SCVarsity's Preliminary Top 5 SC Football Prospects

by - Correspondent -
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With Spring Practice right around the corner, the buzz about football has already
begun.  And one of college fans' favorite topics is who are the top prospects going
to be in the coming 2K2 high school football season. Well, I think we can help you out on
that. For now, since we are not even in spring practice and so much can happen before
August, we'll just look at a preliminary list of five top recruits.

The top recruit in the state this season will be Lexington tailback Demetris
(6-1, 210). This past season, Summers rushed for 2,329 yards and 39
touchdowns.  He has rushed for over 6,500 yards in three seasons, has an 10+ yards
per carry average, and last season, he set the new career touchdown mark in South Carolina
at 104, breaking the old record of 88.  If he gains just 65 yards in 2002, he will
also set a new career rushing record for the state, and be on his way to national
records. The only schools that will not be recruiting him are the ones with no
football programs.

There are two definite Division I quarterback prospects in the state this season, with
several others who are potential DI quarterbacks, and even a few more that will more than
likely will be recruited for another position. Marlboro County's Syvelle Newton
is the top quarterback prospect in the state this season. At 6-2, 210 with 4.5 speed, this
Pee Dee area athlete will be one of the most sought after recruits in the Southeast. In
2001, Syvelle passed for over 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,923 yards
and 24 touchdowns, leading the Bulldogs to the South Carolina AAAA Championship Title. His
best friend is Clemson Tiger Tymere Zimmerman and that makes Tiger fans happy, though
Syvelle says that will not be a major factor in his recruiting.

Orangeburg Wilkinson Quarterback Russell Hemby (6-1, 195) is the other
Major DI prospect. Hemby runs a 4.5  40 and passed for over 1800 yards and 16
touchdowns in 2001. He is a lot like one of his predecessors, Woodrow Dantzler, in  
his ability to both stand in the pocket and pass, or pull it down and turn into a
tailback. He's got a strong arm and checks off his receivers well, finding the open man.

There are those who will argue about who the top defensive back prospect in the state
is, primarily because there are three that are outstanding. But the one that will be high
on everyone's list will be Crestwood's Maurice Nelson (6-2,210). Maurice
is a monster in the weight room, benching 315 and squatting 500lbs. He can deliver a
powerful blow and has the ability to play linebacker, which he may well end up playing at
the next level.  His speed keeps him tight on any receiver. In 2001, he had 79
tackles, 53 assists, 5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recover, 2 Int's, and 8 passes
broken up. This kid is the real deal and one of SCVarsity's top ranked secondary players.

Union High School's David Smith is probably the top wide receiver
prospect in the state. At 6-4, 185, Smith has the frame to add some weight and already has
tremendous speed. He runs a 4.6 40 and a 4.41 shuttle. But his vertical jump is 30 inches
so he also has potential to increase his speed even more. Scary for defenders to think
about a bigger, stronger, and faster Smith.

South Carolina has been in the limelight for the last couple of years with big battles
over top recruits. These five should keep that new tradition going strong. We'll bring you
more top recruits as the season draws nearer and spring evaluations and combine results
are collected.

Jim Baxter is the editor of, the leader in South Carolina high school sports news.

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