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July 20, 2004

Ohio Top 40 highlights latest state rankings

When it comes to producing Division I football talent, there are some big daddies like California, Florida and Texas.

But right behind the big three are places like Georgia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and with that in mind Rivals.com is proud to unveil the Ohio Top 40 along with the Tennessee Top 20 and the District of Columbia Top Five.

Leading off the Ohio Top 40 - once again - is a player from Cleveland Glenville. Last year Ted Ginn Jr. was ranked as the state's top player and this year the honor goes to cornerback Jamario O'Neal. However, unlike last year when Ginn was the easy pick for the top player honors, there were several other very worthy contenders for the top spot.

Ranked right behind O'Neal is five-star offensive tackle Alex Boone of Lakewood St. Edwards. The 6-8, 296-pound tackle is one of the nation's elite linemen and his drive block is unmatched by many in the nation. Also in contention is Hamilton defensive back Adam Myers-White, who is ranked as the state's No. 3 player.

But in the end the nod goes to O'Neal.

"When he hits you, you know it," Glenville coach Ted Ginn Sr. said. "He also has speed like a sprinter and can cover the field like a cornerback. He's such a great kid, too. He is a coach's dream."

Unlike many other states, the Ohio list is littered with commitments.

Ohio State has commits from both O'Neal and Boone, along with offensive lineman Jim Cordle (No. 7 on the list), defensive tackle Todd Denlinger (No. 8 on the list) and receiver Brian Hartline (No. 14 on the list).

Michigan has scored three commits on the list, including the state's No. 4 player, receiver Mario Manningham of Warren Harding. Cincinnati Colerain running back and Wolverine pledge Mister Simpson is ranked as the state's No. 12 player and Twinsburg kicker Zoltan Mesko is at No. 34.

Pittsburgh, Boston College, Notre Dame and Iowa also have snagged commitments from players in the top 40.

Most seasons, it would be easy to come up with only about 10 to 15 players that will be highly recruited in Tennessee, but this year is definitely an exception to the rule. With four players on the Rivals100, the Volunteer State is loaded with more talent than any other year in the last five seasons.

Leading off the list is five-star receiver Patrick Turner of Nashville Goodpasture. The 6-5, 210-pound gamebreaker has all of the tools to be an elite receiver on the next level.

"He has such natural instincts as a receiver," Goodpasture coach David Martin said. "He has tremendous hands. He catches everything with his hands, and they're very soft. He can adjust to the ball well while it's in the air. And obviously, he's just a great physical specimen. "

Behind Turner is one of the best offensive linemen in the South - Michael Oher of Memphis Briarcrest Christian. The 6-5, 330-pound offensive tackle is rated as one of the nation's elite prospects and is the No. 2 player in the state. Coming in at No. 3 is the next great running back for the Tennessee Volunteers, LaMarcus Coker of Antoich.

Todd Cox, another Rivals100 selection from Memphis Harding Academy, and defensive end Barry Turner of Nashville Brentwood Academy round out the top five.

The District of Columbia is one of the most overlooked areas by many recruiting followers, but locals know that players each year leave D.C. and make significant impacts in college programs.

At the top of the list of difference makers for 2005 is linebacker Rico McCoy. With offers from all over the nation, McCoy is a 6-2, 210-pound tackling machine. He earned first-team all-conference as a junior after racking up 120 tackles and five sacks.


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