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March 4, 2007

JB's Class of 2008 Stock Report

JB's Stock Report: Since 1997, SCVarsity.com has provided South Carolina football and recruiting fans with the best recruiting information anywhere. JB's Stock Report is not a prediction of the upcoming recruiting class, but rather a list of players that are getting serious attention - some in the form of offers. As the players become hot "commodities" among the recruiting circles, they will be added to the Stock Report.

Signing day is in the rearview mirror and the time is upon us to pull up the sleeves and get to work on Recruiting - 2008. The signing class from South Carolina was absolutely phenomenal, with more than 45 players signing with DI schools and well over 100 kids inking the line to play football at some level in college. Well, buckle your seatbelts folks, because the Class of 2008 is going to be just as exciting!

Cream of the Crop:
Ok, I always start this off by looking at the cream of the crop - the best players/prospects in the state regardless of position. At first glance, this class doesn't appear to be as deep as the 2007 class, but is every bit as strong - if not stronger - on the surface.

Summerville wide receiver A.J. Green(6-4, 190) is going to be considered one of the top prospects nationally and for very good reason. This 6-4 athlete is gifted with abilities that enable him to do things on the field that defy description. Green runs very good routes and understands how to get leverage on the defensive backs. He's got soft hands and positions himself well in contested receptions. Best of all, the kid has incredible vertical ability and will rarely - if ever - lose the jump ball. Athletically, he runs smooth, has great hips, and very good control of his body. He's committed to UGA and says he's firm with the Bulldogs. That said, the recent heavy interest in Green-the-basketball-player could make things interesting when recruiting season starts warming up. He has a chance at being the top rated prospect in the country.

Bamberg-Erhardt defensive end DaQuan Bowers (6-4, 225) is definitely one of the nation's top players at his position. He has a 395-pound bench press max and a 595-pound squat. This season, he led his team in nearly every defensive category including tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. He was a consensus Class 2A All-State selection. Bowers has committed to Clemson

AC Flora OL Kenneth Page (6-5, 270) has seen his stock soar through the roof recently after solid performances at the All-American combine and his film making its way to recruiters. He currrently has nine major DI offers on the table. He is a definite Top Five in the SCVarsity.com Class of 2008 rankings.

Myrtle Beach linebacker Bruce Taylor (6-3, 230) is going to be a Top Ten in SC and is probably the top LB in the state, though I believe that we have at least three LB's that are all around the same caliber. Bruce doesn't jump out at you in a game and doesn't make the big unforgettable plays, but he does make plays every down. He's consistent and rarely out of position. He is committed to Virginia Tech, though I wouldn't be surprised to see that open up if some other big dogs come sniffing around the Seahawk nest.

Fort Dorchester linebacker Robert Quinn(6-4, 250) is a guy that is going to play defensive end at the next level, though he has said that whoever likes him at linebacker has an edge. He's very athletic and packs a powerful punch.

High Stock Players
These are the guys that are high caliber, DI prospects, but not necessarily challenging for the Top Five Players List. All of these are capable of coming into Top Ten status for the state.



Cheraw defensive back Jaron Brown (6-3, 190) has been one that we've been watching since his sophomore season. He's got very good speed and is a solid, cerebral player on the defensive side of the ball. He doubles as a wide receiver for the Braves and has good hands, but very raw on his route running. He is dangerous in open space with the ball.

J.L. Mann defensive backJ.T. Floyd (5-11, 180) is a kid that had offers early after attending camps during Spring and Summer of his sophomore year. He's got good coverage skills as a corner, can play pad level like a strong safety, and is dangerous on the offensive side of the ball, as well. He's just a very solid athlete. He's committed to Tennessee.

Chester's Charles Whitlock (5-11, 170) has not been locked down into any position because of the value he brings his team in so many positions. He's played quarterback, wide receiver, running back, and lines up on defense. More than likely, he's going to be on the defensive side of the ball. He has offers from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia Tech, LSU, Alabama, and Marshall. Passed for 1,600 yards and rushed for 800 yards, scoring 26 touchdowns totaled in 2006 as a junior. He's been clocked at a sub 4.5 40.

