By Stephen Spiewak/Kevin Askeland
National Junior of the Year: Marcus Lattimore, RB, Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.)
Lattimore shined brightly on the big stage in 2008, playing one of the nation’s most ambitious schedules on one of the nation’s premier teams.
He rushed for 2,314 yards and 30 touchdowns against defenses from three different states. In a state semifinal rematch with Dorman – the only team to beat Byrnes last season – Lattimore exploded for 268 yards and two scores.
The next week, he outdid himself, tallying 305 rushing yards and four touchdowns, helping the Rebels hold off Sumter 31-21 for a 4A-I state title.
His on-field reputation is exceeded only by his off the field character. Teammates, coaches and sportswriters are as quick to point out his humble, affable personality as they are his electrifying running.
“He’s one of the quietest guys on the team,” Byrnes center Dylan Bishop told MaxPreps.com earlier this season. “I mean, he’s a great runner and a fantastic athlete, but he’s a better person and great student. We love him to death. It’s easy to block for a guy like that.”
Click here for more on Lattimore.
MaxPreps Junior All-American Team
First Team Offense
WR Austin Collinsworth, Highlands (Ky.), 6-2, 195
Son of former Bengals’ wide receiver Cris Collinsworth, Austin was a first team All-State selection at wide receiver a year after being a second team All-State selection at defensive back. He hauled in 46 passes for over 800 yards.
WR Nolen Smith, Oneonta (Ala.), 6-3, 190
The only junior on Alabama’s prestigious Super 12, Smith tied a state record with an astonishing 102 receptions.
WR Robert Woods, Serra (Gardena, Calif.), 6-1, 180
The LA Times named Woods its Back of the Year after a remarkably efficient season. He caught 19 touchdown passes, scored on a pair of kickoff returns, twice more on punt returns and took three interceptions to the end zone.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, Johnsburg (Ill.), 6-7, 240
A second team All-State selection by the Chicago Tribune for his work at linebacker, Fiedorowicz’s future is brightest at tight end, where his frame and athleticism make him a standout.
OL Seantrel Henderson, Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.), 6-7, 288
Henderson, who has been compared to Rams franchise tackle Orland Pace, may be the nation’s top prospect in 2010. He netted first team All-State honors as a junior.
OL Brandon Linder, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 6-4, 265
No team was able to slow the Raiders’ offensive attack this season, and Linder was a major reason why. A first team all-Broward County selection by the Miami Herald, Linder will anchor the line once again next year.
OL Jose Jose, Booker T. Washington (Miami, Fla.), 6-3, 340
The massive Jose played both guard and center for the Tornadoes, and was a first team All-Dade selection. He will be blocking for another potential All-American next year, running back Eduardo Clements.
OL Nick Rowland, Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.), 6-4, 280
Rowland’s size and production have made him extremely attractive to colleges. He solidified a Centennial offensive line that allowed the Coyotes to roll up 571 points this season en route to a 14-0 record.
OL Dalvin Glass, Carter (Dallas, Texas), 6-3, 370
Glass would blend right in with the gargantuan Carter linemen depicted in “Friday Night Lights.” At 6-3, 370 Glass led the way for an offense that ran the ball for almost 350 yards each game. He was a 4A first team All-State selection.
QB Ryan Kasdorf, Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), 6-2, 195
Playing against the likes of Birmingham, Servite, Crespi and Bishop Amat, Kasdorf had a season for the ages. He threw for over 3,200 yards and 36 touchdowns as the Knights’ offense did not miss a beat after the graduation of Dayne Crist.
QB Philip Sims, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.), 6-2, 215
Sims, who through for six touchdowns in the Division 6 final, tallied 3,167 yards and 38 touchdowns on the season. Expect him to be the owner of several Virginia passing records by this time next year.
RB Marcus Lattimore, Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.), 6-1, 204
Leading Byrnes to a state title and logging huge numbers helped Lattimore earn National Junior of the Year honors. He should be a preseason favorite for National Player of the Year next season.
