TheSabre’s 2009 Preseason Top 40

Morgan Moses
Photo courtesy Randy West

There aren’t too many significant moves from the Pre-Summer Top 30 to the Preseason ranks, though there are some changes. The overlying story of this class continues to be it s exceptional depth, which is why I expanded the list to a Top 40 instead of a Top 30. That is the first change. The other is the fact that there is a new name atop the Top 40 list.

Overall, this is a deep talented class of players who have the ability to be significant contributors on the next level. This may be the deepest in-state class in recent memory and to give you an idea of how deep this class is, about 20 prospects beyond the top 40 have at least one Division 1A offer.

Potential big movers come the Postseason ranks…

Of course the senior season is important for all, but here are some prospects whose senior season could have a dramatic impact on where they are slotted come the Postseason Top 30…

Kevin Newsome , QB/ATH, Hargrave – Coming off a shaky off-season on the combine circuit, Newsome heads to Hargrave and will have a chance to show off his skills against better competition. Will he flourish and flash the skill-set to potentially be a top college quarterback or will he struggle with consistency?

Bryn Renner , QB, West Springfield – Of all the quarterback recruits in this class, I think Renner may have the most potential. A good senior season could vault him in the rankings.

Luke Bowanko , OL, Centreville – Bowanko currently sits at the 30th spot on the list, but he is an athletic offensive lineman who has gotten stronger this off-season.

James Gayle , DE, Bethel – I currently have Gayle outside of the Top 30, but a big senior season and he should easily move into that group. The athletic defensive end was very impressive at Virginia Tech’s one-day camp in July.

Hunter Steward , OL, Kellam – The 6-7, 300-pound Steward transferred in from Canada and can run the 40 in 5.0 seconds. He is not in the Top 40 at the moment but a good season could change that…and could earn him some top Division 1A offers as well.

Commitment rundown – Virginia and Virginia Tech both doing well…

Virginia Tech made the biggest splash of the summer, hauling in running back David Wilson , who sits at #3 on this list. UVA continues to lead in terms of the amount of in-state commitments, having scored 11 commitments from the Commonwealth including 10 of the Top 40. Virginia Tech is a close second with nine commitments including eight of the Top 40.

Preseason Top 40

1. Morgan Moses – OL, 6-7, 340 pounds, Meadowbrook

After much consideration, Moses takes over the top spot. I just couldn’t ignore how dominant he looks on film and how well he moves for his massive size. If he can eventually get things straight in the classroom and consistently stay in shape, he has the chance to be very special.


2. Kevin Newsome – QB, 6-3, 205 pounds, Hargrave Military Academy

Newsome did not turn in a terrific off-season in terms of demonstrating his ability as a quarterback, the position he really wants to play in college, but I still think he has a lot of potential. And, if he needs to switch to another position such as wide receiver or safety or even linebacker, I think he has the athleticism to pull that off as well. He will certainly be interesting to follow at Hargrave.

Committed to Penn State

3. David Wilson – RB, 5-11, 190 pounds, George Washington

Wilson has the speed to break big plays, but what may be most impressive about him is his balance. He is tough to bring down and works hard for every yard. He rushed for 1,551 yards and 17 touchdowns last season while averaging 11.4 yards per carry. A superior athlete, he captured the indoor and outdoor in-state triple jump championships and captured the national indoor triple jump championship as well.

Committed to Virginia Tech

4. Logan Thomas – TE/WR, 6-6, 225 pounds, Brookville

Thomas is a top athlete very fluid in his movements, especially impressive for a 6-6, 225-pound prospect. He has the potential to be a big-time headache for defensive coordinators on the next level, as he could line up all over the field and create mismatches in the passing game. Top Division 1 programs from all across the country have come in to woo the talented Thomas, who has narrowed his list of schools to seven – Clemson, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia.

Committed to Virginia Tech

5. Tajh Boyd – QB, 6-1, 210 pounds, Phoebus

Boyd is a calm and composed leader for head coach Bill Dee. Boyd showed outstanding accuracy last season as a junior, completing 69-percent of his passes. He can also make plays with his legs. He does not have blazing speed, but he can break big plays in the running game.