Pelion offensive tackle Dalton Freeman(6-6, 270) is a guy that has seen his stock rise this Spring. He has an impressive offer list from Clemson, Colorado, Duke, Ga Tech, Maryland, NC State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest. The big man has quick feet and holds his blocks well. He's been clocked at 5.0 in the 40.

Union defensive tackle Sam Hammond (6-4, 290) has but one offer - from Clemson - but the big guy is definitely on the list of top prospects from the state. He's powerful and has good speed. He should see more offers during the May evaluation period.

Loris linebacker Jonathan Willard(6-2, 205) had 130 tackles 14 for loss with 2 sacks in 2006. He's got a high rating from recruiters and has picked up offers from Clemson, North Carolina, and Tennessee. He is going to see his stock continue to go up as we get into the evaluation period this Spring.

Fast Risers

These guys are already on the boards and will see some activity with their stocks this Spring and Summer.

Summerville quarterback Reid McCollum (6-3, 190) passed for close to 3000 yards and 25 touchdowns this past season. He's got the nation's top wide receiver (A.J. Green) to throw to, which is going to help him out. He looked strong at Nike Camp last year in Athens. He's got a strong arm and is a cerebral player. Will see some offers very soon.

Newberry defensive tackle Kentrell Davis (6-4, 295) is about to see his stock explode. The big trenchman has a quick first step and has been clocked with a 4.9 40 and has a 30 inch vertical jump, displaying incredible athleticism for a big man. He's got offers from South Carolina and Clemson, but this guy is going to rapidly move up the chart during the May evaluation period - or sooner.

Greenwood quarterback Jay Spearman (6-1, 190) is one of the fastest athletes in the class, with 4.4 speed. He's a dual threat quarterback that could shift to another position at the next level. This past season, he passing for 1,108 yards last season with seven touchdowns, while rushing for 1,111 yards and 17 scores. You can view his film on SCVarsity.com's Varsity Underground message board. He's another one that is going to see a lot of activity with his stock this Spring.

Aynor offensive lineman T.J. Johnson (6-4,285) is a guy that we highlighted during our media days last season and he is going to see his stock rise fast this coming season. The big man is strong in the weight room with a 325 bench and 450 squat, and has been clocked at 5.2 in the 40. He's got offers from Maryland, Vanderbilt, and Troy, and is getting interest from the in-state schools.

Blythewood has two players that we feel will attract more offers this Spring - quarterback Richard Mounce (6-0, 190) and wide receiver Marquan Jones (5-11, 170). Mounce is a dual threat quarterback who led the Bengals to the AAA state title this past season. He is a Clemson commitment in baseball, but the recent interest in his football abilities is going to open things up on his recruiting. Jones, one of the most dangerous scoring threats in the state in open space is verbally committed to Clemson and has an offer from South Carolina.

Sleeper Stocks

This is a group that have very little activity right now in terms of offers, but have the potential to see that change during the evaluation period. We expect these guys to field offers after the recruiters see them this Spring and Summer.

Marlboro County offensive linemanJaquan Ridges (6-5, 270) is going to be high in the state rankings when the SCVarsity.com Class of 2008 rankings are released. He may be the best kept secret in the state.

Abbeville running back Toquavius Gilchrist(6-1, 205) is the best at his position in the state and is going to see a lot of activity on his stock this year. Like Ridges, he's going to be high on the rankings list for the state.

Richland Northeast linebacker Chaz Washinton (6-2, 185) passes the eyeball test with flying colors. He's big, strong, and fast with no question. He is, however, young at his position with only one year as a starter; he will see his stock go up and is generating a lot of interest.

Byrnes wide receiver Randall Hawkins (6-1, 180) has one offer on the table from Wake Forest, but he's going to see a lot more activity as the Spring and Summer heat up. Like Gilchrist and Ridges, he's going to be high on the SC rankings when they are released.