RB D.J. Jones, Denison (Texas), 6-0, 220
A 4A first team All-State selection, Jones is a versatile threat. In addition to his potent running game, he’s also dangerous catching passes and returning kicks.
RB Michael Dyer, Little Rock Christian (Little Rock, Ark.), 5-9, 195
Dyer is one of the most electrifying backs in the country. He struggled with injuries as a junior, but was still an all-state selection. He will certainly be a back to watch next season.
ATH Malcolm Jones, Oaks Christian, (Westlake Village, Calif.), 6-0, 217
The younger brother of former Oaks Christian star Marshall Jones, Malcolm has made a name for himself at running back and safety. Against a talented Serra squad, Jones rushed for four touchdowns, landing another Southern Section title for the Lions.
K Connor Hawk, Norcross (Ga.), 5-9, 165
Hailing from a traditional basketball power, Hawk had a fine season for the Blue Devils on the gridiron, claiming first team All-State honors.
First Team Defense
DL Jackson Jeffcoat, Plano West (Plano, Texas), 6-5, 230
Another player with great bloodlines, Jeffcoat, the son of former Cowboy Jim Jeffcoat, was a second team All-State selection as a mere sophomore. This season he was a first team selection after posting 94 tackles, seven sacks, and four pass break ups.
DL Jamel Turner, Ursuline Academy (Youngstown, Ohio), 6-3, 212
Turner helped lead Ursuline Academy to a 15-0 season by registering 18.5 sacks. An Ohio all-state selection, Turner has already committed to Jim Tressel and Ohio State.
DL Brandon Willis, Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.), 6-3, 240
Somewhat overshadowed this season by the offensive exploits of Chas Dodd and Marcus Lattimore was the phenomenal play of defensive end Brandon Willis, himself a coveted recruit. Willis has 114 tackles and 13 sacks on the year.
DL Jacquez Smith,Ooletewah (Tenn.), 6-3, 235
Smith was named Tennessee’s 5A Mr. Football lineman, beating out fellow star junior Tim McAdoo for the honor. He terrorized opposing offenses to the tune of 13 sacks and 29 tackles for loss.
LB Corey Nelson, Skyline (Dallas, Texas), 6-0, 215
The numbers that Corey Nelson compiled this season speak for themselves: 156 tackles, 12 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, nine blocked punts, and five forced fumbles.
LB Scott McVey, St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio), 6-1, 220
Whenever the Wildcats needed a big play, it seemed like McVey was there. His 177 tackles and 18 sacks helped lead St. Ignatius to a Division 1 state title
LB Mike Hull, Canon-McMillan (Canonsburg, Pa.), 6-1, 215
The Observer-Reporter 2008 player of the year, Hull, who has committed to play at Penn State, was a force at linebacker and running back for Canon-McMillan,
LB Matt Elam, Dwyer (West Palm Beach, Fla.), 6-0, 205
The Palm Beach Post’s large school defensive player of the year, Elam had nearly 100 tackles at linebacker, but projects as perhaps the nation’s top safety prospect.
LB Lee Ward, Parkway Central (Mo.), 6-2, 230
A first team All-State selection in Missouri’s Class 5, Ward totaled 137 tackles and seven sacks while also contributing at the running back position with eight touchdowns.
DB DeAndre Hopkins, Daniel (S.C.), 6-2, 180
Hopkins has emerged as one of the nation’s best defensive backs after not playing football as a freshman. The Independent-Mail player of the year has intercepted a whopping 23 passes the last two seasons.
DB Corey Cooper, Proviso East (Ill.), 6-2, 190
With his speed and athleticism, Cooper, a two way standout at Proviso East, could probably play either safety or wide receiver in college. The All-State selection had 60 tackles and four sacks.
