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Recruiting: Virginia 2013 Top 25, July Edition

Mike London and Frank Beamer continue to battle for the Commonwealth's top talent (Photo: Jason O. Watson)
Mike London and Frank Beamer continue to battle for the Commonwealth's top talent (Photo: Jason O. Watson)

Back in May, we at Streaking The Lawn did our first ranking of the Commonwealth's Top 2013 prospects, with the promise that we would continue to evaluate and re-rank the prospects throughout the cycle. Well, after a bunch of camps and tournaments, we are ready to reveal our Preseason Top 25 for the 2013 class. As a note, almost all of the players that moved down did not do so because of poor performances, but rather that players that were previously ranked lower passed them up by showing well this summer. Also, for uncommitted players, we give our best guess as to where they will end up, and the percentage of confidence we have in our guess.

1. Jonathan Allen | Defensive End | Stone Bridge


The Stone Bridge defender is the state's top player. With an impressive offer list to match an impressive 6'3'' 225 lbs frame, Allen could have chosen to attend almost any school he wanted, and the Crimson Tide won the derby for his services. Allen was actually born in Alabama, so he had obvious ties to the Alabama program. And besides that, Alabama basically takes who they want these days. Allen seemed pretty high on Virginia early on, and took several visits with his teammate Ryan Burns. As the offers rolled in however, it was clear that Allen was leaning towards the SEC. Allen is rated the 9th prospect in the nation overall by 247sports, earning him a 5-star rating.

2. Taquan Mizzell | Running Back | Bayside

Contenders: Virginia, West Virginia, Clemson

"Smoke" has been putting on a clinic at every camp he's attended this summer. Whether it was the Rivals 5-star challenge in Atlanta, or The Opening in Oregon, Mizzell has been a load to handle for camp opponents. Competing at these events against some of the best talent in the country, the Bayside star has excelled in both 7 on 7 play and in individual drills, making him one of the fastest risers in recruiting rankings over the last couple months. There has been much discussion over whether Mizzell or Richmond native Derrick Green is the best Running Back in Virginia. From what I've seen of the two both over the summer and on film, Mizzell seems like the clear choice. He may not be as physically imposing as Green, but he makes up for that with solid speed and excellent footwork, allowing him to make defenders look silly in the open field. Mizzell said recently that he will end his recruitment either at Gridiron Kings at the end of July, or with a formal announcement at his school on August 21st. Either way, Virginia fans have to feel really, really, really good about their chances. "Smoke" has yet to visit any of his other finalists, and with his decision possibly coming in a couple weeks, the Cavaliers are the heavy favorite to land the Virginia Beach native.

Prediction: Virginia (95%)

3. Holland Fisher | Linebacker | Manchester


Fisher seemed like a Hokie all the way, and he committed to Virginia Tech early in the cycle. Since then, he has been tearing it up in all the camps he has attended. At The Opening in Oregon earlier this month, Fisher was dominant in every 7 on 7 game he competed in, and was considered one of the best players at the combine. Fisher is expected to play Linebacker for Virginia Tech, but he is athletic enough to play safety as well. The Richmond native has good speed to go along with a big frame, and I expect him to be a terror at the next level. Recently, there has been some talk that Alabama is working Fisher very hard to consider flipping to the Crimson Tide, and Fisher seems at least a little bit interested. Until he takes a visit to Tuscaloosa however, I fully expect him to sign with the Hokies in February. If that visit takes place, there will be a lot of nervous people in Blacksburg and beyond, rightfully so.

4. Derrick Green | Running Back | Hermitage

Contenders: Ohio State, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Clemson

Derrick Green, at least for me, is probably the most controversial prospect in Virginia for 2013, mostly because of his rating on one particular recruiting site. Rivals rates Green as the 12th best player overall, and the nation's top Running Back. Considering I don't have Green as the top Running Back in Virginia for 2013, obviously I don't agree. I'm not saying Green isn't a great player, in fact he's terrific. Green is built like a tank and is will be college ready from the moment he signs his letter of intent. Having said that, I just think there are a few players at Green's position, Taquan Mizzell included, that are a little better. If Green stays in-state to play college ball, he'll be heading to Blacksburg. With Mizzell probably on his way to Charlottesville, Virginia fans shouldn't sweat about missing on Green, but they probably don't want a player of his pedigree landing at Virginia Tech either. My guess is he ends up at Clemson or Ohio State, but out of state nonetheless.

