EACH YEAR ABOUT this time I work on evaluating and ranking the top state football prospects.
It’s a process that involves gathering data, watching film, talking to coaches and visiting camps and combines.
By the end of June, all of those things have been done, the evaluations are complete, and then comes the hardest part — ranking the players through 100.
The top 25 is usually done before spring. I use a star ranking, though it is slightly different than the ones used by Rivals.com, and I don’t list the players’ star ranking with them.
A five-star athlete in my ranking is a freak. Those players should be considered by most recruiting authorities to be one of the top 25 players in the country at their position.
There are going to be years a state might not have a five-star prospect.
A four-star guys would be in the top 100-125 nationally. These players should have numerous scholarship offers or are projected to have an immediate impact in college.
Three-stars are elite prospects who should rank near the top of their respective states and have a number of scholarship offers, or have the potential to have a number of offers. They are not considered to be national recruits who deserve to be in the national top 100 range.
Two-star players are guys who are getting college attention or have the potential to get that attention. They are not considered to be instant impact players.
All of the athletes that are ranked in SCVarsity’s Top 100 are at least two-star athletes. The majority of them are at least three-star players.
This week, I will begin to unveil the top half of the class of 2014 top 100, or the “Winter Top 50.”
Deep at quarterback
The QB1 Quarterback Rankings that were released last week indicate this could be one of the strongest quarterback cycles, maybe the strongest, in state history. There are 20 quarterbacks in the Top 120 players on my current list, with several more to be evaluated. Three of them have Division I offers.
Atop that list is Stratford’s Jacob Park. He has offers from Auburn, North Carolina, N.C. State, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech, but no offers from Clemson or USC.
He’s a big, strong dual-threat quarterback in the body of a pro-style passer.
Northwestern’s Mason Rudolph is another who has national attention. With offers from LSU and Virginia Tech, Rudolph has all of the ability that former Trojan quarterback Justin Worley, now at Tennessee, had, but is more mobile. He’s got a strong arm, good feet, and is a cerebral player.
Defense rules rankings
Leading the pack for the defense are linebackers and defensive linemen.
Defensive recruiting discussions begin with Spring Valley linebacker Christian Miller, who committed to Florida last month.
Behind Miller is Saluda defensive tackle Dexter Wideman, Bamberg-Ehrhardt’s Kevin Crosby, and South Pointe defensive tackle Zeke Rodney.