Dominique Wallace

6. Dominique Wallace – RB/LB, 6-1, 220 pounds, Chancellor

Wallace runs with power but also with elusiveness and possesses the speed to break big plays. Last season, he rushed for 1,752 yards and 22 touchdowns on 245 carries. While he is a force on the offensive end and has the potential to be an excellent college running back, I also like his potential at linebacker as well. He is a top player on both sides of the ball.

Committed to Virginia

7. De’antwan Williams – RB, 5-7, 205 pounds, Woodbridge

As a junior in 2007, Williams rushed for 2,247 yards and 27 touchdowns in leading the Vikings to an appearance in the Group AAA, Division 6 state championship game. In the state semifinal win over Hermitage, he rushed for 247 yards and five touchdowns. Williams is a tough runner who can break the big play. He can make quick cuts without losing his speed, and he accelerates very quickly.

Committed to Rutgers

8. Jerod Askew – LB, 6-0, 230 pounds, Oscar Smith

Askew thrived last season in Oscar Smith’s attacking defense, racking up 126 tackles including 25 tackles-for-loss and 13 sacks. He is best against the run and attacking the offensive backfield, but head coach Rich Morgan says his pass coverage skills improved greatly last season.

Committed to Tennessee

9. Quintin Hunter – WR/QB/DB, 6-2, 200 pounds, Orange

Hunter turned in a monster junior season, tallying over 3,000 yards of offense including 2,100 yards passing and 920 rushing. He totaled 30 touchdowns. He was also a first-team all-state defensive back as a junior, but he also projects well as a wide receiver on the next level. Hunter has potential at quarterback and could well stick there as well.

Committed to Virginia

10. Bryn Renner – QB, 6-3, 190 pounds, West Springfield

Renner, who completed 63-percent of his passes while throwing for 2,749 yards with 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season as a junior, has all the tools to be a top college quarterback. He has a great arm, shows good accuracy, has good size and is a good athlete. He has room to grow in terms of playing the quarterback position, but the potential is certainly there. Renner is a prospect who could really rise in the Postseason ranks.

Committed to North Carolina

11. Logan Heastie – WR, 6-1, 190 pounds, Great Bridge

A terrific athlete with excellent speed, Heastie posts a vertical leap of over 33-inches and has been timed in the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds.

Committed to West Virginia

12. Lanford Collins – DE, 6-4, 240 pounds, Brooke Point

Collins turned in a very good junior season, accounting for 73 tackles including 12 tackles-for-loss and nine sacks. Some programs see him as being a good enough athlete to play outside linebacker on the next level. Penn State, Virginia and Virginia Tech are among the major Division 1A programs that have offered thus far.


13. David Wang – DL/OL, 6-2, 300 pounds, Stone Bridge

Wang has potential on both sides of the ball, but I feel he is better suited for defensive tackle, which is the position he will play at Virginia Tech. He earned first-team all-state honors for his performance on the offensive line. A good overall athlete, Wang posted a 30.4-inch vertical leap, ran a pro agility time of 4.71 seconds and a 40-yard dash time of 5.25 seconds. He also displays intensity and a good work ethic.

Committed to Virginia Tech

Jake Snyder

14. Jake Snyder – DE/TE, 6-4, 235 pounds, Deep Run

Snyder is a good performer on both sides of the ball. At defensive end, he registered 58 tackles including eight sacks and returned three interceptions for touchdowns. At tight end, he finished with 14 receptions for 260 yards and five scores. He was offered scholarships by Boston College and Ohio State to play tight end, but the other seven programs that offered projected him to play defensive end.

Committed to Virginia

15. DeAntre Rhodes – DL, 6-3, 265 pounds, Varina

Rhodes was a second-team all-state performer on offense and defense last season as a junior. He has been a starter at Varina since his freshman year and has been productive since his freshman year. Though he is good on both sides of the ball, Rhodes projects as a defensive tackle in college…this season, he will play only on the defensive side of the ball, perhaps giving him an opportunity to show off his talents even more on that side of the ball.

