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July 19, 2011

State rankings: Va., Ala., S.C., Tenn., and more

Preseason State Rankings:

The Commonwealth of Virginia is home to some of the top talent in the Mid-Atlantic region and coaches from across the country are competing for the commitments of several high-profile athletes near the top of the Virginia preseason top 30 ranking.

Virginia is home to a lot of elite linebacker talent and some versatile athletes that could play several positions, led by Midlothian's Joel Caleb.

While there are no five-star prospects in Virginia this early, there's plenty of star power near the top of the list. The top prospect in the state is Caleb, a 6-foot-2, 201-pound athlete from Midlothian. The nation's No. 3 athlete has offers from just about everyone and many believe he's Virginia Tech's to lose.

Eli Harold is another versatile athlete and he's holding down the No. 2 spot. Lean and athletic, Harold expects to play defensive end and he will be choosing between Virginia, Penn State and Florida on August 2, with the consensus being the Cavaliers are the heavy favorite.

Stanford has received a commitment from the state's No. 3 prospect, safety/cornerback Alex Carter. The nation's top inside linebacker is Kwontie Moore at No. 4 and he's heading to Virginia. The Hokies recently countered with a commitment from Deon Clarke, the second-best linebacker in the state and No. 5 overall.

Another linebacker, Trey Edmunds, is at No. 6 and he's uncommitted and rumored to be making a late summer decision. He's followed by Ken Ekanem, an athletic jumbo athlete that considering both in-state schools but also some other programs nationally. At No. 8 is Korren Kirven, the top defensive tackle in Virginia, and he has offers from all over the country and should be one of the most interesting prospects to watch from a recruiting standpoint.

Rounding out the top ten is Virginia Tech-bound running back J.C. Coleman at No. 9 and linebacker Devin Vandyke, another future Hokie.

It's not a great year for offensive linemen in the state, although BC-bound Win Homer (No. 11) and future Cavaliers Andre Miles-Redmond (No. 20) and Tyrell Chavis (No. 24) made the list.

UVa and Virginia Tech have locked down a good number of prospects in the state but there's still some talent to be had. In addition to those in the top ten already listed wide receiver Anthony Cooper (No. 12) is still on the board but he's expected to choose the Cavaliers on Tuesday.

Brenden Motley, the state's No. 21 prospect and a dual-threat passer, is the only quarterback to make the rankings.

The state rankings for Alabama, South Carolina, New York, West Virginia and Tennessee are also released today.

Dual-threat quarterback Jameis Winston is the top prospect in Alabama but he's followed closely by Daphne's T.J. Yeldon at No. 2, who is headed to Auburn. Defensive prospects have the next three spots locked down. Linebacker Kwon Alexander is No. 3 in the state and No. 77 overall nationally and Florida State-bound defensive end Chris Casher is holding down the No. 4 spot. Rounding out the top five is highly touted defensive tackle Justin Shanks, and there should be a heated recruiting battle for him.

Last year South Carolina was home to the nation's top prospect in Jadeveon Clowney. This year the Palmetto State has some impressive athletes but lacks a lot of high-end elite talent. The state's top prospect is wide receiver Shaq Roland, a future Gamecock. The No. 2 spot is held by Martin Aiken, a defensive end who is headed to rival Clemson. The Tigers also have a commitment from Ronald Geohaghan, South Carolina's No. 3 overall prospect in 2012.

Tennessee landed five prospects in the Rivals250, starting with running back Brian Kimbrow at No. 8. Kimbrow shocked the nation when he chose Vanderbilt recently. Wide receiver Drae Bowles gave the Volunteers a much-needed commitment this week and he's No. 2 followed by Auburn-bound running back Jovon Robinson at No. 3. Cleveland quarterback Chad Voytik, one of the South's best, and running back I'Tavius Mathers round out the top five.

New York has some solid talent in 2012 and the best is defensive tackle Jarron Jones of Rochester, who has earned the No. 67 overall ranking nationally.

West Virginia lacks high-end talent in this recruiting cycle. Cornerback Cody Carter gets the state's top spot followed by kicker Connor Kornbrath, who is committed to Iowa.

Rivals.com will release the remaining preseason state rankings for Florida, Colorado, Minnesota and Washington on Wednesday.



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