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September 8, 2009

OL tops prep rankings for second straight year

MORE: Rivals.com prep school top 50 for 2010 | 2010 Rivals100 | 2010 Rivals250

For the second consecutive year an offensive lineman is the top dog in the Rivals.com prep school rankings.

In the Class of 2009 it was Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy big man Bobby Massie who topped the rankings with his 6-foot-8, 335-pound frame. In the Class of 2010 it's former Rivals100 star Morgan Moses (6-7/347) from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. Moses leads the way in a strong class for offensive and defensive linemen in the prep rankings.

After a few years where running backs ruled the top of the prep school rankings - Miami's Graig Cooper out of New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy in 2007 and Ole Miss's Enrique Davis from Hargrave in 2008 - now it's Massie and Moses leading the big-man charge.

And for the first time since Rivals.com began separating prep and junior college rankings in 2005, Fork Union coach John Shuman boasts the top prospect in the country.

Hargrave coach Robert Prunty has had the top player in 2005 (Demonte Bolden), 2006 (Callahan Bright), 2008 (Davis) and 2009 (Massie), and Milford coach Bill Chaplick boasted the top prospect in 2007 (Cooper). Now Shuman is on the board.

"It makes sense because these things are cyclical, and Fork Union has been a great program along with Hargrave and Milford when it comes to producing college prospects over the years," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. "It's odd that his program's highest-ranked prospect over the years in our rankings has been outside the top five, but this year there's little doubt that Moses is the guy. He was in the national top 50 last year and a five-star prospect at one point and his upside is great. He's similar to Massie."

But unlike Massie, Moses enters his fifth year committed to Virginia and apparently solidly. However, with rumors already surrounding coach Al Groh following an opening loss to William & Mary, you can bet that many other schools will be recruiting Moses.

Two other offensive linemen crack the top five this year with Milford's massive tackle Malcolm Bunche checking in at No. 4 and Hargrave's Johnnie Farms at No. 5. Bunche, a 6-6, 325-pounder, is committed to Miami. Farms, a 6-1, 305-pounder, is committed to North Carolina.

"Bunche has as much upside as anyone," Farrell said. "He's going to work under Chaplick, who is a great offensive line coach and has produced some top linemen. Farms could end up as an offensive or defensive lineman, and under Prunty we know he'll develop being surrounded by so much talent and being coached up. Both guys could impact the ACC early."

Sandwiched between the big linemen are Milford wideout/safety Todd Thomas (6-2/205), a Rivals250 prospect last year who is headed to Pitt, and Hargrave receiver Deon Long (6-1/205), a four-star last year who is headed to West Virginia.

"Watch out for these guys in the Big East next season," Farrell said. "Each will be a year older, more mature and physically ready to have an impact. Thomas could play wideout or safety in college, and I think he's better at the latter because he loves to hit. Long will be a great addition to West Virginia's passing attack because he has size and can stretch the field."

Linemen David Mackall, a 6-3, 240-pound defensive end, and Tyson Chandler, a 6-6, 340-pound offensive tackle, conclude the big men in the top 10, checking in at No. 7 and No. 10, respectively. Each is attending Fork Union.

"Mackall is still learning the game, but he has tremendous upside as a pass rusher," Farrell said of the Maryland commitment. "Chandler is massive and can move, and few guys produce better offensive linemen than Tom O'Brien at N.C. State. Both will be guys we hear from in the ACC."

Three other skill-position players in the top 10 are Fork Union running back Adarus Bellamy (5-9/214, USF commitment), Milford athlete Travon Van (5-11/200, committed to Florida) and Hargrave wide receiver Sean Farr (6-2/180, committed to Louisville).

"Bellamy and Farr were both under-recruited coming out of high school, and you can expect some of the bigger programs to come after them despite their commitments," Farrell said. "And as far as Van is concerned, Florida did a great job of hiding him in high school. They loved him during, and after, his senior year and didn't want anyone else to know about him. Now he's already lighting it up in prep school."

Outside of the top 10 there are a few intriguing prospects who aren't committed to schools. Hargrave teammates Prince Kent, Alex Owah and Dan Polaski. They are all four-star prospects.

"Kent was committed to Miami, but now he's opened things up and plenty of schools will get involved," Farrell said of the 6-3, 200-pounder. "He's listed as a corner, but he'll be a safety in college. Owah was committed to Virginia but got into some trouble so now he's open. Polaski is in his second year at Hargrave and has great size and is very attractive to some schools as a right tackle. All three will be heavily recruited."

Other notables in the top 50 include Fork Union linebacker Lorne Goree, a Maryland commitment, Hargrave teammates Theron Norman and De'Antre Rhodes, who are both Virginia Tech commitments, and Hargrave running back Jerrell Rhodes, a North Carolina commitment.

"There's a lot of talent out there," Farrell said. "Just not as much high-end talent as there was last year or the few years before. But there are a lot of guys in this top 50 that will make an impact and some will surprise.

"More kids this year in the top 50 are uncommitted, which will make it interesting to follow. There won't be a dramatic deal like Massie last year most likely, but there will be a lot of smaller races down the stretch."



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