Committed to Virginia Tech

16. Dominik Davenport – DL/LB/FB, 6-1, 240 pounds, Phoebus

I still really, really like Davenport, but I decided to drop him some because of his ultimately potential on the college level. I just don’t see the upside there, though I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see him become a very productive and important player for the Mountaineers. Some guys just know how to play football and Baby D falls into that category. He earned first-team all-state honors at defensive line and second-team all-state honors at offensive line last season as a junior. On defense, he totaled 124 tackles including 17 tackles-for-loss and 17 sacks. He is extremely strong and plays with an attitude, but more importantly has a sense for the game.

Committed to West Virginia

17. Jordan Love – CB, 6-0, 195 pounds, Deep Run

Love will suit up for the Wildcats for the first time this upcoming season, as he transferred in from Gilman School in Baltimore, Maryland. Love has good size and is a good athlete at the cornerback position.

Committed to Georgia

18. Andrew Miller – OL, 6-5, 275 pounds, Bassett

Miller stars in wrestling as well as football for Bassett. It certainly appears that his wrestling ability helps him on the gridiron. Miller shows good balance, good footwork and uses good positioning to get the job done on the offensive line. He is also pretty strong on the defensive side of the ball, but offense is where he is being recruited to play on the next level.

Committed to Virginia Tech

19. Corey Lillard – S, 5-11, 208 pounds, Liberty (Bealeton)

Lillard is a big-time hitter from the safety position, so he’ll be an enforcer on the college level. As head coach Tommy Buzzo says, he has “the gift of knowing how to hit.” Lillard is a sure tackler as well, coming away with 52 solo tackles last season.

Committed to Virginia

20. Antone Exum – CB/WR, 6-0, 200 pounds, Deep Run

Exum is another talented athlete who plays quarterback for his team. On the college level, though, he’ll likely end up at defensive back or wide receiver. Exum is a fluid athlete with great speed, as he has run the 40 in sub-4.5 seconds.


21. Perry Jones – S, 5-9, 185 pounds, Oscar Smith

If Jones were only a few inches taller, he easily could have double-digit Division 1A scholarship offers. Oscar Smith’s all-time leading tackler is another guy who just knows how to play the game. He is tough, is a sure tackler, and by running an electronically-timed 4.5 in the 40 at a recent Nike Combine he showed he has the speed to play defensive back on the college level.

Committed to Virginia

22. Ross Metheny – QB, 6-3, 190 pounds, Sherando

Metheny has been a winner since stepping onto the gridiron as varsity starting quarterback his freshman year. He has compiled a 33-5 record as a starter. Last season, he completed 146 of 235 passes for 2,207 yards with 24 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. Metheny may not wow you with a cannon arm or blazing speed, but he has an excellent pocket presence, is a leader and has a good feel for the game.

Committed to Virginia

23. Damien Thigpen – RB/CB, 5-9, 170 pounds, Stonewall Jackson

Thigpen missed three-and-a-half games due to injury but still averaged eight yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns. He averaged 10 yards per carry as a sophomore. When healthy, Thigpen possesses outstanding speed and has the potential to be a big-play threat on the next level.

Committed to Tennessee

24. Tim Smith – WR, 6-1, 190 pounds, Oscar Smith

Smith makes big plays from the wide receiver spot as well as on special teams. He plays defensive back as well for the Tigers, but offense is where he will play in college. Last season, Smith tallied 12 touchdowns including eight receiving and four on punt returns.

Committed to Virginia

25. Alex Owah – RB, 5-11, 175 pounds, Harrisonburg

Off-the-field issues have been the main focus on Owah this off-season, but on the gridiron he is a fast, big-play running back who has rushed for over 2,000 yards each of the past two seasons.

Committed to Virginia

26. Telvion Clark – LB, 6-1, 205 pounds, Granby

After racking up over 150 tackles in his junior season, Telvion Clark went out and worked hard to improve his speed for his senior season. He did just that, showing off a sub-4.5 40 at Virginia Tech’s camp and earning summer offers from North Carolina, Penn State and Virginia Tech, among others.

Committed to Virginia Tech

27. William Hill – DL, 6-4, 255 pounds, Lafayette

Hill totaled 60 tackles including eight sacks in earning first-team all-state honors last season as a junior.

