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July 29, 2004They're two of the best in the nation at their positions, and they're the top players in their respective states.
Who are they?
They are Waynesboro (Miss.) Wayne County defensive tackle Jerrell Powe, the top player in the new Mississippi Top 30, and Pittsburgh Gateway cornerback Justin King, the top player in the new Pennsylvania top 40.
King, ranked as the No. 1 cornerback in the nation, is a five-star prospect that teams throughout Big 10 country are fighting to land. King could easily be one of the nation's best running backs, but most college coaches see his long-term potential as a shut-down cover corner.
King was named first-team all-conference as a sophomore. As a junior, has was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22 and the Tribune-Review's Terrific 25.
Behind King at No. 2 in Pennsylvania is Bryn Mawr Harriton defensive tackle Callahan Bright. The five-star defensive tackle is ranked as the No. 3 player at his position and has scholarship offers from everybody in the nation.
"My motto is you have to be aggressive to be excellent," Bright said. "I always think of it as though it's only me and the man across from me on the field so I have to be more aggressive than him. I just try to beat him off the ball or off the first move. I try to be a playmaker out there."
Bethlehem Catholic defensive tackle Kyle Newell takes home the No. 3 ranking, followed by Philadelphia St. John Neumann offensive lineman Marques Slocum and Harrisburg running back Mikell Simpson.
Rivals.com just received film on Powe this past week, and after reviewing it, a strong argument for him being the nation's top player can be made. Expect him to become the new No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation when position rankings are updated in August.
The 6-foot-3, 322-pound Powe is a one-man wrecking crew. You ask him to stuff the run, he'll do it. Kill the quarterback, consider it done. You name it, Powe can do it, and it's no surprise that everybody in the Southeast is fighting like cats and dogs to land him.
"A lot of people say I'm good because my speed," he said. "I have great feet, they all say. I also just keep going and going until the whistle blows."
But as anybody that follows Mississippi football knows, it's not just a one man show in the Magnolia State.
Behind Powe at No. 2 in the state is Collins offensive lineman Josh McNeil, who is 6-4 and 270 pounds. McNeil lists Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Nebraska as his top teams.
No. 3 in the state is Batesville South Panola defensive back Derek Pegues, followed by Lanier Jackson defensive tackle Louis Ellis and Hattiesburg offensive lineman Calvin Wilson.