Published March 10, 2011 - 5:58am
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With the 2011 class out of the way, it’s already time to take a look at the next crop of high school talent that will force many grown men to become enthralled with 17-year-old kids.
Most of the players we watch every Saturday in the fall come from our own backyards. And since most of the talent in the SEC is homegrown, we’re taking an early look at the top 100 southeastern prospects in the 2012 class. We’ve already taken a look at the guys from Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, so go check those out if you missed them.
In this edition, take a look at some of the elite guys in Georgia, a state that’s constantly near the top of the talent-producing states in the south. Because of the amount of talent coming from the Peach State last year, UGA coach Mark Richt dubbed his haul of the top in-state talent the “dream team,” and this year’s crop seems to be every bit as talented as that one was.
Vadal Alexander might be one of the top offensive linemen in the south. He’s a 6-6/310 pound offensive tackle with offers from schools like Auburn, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Georgia, and plenty of other SEC powers. There’s not much doubt out there about his ability to guard the blind side.
Way back in October 2010, Dakota Ball gave his verbal pledge to the Crimson Tide, and the Georgia product has been firm with that decision. He’s decided not to take any visits to other schools, so Tide fans can be sure the big DT will be wearing the crimson on Saturdays for the next few years.
Coming from Carver High School, the same high school that sent Isaiah Crowell to the Bulldogs, Deion Bonner is a guy that UGA fans should be pretty interested in. He’s a quick DB with offers from Clemson, Florida State, South Carolina, and Georgia, and the home-state Bulldogs are probably out in front right now.
Valdosta’s Josh Clemons is the kind of kid that can find his niche at plenty of different positions at the next level. Last year, he played both receiver and linebacker for his school, but he’ll be making the switch to quarterback for his senior season. His athletic ability that allows him to play all those positions is a big reason he’s been offered by some of the best schools in the south. He was all-state in Georgia’s highest classification last year.
Kenyan Drake is another early commitment to Alabama from the Peach State. He’s a smart, high-character type of kid with a lot of talent. With his combination of size and speed, he should be a pretty handy compliment to Alabama’s stable of running backs.
Leonard Floyd is already leaning to the home-state Bulldogs. Head coach Mark Richt has let the two-way player know that he’ll have a chance to make a difference on the offensive side of the ball, and that’s where the 6-4/215lb athlete prefers to play.
After a junior year that saw Jordan Jenkins come up with 65 tackles and 9 sacks from the defensive end position, his name has become a hot one in a lot of SEC recruiting offices. He’s a pass rush specialist with the talent to make an early difference at the college he chooses.
Jarontay Jones is one of the best players on a loaded Stephenson High School team from Stone Mountain, GA. The rising senior was an all-state selection in Georgia’s highest classification after his 13 sacks last season.
After a junior season that saw him throw for almost 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns, Greyson Lambert’s recruitment is really taking off. The 6-5/195lb signal caller already has offers from Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia, but more SEC powers are likely going to follow their lead.
Despite his older brother, Dallas, being a current player on UGA’s roster, two-way star Dillon Lee isn’t favoring the Bulldogs at this point. In fact, he doesn’t even have an offer from the home-state team. But don’t get the idea that he can’t play. He has offers from schools like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, USC, Florida State, and Tennessee, so there’s no denying his talent.
Georgia and Alabama are leading for the services of TE Ricky Parks from Hogansville, GA. The 6-3/215lb athlete plays quarterback for Callaway High School, but with his great size, his future is at tight end.
After getting eight interceptions as a junior, Geno Smith is undeniably one of the top defensive backs in the country, and he might be one of the most craved recruits in the entire south. The kid has well over 25 offers, but Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee are his early leaders.
Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, and Tennessee are just a handful of the schools lining up for the signature of big DT Jonathan Taylor. Because of his talent and his 3.8 GPA, the 6-4/315lb monster is already recognized as one of the best defensive linemen in the south. He’ll be pretty selective when he chooses a school, because he’ll be looking to play with his current D-line partner and best friend James Deloach. Deloach claims offers from many of the same schools as his buddy, and the two plan to remain together to form devastating combination at the next level.
As good as the 6-3/270lb defensive end is at football, Dalvin Tomlinson might be a little better at another sport. He’s a Georgia state champion in wrestling, and the skills he’s honed on the mat give him a great boost on the football field
Jordan Watkins is as good in the classroom as he is on the field. The 6-5/260lb defensive end sports a 3.7 core GPA, and his combination of athleticism and brains is a big reason for his 30+ scholarship offers from around the country.
JaQuay Williams is the lone true wide receiver on this list, and he’s a good one. The 6-2 prospect has offers from all over the nation, so he really has his pick of where to play college ball. Even though he grew up in the south, for same crazy reason, his childhood favorites were the Ohio State Buckeyes. They’ve offered, so that could be pretty tempting for him. However, if he remains in the SEC, he’ll be a lot of fun to watch.
A key part to a Georgia high school state championship last year, Quinteze Williams is a top defensive lineman in the south. He’s already 6-4 and around 300lbs, and schools like Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Tennessee have taken note.
If you are a fan of an SEC team, there’s a good chance you’re going to grow to love watching at least one of these guys over the next four years. In Georgia, the talent is deep and that makes the future bright for Saturdays down here in the south.
Be sure to check in over the next couple of days for the last look at the top 2012 talent in the south. You don’t want to miss a look at the top guys from Florida, the state that is always right at the top of the list of talent-producing states.