The state of Alabama sure loves its football. That certainly holds true when it comes to high school football. And now the state of Alabama is producing great talent, both in quality and quantity.
Leading the way in the Rivals.com postseason state rankings in the Alabama Top 40 is D.J. Fluker. This Foley offensive tackle prospect has skyrocketed up the recruiting charts over the past few months. Now he is the state's No. 1 prospect. Along the way, he overtook the nation's top cornerback prospect in Gadsden standout Dre Kirkpatrick.
"D.J. Fluker is an anomaly," said Barry Every, a Rivals.com national recruiting analyst. "You just don't see human beings this big [6 feet 7 and 345 pounds] and this athletic. That is why he overtook Kirkpatrick. Left offensive tackles are really hard bodies to find. They have such a huge impact on winning football games.
"Dre had a great year and looked great at two all-star games and he was playing injured. He's tough too. To play and fight through those injuries says a lot to me about him. Plus, you just don't find corners with his size [6-2, 180]."
Rivals.com has 33 five-star prospects, and three are from Alabama – Fluker, Kirkpatrick and Analusia's Nico Johnson. Fluker and Kirkpatrick are also the No. 1 prospects at their respective positions; Johnson is the No. 2 outside linebacker prospect in the country and the No. 3 overall prospect in the state.
"Nico Johnson has great body structure, but what I like the best is his ability to get to the football," said Barton Simmons, a Rivals.com recruiting analyst. "He's physical, has SEC speed and can play behind the line of scrimmage."
Rounding out the top five in Alabama are Stevenson inside linebacker prospect Tana Patrick and Mobile quarterback AJ McCarron. Coming in at No. 6 is Gadsden wide receiver Kendall Kelly, and Athens strong side defensive end William Ming is No. 7. These seven prospects are all in the Rivals250.
Perhaps the theme of the Alabama Top 40 is linemen. There are a combined 15 offensive and defensive line prospects on this list. Four defensive tackles reside in the top 13.
"Last year's 2008 class [in Alabama] was just phenomenal," Every said. "This one is pretty darn good. I was going to originally do a top 30 but felt I was leaving some very good players out. This class has depth and I like the fact that there are many OL/DL types. The quality and quantity considering the population in the state is just incredible and underrated."
Auburn leads the way thus far with eight commitments from the state's Top 40 prospects. Alabama has seven, including four of the top seven prospects in the state.
Movin' on up
There was some movement in the Rivals.com postseason Maryland Top 20. Of course Wheaton outside linebacker prospect Jelani Jenkins still resides at the top spot. But now at No. 2 is Forestville strong side defensive end DeOnte Arnett. Another strong side defensive end recruit who made his way up the rankings is Gaithersburg's Jason Ankrah, who now sits at No. 4. He moved past cornerback Travis Hawkins and defensive tackle Terrence Stephens, two of his teammates, in the state rankings. Speaking of cornerbacks, four of the top seven play this position. Baltimore strong side defensive end David Mackall moved into the No. 10 position.
New additions in Oregon and Iowa
There are a combined four new additions in the Oregon and Iowa state rankings. Decorah offensive tackle Brett Van Sloten is the lone addition in Iowa, while Springfield athlete Tym Pearson, Astoria cornerback Jordan Poyer and Lake Oswego quarterback Jack Lomax are all in the Oregon state rankings.