Committed to Virginia

28. Theron Norman – WR/S, 6-3, 185 pounds, Hermitage

Head coach Patrick Kane likes Norman’s ability as a safety and wide receiver, calling him “an excellent tackler and a good cover guy” on defense and “very explosive” on offense. Norman will play quarterback this upcoming season, but he’ll play receiver or safety in college.

Committed to Virginia Tech

29. Duan Perez-Means – DE/LB/TE, 6-4, 235 pounds, Hermitage

Perez-Means is Mr. Versatility. He could end up at linebacker, defensive end, tight end or wide receiver on the college level. Eight of his 22 receptions went for touchdowns last season, and he totaled four defensive touchdowns as well.

Committed to Virginia Tech

30. Luke Bowanko – OL, 6-6, 260 pounds, Centreville

Bowanko is a very solid looking offensive line prospect. He has a fiery attitude and has developed better strength over the past year or so. He is another prospect to watch if he turns in a good senior year performance.

Committed to Virginia


31. Zach Thompson – DL, 6-5, 250 pounds, Stone Bridge

Committed to Wake Forest

32. James Gayle – DE, 6-4, 225 pounds, Bethel

Committed to Virginia Tech

33. Mike Privott – S/LB, 5-11, 230 pounds, Lake Taylor

Committed to Louisville

34. Bradley Johnson – LB, 6-1, 210 pounds, Dinwiddie

Committed to Maryland

35. Brian Slay – DL, 6-4, 255 pounds, Stone Bridge

Committed to N.C. State

36. Shawne Alston – RB, 5-11, 220 pounds, Phoebus

Committed to West Virginia

37. Nubian Peak – RB/WR, 5-11, 190 pounds, Pulaski County

Committed to Virginia Tech

38. Tyrell Wilson – LB, 6-3, 210 pounds, Hampton

Committed to Virginia Tech

39. Connor McCartin – LB, 6-4, 215 pounds, Fauquier

Committed to Virginia

40. Laroy Reynolds – WR/S/LB, 6-1, 205 pounds, Maury

Committed to Virginia

Devin Bolling

Ones to watch

Brandon Bailey – RB, West Springfield

Chase Barnett – RB, Brooke Point

LoVante Battle – LB/S, Phoebus Committed to Virginia

Devin Bolling – OL, Brookville

Adrian Cavanaugh – LB, Patrick Henry (Ashland)

Curtis Campbell – DB/WR, Grassfield Committed to North Carolina

Frank Figueroa – OL, Edison Committed to Penn State

Zack Glatter – TE, Centreville

Tahron Goods – FB, George Washington

Kory Gough – OL, Liberty (Bealeton) Committed to Virginia Tech

Taylor Grubbs – TE, Amherst

Mark Halik – OL/DL, Maury

Sam Haskins – TE/WR, Dinwiddie

T.K. Hester – DB, Varina

Brian Jordan – DE/LB, Great Bridge

Cody Journell – PK, Giles Committed to Virginia Tech

Josh Lovell – TE, Gloucester

William Marable – DB, Norview

Adam Morgan – QB, Dinwiddie

Matt Muncy – ATH, Tazewell Committted to Wake Forest

Mike Olson – LB, Stone Bridge Committed to Wake Forest

Garett Patterson – ATH, Monacan Committed to Duke

Sterlin Phifer – RB, Landstown Committed to Boston College

Carvin Powell – ATH, Great Bridge

Stephon Robertson – LB, Edison

James Rouse – DE, Harrisonburg Committed to Marshall

Brandon Scott – LB/DE, Forest Park Committed to Richmond

Clinton Simpkins – LB, Chancellor

Bobby Smith , WR, Varina

Javanti Sparrow – CB/WR, Western Branch Committed to Virginia

Hunter Steward – OL, Kellam

Bryan Stinnie – DE, St. Anne’s-Belfield Committed to William & Mary

Shamarko Thomas – DB, Ocean Lakes

Patrick Thompson – QB, Stone Bridge Committed to Wake Forest

Jay Weatherington – TE/OL, Woodbridge

Corby Weiss – WR/TE, Brookville