Hanahan quarterback John Carnell (6-2, 210) may be the most underrated player in the state. He's got a live arm, throws the deep ball and mid-range passes well, and has two years of experience under his belt as the starter for the Hawks. He finished the 2006 season completing 55% of his passes for 2,973 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Irmo defensive back Yari King (5-9, 170) has been on our watch list since showing his abilities during his sophomore season. He's got good coverage skills, excellent speed, and good hips. He's getting interest from several schools right now, including South Carolina.

Byrnes defensive lineman Everett Dawkins(6-2, 250) has offers on the table from Maryland and Wake Forest and is going to see a lot more activity before all is said and done. We feel he is at least a top fifteen prospect in the state and is one of the better defensive players in the SC Class of 2008.

Strom Thurmond quarterback Aramis Hillary (6-3, 208) is one of the top athletes in the state. He passed fore more than 1,600 yards and 11 scores this past season and rushed for more than 600 yards and 9 more scores. The colleges certainly can't use "size" as an excuse on this Hillary.

Myrtle Beach linebacker Evan Rose (6-2, 205) is another Seahawk linebacker that is going to attract attention. He's strong and fast and makes big plays. He's got impressive film but will need to work on making the plays more consistently to increase his stock. Extremely hard hitter.

Greenville defensive lineman Arterio Arnold (6-2, 270) is a fast (4.9) lineman with a big upside. He finished 2006 with 120 tackles and collected 11 sacks for the Red Raiders. He has one offer on the table from Kentucky, but more will follow.

T.L. Hanna quarterback Tyler Brennan (6-3, 195) threw for 1,600 yards last season with 15 scores. He's got a big frame and a strong arm. He has no offers on the table but has several schools expressing interest. A good showing this Spring and a solid season will help his stock.

More to watch:

Andre Ellington, RB, Berkeley
Simpson Miller, RB, Chesterfield
Patrick Jenkins, WR, Loris
Andrew Ellis, QB, Myrtle Beach
J.J. Booker, RB, Blue Ridge
Josh Harris, RB/DB, Batesburg-Leesville
Robert Burnett, DB, Beaufort
Brandon Isaac, DB, Wagener Salley
Eddie Jones, WR, Myrtle Beach
Gene McCaskill, WR, Chester
Justin Lewis, OL, Johnsonville
Marcus Green, OL, Ridge Springs-Monetta
Scott McNichols OL, Byrnes
Cartier Rice, DB, Byrnes
Brandon Mathis, LB, Beaufort
Grant McClinton, LB, Spring Valley
Donte Rumph, DL, Calhoun County
Tony Curtis, WR, Greenville
Justin Conaway, DE, Ridge Spring-Monetta
Dyrell Porcha, DL, Carvers Bay
Jordan Gary, TE/DE, Greenwood
Terrell Springs, Ath, Chester
Marquise Duncan, WR, Woodruff
Patrick Jenkins, WR, Loris
Gene McAskil, WR, Chester
Ricco Sanders, WR, Byrnes
Anthony Fontville, RB, South Florence
Zack Mendenhal, LB, Lexington

Special Teams/Kickers:
David Behr, K, Summerville
Spencer Benton, K, Myrtle Beach
Jimmy Howell, P, West Florence

JB's Stock Report is written by SCVarsity.com publisher Jim Baxter. JB has been on top of high school football for more than two decades. His has written recruiting articles for various publications over the past nine years, including The Deep South Recruiting Guide. He is the founder and publisher of SCVarsity.com and publishes The SCVarsity News & Recruiting Report, a monthly newspaper covering high school sports and recruiting in South Carolina. His game-of-the-week previews and evaluations can be heard state-wide during football season on Sports Talk on the South Carolina News Network and he co-hosts The South Carolina High School Scoreboard Show, also heard state-wide on Friday nights during football season. He has been the co-host for the Weekend of Champions state-wide broadcast for the past four seasons and a sideline analyst and color commentator for the SCADA North-South All-Star Football Game.

To contact JB, simply email jb@rivals.com or call him on the Varsity Hotline at 803-414-3747.



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