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Thursday: Midwest State Rankings
For a few years, Kenny Bigelow has been one of the top players in the region. His status as a five-star was never in question, and inthe final rankings the five-star defensive tackle from Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy he is the top player in the Maryland Top 40. Bigelow, who is already enrolled at USC, is physical, strong, plays with a low pad level and is explosive.
Maryland coach Randy Edsall did a nice job in state, securing commitments from seven of the 40 players in the rankings, led by No.11 Shane Cockerille of The Gilman School in Baltimore.
Connnecticut had the most commitments of the 20 players from the New England Top 20, with receiver Noel Thomas of St. Lukes High (New Canaan,Conn.) being the highest rated of the six on the list.
Two of the top linemen in the region are in Massachusetts, and they are on both sides of the ball. Everett (Mass.) High four-star offensive guard John Montelus, a Notre Dame commit, is the top-rated player and is a road-grader type of blocker who locks onto a player and buries him. On the defensive side, Westwood (Mass.) Xaverian Brothers High four-star defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr., a Michigan commit, is No. 2 in New England. He is quick, plays with a strong base and is physical.
Wayne (N.J.) Hills quarterback Kevin Olsen missed much of the season with a leg injury, but the Miami commit finished the season as the No. 1 player in the New Jersey Top 40. He throws a tight spiral, has a strong arm and is the third member of his family to head to a Division I program.
Rutgers kept plenty of talent home by landing 10 players in the40 ranked in the state, led by Metuchen (N.J.) High offensive guard Dorian Miller at No. 9. The biggest jump came from Barringer High (Newark, N.J.)defensive end Kemoko Turay, who played his first season at the varsity level and showed incredible explosion and speed. He went from being unranked to No.14 in the state.
The New York Top 20 has the most intrigue as signing day approaches because of a number of uncommitted prospects. New Milford Academy (N.Y.) tight end Josh McNeil could be heading to a junior college but has spent plenty of time talking to Alabama and LSU, Tottenville High (Staten Island, N.Y.) running back Augustus Edwards is a "soft" verbal and Xaverian High (Brooklyn) running back Laray Smith remain uncommitted.
The top receiver and the top offensive lineman in the region come from western Pennsylvania, and both top the Pennsylvania Top 50. Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley High five-star receiver Robert Foster is heading to Alabama, and North Allegheny High (Wexford, Pa.) offensive guard Patrick Kugler is Michigan-bound.
Pittsburgh has a huge in-state haul with 14 commitments, led by Belle Vernon (Pa.) High four-star offensive tackle Dorian Johnson at No. 7.
Penn State did well with the top portion of the class, grabbing commitments from four of the top 13 players in the state, including already-enrolled Cedar Cliff High (Camp Hill, Pa.) five-star tight end Adam Breneman.
Maryland has commitments from three of the 10 players, and could get a fourth since Gray's teammate, Yannick Ngakoue, is still considering the Terps.
Derrick Green is the top running back in the nation, and the top player in the final East 100, so it goes without saying the Hermitage High (Richmond, Va.) running back and Michigan commit is the top-rated player in the Virginia Top 50.
Of the 50 players ranked in the state, 12 are committed to Virginia Tech, led by Midlothian (Va.) Manchester High outside linebacker Holland Fisher at No. 4.
Virginia has seven commitments, with Bayside High (Virginia Beach, Va.) running back Taquan Mizzell is rated No.5 and the top Virginia commit on the list.
North Carolina commit Ryan Switzer, who was impressive at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, is the top-rated player in the West Virginia Top 5. He is quick and explosive, and as a receiver is able to come out of breaks well.