacker in the 2021 class out of Virginia Beach (Va.) Kellam, who picked Army out of high school, Copeland has landed at Council Bluffs (Iowa) Iowa Western CC. He's grown into 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds since high school, and now has more than 30 offers to consider. In nine games this season, Copeland has 26 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.