Prediction: Ohio State (50%)

5. Christian Hackenberg | Quarterback | Fork Union


Hackenberg's father, Eric, played Quarterback at UVA for several years before transferring out to a lower division. This fact made many believe that the Hoos would have a leg up on the field. His father was also close with Tennessee coach Derek Dooley (who played at Virginia with the elder Hackenberg), so many thought Tennessee would be a player for the Fork Union signal-caller. In the end, Hackenberg chose the team he grew up rooting for in Pennsylvania, the Nittany Lions. There was much jockeying between 2013 QB prospects to become the first prized field general to commit to former New England Patriots coach Bill O'Brien, who has a reputation as a Quarterback guru of sorts. Hackenberg won that derby. Of the four Virginia QB's in the top 25, Hackenberg is the most polished right now. One thing Hackenberg will want to work on however is ball security. In all the camps Hackenberg has attended this summer, he has been pretty streaky, with moments of brilliance and others when he was very turnover prone. And to those wondering if Hackenberg may jump ship from Penn State in light of the recent troubles in Happy Valley, I seriously doubt he will. Penn State was where he wanted to be, and unless they disband the football program or something, that's where he's headed.

6. Ryan Burns | Quarterback | Stone Bridge


Ryan Burns was one of those prized Quarterbacks that considered jumping on board with Penn State earlier this spring. Burns did not pull the trigger, but Hackenberg did. Right after that Burns, took a trip to Palo Alto, and, like many recruits who see the Stanford campus for the first time, he fell in love with the school. Burns, whose family is originally from Wyoming, does not have deep roots in Virginia, so his decision to go west was not a huge shock. Virginia was Stanford's biggest competition for the Stone Bridge Quarterback. Earlier in the process UVA fans were hoping to grab commitments from both Jonathan Allen and Burns, who are high school teammates. Now, both of them will leave the Commonwealth for school next summer. Burns has tons of potential, but he plays in a high school offense that doesn't feature the pass very much. In fact, Burns threw more interceptions than touchdowns as a junior. He does have a great arm and is a great student, so Stanford is a great fit for Burns.

7. Wyatt Teller | Defensive End | Liberty

Contenders: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Clemson

Teller has been a force on the camp circuit this summer. The Liberty standout has gotten high marks for his both his talent and his tenaciousness this summer, and has seen a nice bump in the recruiting rankings because of it. Teller is one of those prospects that looks way too big to still be in high school, and has drawn tons of comparisons to former Virginia standout Chris Long. As far as recruiting goes, there has been a pretty significant shift in Teller's recruitment in the past few months. Early in the cycle it seemed that Virginia Tech was pretty well positioned to land Teller, who apparently grew up a Tech fan. Since then, Mike London and the Virginia staff have turned the tables, and the Cavaliers look like the team to beat, even if Teller isn't saying so. Teller has been to Grounds several times in the past few months, and seems to have a solid relationship with the Coaching Staff. With his recruitment drawing to a close as the school year approaches, Teller has said that he wants to visit Michigan and Clemson before he makes a decision. Right now, Virginia fans are hoping those visits don't occur, because if things stay as they are, the 4-star prospect is probably going to end up a Cavalier.

Prediction: Virginia (70%)

8. Bucky Hodges | Quarterback | Salem


Hodges' commitment to Virginia Tech came as no surprise. The Salem Quarterback was one of several prospects that committed to the Hokies during their rained-out spring game festivities a month or so ago. Many compare Hodges to current Virginia Tech Quarterback Logan Thomas, because of their size and skill sets. It's a pretty good comparison I'd say. UVA was Virginia Tech's biggest opponent for the "757" product, but the Cavaliers' chances were never that great. Hodges state ranking didn't drop 4 spots because he did anything wrong. Other players just attended more camps than he did and balled out, so they had to be moved up in the rankings. Hodges is still a really solid player, and a nice pickup for a Virginia Tech program that needed a Quarterback in the 2013 cycle pretty badly.

