Middle Tennessee might not be considered a major hotbed for recruiting but the region continues to produce top level talent and things are getting better with each year.
Last year, there were eleven prospects from the region that signed with BCS conference schools including Caleb Azubike(Vanderbilt), Woody Baron (Virginia Tech), Blake Bars (Michigan), Cory Batey (Vanderbilt), I'Tavius Mathers (Ole Miss) and Graham Shuler (Stanford). Several other prospects signed with other FBS programs while a few more signed with FCS schools.
Overall, 73 prospects from the region have signed with FBS programs over the last four recruiting periods.
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The 2013 class appears to have star quality once again. As with every year, VandySports.com ranks the top prospects in the middle Tennessee region with the Mid-State Top 15.
Two of the state's top athletes, Brentwood Academy's Jalen Ramsey and Ensworth's Corn Elder sit atop the group.
Ramsey, a Rivals100 member, has seen his recruiting stock explode since last fall. The four-star prospect has collected offers from all over the nation and is now considered a Top 10 level cornerback by Rivals.com. Rivals.com regards Ramsey as the state's No.1 overall prospect.
As a junior, Ramsey locked down opposing receivers and picked off a couple of passes. He also racked up 30 tackles and accounted for 600 all-purpose yards on limited touches.
Elder, a Rivals250 member, has also seen his interest pick up in recent months. The exciting all-around player and two-sport star has over a dozen scholarship offers and is ranked as a Top 10 level athlete by Rivals.com. Elder is also ranked No.3 among players in the state of Tennessee.
The 2011 Mr.Football Award winner, Elder led Ensworth to its second straight Division II-AA state championship with 2,722 all-purpose yards and 29 touchdowns. The all-state standout also led the Tigers defense with five interceptions and three more pass breakups.
A year ago, Brentwood Academy had three prospects on the final edition of the Mid-State Top 15, and that is the case in this year's initial release. Joining Ramsey from the Eagles program are quarterback Max Staver and running back Dmontre Wade.
Staver, a three-star prospect, checks in at No.4 on the ranking after a strong spring and good initial first season as the Eagles starter in 2011. Staver passed for over 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns as BA finished with a 9-3 record. The 6-foot-5 talent committed to the Florida Gators on Monday, and will become the first mid-state quarterback to sign with a SEC program since Ethan Flatt signed with Ole Miss in 2002. 2012 passer C.J. Beathard committed to the Rebels as well last spring but signed with the University of Iowa on signing day.
Wade, checking in at No.12, is one of the more underrated prospects in the state, but that might not be for too much longer as several programs are turning up the heat, including Mississippi State and Cincinnati.
Father Ryan's Jamonte Graham joins his Division II-AA rivals on the initial ranking. The 6-foot-2 safety prospect led the Irish in all-purpose yardage and defense last fall. Schools from all over the southeast and midwest have taken a liking to Graham and offers could soon be on the way.
Prospects Jedediah Vivio of Goodpasture and Albert Mitchell of Christ Presbyterian Academy round out the prospects from the Nashville area. Vivio has been one of the mid-state's best linemen the past two years and he's on the radar of several programs across the south. Mitchell is another one of the region's best passers and the 6-foot-2 talent has picked up offers from Presbyterian and UT Martin, but he may be on the verge of FBS offers after several outstanding camp performances.
The city of Clarksville has steady improved to on the high school gridiron during recent years and two prospects, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Maleek Hall represent Montgomery County in the initial rankings.
Ranked No.3 overall, Reeves-Maybin is one of the most versatile prospects in the southeast and one of the tops in the state. As a junior, Reeves-Maybin accounted for over 40 touchdowns on offense at Northeast High. He also racked up 100 tackles. The three-star prospect has received offers from several major schools this spring, becoming a national prospect.
Kenwood star Maleek Hall has made a name for himself on the recruiting trail this summer with strong performances at camps and combines. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound prospect picked off five passes as a junior and rushed for over 1,000 yards. Ranked No.15, Hall has already received one offer and has many other programs interested.
Rutherford County has annually produced major college talent, and though most of the regions talent is in the younger classes, a pair of teammates from Murfreesboro's Siegel High, Tae Martin and Brent Stockstill.
Martin, a receiver and safety prospect, has received a couple of offers including one from local program MTSU. The 5-foot-11 athlete is starting to see his recruitment heat up and more offers could be along the way.
Stockstill, a 6-foot quarterback, has already received a pair of offers from the Mid-American Conference and has impressed others including the Tennessee staff at recent camps. The son of MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill, Brent figures to be a FBS signee next February.
Springfield defensive lineman Terrence Summers represents Robertson County in the ranking. The 6-foot-2, 270-pound interior linemen recently picked up his first offer from Tennessee State, but many believe he's a slam dunk FBS prospect.
Maury County has been represented by Columbia Central High in recent years, but this time around it's Mount Pleasant quarterback/athlete Princeton Harlan that is the top prospect from the region. The 6-foot-4 talent has received attention from several SEC programs this recruiting period and should see his first set of offers arrive in the coming months.
Mt. Juliet has produced several quality prospects over the years and athlete Jalen Graham looks to be no different. The 6-foot-2 running back/defensive back has attracted programs from all over and just finished up a good performance at Clemson.
Shelbyville Central running back Marquis Morton represents Bedford County in the ranking, and may be one of the state's most underrated all-around athletes. The recent MTSU commitment gained nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards last season and picked off nearly a handful of passes, including three turnovers he returned for touchdowns.
The Mid-State Top 15 rankings are based upon in-person evaluations by VandySports.com during the high school season and summer camp period. Highlight videos are also used in the evaluation process.
VandySports.com will update the Top 15 in October and present a final list in January prior to signing day.
Players who just missed the first cut of the mid-state rankings include Brentwood Academy defensive lineman Amos Mason, Columbia Central receiver Dre Hall, Wilson Central receiver Chris Lee, Pearl-Cohn offensive lineman Darius Hooten, Ensworth's Myles Pasley, Tullahoma running back Trey Burks, Dickson County linebacker Demonta Daniel, Mt. Juliet running back Contrez McCathern and Fairview running back Julian Franklin.