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June 18, 2010

Ohio, Ga., N.C. highlight state ranking releases

Preseason State Rankings:

Doran Grant is not satisfied. Not for himself, and not for his fellow Ohio prospects.

The Akron St. Vincent-St Mary star is the state's top prospect, the No. 1 cornerback in the nation and the 23rd-ranked prospect nationally.

"I noticed that none of the Ohio guys got a five-star ranking," Grant said. "So we are going to go out and show what we can do on the field."

Though no Ohioan earned a fifth star in the initial Class of 2011 rankings, Grant and Centerville's Michael Bennett are well within striking distance. They lead a deep group of Ohio prospects.

The class of 2010 in the Buckeye State had 14 four-star prospects. Thirteen players have already been assigned four stars this year. Additionally, there are more prospects right on the four-star border this year. More than 30 players in the state are rated 5.7 (high three-star) or above. Last year, the final set of rankings had just 29.

Grant says he doesn't feel any pressure leading such a deep group in Ohio.

"It simply shows I have to keep doing what I am doing, and work to get better," Grant said. "Especially in a strong class with guys like Kenny Hayes, Michael Bennett, Steve Miller, Braxton Miller, Trey DePriest and so on. Those are all nationally recruited guys. Being in the No. 1 spot just turns up the heat hopefully we can all show what Ohio has to offer."

Grant's efforts on the camp circuit prove he is never satisfied. After an MVP performance at the State College NIKE camp, Grant wrapped up the school year and joined the Raw Talent tour for a summer packed with camps.

"We first camped at North Carolina," Grant said. "I had good conversations with the coaches there, including Coach [Butch] Davis. I did well at the West Virginia camp. Cincinnati was the best camp I have been to so far. I was really impressed with Coach [Kerry] Coombs. He is a really good coach. Coach [Butch] Jones is cool."

Grant said he will fly out to California on the 18th and hit the Bears' camp. Then, he will participate in 7-on-7 events at USC and UCLA.

"I am using these camps as unofficial visit opportunities," Grant said. "I have been sitting down with the coaches and seeing what they have to offer. After the summer camps, I will weed out a top five or six and figure out which programs I want to officially visit this fall. I will probably have a top five or six by August."

As expected, Ohio State is rebounding in a big way on the recruiting front. After missing on some key targets down the stretch in 2010, and watching a few top Ohio prospects head out-of-state, the Buckeyes have done very well in 2011.

Ohio State has offered nine of the 13 four-star prospects in Ohio. Five of those nine offers have been accepted. Uncommitted prospects Grant and TE Nick Vannett have a national list of offers, but Ohio State has as good a chance as any school. Aundrey Walker is a Glenville product, which historically equals a late Buckeye commitment. Trey DePriest has Ohio State in his top four, but appears to be the most likely to leave the state. Alabama, Florida, and LSU round out DePriest's school list.

Indecision in Georgia

The Peach State's top five prospects have yet to make a commitment. Thomasville defensive end Ray Drew, the nation's 15th best recruit and No. 2 weakside defensive end, leads the way in Georgia. RB Isaiah Crowell is not far behind in the national rankings, at No. 17.

TE Jay Rome, ATH Damian Swann, and DE Stephon Tuitt round out the top five in Georgia. All are among the top 60 prospects in the Rivals100.

Though there is tremendous talent at the top, the 2011 class in Georgia may not match the depth of 2010. A year ago, 30 Peach State prospects were rated four-stars or better.

Georgia has 16 four-star prospects as of now, and just five have made commitments. Mark Richt's home-state Bulldogs have four of those commitments, led by Rivals100 prospect Sterling Bailey.

North Carolina's best again among nation's elite

Last season, Keenan Allen and Robert Crisp were five-star prospects from North Carolina. Each was ranked among the top 13 prospects in the 2010 Rivals100.

Crisp's ranking at No. 13 overall is the highest mark for North Carolina's No. 2 prospect in Rivals.com history, besting Dwight Jones at 22 in the 2007 Rivals100 (Chris Culliver was number one at number 19 overall in '07).

This season, Stephone Anthony (No. 20 in the Rivals100) and Jeoffrey Pagan (No. 25) give North Carolina two top-25 prospects for the third time. Butler High School athlete Kris Frost has a chance to make 2011 a historic year in North Carolina. He currently is ranked third in the state, and is just outside the top 25 (No. 27).

New Mexico dominates Rocky Mountain rankings

New Mexico has never had a Rivals100 prospect, nor a year with more than one player rated a mid three-star prospect (5.6) or better. That is going to change in the class of 2011.

Notre Dame commitment Matthew Hegarty is the highest ranked New Mexico prospect in Rivals.com history. Hegarty is the 32nd best prospect overall, and the No. 5 offensive tackle. DT Matthew Ramondo and RB Ronnie Daniels are both mid-three star prospects, giving the Land of Enchantment unprecedented depth in 2011.

In other region news, Oklahoma has a commitment from South Dakota's top prospect - offensive tackle Derek Farniok. The 6-foot-9, 319-pound prospects others offers include Kansas, Minnesota, UCLA, and Wisconsin.



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