9. Tim Harris | Safety | Varina


Harris is Virginia's highest rated commitment for the 2013 class thus far. The Varina product chose the Cavaliers after their Spring Game back in April, over a bunch of other solid offers. UVA took two commits from Varina in 2012, Tyrell Chavis and Maurice Canady, and that probably helped Virginia land Harris. The Richmond native is one of several nice Defensive Backs Virginia has landed for the 2013 cycle, along with Kirk Garner and Hipolito Corporan. Harris attended Virginia's 7 on 7 camp with his Varina team in June, and put on a solid performance as always. Back in the spring some wondered how solid Harris' committed to Virginia really was, because there were rumblings that he was interested in taking some official visits in the fall. Those who were concerned can probably rest easy, as it looks like Harris is really solid in his commitment to the Cavaliers.

10. Matt Rolin | Linebacker | Briar Woods


Rolin's recruitment came down to South Carolina and Virginia Tech, and he chose the Gamecocks. Rolin had direct ties to both programs, as his brother is a walk-on at Tech, and both of his parents are South Carolina alums. In the end, SEC football and a chance to play for the Ole Ball Coach was too much to pass up for the Briar Woods standout. Yeahhh, Click Clack.

11. E.J. Levenberry | Linebacker | C.D. Hylton


Levenberry was always bound for a major out of state program. The Linebacker committed to the Seminoles over Michigan in what was thought to be a very close race. Levenberry is actually a Maryland native that transferred from Dematha Catholic in Hyattsville to C.D. Hylton in Woodbridge for his senior season. Neither in state school really gathered much momentum with Levenberry, but UVA was mentioned in connection with him a lot more than Tech was. In an interview last winter, Levenberry's father, who played at Maryland, said that they had basically eliminated Virginia because of Kwontie Moore's commitment in the 2012 class. I'm sure he will see plenty of competition for playing time in Tallahassee though. Levenberry has been really quiet this summer as far as camps go, and that played a big role in him getting bumped out of the top 10.

12. Michael Parker | Athlete | Kettle Run


Okay, this recruitment has just been weird. A while back, Parker was apparently close to committing to Virginia, but the staff wasn't willing to accept his verbal because of some academic issues. Since then, it was believed that Parker was committed to Maryland for the 2014 class (after a Prep year), then he wasn't. It seems now that he has opened it back up, and West Virginia is making a run at him perhaps. In the end though, it doesn't really matter for Virginia because he's not going to end up in Charlottesville.

Prediction: Maryland (1%)

13. Doug Randolph | Linebacker | Woodberry Forest


Randolph, a talented linebacker, committed to Stanford during his junior year. Since then, Randolph has taken several visits to Charlottesville, and it appeared that his recruitment wasn't totally over yet. For now though, it seems like Randolph is pretty solid to Stanford. There is always the admissions hurdle that all Cardinal commits need to clear, but barring a late snag, I wouldn't expect to see him land anywhere but Stanford.

14. Daesean Hamilton | Wide Receiver | Mountain View

Contenders: Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Miami

Hamilton's recruitment is tough to read. Both in-state schools are going after him hard, but he hasn't really tipped his hand as to which school he's favoring. There's still a fair chance that the Stafford native goes out of state for school, as he holds some impressive out of state offers. Hamilton is a dynamic player, who could play either offense or defense at the next level. Virginia is running out of space in their 2013 class quickly, but they'd still love to snag Hamilton. Known as a good student, the Virginia staff is probably hoping the allure of UVA's academics and the proximity to home is enough to sway the Mountain View star to commit to the Cavaliers. This one looks like a dead heat right now, but if I had to take a guess, I'd say Virginia holds a slight edge for Hamilton right now, based on some comments he's made.

Prediction: Virginia (40%)

15. Corwin Cutler | Quarterback | Ocean Lakes


Corwin has really shown well for himself on the camp circuit this summer, taking home several Quarterback MVP awards. Cutler was Virginia's 2nd Quarterback commitment for 2013, and many fans wondered if Virginia was taking too many signal callers in the London era. I doubt however, that Virginia fans will regret snagging Cutler. The Ocean Lakes star has a nice arm with a good delivery and the ability to get playmakers the ball down the field. Cutler also has a good rapport with many of his fellow 757 prospects, as they have been playing 7 on 7 ball together all summer at camps. Cutler is a great asset for Virginia to have, and he has a ton of potential to succeed in Charlottesville.

16. Oren Burks | Linebacker | South County

Contenders: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Maryland

Like with Daesean Hamilton, Oren Burks' recruitment is really hard to read. He has been really quiet throughout the process, and his father actually handles most of the interviews about Oren's recruitment. Burks seems very interested in high level academics, and has visited Charlottesville several times. Burks has also visited Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Boston College and others. This one is really hard to read, but Virginia has as good a shot as anybody. As far as a timetable, Burks has been pretty quiet on that, but a summer decision isn't out of the question. Any prediction on my part here is a total guess.