DB Lamarcus Joyner, Southwest (Miami, Fla.), 5-8, 166
2009 will be another big season for talent in Dade County. Joyner, a first team All-Dade selection, had over 100 tackles from the secondary and is the definition of a shutdown corner.
DB Larry Stephens, North Shore (Galena Park, Texas), 5-11, 175
Stephens wreaked havoc from the secondary, recording five interceptions, 12 pass break ups, three tackles for loss, and three fumble recoveries en route to 5A first team All-State honors.
P A.J. Derby, City High (Iowa City, Iowa), 6-4, 215
Derby is a star athlete at City High. At 6-4, he does a number of things well on the football field and also excels at basketball. He cracked the Iowa 4A All-State team at punter.
Second Team Offense
WR Keanon Lowe, Jesuit (Portland, Ore.), 5-10, 167
Head coach Ken Potter loves Lowe’s playmaking abilities. He was a favorite target quarterback Scott Williams on offense, and played in the secondary for a defense that allowed just over two touchdowns per game.
WR Jeremy Richardson, Springville (Ala.), 6-4, 205
Following a pedestrian sophomore season, Richardson exploded as a junior, and is now one of the nation’s most heavily courted junior wide receiver prospects. His 61 catches for 1,128 yards and 18 touchdowns helped Springville to an 8-3 record.
WR Kenny Shaw, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.), 6-0, 170
Shaw teamed up with Ricardo Miller to form a devastating wide receiver tandem. He finished with 64 catches for 914 yards.
TE Taylor Grant, Eden Prairie (Minn.), 6-4, 225
How versatile is Taylor Grant, son of Eden Prairie coach Bud Grant? He moved from quarterback to tight-end after an injury. He also plays basketball for the Eagles. He was an All-State selection by the St. Paul Pioneer.
OL Seth Betancourt, St. Joseph Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.), 6-6, 289
Head coach Gil Brooks has coached many Division I offensive linemen but thinks Betancourt could be the best of the bunch. Betancourt has played since his sophomore season, and has long been on the radar of college coaches.
OL Torrian Wilson, Northwestern (Miami), 6-5, 320
No school has been endowed with more talent in recent years than Northwestern. Wilson is the latest big time recruit. An All-Dade first team selection, he finished with 120 pancakes.
OL Robert Crisp, Chapel Hill (N.C.), 6-8, 305
The Carolinas have been prime breeding ground for linemen lately, and Crisp continues that trend. Expect Crisp, a two-sport star, to have his pick of colleges.
OL James Hurst, Plainfield (Indianapolis, Ind.), 6-6, 275
How highly regarded is Hurst? He was the only non-senior named to Indiana’s 4A All-State team.
OL Robbie Havenstein, Linganore (Frederick, Md.), 6-7, 300
Havenstein was one of three juniors selected to Maryland’s consensus All-State team. The dominant tackle has already been offered by Maryland.
QB Jake Heaps, Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.), 6-2, 195
After another undefeated, state title season, Heaps is now 28-0 at quarterback for Skyline. His passing numbers were remarkable: he passed for 38 touchdowns and was intercepted only four times.
QB Anthony Carrothers, Independence (Charlotte, N.C.), 5-7, 175
Carrothers followed up a monster sophomore season with an even better junior year. He passed for 4,012 yards and 36 touchdowns for the state semifinalist Patriots.
RB Devontae Butler, Grant (Sacramento, Calif.), 5-11, 180
One of the main cogs to the Pacers’ explosive offense, Butler rushed for 37 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards as Grant ran the table, beating Long Beach Poly in the Open Division bowl match-up.
RB Ryan Izzo, Walpole (Mass.), 5-8, 160
The most exciting player to hail from Massachusetts in recent years, Izzo has been a scoring machine. His 38 touchdowns helped lead Walpole to a Division 2 Super Bowl title. He needs 177 points next year to break the Massachusetts state scoring record.
RB Kevin Parks, West Rowan (N.C.), 5-8, 185
North Carolina’s leader in rushing, Parks torched defenses for nearly 2,900 yards and 43 touchdowns, leading West Rowan to a 3A state title.
