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July 23, 2004

Florida top 100 highlights latest state rankings

The last of the Big Three is complete, as Rivals.com releases the Florida top 100. The Sunshine State has always produced hordes of talented players who have taken their skills to the next level, and the class of 2005 is full of difference makers, too.

Leading off the list is Miami Carol City safety Kenneth Phillips. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is being courted by all of the nation's top teams. However, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami and N.C. State currently rank as his top five.

"The college coaches have been conscious of him since his sophomore year," Carol City coach Walt Frazier said.

"He's far beyond his age when it comes to his maturity. He acts like he is 29 with everything he says and he does. He's a good leader. His overall dominance makes kids gravitate to him. He's selective in the things that he does off the field, and that makes all the other kids want to pattern themselves after him."

Behind Phillips is game-breaking receiver Fred Rouse of Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln.

"He has explosion," Lincoln coach David Wilson said. "He has electricity about him when he touches the ball."

The nation's No. 1 running back Maurice Wells of Jacksonville Sandalwood is the state's No. 3 player, followed by Orlando Edgewater offensive lineman Matt Hardrick and Pahokee running back Antone Smith.

The Florida Gators have struck it rich early in the state rankings with six of their commitments making the top 100 list. The Gator's top commitment to this point is Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland defensive back Avery Atkins, but there have been some rumblings as to how solid his pledge is to UF.

Miami Killian defensive back Demetrice Morley of Miami Killian is the Gator's next best recruit at No. 14 on the list. The Gators also have a pledge from arguably the top quarterback in the state, Jonathan Garner also from Daytona Beach Mainland.

Miami has two pledges on the top 100 - from cornerback Bruce Johnson and safety Randy Phillips - while Florida State is yet to snag a commitment from the list but the Noles always close late.

In Arizona there is a new recruiting dynamic. The battles between Arizona and Arizona State have always been intense, but they're about to be kicked up to another notch now that Mike Stoops is patrolling the sidelines in Tucson.

With two blue-chip recruits - defensive tackle Ekom Udofia and running back Terry Longbons - leading off the Arizona Top 15, it should definitely be an interesting battle inside the state borders this recruiting class.

Udofia is the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle. Standing at 6-1 and 288 pounds, Udofia is explosive off the line of scrimmage and has the strength to battle off would be blockers.

"Ekom is a big, strong kid who is all muscle," Chaparral coach Ron Estabrook said. "He is as a solid as a rock. Besides being so strong, Ekom moves so well for young man his size. Ekom runs a legit five-flat right now. We expect him to be under five-flat before the season. Believe it or not, Ekom is still developing and improving. "

Arizona's No. 2 player is Peoria Centennial running back Longbons, who is 5-11 and 211 pounds. Longbons currently lists ASU and UofA as his top two teams, but Colorado, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oregon and Stanford are also involved.

Nebraska is the lone team to snag a commitment from a top player in Arizona. Glendale Mountain Ridge linebacker Nick Covey, who looked amazing at the San Diego NIKE Training Camp, committed to the Huskers.

The West Virginia Top 5 probably should be named the Mountaineer top five. That's because WVU has already sealed the state borders and landed three of top five players in the ranking, including the top two players quarterback Nate Sowers of Martinsburg and Ryan Dawson of Parkersburg South.

Sowers, who is 6-1 and 195 pounds, is the perfect dual-threat quarterback for WVU's diverse offensive attack.

"He's got all the tools," Martinsburg coach David Walker said. "He has an excellent arm. He throws the football extremely well. He's got great speed. I think he's going to make a fantastic player at the next level."


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