One of the questions I am asked most as a freelance writer for MaxPreps.com is about the national and state rankings.
These rankings, which are done by a computer, have been under intense scrutiny. Last year while on a radio show in Tulsa, it was the main subject of discussion and I received heavy criticism for the rankings.
The rankings are what they are. MaxPreps has decided to stick to the computer. At last check, pretty much everybody gets to play for a state championship of some sort, so I'm not quite sure what the controversy is about.
Having learned a lot about some of the teams nationally while compiling the National Top 25 Scoreboard every week, I have decided it was time to make some rankings of my own.
Hansen's National High School Football Top 10
1. Phoebus (Hampton, Va.) - In one of the upper echelon states for high school football, Phoebus is taking care of business with ease. Defensively, it would be difficult to find somebody else nationally that has been as impressive. In eight games (8-0) the Phantoms have given up 26 points, including five shutouts. Two weeks back against rival Hampton, Phoebus handed Hampton coach Mike Smith his worst loss during his tenure with a 42-6 thumping. Offensively, QB Tahj Boyd and RB Shawne Alston have Phoebus averaging 49.5 points per game. And it doesn't appear Phoebus will let up any time soon, which is why I feel they are the best in the country at this time.
2. Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) - If you haven't heard of junior RB Marcus Lattimore, now is the time to make a mental note. Lattimore - regarded as one of the top junior running backs in the country - already has set the school-record for career rushing yards. This season Lattimore has rushed for 1,289 yards and 14 touchdowns and has eclipsed the 200-yard barrier twice this season. QB Chas Dodd is a solid prep signal caller and has thrown for at least 3 TDs three times this season.
3. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) - On Friday in what was slated to be a huge game against Deerfield Beach on national television, the Raiders rolled 65-10. After losing to Deerfield Beach by two points last season, revenge was sweet for St. Thomas Aquinas. QB Ryan Becker is not a major Division I prospect, but he's a heckuva high school quarterback. WR Duron Carter, son of former NFL receiver and St. Thomas Aquinas assistant Cris Carter, is a legit playmaker. LB Connor O'Neill and TE Gabrison Holmes are bona fide Division I prospects.
4. Lowndes (Valdosta, Ga.) - Lowndes has stormed out to a 7-0 start, including hard-fought victories over cross-town rival Valdosta and Northside (Warner Robins). Lowndes is another program posting unbelievable defensive numbers, allowing 36 points in seven games this season. The Vikings love to run the football, led by Greg Reid. Reid has rushed for 610 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and averages over 10 yards per carry. Reid is also the leading receiver for the Vikings.
5. Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) – The Hawks have been salty on defense, giving up just 18 points in seven victories including four shutouts. QB Mywan Jackson does a solid job in running the Armwood offense and is considered a Division I prospect as a safety. Jackson has thrown for 15 touchdowns and has added 591 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns to lead the Hawks.
6. Euless Trinity (Euless, Texas) – Trinity hasn’t always been dominating this season, but Trinity wins when it counts. The Trojans are led by QB Denarius McGhee. RB Dontrayevous Robinson was slated to be the go-to runner for the Trojans, but sophomore Tevin Williams has emerged as the team-leader in rushing. Earnest Norman, Prinz Kande, and Eryon Bennett are all DI talents and lead the defense.
7. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) – The Jackrabbits have played a brutal schedule this season, including a trip to Miami Northwestern to claim a 29-7 win. RB Melvin Richardson (644 rushing yards, 7 TDs) and Daveon Barner (572 rushing yards, 5 TDs) lead the offense. George Daily-Lyles leads the team in tackles while Eli Edwards leads the Jackrabbits in sacks.
8. Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) – Junior QB Jake Heaps already holds dozens of offers and is regarded as one of the best prospects in the Class of 2010. Heaps has 974 passing yards and 14 TDs this season, with WR Gino Simone (committed to Washington State) his top target with 359 yards and 7 TDs. The Spartans have allowed just eight points in seven games and have recorded five shutouts. As a team, Skyline has 10 interceptions this season.
9. Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) – Oscar Smith has stormed to an 8-0 mark and outscored its opponents 363-41, to include four shutouts on defense. QB Philip Sims, RB Perry Jones, and WR Tim Smith are the leaders on offense for the Tigers. Last week in a 40-6 win over Nansemond River, Jones had four rushing TDs in the first half while Sims and Brown hooked up for TD passes of 53 and 73 yards as the Tigers took a 40-0 halftime lead.
10. Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) – Lake Travis gunslinger and Texas verbal Garrett Gilbert has been as good as possible for the Cavaliers. Gilbert has completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,466 yards and 30 TDs compared to just one interception. Cade McCrary has 903 receiving yards and 12 TDs. The Cavaliers don’t run it often, but Chris Aydam and Andy Erikson have combined for over 600 yards and 7 TDs. Quinton Crow has 95 tackles to lead the defense.
Give St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) Credit
St. Xavier has been one of the top programs in Ohio over the years. You have to give them credit for attempting to become a national power by scheduling any body, any where, at any time.
St. Xavier is 4-4 this year, but its losses have come to Colerain (Cincinnati), Trinity (Louisville, Ky.), Elder (Cincinnati), La Salle (Cincinnati), and St. Ignatius (Cleveland). The Bombers have a victory over Prattville (Ala.), Indianapolis Cathedral, and Don Bosco Prep (N.J.).