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January 25, 2006Success on the field translated into a dominating performance on the recruiting front for Penn State. That was particularly the case when it comes to the Rivals.com Maryland postseason top 25 rankings where seven of the top ten players in the state are now heading to State College led by cornerback A.J. Wallace.
At the top of the list is future Nittany Lion corner Wallace who finished his senior season accounting for over 2,300 yards of offense and 26 touchdowns. He added 63 tackles and three interceptions on defense. The McDonough prospect went on to the Army All-American Bowl where he had the game's only interception.
Future Auburn running back Benjamin Tate jumped three spots to No. 2. The 5-foot-10, 204-pounder expects to play next year after already enrolling this spring. He ran for 2,214 yards as a senior.
Penn State commitment Antonio Logan-El slips from No. 1 to No. 3 despite another dominating season at Forestville. The Rivals100 guard has great potential but is a few years away.
Linebacker Akeem Hebron remains at No. 4 after another impressive season. He finished the year in the Army Bowl where he was the only player able to tackle Percy Harvin in the open field during practices and then had a solid game. The Georgia prospect could see the field for the Bulldogs some next season.
Spots five through nine are filled entirely by Penn State with J.B. Walton at No. 5, Phillip Taylor at No. 6, Aaron Maybin at No. 7, Bani Gbadyu at eight and Navorro Bowman at nine.
Walton is an impressive 6-foot-3, 275-pounder out of Lackey who certainly could get in the rotation for the Lions next year. He dropped three spots to No. 5 even though he had another solid year, mostly due to academic concerns. The 6-foot-3, 346-pound Taylor is a huge defensive tackle who could also see some time next season. He'll be a good compliment to Maybin and Jared Odrick. Speaking of Maybin, he moved up four spots to No. 7 after recording 82 tackles, 32 for loss and 14 sacks. He did that all despite missing two games to injury. Maybin hopes to be up to 245 pounds by the time he enrolls.
Gbadyu and Bowman round out Penn State's haul in Maryland. Both should continue the tradition at Linebacker U.
Finishing out the top ten, Maryland gets on the board with No. 10 and 11 in Pha' Terrell Washington and Drew Gloster. Washington stayed at No. 10 after another solid season. He could play either safety or running back for the Terps. Gloster expects to fill the void left by departed star tight end Vernon Davis. The Good Counsel prospect dropped four spots in the final rankings. He finished with 33 catches for 552 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Syracuse pulled in at the No. 13 with quarterback Andrew Robinson and No. 16 with cornerback Matt Reid. Robinson has good size and speed with his 6-foot-3, 211-pound frame and 4.67-second 40. Reid made the biggest jump after being mostly an unknown heading into the season. The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder finished as the No. 46 cornerback in the country and should be a very physical corner for the Orangemen.
A handful of other players jumped into the final rankings including safety Matt Leemhuis at No. 21, Ryan Bartholomew at No. 22 and Quinton McCree at No. 23.
The Virginia-bound Leemhuis registered more than 100 tackles and three interceptions as a senior. Syracuse landed three-star Bartholomew who is a big 6-foot-3, 300-pounder. Brandywine's McCree blew up with 42 catches for 1,080 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.