Prediction: Vanderbilt (10%)

17. Charles Clark | Cornerback | King's Fork


Clark's recruitment was really quiet before his commitment to the Hokies during their spring game weekend. The Suffolk product is a lockdown type corner, and a nice get for Tech. Virginia Tech hasn't taken a lot of commits out of the 757 area code recently, but Clark was one of several from that area that have jumped at the Hokies' advances this recruiting cycle.

18. Donta Wilkins | Defensive Tackle | Potomac


Wilkins was favoring Virginia for quite a while before committing to the Cavaliers in June. Wilkins did so on a visit to Charlottesville, after saying previously that he would not commit on that visit. The Potomac standout is a big boy, and a nice addition to Virginia's future defensive line core. Wilkins chose Virginia over his other Penn State, Miami, UNC and NC State.

19. David Prince | Athlete | Patrick Henry


The Hokies have dominated one part of the state in particular in the past decade, west of the Blue Ridge. Landing David Prince is another example of that. Prince, a Roanoke native, grew up in the Hokie footprint. Other players Virginia Tech has landed from western parts of Virginia in recent years include David Wilson, Danny Coale, and 2012 commit Trey Edmunds. It's not going to be easy for Mike London and his staff to pull players from these areas, but the staff is going after kids like Prince a little harder than the previous staff did.

20. Zack Jones | Wide Receiver | Oscar Smith


If there was a lock for UVA in the 2013 class, this was it. Zack Jones, the younger brother of Perry, got an offer from Virginia right after an impressive performance in Oscar Smith's state title win in Charlottesville back in December. From then until Jones committed several months ago, it seemed like a lock that he would end up in Orange and Blue. It seems like Perry is already letting him see what he'll look like in a Virginia uniform.

21. Daniel "D.J." Reid | Running Back | Thomas Dale

Contenders: Boston College, Virginia Tech, USF, North Carolina

Reid is the third of the trio of in-state Running Backs in the Top 25. A talented back, Reid has offers from both in-state schools, as well as some other BCS-level offers. Thomas Dale has produced several Hokies in recent years, and if the Hokies don't land Derrick Green, I'd bet big on Reid signing with Virginia Tech in February.

Prediction: Virginia Tech (50%)

22. Deon Newsome | Cornerback | Hampton


Deon Newsome's father, Myron, played at Virginia Tech, so his commitment to the Hokies should come as no surprise. The Hampton Crabber could play at either Wide Receiver or Defensive Back in college, so it'll be interesting to see where he is slotted next year.

23. Ryheem Lockley | Athlete | Middlesex

Virginia Tech, West Virginia

Lockley's recruitment has been interesting so far. At one point, he seemed like a lock to be bound for Blacksburg. However, Virginia Tech has yet to offer the Middlesex standout. Instead, he holds offers from Virginia and West Virginia. If Virginia Tech doesn't offer, or doesn't offer soon enough, Lockley could wind up in Morgantown. For now, we'll see where his recruitment goes, and how a potential Virginia Tech offer could change the game.

Prediction: West Virginia (25%)

24. Parker Osterloh | Offensive Tackle | Warhill


It took until the 24th ranked player to get an Offensive Linemen on the board. Osterloh was an in-state battle between the Hoos and Hokies that could have gone either way, until he committed to Virginia Tech during their Spring Game weekend. There are several Offensive Linemen, including another Tech commit Braxton Pfaff, that just missed the Top 25. It's worth noting that all three of Virginia's Offensive Line commits (Jack McDonald, Sadiq Olanrewaju and Brad Henson) would've made the Top 25, so Virginia is doing great recruiting the position this year.

25. Jack English | Defensive End | St. Christopher's


English exploded onto the scene earlier in the summer with a couple impressive camp performances, first in Blacksburg then in Charlottesville. At both of those camps, English earned offers from the host school. A day after receiving his Virginia offer, English committed to the Cavaliers. The Richmond native is expected to play defensive end at Virginia, but there is still the possibility that he is moved to Tight End. That would be out of necessity, as Virginia has a much bigger need for Tight Ends in 2013 than defensive linemen.