ATH D.J. Morgan, Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.), 5-10, 175
Already committed to Southern California, Morgan is a football star that possesses the speed of a track star. He rushed for over 1,800 yards and 26 touchdowns. His 583 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on just 32 catches proves he is extremely hard to tackle in open space.
K Justin Stout, West Mesquite (Texas), 5-11, 165
The 4A all-state selection nailed 13 field goals, including a 50 yard game-winner.
Second Team Defense
DL Prince Shembo, Ardrey Kell (Charlotte, N.C.), 6-2, 200
Shembo made the All-Observer defensive team after notching 90 tackles, eight sacks and eight forced fumbles for Ardrey Kell. He is one the Southeast’s top defensive recruits.
DL Evan Hailes, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.), 6-2, 315
Few defensive tackles plug gaps like Hailes. He was a Group AAA first team All-State selection for Division 6 state champ Oscar Smith.
DL Tim McAdoo, Oakland (Tenn.), 6-1, 305
McAdoo was the region 4-5A defensive player of the year after he recorded 95 tackles and five sacks for Oakland. He was also a 5A Mr. Football finalist.
DL Dominique Jones, Midwest City (Okla.), 6-2, 265
114 tackles and six sacks were enough to make Jones a big school All-City team selection by the Oklahoman. He helped Midwest City reach the 6A semifinals, where they lost to eventual state champion Union.
LB Christian Jones, Lake Howell (Fla.) 6-3, 215
The son of former NFL player Willie Jones, Christian is proving that the apple did not fall far from the tree. He was a first team All-Central Florida selection by the Orlando Sentinel after recording 113 tackles.
LB Mike Mirabella, Plant (Tampa, Fla.), 6-0, 200
While Plant’s offense gets most of the recognition, the team’s defense came up huge down the stretch. Mirabella did much of the dirty work, and was named to the All-Suncoast team by the St. Petersburg Times.
LB Anthony DeMatteo, Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.), 6-0, 190
The KingCo Crest Division defensive player of the year, DeMatteo was typically all over the field for Skyline. He will undoubtedly be tested next year, when the Spartans will face Oaks Christian and fellow Junior All-American Malcolm Jones.
LB Sal Belfonte, Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.), 5-10, 192
Moving from safety to linebacker was no problem for Belfonte. He made 118 tackles and had three sacks for a talented Rockhurst squad. For his efforts, he was selected to the Kansas City Star All-Metro team.
LB Zach Orr, DeSoto (Texas), 6-0, 220
Teammate Adrian White, a defensive back for DeSoto, may have begun the year as a higher profile prospect, but Orr was the one who really got it done on the field. A first team All-State selection, Orr ended the year with 159 tackles. He forced seven fumbles and recovered six.
DB Cody Riggs, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 5-10, 170
Another key component to the national champion Raiders, Riggs converted his speed into eight interceptions and 25 pass deflections. He was a first team All-Broward County selection.
DB London Pitts, Carver (Montgomery, Ala.), 5-9, 170
It was an outstanding season for Pitts, a 5A All-State selection. He was a ballhawk in the secondary, pulling in 12 interceptions.
DB Vincent Sanders, Noxubee County (Macon, Ga.), 6-3, 180
A 4A All-State selection, Sanders had a big role in Noxubee County’s magical season. In addition to his defensive presence, Sanders doubled as a wide receiver for the state champs.
DB Andrew Leonard, Oakton (Va.), 5-6, 149
Oakton had a fine year, as the team’s only loss came at the hands of state champ Oscar Smith. Leonard was a force in the secondary, registering 105 tackles, five interceptions, and seven deflected passes.
P Matt Darr, Frontier (Bakersfield, Calif.) 6-2, 215
A MaxPreps All-State selection, Darr averaged 46 yards per punt, while also excelling at the linebacker spot.